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 14th, 2018. The final application deadline is February 15th, 2019 for admission to the Fall 2019 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?

Our program uses a cohort model with all students beginning the program fall semester.

Most students must begin the program at the beginning of fall semester. However, students seeking to transfer from another MSW program might be able to enter our program during varying times throughout the academic year if they meet transfer requirements

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. The Registrar will need an official transcript form an accredited college or university with a posted bachelor’s degree by the end of August before you start.

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.

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.

How many days do we spend in the field?

Each practicum involves a yearlong experience at one agency. From September to May of their first year, students participate in a 2-semester long practicum consisting of 14-16 hours per week, totaling 420 hours. During the concentration year, students participate in another 2-semester long practicum consisting of 18-20 hour per week, totaling 500 hours.  Over the entire course of the MSW program, students participate in a total of 920 practicum hours.

How do I get a field placement?

All placements are arranged through the Director of Field Education only. Students are not permitted to establish their own placement experiences. The Director of Field Education will make efforts to connect students to practicum opportunities that are challenging and enriching. Placement is contingent on many factors including placement availability, suitability, and fit between students and the site.

Can I do my field placement at my current workplace?

Students are encouraged NOT to complete a practicum in a setting where they work since this can be considered a potential conflict of interest. Most practicum placements take place at agencies/settings that are separate from a student’s employment setting.

What are some examples of Field Placement sites?

Because MSW students are working toward becoming advanced practitioners, it is important that they have the opportunity to participate in various activities that meet their learning goals and programmatic core competencies. The following activities act as a guide in determining advanced level activities within the field practicum:

  • Conduct Home Visits
  • Outreach, Prevention, and Education
  • Group Work
  • Program Development
  • Conduct Interviews and Assessments
  • Ongoing Case Work with Individuals and Families
  • Community Work
  • Learning and application of interventions
  • Research
  • Policy Work/Advocacy
  • Administration

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. Both concentrations are infused with with exposure to Latino Families & Culture.

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

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 13 to 18 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. Our campus is located in the heart of downtown Eugene. More information here

Is the MSW program at Pacific University accredited?

In July of 2017 the Commission of Accreditation, a working committee of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), authorized the initial accreditation (2017 to 2021) for the MSW degree program at Pacific University. The university confers a master’s degree of social work (MSW) with three enrollment options to facilitate the appropriate academic, career, or life choices in pursuit of this professional degree.

 All students who graduated from our MSW program while the program was in candidacy (fall 2014 and after) 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
Pacific University’s Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) program has been fully accredited by CSWE since 2011 and our entire university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Pacific is a member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Oregon Independent Colleges Foundation, the Oregon Independent Colleges Association, the American Association of University Women, the Council for Higher Education of the United Church of Christ, the College Scholarship Service, the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges, the National Collegiate Athletics Association, and the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

Are there clubs, student organizations or other ways students can be involved?

MSW students are expected to be active members of the Pacific University community. There are a variety of avenues for student involvement within and outside the MSW Program. Examples include:

  • Social Work Club
  • Professional Student Senate
  • Professional Advisory Board

What can I do to strengthen my application?

  • Read the application carefully and contact us if you have any questions.
  • Strong resume – highlighting any social service work either paid or volunteer. Be sure to list any special trainings you may have attended.
  • Thoughtful essay that gives the reader a strong sense of your passion and purpose
  • Attend an information night and ask specific questions