Gartley Hall 204
2430 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-6300
Fax: (808) 956-5964

Interim Dean: Tetine Sentell

General Information

The Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health is comprised of the Department of Social Work, the Center on Aging, and the Office of Public Health Studies.


Achieving social justice and health equity for the people of Hawai‘i and citizens in a changing world.

Social Work

Gartley Hall 203
2430 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7182
Fax: (808) 956-5964

Interim Dean: Tetine Sentell


*Graduate Faculty

*J. Guo, MA, PhD—Department Chair, Chair of Doctoral Program, social welfare policy, child and family issues, international and comparative social welfare
R. Arndt, MSW—technology in practice and education, professional development, reflective practice; leadership, and interprofessional education                                              *C. Bersamira, PhD—substance use disorders, addiction services, social policy, behavioral health policy
S. Boone, DBH, MHSA, MSW, LCSW—depression, suicide, trauma
*K. Braun, MPH, DrPH—social behavioral health sciences, gerontology
K. Y. M. Burke, MPH—Junior Researcher, social determinants of health, health equity, cultural safety, social justice and ancestral connection.
*R. Burrage, PhD—indigenous peoples, mental health, resilience, collective trauma, historical trauma, trauma-informed social work practice, culturally-grounded social work practice
A. Chung, MSW—power-based personal violence, child welfare, oppressed and differently-abled populations
M. DeMattos, MSW, PhD—Chair of BSW program, youth and families, substance abuse, training
*M. Godinet, MSW, PhD—delinquency prevention, social and adjustment issues of Pacific Islander youth, multi and cross-cultural issues
*S. Hong, MA (MSW equi.), PhD—neighborhood contexts, immigration, health/mental health, health disparities, and research methodology
*F. Julien-Chinn, MSW, PhD—organizational and workforce issues in child welfare; child welfare outcomes including: permanency; well-being; kinship; and foster care                   *S. Kim, MSW, PhD—determinants of health, health promotion, chronic disease and mental health disparities with interest in Asian American populations
J. Kishida, MEd—Department of Social Work Program Assistant
T. Kreif, MSW—Assistant to the Dean, administration, community-based practice and engagement, International Social Work – Geographic Region of Micronesia
*Y. J. Lee, MA (MSW equi.), PhD—gerontology and productive aging; health equity and disparities among disadvantaged older adults; quantitative research; social work education
W. Lum, MSW—immigrant and refugee rights, equity and social welfare, international/global social work
A.Lwin-Maluo, MSW—indigenous education, reconciliation & decolonization, social welfare policy, child & family, field education & experiential learning
*D. Maxwell, MSW, PhD—maternal mental health, maternal role transition, indigenous perinatal experiences, historic and generational trauma
S. Muneoka, MSW—intergenerational wellness, aging and later life, kânaka maoli population
D. Nisthal, MSW—community development and education, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, restorative justice with juveniles, healthy masculinity, indigenous ways of knowing and being, child wellbeing
P. Paul, MSW—child and adolescent mental health
*R. Stotzer, MSW, PhD—Director of Distance Education, Chair of MSW Program, prejudice, stereotypes and hate crimes
J. Sur, MSW, MBA—disability studies, student success and distance learning in social work education, nonprofit management
*A. Yoshioka-Maxwell, MSW, PhD—homeless youth, child welfare, HIV, behavioral health, social network analysis, applied statistics

Emeritus Faculty

P. Adams, MA, MSW, DSW
C. Browne, MSW, DrPH
L. Lister, MSW, DSW
N. Mokuau, MSW, DSW

Myron “Pinky” Thompson earned his MSW from UH in 1953. A noted leader in the struggle for the preservation of the Hawaiian culture, he was at the vanguard of the Hawaiian Renaissance movement in the 1970s. While at the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center, he helped revitalize traditional healing practices such as ho‘oponopono and dream work. Along with Kumu Mary Kawena Puku‘i and others, he helped create Nana I Ke Kumu, a two-volume reference manual on indigenous healing practices. He helped start Alu Like and Papa Ola Lokahi, was a Bishop Estate Trustee, and served as president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The UH Board of Regents approved the naming of the school after him in 2008.

General Information

Social work, one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation, is a profession concerned with the prevention and resolution of problems for individuals, families, groups, and communities. Those who are committed to social justice and improving the quality of life for society’s most vulnerable citizens would find this curriculum stimulating. Students graduate with the knowledge, skills, and values that facilitate the prevention or resolution of such problems as mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, crime and delinquency, and poverty.

The school has been providing quality social work education in Hawai‘i for over 80 years. The Department of Social Work has a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral program. The BSW and MSW programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and our PhD program is approved by UH Mānoa Graduate Division. Our school is recognized nationally and internationally for its award-winning faculty, research and publications, and specialty areas that focus on the expressed needs of the community (health, mental health, child and family, and gerontology).


The mission of the Department of Social Work is to provide educational excellence that advances social work with its focus on social justice for diverse populations. The principal responsibility is the generation, transmission, and application of knowledge for the global enterprise with special attention to Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, and Asian populations in our state and region.


Freshmen and sophomores who are interested in learning more about the social work profession and/or our BSW program have several ways to do this: (1) The Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center is a walk-in resource center staffed with advisors trained to help students clarify career goals, select a major, plan course work, research professional programs, gain relevant experience, and apply to schools. See: (2) Social Work faculty advisors are available by appointment to assist with pre-admissions academic advising. Contact the Department of Social Work Admissions Office for more information: or (808) 956-7182. (3) Online resources for BSW, MSW, and PhD programs, admissions, and degree requirements: Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health website (; Thompson School Publication (

Financial Aid

It is important that students seek out information on financial aid, including scholarships, stipends, student employment, etc., as early as possible. Deadline dates can vary and may require additional documentation and/or interviews.

The UH Mānoa Financial Aid Services is dedicated to making it possible for degree-seeking admitted students to attend UH Mânoa regardless of their economic circumstances. See Please review this website thoroughly as it contains many links to additional and outside sources for financial aid.

The Department of Social Work also has a limited number of scholarships available to social work students. This information can be located on the Department of Social Work website:

Undergraduate Program

Bachelor of Social Work Program Mission

The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work Program is to provide students with the knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive and affective processes of the social work profession, integrated with a liberal arts education. Utilizing a generalist framework, the BSW Program provides the basis for practice within the context of a multicultural environment to help alleviate suffering and promote social and economic justice. Special attention is given to Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Asian communities of our state and the Pacific region, as they interact within a global context.

BSW Program Goals

Graduates of the BSW Program are prepared to be competent, beginning level professionals and generalist practitioners capable of integrating the knowledge, skills and values of social work, based on a liberal arts foundation. Additionally, graduates are also prepared for the challenges and rigor of advanced social work education.

At the completion of classroom and field education, graduating BSW students:

  1. Are grounded in generalist practice and prepared for advanced social work education;
  2. Recognize the intersectionality of diversities in ourselves and others as central to successful social work practice;
  3. Are educated in the unique role our island home plays in the lives and well-being of its people–particularly for Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asian populations; and
  4. Are prepared to serve individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities and to function as leaders of social justice and social change utilizing the knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession

Admission Requirements

The applicant must: (a) have been admitted to UH Mānoa; (b) have completed UH Mānoa’s General Education Core requirements (special consideration is given to second semester sophomores for early admission); (c) have completed the knowledge-base courses identified by the school; (d) have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5; and (e) provide evidence of motivation for and commitment to social work education (e.g., personal, volunteer, and/or social-work-related experience).

Application Deadlines

Students are admitted to the BSW program in the fall and spring semesters.

February 1 for the fall semester; October 1 for spring

Distance Education Delivery Option (BSW)

Application Deadline

February 1 for fall admission

The BSW degree is available to Hawai‘i residents via distance education technology. Classes are delivered asynchronously online. For more information, call (808) 956-9470, visit the website at, or email

Degree Requirements

The student must (a) fulfill all UH Mānoa Core requirements; (b) complete the required undergraduate social work curriculum listed below; (c) earn an aggregate of no less than 120 credit hours; and (d) have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.

BSW Curriculum

Candidates must complete the following curriculum requirements:

  1. The following social work knowledge-based courses must be included in the General Education Core or as lower division electives: any political science course, any psychology course, SW 200, and a biology course that emphasizes human biology.
  2. Social work major courses (38 credit hours) including SW 302, 303, 325, 326, 360, 361, 391, 402, 403, 440, 490, and 491.
  3. Electives required in upper division liberal arts courses (21 credit hours) including one course in each of the following areas: (a) the U.S. experience; (b) social dynamics and group interaction; (c) politics, government, and economies; (d) research; and three courses in (e) diversities.
  4. Other electives (2-4 credit hours).

For information on the BSW Program, visit our website at For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, go to programsheets/.

Graduate Programs

Master of Social Work

The MSW curriculum prepares students for professional advanced practice and requires 57 credit hours. The course work must be completed within a 4-year period, of which 4 semesters of practicum and completion of the research requirement are mandatory. Students may waive some generalist level courses by examination and thereby, reduce the number of credits necessary to receive their degree.

The generalist curriculum includes courses in social welfare policy, human behavior in the social environment, research, social work practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities, and field education. The specialist curriculum is organized around four specialized areas of practice: behavioral mental health, child and family, gerontology, and health. Elective courses augment the generalist and specialization curricula; electives may include courses in marriage and family therapy, substance abuse, criminal justice, Native Hawaiian cultural practices, and other offerings relevant to the student’s chosen specialization.

Admission requirements are: a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent from a recognized foreign institution of higher learning, a 3.0 GPA, a liberal arts background, the motivation for a career in social work, and evidence of ability to manage the rigors of graduate school.

Advanced Standing Option

Graduates from a CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work program who have been admitted with Advanced Standing in the MSW Program enter into the advanced (specialization) year of the program.

Application Deadline

February 1 (MSW admission occurs in the fall only).

For further information, write to the school at Gartley Hall 203, 2430 Campus Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, call (808) 956-7182, email, or check the website at

Distance Education Delivery Option (MSW)

Application Deadline

February 1 (MSW admission occurs in the fall only).

The MSW degree is available statewide via distance education technology. Classes include instruction via interactive television, computer-based delivery, face-to-face onsite, and hybrid or blended approaches. It is a 3-year program.

For more information, call (808) 956-9470, visit the website at, or email

PhD in Social Welfare

The PhD program prepares students for leadership in the advancement of social welfare education, practice, policy development, and research. The program promotes social justice and global understanding through scholarly inquiry using indigenous and mixed method approaches. Emphasis is placed on knowledge development that enhances the well-being of Native Hawaiians and the diverse people and communities of Hawai‘i and the Asian-Pacific Region. The curriculum and program of study place highest priority on independent inquiry and the enhancement of intellectual, creative, and analytical abilities. Each student will develop the ability to conduct independent research on a critical social problem.

The program is designed to provide sufficient structure to guide students as well as the flexibility and rigor that are the hallmarks of doctoral education. The curriculum is divided into required courses ensuring that all students are equipped with comparable basic knowledge; specialization work, in which students largely design their own curriculum; teaching and research practica; electives; a dissertation design and proposal requirement; and the dissertation. The PhD in social welfare requires 46 hours of course credit excluding dissertation credits.

Application Deadline

January 15 (PhD admission occurs in the fall only).

For more information, call (808) 956-3831, email, or check the website at