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MSW Admission

MSW Admission Information

The following requirements and procedures governing admission to the Office of Graduate Education and the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, are subject to change without prior notice. Prospective students should always consult the most current UH Mānoa Catalog and Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health, Department of Social Work Website before applying for admission.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MSW program on a full-time or part-time basis in the Department of Social Work, applicants are required to:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent from a recognized foreign institution of higher learning. The standards of the foreign degree in question must be equivalent in both the distribution of academic subject matter and in scholarship achievement requirements to those maintained at the University of Hawaiʻi.
  2. Have a scholarship record in undergraduate and post-baccalaureate work, if any, that indicates potential for professional social work graduate study. Grades attained in the last four semesters, the major, and post-baccalaureate work are important considerations. Applicants are required to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (or its equivalent) to be eligible for consideration.
  3. Have a background in the liberal arts. Students with an identified deficiency in a liberal arts area are required to make it up in their first semester in the MSW program.
  4. Provide evidence of personal qualifications, social work, and/or related experiences, motivation, and interest that indicate potential for successful graduate social work education and professional practice.

Nontraditional Grading

If more than 25 percent of a student’s undergraduate course work has been graded under a nontraditional grading system (e.g., pass/fail, credit/no credit, S/U, etc.):

  1. Transcripts must be accompanied by official course performance reports, i.e., faculty evaluations (two copies each of transcripts and performance reports); and
  2. Applicants must take the general test of the Graduate Record Examination and submit the results to the Department of Social Work. Scores over five years old are not acceptable.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency

Most applicants whose native language is not English are required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS. Official scores should be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. The Education Testing Service (ETS) code for UHM is 4867. Test scores cannot be more than two years old.

An applicant is exempt from the test, if he or she has earned a bachelor’s or advanced degree within the last five years at a regionally accredited or recognized institution in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore or United Kingdom.


Test of English as a Foreign Language
Minimum score
560 on paper test, and 220 on computer based test. Institutional TOEFL scores are not accepted except for UHM institutional TOEFL scores.
Test Information
TOEFL/TSE Publications
PO Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151


International English Language Testing System
Minimum score
5.00 for the overall band test results.
Test Information


English Language Institute

The English Language Institute (ELI) evaluates the English of all new and transfer foreign students and provides suitable instruction for those whose English fails to meet standards determined by the University to be sufficient for pursuit of full-time studies. The evaluation must be completed before students are allowed to register for University courses.

Students in ELI training take a reduced academic load and, consequently, must expect to make proportionately slower progress in regular University studies.

Advanced Standing

Adv. Standing applicants must: (a) complete the Personal Statement for Adv. Standing students, (b) obtain at least one of the 3 letters of recommendation from a teaching or practicum faculty, or the program/ dept. chair of their BSW program, (c) submit a copy of the portion of the catalog which provides info. on their BSW program (not necessary for UHM BSW students), and (d) include a copy of the senior practicum evaluations and learning contracts with their application. If you are in the process of completing your BSW, send a copy of the 1st term senior practicum evaluation & learning contract. If practicum evaluations & learning contracts are not available, please obtain a letter from the Practicum Director or practicum instructor.

Typically, successful candidates have a strong academic record, and able to work in a multicultural environment, have emotional maturity and strong interpersonal skills, and can demonstrate their ability to apply the generalist practice model to social work with clients.

Renewal of Application

Newly admitted students who do not register in the program and semester for which they are admitted or who withdraw from all courses within the designated withdrawal period are considered “no-shows,” and their admission status becomes invalid. To reapply, a renewal of application is required.

Former and Transfer Students

All work done as a classified MSW student must be completed within four years preceding the date upon which the degree is conferred. Students transferring from other accredited schools of social work will be expected to satisfy the same requirements as all other students. All transferring students must initiate contact with the Coordinator for Student Services to determine their course requirements prior to registration.

All second-year transfer students must be in residence a minimum of two semesters of full-time study (minimum 8 credits per semester). At least one-half of the credits required in this school’s graduate program must be taken at the University of Hawaiʻi.

Transfer of Credits

No work may be transferred from another institution unless the grade is B or higher. Grades for transferred courses are not counted in the grade point ratio required for continued registration. However, for EWC grantees on study tour and public health consortium students, all credits earned at another institution will be transferred and grades for such credits counted in the grade point ratio. All transfer of credits must be processed by the first semester of enrollment into the program.

Tuition and Fees

Please refer to the for current information regarding tuition and fees.

Tuition and fees are charged according to the number of credit hours carried by the student; auditors (those enrolled in a course for no credit) pay the same tuition and fees as students enrolled for credit.

For more information, please contact the Admissions Office, at (808)956-7182, or email

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