The Masters of Social Work Degree
Distance Education Option
for Neighbor Island Residents


The MSW program is available through distance education technology to neighbor island residents in their communities (Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui, or Lana‘i). Classes are delivered via interactive television, computer-based delivery, face-to-face onsite and hybrid approaches. Graduates through the Distance Education (DE) option will be awarded the MSW degree after completion of a three year program of classes, including field practicum.

Program Specifics

The purpose of this option is to extend educational opportunities to those people whose ties to the neighbor island communities preclude them from enrolling in the Mānoa campus-based degree program. Students remain on their home islands for the duration of the MSW program. Students are required to travel to O‘ahu once a year to attend an on-site training and to receive advising and other educational content.

Distance education students follow the same 3-year plan offered to Mānoa-based students, which includes four semesters of practicum. Although students can usually remain employed while enrolled in the DE option, they are expected to make arrangements with their employment to accommodate their practicum schedules. Classes are held on primarily on weeknights, but also may be held on Saturdays, as classroom and time slots permit. DE cohorts are not admitted every year – they are admitted in three years cycles (two years of admissions followed by one year of no admissions) such that two cohorts are always running simultaneously.

An Advanced Standing option is available for any applicant holding a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE accredited program which was awarded within seven years of the anticipated MSW graduation date. Acceptance as an advanced standing student is not guaranteed. Being awarded Advanced Standing means following either a one or two-year, rather than a three-year program of study.

Delivery Modalities

A variety of distance education delivery modalities are utilized. Currently, the primary modes of instruction consist of Hawaii Interactive Television Services (HITS), Blackboard Collaborate, and Laulima. HITS provides communications among the sites on each neighbor island, broadcast-quality video, and the ability of each site to see multiple other sites simultaneously. Blackboard Collaborate is a web conferencing program that allows instructor and student collaboration in an interactive virtual classroom. Laulima is the University of Hawaii's online course management system and is used with traditional face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes. Although these three tools are the mainstays of DE instruction, other technology may also be utilized by individual instructors.

Technology Requirements

It is essential for students enrolled in the DE option to have an up-to-date computer and reliable access to the internet. For more specific information about software and hardware requirements, please click here.


Click here for MSW Application forms and instructions: MSW APPLICATION

Click here for the OVERVIEW OF THE DE OPTION


Click here for a list of the UPCOMING INFORMATION SESSIONS




General Inquiries about Distance Education
(808) 956-9470

School of Social Work Admissions Inquiries
(808) 956-3833 

To stay up-to-date on news of the Distance Education MSW Degree Option, register for the UHMSWDE E-mail list: Click here