MSW in Social Welfare

UCLA Luskin’s Master of Social Welfare is a full-time, two-year program. In addition to our core curriculum, you can participate in an advanced research course or research project focused on an issue of interest to you. Two field placements with social work agencies let you put into action what you have learned in the classroom, providing invaluable real-world experience.

As professionals and scholars in a public research university, the faculty of the Department of Social Welfare are committed to the highest level of training to produce the next generation of practitioners and leaders for the social work profession and to advance the knowledge base for social work policy and practice.

PH.D. in Social Welfare

The Ph.D. in Social Welfare is a national leader in educating the next generation of social welfare scholars. Whether your interest is in service delivery or scholarly research, you will design your own advanced education aimed at pursuing your own intellectual interests.

With world-class faculty as your partners, you will benefit from a scholarly community of depth with breadth. From the time of your admission, the faculty will work with you to ensure your success. At UCLA the social welfare faculty consider doctoral students as colleagues, and because of the individualized nature of our program, you will work closely with faculty by participating actively in research projects and by co-authoring articles for publication.

The transition from a role as a practitioner to a scholar/researcher is more than a change in job title. It signifies a major change in the nature of the contribution you will make to social work and to society. UCLA doctoral students are tomorrow’s social work scholars, researchers and professors, responsible for advancing knowledge and training the next generation of practitioners.

Undergraduate Programs

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs offers undergraduate minor programs in Public Affairs, Gerontology, and in Urban and Regional Studies.  Each program offers an excellent interdisciplinary focus on problem-solving, analysis, and serves as an entry point to further graduate studies in law, policy, planning, and social welfare.  Undergraduate students in the minor programs gain insight into current issues such as crime and drugs, the environment, labor policies, national security, and policy issues related to the State of California.

Minor in Gerontology

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs’ Department of Social Welfare, in collaboration with the School of Medicine Division of Geriatrics and the School of Public Health, offers the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor (GIM).

As of Winter quarter 2012, undergraduate students may enroll to the interdisciplinary GIM, which utilizes UCLA’s professional schools and College resources to create an enhanced academic experience in aging.

The restructured GIM provides UCLA students the following:

  • A foundation understanding of the current state of the science related to the biopsychosocial aspects of human aging;
  • an ability to assess longevity’s potential contribution and challenge to contemporary society;
  • an appreciation of the diversity of aging over the life course and its impact on late life outcomes; and the opportunity to relate knowledge of gerontology to life-long personal and professional contributions to a diverse aging society.

For more information on the Gerontology minor read the Gerontology Announcement.

Find out more about undergraduate programs

Alexis Oberlander 

Undergraduate Director of Student Affairs
(310) 794-9662
Public Affairs Building Suite 3343

Joint Degrees

The Department of Social Welfare offers joint degrees with Asian American Studies, Law, Public Health and Public Policy. In each case, a joint degree applicant needs to meet the admissions criteria for each degree program. This means that an applicant must apply to each program separately. When applying to a joint degree, you are essentially applying to two separate programs. You will choose the option to apply to the joint degree option on the application site, but could gain admission into both programs, one program or neither one.

Once admitted to both programs, the applicant becomes a joint degree student. Students enrolled in the Asian American Studies MA, JD, MPH or MPP program may apply for admission to the joint degree program in their first year of residence.

Certificates, Licensure and Training Programs

UCLA Luskin’s Master of Social Welfare offers certificates, licensure, and training programs both during your time as a student and post-MSW.

Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) Licensure

LCSW Steps

LCSW Licensing Process- California

UCLA MSW Curriculum and LCSW Pre-Licensure Course Requirements

Pre-Licensure Course Hours UCLA Course(s)
Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting 7 SW231J:  Advanced Practice – Child Welfare
Alcoholism and other Chemical Substance Dependency 15 SW231G: Advanced Practice – Substance Abuse Intervention
Spousal/Partner Abuse Assessment, Detection and Intervention 15 SW251A: Domestic and Sexual Violence
Aging, Long Term Care, and Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse 10 SW231P:  Gerontology/ Aging and Long-Term Care
California Law and Professional Ethics 18 Met through 401/402, Seminars, 210A*
Human Sexuality 10 n/a – the department is in the process of developing a workshop option

*See BBS explanation that all accredited MSW programs in CA have met this requirement:

Applying for Licensure with a Conviction or Past Disciplinary Action:

Other References:

updated:  02/2020

Global Public Affairs Certificate

This program provides intellectual and professional preparation to future experts who plan to work within the realm of global public affairs. GPA offers four different certificate clusters, which can be obtained in addition to any MPP, MURP, or MSW degree from the Luskin School.

Learn more about this certificate

Human Services Management Certificate

The Network for Social​ Work Management (​​) is an international organization whose mission is to strengthen social work leadership in health and human services by advancing social work management. UCLA Luskin Social Welfare department provides a curriculum that is aligned with the NSWM ​Human Services Management Competencies​. ​UCLA MSW students are eligible to receive the Human Services Management Certificate if they meet the minimum eligibility requirements.

Human Services Management Certificate Requirements

Mental Health Training Programs

  • California Social Work Education Consortium (CalSWEC)
  • Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH)

Public Child Welfare Training Programs

  • California Social Work Education Consortium (CalSWEC)
  • Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (LADCFS)

Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC)

School social workers are the link between home, school, and community.  They give primary emphasis to helping public school pupils to achieve academic success by emphasizing the importance of academic advising.

Learn more about this program

Plan of Study – MSW

UCLA Luskin’s Master of Social Welfare is a full-time, two-year program blending theory, leadership, and research with generalist practice. Two separate year-long field placements with social work agencies allow our students to actualize what they are learning in the classroom, providing holistic, intensive experiences. Beginning Fall 2017, our year one core curriculum is comprised of coursework in:

  • Social welfare policy and leadership
  • Theories of human behavior and social systems
  • Generalist practice
  • Research and statistics
  • Field practicum

During the spring quarter of your first year, you will select an Area of Concentration (AoC) as a focus for your second-year practice, leadership and theory curriculum and field practicum. The three AoC options are:

  • Health and Mental Health Across the Life Span
  • Social and Economic Justice
  • Child and Family Well-Being

Year 1

Your REQUIRED first-year courses will be as follows:

210A – Generalist Practice I 210B – Generalist Practice II 210C – Generalist Practice III
211A – Theory I 211B – Theory II 202A or Elective
212 – Intergroup Dialogue 213A – Research  213B – Statistics
214A – Policy 232/242/252 – AoC Core Course
401A – Field Practicum 401B – Field Practicum  401C – Field Practicum

Note: Extra courses may be required for CalSWEC, UCCF, School Social Work and other special training programs. Consult the graduate advisor for information.

Year 2, Health and Mental Health (Area of Concentration)

This concentration emphasizes expertise in health and mental health across the lifespan through the integration of research and critical thinking, practice, leadership and policy analysis. Drawing from the social determinants of health model, issues of quality of life and longevity are linked to the exacerbation of social and economic disparities. Courses in the concentration examine wellbeing and resilience as well as disease and disability. The practice emphasis is on prevention and behavior change, by means of theoretically driven, empirically tested, culturally tailored and technology-supported interventions. Barriers  and obstacles impeding individuals from gaining access to, and using, affordable and personalized services in health, mental health, and social services are analyzed from various perspectives. Students pursue employment in a wide range of health, mental health and substance abuse oriented settings in communities and institutions, including private practice. They can expect to pursue careers in behavior change (individual and group counseling and psychotherapy), case management, administration, policy formulation and analysis, and research and teaching.

Second Year: Health and Mental Health Across the Lifespan Area of Concentration – 12 courses (48 units)

Co-Chairs:  Lené Levy-Storms and Michelle Talley

Course Type Required or Choice List of Courses*
Leadership Course Required SW 214B: Leadership
Advanced Practice 1 Required SW 231K – Mental Health

SW 231M – Health

Elective Advanced Practice 1 Required, more recommended SW 231A – Family Systems Interventions

SW 231Q – Psychopharmacology

SW 231F – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

SW 231G – Substance Abuse

SW 231P – Gerontology

SW 251A – Domestic & Sexual Violence

SW 231R – Human Sexuality (by petition)

Advanced Policy 1 Required SW 290K – Mental Health Policy

SW 290M – Health Policy

Elective Advanced Policy 1 Required SW 290E – LGBT Health, Law and Public Policy

SW 290F – Firearms Policy

SW 290G – Psychotropic Drugs & Medications: Harm Reduction Policies

Any SW 290 course (to be approved by your advisor)

Research Capstone 3 Required SW260A, SW260B, SW 260C
MSW Electives 2 Required Can be any MSW course
Field Education 3 Required SW 402A, SW 402B, SW 402C

* Not all choices will be offered each year

Year 2, Social and Economic Justice (Area of Concentration)

This area of concentration prepares students to promote social justice and equity in a variety of domestic and global social welfare settings through an integrated model of theory, policy advocacy, research, and advanced generalist practice skills. Students will focus on theories of social justice and inequality and methods of coalition building, community development, and policy advocacy in order to address complex and interrelated challenges of race and gender disparities, global and domestic poverty, and criminal and juvenile (in)justice.

Through course work and field experiences, students can expect to pursue domestic or global careers in community development, voluntary/non-profit sector services, criminal and juvenile justice settings, or in various spheres of policy advocacy and implementation, grassroots organizing, and government agencies. Students will be prepared to work with a variety of populations including people living in poverty, those displaced by homelessness, war, or migration, those who are incarcerated or on probation or parole, and those who have experienced various forms of discrimination and marginalization.

Second Year: Social and Economic Justice Area of Concentration –12 classes (48 units)

Co-Chairs:  Ananya Roy and Toby Hur

Course Type Required or Choice List of Courses*
Leadership Course Required SW 214B: Leadership
Advanced Practice 1 Required SW 241J- Community Practice
Elective Advanced Practice 1 Required, 2 Recommended SW 241K- Policy Practice

SW 241L- Practice in Criminal Justice Settings (by petition)

SW 241H- Human Service Organizations

SW 241M- Global Social Work Practice (by petition)

SW 241E – Leadership, Development and Governance of Nonprofit Organizations

Advanced Policy 1 Required SW 290L- Poverty and Welfare Reform

SW 290D – Criminal Justice and Mass Incarceration

Elective Advanced Policy 1 required; 2 may be chosen SW 290W – International Social Work

SW 290T – Juvenile Justice Policy or

Any SW 290 course (to be approved by your advisor)

Research Capstone 3 Required SW260A, SW260B, SW 260C
MSW Electives 2 Required

1 recommended outside the department

Can be any MSW course or outside course addressing economic or racial disparities, gender justice and women’s rights, economic development, criminal justice, or social action/community organizing
Field Education 3 Required SW 402A, SW 402B, SW 402C

* Not all choices will be offered each year

Year 2, Child and Family Well-Being (Area of Concentration)

The Child and Family Well-Being Area of Concentration prepares students to recognize and understand the determinants of well-being for children and families within and outside of the family system. In addition, this concentration prepares social work students to intervene utilizing methods that promote child and family functioning in physical, behavioral, affective, social, and cognitive areas. The theoretical and evidence bases, for  this concentration include knowledge about normative and nonnormative developmental trajectories, stressful life transitions, interpersonal processes, environmental conditions and circumstances that support the growth and development needs of children and the social justice needs of disadvantaged families. The curriculum offers multilevel training that builds expertise for intervening at individual, family, community, and policy levels.

Students go on to work in various settings such as public and private welfare agencies, school systems, mental health settings, and health care practice. A social worker in this concentration will be prepared to practice in: outpatient clinics; in-home, guardianship, foster care, or group residential settings; community centers; prevention agencies; juvenile courts and justice programs; family and youth service programs; grass-roots advocacy organizations; and local, state, or national policy settings.

Several sub-concentration areas in the department can be completed to complement the Child and Family Well-Being Concentration: Credential programs in School Social Work; and Child Welfare programs (CALSWEC and UCCF).

Second Year: Child and Family Well-Being Area of Concentration – 12 courses (48 units)

Co-Chairs:  Carlos Santos and Hector Palencia

Course Type Required or Choice List of Courses*
Leadership Course Required SW 214B: Leadership
Advanced Practice 1 Required SW 231A- Family Systems Interventions

SW 231S- Child and Adolescent Trauma

SW 231N – Early Childhood Mental Health

Advanced Policy 1 Required SW 290J- Child Welfare Policy

SW 290N- Public Policy for Children and Youth

Theories of human behavior and social systems 1 Required 202B- Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Additional/Outside Course 1 Required Course may be outside AoC or outside Department with permission – Advanced Practice Course is highly recommended
Research Capstone 3 Required SW260A, SW260B, SW 260C
MSW Electives 2 Required Can be any MSW course
Field Education 3 Required SW 402A, SW 402B, SW 402C

* Not all choices will be offered each year