BSW Degree Requirements

To qualify for the BSW degree, the student is required to:

  1. Fulfill all University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa General Education Core and graduation requirements;

  2. Complete the undergraduate social work curriculum, which includes the knowledge-base courses and required upper division electives, with a grade of C or better;


The BSW curriculum consists of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa core and graduation requirements, knowledge-base requirements for social work majors, social work major courses, and upper elective division courses. The program is organized around a foundation curriculum with content in social work practice, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare history and policies, research, and practicum. This perspective provides the framework for an integrated system of courses that orients the student to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, with an emphasis on generalist practice within the context of a multicultural environment.

Candidates for the BSW degree must complete these requirements and earn a grade of “D” or better in all UHM core and graduation courses, and a grade of “C” or better in all knowledge-base requirements for social work majors, social work major courses, and upper division elective courses.

1. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa General Education Core and Graduation Requirements, 54-56 credits

See the UH Mānoa Catalog for course listings in each category.

Students who entered the UH system in Spring 2001 or earlier and have remained continuously enrolled should check with the Admissions Coordinator for applicable requirements in this area.


I. Foundation Requirement (12 credits)

  • Written Communication, 3 credits
  • Symbolic Reasoning, 3 credits
  • Global and Multicultural Perspectives, 6 credits

II. Diversification Requirements (19 credits)

  • Arts, Humanities, and Literature, 6 credits (from two different areas)
  • Social Sciences, 6 credits (from two different departments)
  • Natural Sciences, 7 credits (Physical, Biological, and 1 lab)


I. Focus Requirements

  • Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Issues, 1 course
  • Contemporary Ethical Issues, 1 course
  • Oral Communication, 1 course
  • Writing Intensive, 5 courses

II. Hawaiian/Second Language Requirement

  • Second Level, or or First Level and preapproved culture courses

2. Social Work Major Courses*, 41 credits

    SW 200 The Field of Social Work
    SW 302 General Social Work Practice I
    SW 303 General Social Work Practice II
    SW 325 History of Social Welfare
    SW 326 Social Welfare as a Social Institution
    SW 360 Sociocultural Content for Social Work Practice
    SW 361 Human Development and Behavior for Social Work Practice
    SW 391 Junior Practicum
    SW 402 General Social Work Practice III
    SW 403 General Social Work Practice IV
    SW 440 Research Development in Social Welfare
    SW 490–491 Senior Practicum
*Subject to change

3. Electives Required in Upper Division Liberal Arts Courses, 21 credits

To complement and support the core social work courses, the curriculum also provides for a broad selection of elective courses. Design of the electives curriculum encourages the student to choose courses of special interest consistent with a liberal arts background.

A change to the Upper Division Elective requirement for the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work BSW program was approved in the spring of 2014 for graduated implementation in the spring of 2015. While the total number of courses (7) and credits (21) required remains unchanged, differences between the old and new rubric include:

  1. a reduction in the number of focus areas,
  2. the operationalization of the rubric with an emphasis on social justice and diversity, and
  3. an increase in the number of courses listed in multiple focus areas.

Students admitted to the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work prior to spring 2015, please click here to proceed to the “old” upper division elective rubric and list of pre-approved Required Upper Division Electives.

Students admitted to the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work during or after spring 2015, please click here to proceed to the new upper division elective rubric and list of pre-approved Social Justice and Diversities Upper Division Electives.

4. Other Electives, 2–4 credits

Courses in this area may be either lower or upper division courses and will include any social work knowledge-base courses that have not been taken as part of the General Education Core.

Knowledge-Base Requirements for Social Work Majors

Philosophy 110 :: Introduction to Deductive Logic or
Philosophy 111 :: Introduction to Inductive Logic

Political Science :: any introductory course

Psychology :: any course

Any biological science course emphasizing human biology (Click to see a listing of biological science courses in pdf format).

Social Work 200 :: The Field of Social Work

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

Students must fulfill writing-intensive requirements as specified in the UH Mānoa Catalog.


Practicum with professional social work supervision is an integral part of social work education. Students are expected to demonstrate a sense of responsibility, good judgment, responsiveness to the supervision of their work, and to demonstrate sensitivity and good interpersonal skills in professional interactions. Substandard performance in any of these areas is considered grounds for probation, suspension, or dismissal from the practicum.

Junior practicum (SW 391) is required of all students in the second semester of their junior year while concurrently enrolled in SW 303. The junior practicum experience requires eight hours per week at a social work agency in the community, as well as attendance at regularly scheduled meetings with the BSW Coordinator who is responsible for all placements. The primary objectives of SW 391 are to introduce and prepare students for their role as a social work student in an agency setting. To enhance these objectives, students will remain at their assigned practicum sites for their junior and senior practicum experiences.

Senior practicum (SW 490–491), required of all students in their final year of the BSW program, is to be completed concurrently with SW 402–403. Each student must spend 16 hours per week, for a total of 450 hours, at the assigned agency for the academic year. Additionally, students are required to attend scheduled meetings with the Practicum Office staff to enhance their practicum experience.

Related Certificate and Honors Programs

BSW students may also choose to earn an undergraduate certificate in a field related to social work. These include aging/gerontology, ethinc studies, interpretation and translation studies, peace studies, and woman's studies. See UH Mānoa Catalog for more information. In addition, there is an Undergraduate Honors Program.

How To Apply

For BSW admission requirements and application information, please refer to the Admissions Webpage at:

Tuition and Fees