Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions  Orientation  Advising


  1. I am interested in becoming a social worker, but need information about the profession and what social workers do. Where can I find more information?

    To learn more about social work and our profession, please visit the National Association of Social Workers. We also recommend two books:
    1. Ginsberg, L. H. (2001). Careers in social work (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA:
    2. Allyn Bacon. Sowers, K. M., & Thyer, B. A. (2006). Getting your MSW: How to survive and thrive in a social work program. Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books, Inc.
  2. I am ready to apply to the MSW Program at San José State University. Where do I start?

    We only admit students for the Fall Semester each academic year. Our application and admissions cycle begins A YEAR PRIOR to the Fall Semester of interest. Please plan ahead. Application due dates are announced in the fall. The two links below will direct you to our MSW Program Bulletin and the MSW Program Application. Please read these documents carefully to begin your application process.

    MSW Program Bulletin
    MSW Program Application
  3. I would like to speak with someone about the MSW Program and the application process. How do I get my questions answered?

    Many answers to student questions about our MSW Program can be found in the MSW Program Bulletin and MSW Program Application. Please read these documents carefully.

    MSW Program Bulletin
    MSW Program Application

    If you still have questions, at the beginning of each application cycle, usually in October through December, the MSW Program hosts a series of Informational Meetings. These are coordinated by the MSW Program Admissions Director. Each year's schedule of Information Meetings is posted on the School's web site home page in October. You may also contact the MSW Program Admissions Director by phone or email. Click on this link to view the faculty/staff page for latest contact information
  4. How difficult is it to get into your program and how many students are accepted each year?

    Admission to our MSW Program is competitive and the course of graduate study rigorous. However, we hope that your interaction and learning opportunities with classmates, faculty, and professional community partners, who will challenge you to think and act beyond traditional notions of helping diverse populations, will be exhilarating, intellectually challenging, and worthwhile.

    In 2009, the size of our entire MSW Program was about 375 students with approximately 140 students graduating annually. Admission to our program is dependent upon available able budget, resources, and pool of qualified applicants. In the past few years we have received approximately 400 applications annually and accepted about 150 for each incoming class. However, given the current California budget crisis, we expect that we will have to reduce enrollment and accept fewer students in the coming years.
  5. I'm considering the 3-Year Program. I have read the MSW Program Bulletin. Is there any other information that might be useful to me?

    Students who have been in the 3-Year Program and faculty developed an FAQ sheet specifically for those considering this option. Click on this link to view the FAQs for 3-Year Students.

    Remember that the 3-Year program is not a true part-time program. It does plan for a reduced class load for the first two years, splitting the full-time foundation year into two years. However, the final year of the 3-Year program is equivalent to a full-time schedule. You may speak with the MSW Program Coordinator and Graduate advisor about requesting an extension of the 3-Year Program to 4 years.
  6. I hear there are special opportunities for training and for funding my education. What are these?

    Currently we have two training opportunities which having funding available for students: the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program and Stipend and the Mental Health Initiative Program (MHIP) and Stipend.

    The Child Welfare Training Program, as part of the Master of Social Work Program, was created to increase the number and diversity of child welfare professionals with Masters in Social Work degree in California county child welfare services. A limited number of stipends are available to students who are committed to careers in public child welfare. Students must meet certain eligibility criteria and must go through an application and selection process after being admitted into the University and MSW Program. In return for the stipend, students must agree to work after graduation in a county child welfare agency for a specified period. For more information and access to the application, please visit the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program web site or contact the Title IV-E Coordinator at the School of Social Work at: (408) 924-5833. 

    The Mental Health Initiative Program (MHIP) and Stipend currently offers stipends for MSW students who are committed to careers in public mental health practice in the state of California, pursuant to values, goals and objectives related to the California Mental Health Service Act. Students must meet a set of criteria in return for the stipend and work after graduation in a county mental health or county contracted agency for one calendar year somewhere within the state of California. Mental Health Training Program and Stipend Application process occurs each year in late April for those students entering their final year of field placement. If you have further specific program questions, please contact the MHIP Coordinator at the School of Social Work at: (408) 924-5800.
  7. I have questions about fees, financial aid, student services, and other aspects about San José State University. Where do I find more information?

    Start by visiting the Student Resources Advising Hub web site: Student Resources -Advising Hub

    Once there, you can search for various offices and links to various student services and departments.


  1. If I am accepted, what kind of orientation should I expect before beginning the MSW Program?

    MSW Student Orientation specific to students entering the MSW Program is usually scheduled for 5 days in August the week before classes begin in the fall semester. The schedule and itinerary are announced when the admissions cycle for that year is completed. This orientation includes the mandatory Field Internship Training. San José State University also hosts a few other orientation events, but it is up to students if they would like to attend those SJSU-sponsored events. The MSW Program Orientation in August is mandatory. Students not entering field work in their first year (i.e. incoming 3-Year students) are not required to come to the field portions of the orientation until prior to the beginning of the second year of their program when internship preparation is more pertinent at that time.

    Please visit the MSW Program Orientation page for additional information.
  2. Are there ways to prepare for orientation?

    Yes. Each year, the MSW Program assigns a set of books for students to read before coming to the MSW Student Orientation. In preparation for the Transcultural Perspective, we assign a non-fiction book relevant to culturally-competent social work practice. For example, the last few years the incoming class has read and discussed Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, a story about a Hmong family and their experiences with American culture and the medical system. In preparation for internship, the School also assigns a field education guide. After the completion of the admissions cycle, updated information about preparatory reading will be distributed to the incoming class prior to the orientation event.

    In addition, you can review the information posted on the School of Social Work web site.


  1. After being accepted into the MSW Program, what kind of advising support can I expect?

    All the faculty and staff in the School of Social Work will do their best to support you. The MSW Program Coordinator and Graduate Advisor has the responsibility for providing academic and professional advisement. Before contacting the MSW Program Coordinator and Graduate Advisor, social work graduate students should first consult the MSW Student Handbook, and then contact their assigned faculty member for academic and professional advice if needed. If the concern is field related, please first contact your Faculty Field Liaison (FFL) before contacting the Field Education Director.

    Please visit the Advising link for more information and links to additional resources.
  2. I have a disability. Is there additional support for me?

    Yes. San José State University has a specific office called the Disability Resource Center. Please visit their site to learn more about services and accommodations.
  3. If I need some kind of reference guide regarding the MSW Program, where do I go?

    The MSW Student Handbook is the best resource for information regarding course plans and descriptions, the curriculum, School policies, and details about the MSW Program. You will find many answers to your questions in this handbook.

I have a question for a current student how can I contact a current student?

You may contact a current student through the SWGSA organization facebook account.