Berkeley Social Welfare educates students for leadership in the field of social welfare and the profession of social work. Since 1944 we have prepared over 11,000 social work professionals and social work scholars for leadership in a range of research, teaching, advanced practice, and management roles. We offer two graduate degrees: the professional Master of Social Welfare (MSW); and the academic Doctor of Philosophy in Social Welfare (PhD).

Master of Social Welfare (MSW)

Berkeley Social Welfare offers the professional Master of Social Welfare (MSW) degree, which is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Students are prepared to practice with specialized skills at specific intervention levels and are thoroughly grounded in social science knowledge, social welfare policies, and social service organizations.

  • We train social workers for a range of leadership and advanced practice roles in the profession.
  • We create a spirit of critical inquiry and emphasize the use of tested knowledge and theory in developing and applying intervention methods.
  • We prepare students for professional responsibility in the field of social welfare and the institutional systems that comprise it.
  • We educate students to advance social justice.

All MSW students complete a foundation curriculum in generalist social work practice; an advanced curriculum that prepares them for practice in a chosen area of specialization; and a field education curriculum including agency-based field placements and integrative field seminars.

Full-time MSW Program

The Berkeley MSW Program is a two-year, full-time degree program. All students follow a prescribed, full-time (minimum 12 units per semester) program of work, preparing them for both generalist and specialized practice.

FlexMSW Advanced Standing Program

The FlexMSW Advanced Standing degree program is available to qualified working professionals in the field of social work who have a professional baccalaureate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). FlexMSW Advanced Standing students complete a 27-unit program of study over a one year period.

FlexMSW Extended Program

The FlexMSW Extended Program is a three-year MSW degree track option for qualified working professionals in the field of social work and otherwise qualified students who are not able to participate in a traditional full-time MSW professional degree program. FlexMSW Extended Program students enroll on a part-time basis and complete the same 54-unit program of study as traditional full-time MSW students, only over a period of three part-time years (inclusive of two summer sessions), instead of two full-time years.

NOTE: Berkeley Social Welfare will not be accepting applications for Fall 2024 admission to either FlexMSW Program track.

Certificate Programs

Additional special program options include the School Social Work Credential Program; a Social Work with Latinos Certificate; and the Graduate Certificate in Aging.

Concurrent Master's Degrees

Berkeley Social Welfare offers a Concurrent MSW/MPH Degree with the School of Public Health; and a Concurrent MSW/MPP Degree with the Goldman School of Public Policy. Applicants must be accepted to both programs to pursue a concurrent degree.

The PhD in Social Welfare

Berkeley Social Welfare's doctoral program develops scholars who challenge conventional wisdom and make significant contributions to the field of social welfare and the profession of social work through excellent research, teaching, policy development, and administration. Berkeley doctoral students become proficient in research methodology and experts in their area of interest, ultimately demonstrating scholarly competence by publishing a dissertation.