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MSW Admissions FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Does the MSW program admit students for the spring semester?
    No. New MSW students are admitted only for the fall semester.
  2. When is the application deadline?
    All application materials must be submitted (in person or postmarked) by February 1st (or the next business day if the deadline falls on a holiday or weekend) for all MSW (Mānoa campus-based and Distance Education) applicants.
  3. Are there any prerequisite courses to apply for the MSW program?
    There are no specific courses required for admission to the MSW program, but you must have a bachelor’s degree and a liberal arts background. The liberal arts requirement is detailed in the Liberal Arts Background Form, which is required from all applicants.
  4. Is your MSW program online?
    No. We have a Distance Education (DE) option for the MSW program, but online instruction is only one of several distance education delivery modalities utilized in this option. For this and other reasons, the DE option is available only at limited locations. For more information, go to
  5. Are Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores required?
    Not for most applicants. Exception: If more than 25 percent of your undergraduate course work was graded under a nontraditional grading system (e.g. pass/fail, credit/no credit, S/U, etc.), you must take the GRE general test and submit the results to the UH Mānoa Graduate Division Student Services Office. For more information, go to and
  6. If I am an international student, do I need to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam?
    The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for most international applicants. Test scores must be submitted directly to the UH Mānoa Graduate Division Student Services Office. A minimum TOEFL score of 560 on the paper-based test or 83 on the internetbased
    test is required. An overall band test score of 6.5 is required for the IELTS. Test scores cannot be more than two years old. International applicants should visit the following websites for further information and requirements:
  7. Where do I send my completed application packages?
    You will need to submit 2 separate applications.
    a. Submit UH Mānoa Graduate Admissions Application, official transcripts, TOEFL/IELTS or GRE scores (if applicable), application fee, and other materials (if required) to: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa,
    Graduate Division – Student Services, 2540 Maile Way, Spalding Hall 353B, Honolulu, HI 96822. To apply online, go to Do not submit MSW program application documents to the Graduate Division.
    b. Submit MSW program application, official transcripts, and other required materials in hard copy (by mail or in person) to: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, SW
    Admissions Office, 2430 Campus Road, Gartley Hall 203, Honolulu, HI 96822. Do not submit MSW program application documents electronically or using the Graduate Division’s Supplemental Document Upload website.
  8. Does the MSW Admissions Office accept FAXED or e-mailed application materials?
  9. Does the MSW Admissions Office accept unofficial transcripts?
    No, only official transcripts are accepted. Transcripts are not considered official unless they are received by the MSW program still in the sealed envelopes issued by the college/university attended or sent electronically to directly from the college/university attended or their authorized transcript service.
  10. Do I need to send transcripts to the MSW Admissions Office if I’ve already sent them to the UH Mānoa Graduate Division?
    Yes, two (2) sets of official transcripts are required – one to the Graduate Division, one to the MSW Program. For JD-MSW dual degree applicants, refer to the JD-MSW Dual Degree Form.
  11. If I graduated from UH, do I have to include my UH transcripts?
    You do not need to request official UH system transcripts as the Graduate Division is able to obtain them internally. However, if you ever attended any other college/university outside of the UH system, you will need to include official transcripts from each college/university attended.
  12. If I only took one (1) class at a college/university, do I have to include the transcript?
    Yes, an official transcript is required from every non-UH system college/university attended, even if the classes appear as transferred credits on another transcript submitted.
  13. Can I get credit for work experience?
    No. Students cannot receive course credit for previous work or life experience. However, be sure to include this information in your resume and personal statement.
  14. How do I fit field education (practicum) into my schedule?
    Students are required to complete four semesters of field education (practicum) totaling a minimum of 900 clock hours (two semesters for a total of 450 hours for Advanced Standing). Now is the time to figure out how practicum will fit into your life, school, and work schedules. Practicum requires a minimum of 16 hours per week each semester. The business of social service agencies and appropriate field placement settings is primarily conducted during the business day (8 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday); therefore, students should expect to allot 16 daytime/business hours per week to complete the Field Education requirement.
  15. How much is tuition?
    Please refer to for UH Mānoa graduate tuition rates. The total number of credits required for the MSW degree is 57 credits (or 30 credits for Advanced Standing).
    MSW students take 12-15 credits per semester to graduate in two years (or one year for Advanced Standing), 9-12 credits/semester for a three-year academic plan, or 6-9 credits/semester for a four-year academic plan.
    Residency for tuition purposes is determined at the time of admission by the UH Mānoa Graduate Division based on the Residency Declaration Form (refer to in accordance with University residency regulations (refer to
  16. If I applied to the MSW program before, do I need to submit everything again?
    Contact the MSW Admissions/Student Services Office at or (808) 956-3833 to see what
    materials you will need to submit. You will need to reapply to the UH Mānoa Graduate Division. (See
  17. When will I receive my admission decision?
    Most (but not all) applicants will receive a decision letter by mail from the UH Mānoa Graduate Division sometime between early March and mid-May.

Common MISTAKES and how to avoid them

Transcripts sent only to the Graduate Division or only to the School of Social Work:

Remember that official transcripts must be sent to both the UH Mānoa Graduate Division and the School of Social Work MSW Admissions Office.

Missing transcript:

Remember that transcripts are required from every (non-UH) college/university attended.

Unofficial transcript:

The MSW program accepts only official transcripts. Official transcripts are original documents still in the sealed envelopes in which they were issued by the college/university or e-mailed directly to from the college/university or its authorized transcript service.

Letter of Recommendation not properly endorsed with the recommender’s signature across the seal of the envelope:

Remind your recommenders of this requirement.

Recommender did not use the MSW Letter of Recommendation form:

Make sure that your recommenders understand that a supplementary letter of support is appreciated, but the MSW Letter of Recommendation form (includes the rating boxes) is required.

Inappropriate letters of recommendation:

Read the MSW application instructions and review the Letter of Recommendation form carefully before selecting your recommenders. Do NOT use personal friends or family!

Personal Statement does not address the identified areas:

Read the MSW application instructions carefully and follow the proper Personal Statement Guidelines for your selected program.

Contact information is inaccurate or outdated, such that you do not receive important notifications regarding your application:

Make sure that you keep your e-mail and mailing addresses current with the MSW Program (e-mail updates to and the UH Mānoa Graduate Division (e-mail updates to Use an e-mail address that you check on a regular basis, as both offices rely on e-mail to communicate if there are any questions regarding the application materials submitted.

Poor academic record with no explanation:

If you believe your past academic record does not appropriately reflect your potential to succeed academically in the MSW program, use the space provided on the MSW application form to discuss.

Application form not signed:

Applications will not be accepted without your written signature at the bottom of the last page of the form certifying that you have read and understood the statements and that all materials submitted are complete and accurate.

MSW application documents uploaded to the Graduate Division’s Supplemental Document Upload website:

The Graduate Division online application system refers to submitting program application materials using their Graduate Application Supplemental Documents Upload Website and directs applicants to check with their selected graduate program for their preferred method of document submission. The Graduate Application Supplemental Documents Upload Website is a relatively new system and not yet available for MSW program applicants.  All MSW program application materials must be submitted in hard copy directly to the SW Admissions/Student Services Office.

If you need assistance with the application documents or have further questions about the MSW application process or requirements, please call (808) 956-3833 or email

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