Director's Message

Dr. Siyon Rhee, School of Social Work Director

Siyon Rhee, Ph.D., MSW


Welcome to the School of Social Work at Cal State LA!


The School of Social Work consists of three levels of degree programs:

  1. BASW (Bachelor of Arts in Social Work)
  2. MSW (Master in Social Work) including 2-year and 3-year programs
  3. One-Year MSW Advanced Standing Program (ASP)


The profession of social work has been established in response to a wide range of social problems facing America, including poverty, oppression, injustice, discrimination, child & family maltreatment, health disparity, mental health, addiction, incarceration, homelessness, and more. Our profession’s primary purpose is to promote social and economic justice through different levels of social work practice with individuals and families in need, groups, diverse communities, and social welfare policies & programs. Cal State LA resides in the Greater Los Angeles area in the heart of the East Los Angeles community. Our program’s mission and curriculum reflect the everyday urban inner-city issues confronting the surrounding communities.


The School of Social Work aims to educate and train culturally and ethnically competent social workers who identify themselves as change agents in this socio-economical-cultural context. 

With this goal in mind, our BASW mission is to prepare students for beginning strengths-based, urban generalist practice in socially, culturally, and economically diverse communities. Our BASW graduates promote social and economic justice and facilitate change and growth at all levels of professional practice. Our MSW program educates students to assume leadership roles in professional practice. Our advanced urban generalist graduates analyze, intervene, evaluate and advocate with diverse, underserved, and oppressed clients and communities. 


We are privileged to share that the School of Social Work at Cal State LA ranks as one of the top three social work schools in Los Angeles County, according to the US News and World Report and the US Department of Education and Grad Reports in 2019. Throughout all three programs, we strive to train our students based on the Urban Generalist practice framework. We embrace the core concepts of strength-based practice, integration of micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice, and advocacy and empowerment of oppressed, vulnerable urban populations to promote social justice.


The fieldwork is an integral and crucial part of our BASW, MSW, and ASP curriculum. The internship experience enables students to integrate and apply theories, assessment, interview, and intervention skills learned from classroom settings to clients and families in a real agency setting.  


Social work is one of the greatest helping professions in the rapidly growing global community. We are here to help you achieve your dream. Let us work together hand in hand.


Sincerely yours,


Siyon Rhee, Ph.D., MSW

Director and Professor

School of Social Work