Master of Social Work Degree

As stated by the Council on Social Work Education, the profession of social work promotes human and community well-being. Socials workers focus on social and economic justice at the local, national, and global level. They are often pioneers - challenging the status quo and working tirelessly to help others help themselves. 

  • Social workers have many options for specialization. Choose what impassions you in areas such as: child or adult protective services, health care, mental health, individual and family counseling, criminal justice, or social agency administration. 

  • Career opportunities include health care services, schools and universities, youth development, senior services, adoptions and foster care, community development, child and family services, mental health services, government and not-for-profit organizations. 

The Master of Social Work degree program goal is to prepare graduates to become advanced generalists with a focus on culturally competent practice. The program provides structure with the knowledge, values, and skills needed for advanced practice and leadership. Because HPU sits at a global crossroads, students have firsthand experience providing services to diverse populations. 

  • The learning environment at HPU is truly multi-cultural, with students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries. 

  • HPU understands the needs of working adults and offers flexible scheduling options. Majority of the classes are offered in the evenings and on weekends, while students can also choose from online and hybrid courses. 

  • In addition to being committed teachers, researchers, and scholars, faculty in the MSW program are also veteran practitioners. You will greatly benefit from their experience as community leaders and advocates. 

The goals of the Master of Social Work degree program are:

  1. To prepare graduates who will demonstrate competence in social work practice at an advanced level with client systems of all sizes.
  2. To prepare graduates who will be able to work effectively with diverse populations in multicultural settings.
  3. To prepare graduates who understand the social contexts of social work practice at micro, mezzo, and macro levels, including the changing nature of those contexts, and who advocate for social and economic justice.
  4. To promote the values and ethics of professional social work in the program and in its graduates’ practice.
  5. To develop in graduates an appropriate foundation for and valuing of lifelong learning, leadership, and generation of knowledge.

Graduate Assistantships

HPU's Graduate Assistantship (GA) program provides a limited number of assistantships each year to qualified full-time graduate students. Once a student is awarded a GA they can keep it for the duration of their 2-year degree. GA's are available to full-time domestic and international MSW students.

GA's may engage in academic research with a social work faculty member or be involved in limited classroom teaching experiences. GA's that work 9 hours per week are awarded $2375 towards tuition and GA's that work 18 hours per week will receive $4750 towards tuition. 

To Apply: 
  • Students must apply to the regular or advanced standing Master of Social Work degree program. Graduate certificate and post-masters students are not eligible to receive assistantships.
  • Students must be in good academic standing and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 from an accredited university. Full-time course enrollment is required during Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Students must submit a Graduate Assistantship Application and resume. 
  • Find the Graduate Assistantship application here. Completed applications can be sent to Haley Lytle, Administrative Assistant, at

January 15th for first consideration

March 15th for second round consideration



social Work scholarship

Once admitted, students can apply for the School of Social Work Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to two recipients at $1,500 each – one undergraduate student in the BSW program and one graduate student in the MSW program. Application and criteria are sent out the beginning of Fall semester and are due mid-September. 

Admission Deadline for Fall Entry
  • Priority deadline: January 15
  • General deadline: March 15
  • Late deadline (if space available): May 15
  • Rolling admission. All accepted students begin the program in August for the regular program and July for the Advanced Standing program. 
Required Application Materials
  • Completed on-line application including personal statement
  • Non-refundable application fee (paid online)
  • Two reference forms with accompanying letters
  • Original official transcripts from previous undergraduate colleges and universities; and if applicable, graduate colleges and universities. The official transcripts (with the college/university seal) must be submitted directly from the colleges or universities. Notify the Office of Graduate Admissions if your transcript is under a former name. 
  • Completion with a grade of a "C" or higher in (a) statistics and (b) research methods course


additional Criteria for Admissions

For Regular MSW Status: 
  • Conferred baccalaureate degree with at least 30 credit hours in Liberal Arts from an accredited four-year institution
  • Minimum overall GPA of a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • Completion with a grade of a "C" or higher in (a) statistics and (b) research methods course
 For Master of Social Work Degree Advanced Standing Status
  • Conferred baccalaureate degree from a CSWE-accredited BSW program at a four-year institution. The degree should be completed no more than five years before initial enrollment in the Master of Social Work degree program. 
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in social work courses
  • Completion with a grade of a "C" or higher in (a) statistics and (b) research methods course
  • One reference form an an accompanying letter from a former BSW faculty member who can attest to your ability to successfully perform advanced standing graduate work
  • Copy of BSW field evaluations demonstrating successful field performance*

*For students who received a BSW degree outside of Hawai'i Pacific University

Additional Requirements

In addition to the general admissions requirements, international applicants must also submit: 

  • TOEFL scores for applicants whose first language is not English

  • International transcript evaluation: All international transcripts not from an English-speaking institution must be translated and evaluated by a reputable credential evaluation service

*Please refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions for additional materials required for admission to Hawai'i Pacific University

Applicant must be enrolled or have recently enrolled in a graduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In addition to the requirements for regular Master of Social Work degree status (or MSW Advanced Standing status) transfer applicants must submit: 

  • A personal statement that reflects reasons for wanting to transfer to the School of Social Work at Hawai'i Pacific University

  • Letter of good standing from the Dean or the Director of the program (or their designee)

  • Field evaluation of any fieldwork accomplished up to this point

  • A syllabus and course catalog description for each course you wish to transfer for credit (up to 15 credits). *Note: these documents are required only after being accepted into the program. 

Applicants whose overall GPA is below 3.0, on a 4.0 scale may be considered for admissions on a case-by-case basis. Students in this category will be restricted to nine credit hours of course work during the first semester and must earn a B grade or higher in each of the courses. Students who fail to earn a B grade or higher in each course will be dismissed from the Master of Social Work degree program at the end of the fall semester. 


Students in this concentration will receive specialized course instruction on the needs of active military personnel, veterans and their families. Social Work Practicum placements are in veteran-centric and/or within veteran or military personnel settings. Students will be developing their capstone projects on issues that are relevant and impact social work practice among military and/or veteran groups. Please see our Military and Veteran Affairs Focus page for more information on our military social work programs.

To apply for the Master of Social Work degree with a Military and Veterans Affairs concentration, visit