Social Work Administration

The Advanced Certificate in Social Work Administration is designed for MSWs who have recently been promoted to an administrative position or direct service practitioners interested in enhancing their leadership and management capabilities.  The certificate is also available to current MSW students interested in a career in administration.

Course Requirements

This certificate requires four regular SDSU graduate courses: SW 740, SW 745, SW 791, and a course in financial management. Public Administration 650: Public Financial Management is being used to meet the financial management requirement. All courses must be completed with a grade point average of 3.0 or above. Consult the Social Work section of the SDSU University Catalog for details.

SW 740 is offered every fall. SW 745 is offered every spring. Admission to classes outside Social Work requires permission from the instructor. This has been provided for all Certificate students to date, but is based on instructor discretion and class space availability.

If someone applying for the certificate has taken any of the courses in a prior year at SDSU, they can receive credit for them unless they were taken over seven years prior, which results in the courses being expired. Students can petition to use an expired course towards their degree objective but must have the course be validated for recency.

Application Instructions

For Current MSW Students in the Administration/Community Development Concentration

Students currently enrolled in SDSU’s MSW degree program must file a Request for Permission to Enter Advanced Certificate Program form (pdf) to seek approval to participate in the certificate program. They must complete the four required courses listed above. Prior to completing the MSW degree, certificate program students may apply units toward requirements for the MSW degree program with graduate advisor approval.

For those who have completed the MSW degree and want to obtain the Certificate

Unless you are currently an SDSU graduate student, in order to earn an advanced certificate, you must apply and be admitted to SDSU (see the next section). You may take one course through Open University prior to being officially admitted into the advanced certificate program for the final three courses. For more information, please contact Dahlia Fuentes, [email protected]

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a GPA of at least 2.5 on the last 60 units. Applicants for this certificate who are not current students would typically already have an MSW in a Clinical or Direct Practice concentration. Exceptions may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

Prospective Students with a Clinical or Direct Practice MSW

Certificate applicants who have completed an MSW degree from an accredited school of social work must apply to the university and the school through Cal State Apply. These applicants do not need to include supplemental materials for Social Work including GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, letters of reference, and a personal statement. The application form will enable applicants to indicate their specific interest in the Advanced Certificate program.

Admission involves application to SDSU through Cal State Apply within the appropriate filing period and acceptance by the department and the university. The deadline for fall admission is typically March 1. This includes a nonrefundable application fee. Consult the SDSU Admissions web site for current information.

In order to take one three-unit course through Open University prior to admission to the certificate program as a matriculated SDSU student, you may register for a course (if space is available) with instructor permission by using the Open University registration procedures.

With these requirements and procedures, a prospective student could apply for admission to SDSU, and could, while awaiting admission, enroll in SW 740 (fall) or SW 745 (spring) for the first course through Open University. If admission to SDSU is granted, the final three courses could be taken as the student’s schedule allows. Visit the SDSU Tuition and Fees page for current graduate student fees; rates vary depending on residency and full-time or part-time status. One to two certificate courses are typically offered each Fall and Spring (schedule subject to change), so the certificate program may be completed in two to four semesters. Part-time (1 or 2 courses/semester) fees are currently approximately $2,900.

Prospective Students with an MSW in the Administration or Administration/Community Development Concentration

Students who completed their MSW in the Administration or Administration/Community Development concentration within the last seven years and who did not receive the Certificate while in the MSW program can receive the Certificate after completing the application process above and completing the required courses they did not take in the MSW program (this could include SW 745 and the financial management and information systems electives). One of the courses can be taken through Open University. The student must take the additional courses within 7 years of MSW graduation, and the courses must meet the letter grade requirements.

Award of Certificate

Once a student completes all requirements for the certificate, the graduate advisor will send the Graduate Division a Notification of Completion of Advanced Certificate Program form (pdf) for verification of completion of the requirements. Students who have taken courses outside the School of Social Work will need to complete the Petition for Adjustment of Academic Requirements for the Master’s Degree. Certificate program courses that are successfully completed will appear on the student’s transcript, and matriculated students who complete all Certificate Program requirements will also receive an SDSU Advanced Certificate in Social Work Administration. Consult the SDSU Graduate Bulletin for additional information.


For additional information, contact Dr. Packard at [email protected].

Contact Us

SDSU Social Work

Hepner Hall room 119
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-4119