Frequently Asked Questions | MSW

When are Pacific University MSW program applications due?

The MSW program has two application deadlines. The preferred application deadline is December 16th, 2016. The final application deadline is February 17th, 2017 for admission to the 2016-2017 cohort.

How do I apply to the Pacific University MSW program?

You can download the application and get more admissions information on the How to Apply page.

When do classes begin?

We are on a semester system. Students begin attending classes the Tuesday following Labor Day.

Can I begin the program any other time of the year?

Students may only begin the program at the beginning of fall semester. However, you may take elective courses at other times, which can be counted toward you MSW degree if you are formally admitted to the MSW program at a later date.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in order to be admitted to the MSW program at Pacific University?

Yes. Your undergraduate degree may be in progress at the time of your application, but must be completed prior to beginning the MSW program at Pacific University. You must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.

Does my undergraduate degree have to be in social work?

No. Your undergraduate degree does not have to be in social work or any of the social sciences (e.g. sociology, psychology). We are looking for strong students with a variety of backgrounds. You do not need a bachelor of social work in order to be admitted to our program.

Does graduating from the Pacific University College of Arts & Sciences provide an advantage in admission to the MSW?

Yes. We love Boxers! Please contact our Admissions Office for more information.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

No. GRE scores are not required.

What grade point average (GPA) is required for admission?

Applicants for admission should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 and a minimum GPA of 3.00 for the last 45 semester credits. If you have questions about your GPA and admission to the MSW, please contact our Admissions Office.

Exceptions may be granted by the Admissions Committee if a student’s most recent grades show significant improvement over earlier ones. For example, if an applicant had a 2.4 GPA for the first 45 semester credits, and a 3.5 GPA in the next 45 semester credits, he or she would be given serious consideration.

When do classes meet?

Students attend class two days a week. The remaining days of the week (approximately 18-20 hours) students participate in field placements (also called practicum), for hands-on learning.

I have to work. Is there a part-time program available?

Not at this time. As we grow, we intend to be sensitive to student needs and offer both full- and part-time programs. In the interim, we encourage prospective students to plan ahead, save money, and work with their employers on scheduling.

Where will classes and internships (field education) be offered?

All courses will be taught at our Eugene Campus, downtown at 40 E. Broadway. Practicum placements will be offered in and around the greater Eugene area. For students residing outside the Eugene area (e.g. Hillsboro, Portland, Woodburn), a placement closer to home may be arranged in coordination with the field education director.

Will classes be offered during the summer?

At this point in time, no required courses are being offered during the summer.

Are online courses available?

Not at this time.

Just how much time is needed to succeed in the MSW program at Pacific University?

Our MSW program is challenging and rigorous. Serious social problems require knowledgeable, skilled and competent professionals who will make a positive difference.

MSW students will complete 32 semester credits per academic year for two years. Over the two years, students will complete a minimum of 900 field hours. Graduate level education, especially in social work, requires a sustained commitment of time and energy. Working full time is not recommended while enrolled in our MSW program. Be prepare to make some sacrifices — it’s worth it.

I already work in a social service agency. Can my work here count as my field education?

The short answer is no. All field education must be new learning, in a new social service setting, approved by our field education director.

May I transfer credits from another institution?

Subject to MSW faculty approval, up to nine semester credits earned at a regionally accredited institution and not previously used to obtain another degree may be transferred to Pacific University and counted toward MSW degree completion. Transfer credits involving a previously earned graduate degree may be affected by additional Pacific University policies.

What are some of the unique features of the MSW program at Pacific University?

Pacific’s MSW program offers students a choice between two concentrations occurring during the second year of the program.

During the second year, students may pursue a generalist Health and Wellness concentration, designed to prepare social workers to meet the urgent need among individuals and families to gain access to affordable, high-quality health and wellness services. Students will gain competence in diagnoses and advanced therapeutic approaches the foster wellness and independence. Alternately, second-year students may pursue a Latino Families and Cultures concentration designed to prepare students to work with the largest and one of the fastest growing groups in the United States.

I don’t speak Spanish. Will this present a problem for me?

No. All students in both concentrations will be exposed to conversational Spanish in their coursework. No prior knowledge of Spanish is assumed or required.

How many students are in a typical class?

At all times, the MSW program at Pacific University will maintain a 1:12 faculty to student ratio affording close relationships between students and faculty. Actual class size will depend upon enrollment figures but is expected to range from 10 to 20 students per class.

What is Advanced Standing Status? Who is eligible?

Admission with advanced standing status may be offered to students who have completed a baccalaureate degree in social work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education accredited program no more than five years prior to beginning the MSW program at Pacific University. Advanced Standing students waive the first (foundation) year of the MSW curriculum and, after enrolling in a one-credit prep course in late August, begin the MSW program in the concentration year.

What’s it like to live in Eugene?

Eugene is a great place to live. With a population of 150,000 and its gorgeous Pacific Northwest location, Eugene offers a modest cost of living, incredible recreational options (especially biking, hiking, and running), close proximity to mountains and the Oregon Coast, and a vibrant culture and arts scene (especially the music). 

Is the MSW program at Pacific University accredited?

Pacific University’s Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) program has been fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) since 2011. The CSWE accreditation process for the MSW program is a 3 year process – 2 years in Candidacy, with full accreditation occurring in the 3rd year.
In the fall of 2014, CSWE conducted a site visit of the MSW program and granted us Candidacy status. They conducted another site visit in the Fall of 2015 and the site visitor is, again, recommending us for Year 2 Candidacy. There will be one last site visit in the Fall of 2016 where we fully expect to be granted full accreditation in the Spring of 2017.
All students who graduate from our MSW program while the program is in Candidacy will be considered to have graduated from a fully accredited MSW program once we receive full accreditation. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the MSW Program Director at