California State University Northridge

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Updated August 7, 2020

Located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, Cal State University Northridge sits on 365 beautiful acres. The largest public university in the state of California, it currently serves just over 38,000 students and has over 4,000 faculty and staff members. The school opened its doors in Los Angeles's Northridge neighborhood in 1952, as a satellite campus for California State University Los Angeles (then called Los Angeles State College), but by 1958, it broke away and became San Fernando Valley State College. At that time, it had an enrollment of just over 2,500 students, and tuition was a mere $29 per semester. The name California State University Northridge did not come along until 1972.

Over the next few decades, the school served as the setting for a number of historical events, including a presidential campaign speech by Robert F. Kennedy and several anti-Vietnam War protests. The school also worked to ensure that its student population was diverse and even welcomed a foreign student exchange program in 1981. Students from Asia, Europe, and South America participated. In 1994, a powerful earthquake caused over $400 million worth of damage, more than any other American college had ever seen. In the years that followed, the school rebuilt and continues to expand today. It is currently home to nine colleges that offer over 100 baccalaureate and master's degrees. It is also home to the National Center on Deafness and hosts the International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities each year.

California State University Northridge Accreditation Details

California State University Northridge is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and has been since 2010. It must renew the accreditation every ten years. In 2015, the Social Mobility Index ranked it as the fifth best college in the United States. It also ranks first in the number of students who go on to receive Ph.Ds in the social sciences and psychology.

The school's online program in social work is offered through the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Social Work, and the Tseng College. The Department of Social Work was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education during the 2004 – 2005 school year. The accreditation was reaffirmed in 2012 and will remain in place through 2020.

California State University Northridge Application Requirements

Nearly 62,000 students applied to California State University Northridge for the 2016 fall semester and approximately 46 percent were accepted. General application requirements for first-time students include:

  • Completion of online application within the applicable filing period
  • $55 application fee
  • Transcripts from high school and other colleges and universities attended
  • SAT and ACT test scores
  • There may be other requirements if you are a student athlete, domestic student with international transcripts, deaf or hard of hearing, an international student on an F-1 or J-1 Visa, a Tseng College student, or a veteran or dependent of a veteran.

California State University Northridge also offers 58 master's and two doctoral degrees, including a Master of Social Work degree that can be earned online. Admissions requirements for this online program are:

  • A four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Good standing with the last college or university attended
  • A GPA of at least 2.5 in a baccalaureate degree program or a GPA of at least 2.5 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted
  • $47 application fee

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for California State University Northridge's online Master of Social Work degree is $737 per credit, and the program requires completion of 60 credits. Total tuition for this degree will generally cost between $38,430 and $44,220.

If you are eligible, you may apply for financial aid for this program in the form of an Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The school recommends applying as early as possible. To receive financial aid, you must also:

  • Fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Be continuously enrolled at least half-time at the school (4 units for graduate students)
  • Not be scholastically disqualified from the school
  • Be officially admitted to the school

 Online Master of Social Work Program

California State University Northridge's online Master of Social Work program is full-time and takes two years to complete. It includes a mix of independent assignments and live online classes which are recorded so that you may view them at a later time. Up to 16 hours of field work are also required each week. Students must be available Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm, for field work placement. Field work classes also meet once a week with the professor who will work with students to determine a convenient time and place for that meeting. This program is considered a cohort program, meaning students will advance with the same group at the same pace.

Because of the school's location in Los Angeles, the degree prepares students for work in a large urban environment. Each class promotes social justice with sensitivity to the diverse and multicultural population of the city, while enforcing the history, purpose, and philosophy of the social work profession. Some of the courses taken throughout the duration of the program include:

  • Human Behavior and Social Environment
  • Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice
  • Psychosocial Assessment and Diagnostic Formulation
  • Social Work Practice in Multicultural Contexts
  • Foundations of Field Education I & Placement
  • Social Welfare Policy and Services
  • Social Work Research Methods I
  • Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families I
  • Advanced Social Work Practice in Urban Communities
  • Advanced Field Practicum with Urban Families I & Placement
  • Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief
  • Urban Social Policy and Advocacy

Related Resource: Top 20 Most Affordable Online Master's in Political Science

Graduates typically go on to work in a number of settings, including schools, health care centers, government offices, and community organizations. Courses are subject to change to ensure all California State University Northridge Master of Social Work graduates are prepared to face the unique social services needs in Southern California.

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