Frequently Asked Questions

Generalist social work practitioners work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, social policies, and communities in a variety of settings in pursuit of social and economic justice. Generalist practitioners view people and systems from a strengths perspective in order to recognize, support, and build upon the innate capabilities of all human beings. They engage, assess, broker services, advocate, counsel, educate, and organize with and on behalf of individuals, families, and collections of people. Generalist practitioners engage in community development, organizational development, and evaluation in order to ensure that services are useful, effective, and ethical.

Yes.  Please see these links for the BASW and MSW application processes.

BASW Application Process

MSW Application Process

To assist our students in achieving a successful college experience, a suggested 4-year pathway (Major Academic Plan) has been developed to use as a planning guide. View the BASW information page.

BASW students can receive a waiver from their social work advisor for SW 255 based upon prior completion of at least 60 hours of volunteer/service work in an organization or community site that involved direct service. The waiver process also requires a letter from a past supervisor and completion of an essay. For more information, please contact your advisor. No other coursework can be waived and no other credit is provided for past volunteer or work experience.

In consultation with local tribal communities, our program curriculum maintains an emphasis on working with Indigenous and other rural peoples and is designed to assist our students to engage in "decolonizing social work."

To prepare students for this approach, we require all applicants have at least one course in Native American Studies.

The Department of Social Work offers SW 420: Decolonizing Social Work with Indigenous Peoples to any interested student or community member for the first 8 weeks of the Fall and Spring semesters. The course is a 1.5 unit online course offered through the Office of Extended Education.

Students can call the office at (707)826-3731 or go online to:  to register. Fees are due at the time of registration (expected to be around $350.00).

Yes. However, you need to complete the prerequisites before beginning the major course sequence (300-level courses) in the Fall. Full admission to the BASW program will not be granted until you have completed and passed all prerequisites.

The BA Social Work program will accept a D in a prerequisite course. However, if the course double counts for an HSU GE course it may not count for the GE requirement.

MSW prerequisites require a C- or better.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional and will be used in considering admissions for students whose GPA does not meet minimum requirements.

No. MSW programs are designed for people with a variety of degrees. Applicants who do have a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from an accredited social work program may apply to enter the "Advanced Year" of the Program.

Courses taken at another accredited MSW program can be reviewed for substitution. Graduate unit transfers are rarely approved because of the unique emphasis in the HSU MSW program.

Review notices are typically sent out two months after the application deadline.

Classes for the full-time, on-campus program begin in late August (Fall Semester).  Classes for the part-time, online (DL) program begin every year on MLK JR. weekend (Spring Semester).

The typical master’s degree program consists of the equivalent of 2 years’ full-time study. The HSU MSW program will grant advanced standing to applicants who hold a BASW from a program accredited by Council for Social Work Education.

Advanced Standing allows applicants to complete the full time MSW program in 1 year and the part-time DL MSW program in  2 years.

To qualify for Advanced Standing, applicants must have an accredited Bachelor's degree in Social Work. Unfortunately, we can not grant academic credit for professional experience in the social services.

The minimum requirements for admission to the Advanced Standing MSW Program are:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher education institution.
  • GPA of 3.5 or better on a scale of 4.0 for the last 60 hours of course work.
  • Liberal arts background demonstrated by having met the CSU general education requirements or a comparable course of study as an undergraduate.
  • Completion with a grade of “C” or better in Elementary Statistics (Math, Psychology or Sociology).*
  • Completion with a grade of “C” or better in a course related to Native American Studies.*


Applications for Advanced Standing (both on campus and DL programs) are due on January 31st of every year.  Coursework for Advanced Standing students begins in the following summer. 

The Distributed Learning Program begins every Spring Semester with the DL Intensive during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in January.

Yes.  The intensive is a crucial aspect of the Distributed Learning Program.  It is an opportunity for students to meet faculty, other students, and learn about academic and community resources that are highly relevant to their education.  While there are no fees associated with this event for students, the average travel cost to attend this annual residency requirement is $1,250.00, depending on mode/distance of transportation and lodging choices.  Students who do not attend this orientation/intensive each year will be withdrawn from classes and their offer of admission will be rescinded. In extreme cases of a documented catastrophic event, the student may petition to the department to be excused from this requirement.  These waivers are rarely granted and in most cases students are required to reapply for admission to the program in the following application cycle.

Our Field program maintains a database of a wide variety of sites with current placement agreements. If there is not currently an existing site in your community, we will partner with you to identify potential sites and work with those organizations to explore developing an internship placement agreement. Please bear in mind that if you are applying from a community with an existing Social Work program, there may be limited availability of internships, based on their priority for those placements. It can also be a challenge to identify sites that can provide MSW supervision to students who are seeking internships outside of regular work hours.

Yes.  The program is open to students across the country.  International student applicants need to meet the criteria for "Classified" status for graduate students (See University Catalog for International Students).