HPU | Bachelor of Social Work

Bachelor of Social Work

For some, "making the world a better place" is not an idealistic slogan, but a goal and a passion. If you are such a person and want to learn methods of solving problems effectively with people, you should consider a degree in social work. Some ways to help others are direct, one-to-one counseling with individual clients and families; and others are indirect, such as developing organizations and communities. Social work is a broad profession that tries to understand how individuals, groups, and communities are affected by social problems such as poverty, mental and physical illness, family difficulties, and social injustice. Social workers are employed in a variety of settings such as hospitals, schools, the legislature, and social welfare agencies that address the needs of children, adults, and elders. Wherever they find themselves, social workers use their skills to empower others to help themselves and change unresponsive social systems. The Bachelor of Social Work program helps students to develop the necessary knowledge, values and skills to help "make the world a better place." 

HPU's School of Social Work is committed to meeting the needs of both traditional and working adult students with its evening and weekend class scheduling. HPU offers students convenient class locations and unparalleled opportunities to experience diversity inside and outside the classroom. O'ahu offers a variety of populations, problems, and settings for the supervised social work practice ("practicum") that is an important part of the Bachelor of Social Work program. HPU is also a natural resource for international students interested in translating American social work methods into culturally appropriate practice in their home countries. The Bachelor of Social Work program at HPU is designed to create social entrepreneurs who are committed to solving problems in sustainable ways. In addition, students who have done well in their BSW work may be admitted into the Master of Social Work (MSW) Advanced Standing program, with up to one year of credit towards their master's degree. So, HPU students can graduate with both a BSW and MSW degree in five years (HPU's Advanced Standing program allows a student to complete a MSW in one year instead of two years). 

1. To develop students’ competence in the use of the generalist problem-solving model to promote well-being with client systems of all sizes. 

2. To prepare graduates who practice competently with diverse populations. 

3. To prepare graduates who understand the social and policy contexts of social work practice at micro, mezzo, and macro levels, including the changing nature of those contexts. 

4. To promote the values and ethics of professional social work, social and economic justice, and human rights in the program and in students’ practice. 

5. To develop in students an appropriate foundation for and valuing of lifelong learning which is built on research informed practice and practice-informed research. 

Please note: this degree plan is subject to change. This is ONLY a sample degree plan. Please meet with your academic advisor prior to registration to formulate your own plan. Click here to view sample degree plan


(*Non-HPU students must apply to HPU Admissions and The School of Social Work separately)


admission Requirements

  • You must be admitted to Hawai'i Pacific University to apply to the School of Social Work
  • You must be "junior" status (60 credits) by the term you will be admitted
  • You must have received a "C" or higher in the prerequisites (Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Social Work courses, and a Writing course)
  • You must complete and submit your application by due date posted
  • You must have an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher

Not meeting one of the prerequisite or GPA requirements does not automatically bar admission. A student may be considered for probationary admission in the case of a lower than acceptable GPA or conditional admission in the case of a lack of a prerequisite. If you have special circumstances, speak with the BSW Program Director Dr. Vince Okada to see if you are able to apply.

When should I start to think about admissions? 

As soon as you think social work may be your major, contact our Bachelor of Social Work Director or a member of the BSW faculty and they can answer many of your questions. 



The Bachelor of Social Work Program is a professional program and we accept students into the program ONCE A YEAR. We do not have "rolling admissions" or "open admission." You need to start planning in your sophomore year. The place to begin is by taking the Introduction to Social Work course (SWRK 1010) entitled Social Entrepreneurship, Social Sustainability, and Social Work before you apply so you can make sure this career choice is the best match with your interests, experience, and skills. The program is a 2 year sequenced program scheduled to begin the fall following when you complete your Introduction to Social Work course. Please submit your application packet by April 1st for Fall entrance.



  • Completed application 
  • A copy of your HPU Degree Plan or if you are not a current HPU student, unofficial transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
  • Short essay about why you want to be in the field of social work (see application information for specific details)


is there a sample degree plan?

The sample degree plan can be found here

Bachelor of Social Work students interested in pursuing their MSW at Hawaii Pacific University have the opportunity to complete their BSW and MSW in five years. The 4+1 Accelerated Degree Program offers significant benefits in obtaining a graduate degree on an accelerated track. Regardless of your career path, a graduate degree can open many doors and enhance professional options.


  • Earn an MSW degree in half the time
  • Save up to a year of tuition (and a year of your life)
  • Maintain continuity with faculty
  • Gain a competitive edge in the marketplace and increase your earning potential

*Students designate whether they are interested in applying for the accelerated program upon application to the Bachelor of Social Work program.  Students need to maintain a “B” or higher in their undergraduate social work courses, attain an undergraduate final GPA of 3.0, and demonstrate professional behavior appropriate for a developing social worker (see student handbook for Policy on Professional Behavior) throughout the program.  Upon receiving the BSW degree, students would then continue on into the MSW program to complete the remaining 30 credits.