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About the Program

Mission Statement

The MSW program in the Department of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University seeks to develop competent advanced social work practitioners who can integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of social work to advance social justice and provide services to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Grounded in the profession’s Code of Ethics and sensitivity to diversity, the MSW program is committed to excellence in our teaching and scholarship, the integration of faith and learning, the development of professional leadership, and the strengthening of communities in local, national, and international contexts.

MSW Program Goals

The following outcome goals are derived from the mission statement and purposes of social work education congruent with accreditation standards:

  1. Graduates will exhibit competence in generalist and advanced social work practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, including appropriate uses of supervision, consultation, and discernment, to seek necessary organizational change.
  2. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge, built on a liberal arts foundation, of the history of the social work profession and empirically supported theoretical frameworks that provide understanding of individual development and behavior across the life span and interactions among and between individuals and families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate critical thinking skills, skills related to the effective integration of research in practice, and adequate preparation for leadership, advanced study, and lifelong learning.
  4. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge and skills to partner with communities to advocate for the development of policies and programs that seek to advance human rights and well-being, promote social and economic justice, empower clients, and respect diversity.
  5. Graduates will practice according to the values and ethics of the profession and understand the ethical integration of Christian faith in practice, including nondiscrimination in the areas of age, class, culture, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
  6. Faculty will engage in ongoing scholarship reflecting the goals and needs of professional social work practice.

MSW Student Learning Outcomes
and Competencies

  1. Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  2. Apply ethical social work principles to guide professional practice.
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  4. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  5. Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  10. Engage, assess, intervene with, and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  11. Articulate how Christian beliefs and values can be integrated in professional social work practice in accordance with the social work Code of Ethics.

Foundation Year Competencies and Practice Behaviors

Student Learning Outcome 1/EPAS Competency 2.1.1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

Student Learning Outcome 2/EPAS Competency 2.1.2: Apply ethical social work principles to guide professional practice.

Student Learning Outcome 3/EPAS Competency 2.1.3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

Student Learning Outcome 4/EPAS Competency 2.1.4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.

Student Learning Outcome 5/EPAS Competency 2.1.5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

Student Learning Outcome 6/EPAS Competency 2.1.6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

Student Learning Outcome 7/EPAS Competency 2.1.7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

Student Learning Outcome 8/EPAS Competency 2.1.8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.

Student Learning Outcome 9/EPAS Competency 2.1.9: Respond to contexts that shape practice.

Student Learning Outcome 10/EPAS Competency 2.1.10: Engage, assess, intervene with, and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities:

Student Learning Outcome 11: Faith Integration: Articulate how Christian beliefs and values can be integrated in professional social work practice in accordance with the social work Code of Ethics.

Clinical Concentration Competencies
and Practice Behaviors

Student Learning Outcome 1/EPAS Competency 2.1.1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

Student Learning Outcome 2/EPAS Competency 2.1.2: Apply ethical social work principles to guide professional practice.

Student Learning Outcome 3/EPAS Competency 2.1.3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

Student Learning Outcome 4/EPAS Competency 2.1.4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.

Student Learning Outcome 5/EPAS Competency 2.1.5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

Student Learning Outcome 6/EPAS Competency 2.1.6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

Student Learning Outcome 7/EPAS Competency 2.1.7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

Student Learning Outcome 8/EPAS Competency 2.1.8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.

Student Learning Outcome 9/EPAS Competency 2.1.9: Respond to contexts that shape practice.

Student Learning Outcome 10/EPAS Competency 2.1.10: Engage, assess, intervene with, and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Student Learning Outcome 11: Faith Integration: Articulate how Christian beliefs and values can be ethically integrated in professional social work practice in accordance with the social work Code of Ethics.

Community Concentration Competencies
and Practice Behaviors

Student Learning Outcome 1/EPAS Competency 2.1.1: Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.

Student Learning Outcome 2/EPAS Competency 2.1.2: Apply ethical social work principles to guide professional practice.

Student Learning Outcome 3/EPAS Competency 2.1.3: Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

Student Learning Outcome 4/EPAS Competency 2.1.4: Engage diversity and difference in practice.

Student Learning Outcome 5/EPAS Competency 2.1.5: Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

Student Learning Outcome 6/EPAS Competency 2.1.6: Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.

Student Learning Outcome 7/EPAS Competency 2.1.7: Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

Student Learning Outcome 8/EPAS Competency 2.1.8: Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.

Student Learning Outcome 9/EPAS Competency 2.1.9: Respond to contexts that shape practice.

Student Learning Outcome 10/EPAS Competency 2.1.10: Engage, assess, intervene with, and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Student Learning Outcome 11: Faith Integration: Articulate how Christian beliefs and values can be ethically integrated in professional social work practice in accordance with the social work Code of Ethics.

Career Opportunities

Social workers help people manage and overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges. They provide individual, family, and group therapy; facilitate crisis prevention and intervention; advocate and participate in political action; and collaborate with communities to develop necessary social and economic resources.

Social work is especially committed to advancing social justice and increasing opportunities for vulnerable populations. Settings in which social workers practice include:

Student Experiences

Graduates of APU’s Master of Social Work program have repeatedly affirmed the high quality of its faculty, coursework, and internships:

“APU’s MSW program provided me such a great opportunity to grow not only as a social worker, but as an individual. The small class sizes and experienced faculty allowed me to receive an education that prepared me to handle the real-life situations of a social worker.”

Victoria Curtin, MSW ’10
HUD/VASH Social Worker, Department of Veterans Affairs

“My experience at Azusa Pacific University was wonderful. APU faculty really cared about providing students with a high-quality education and internship. The knowledge and skills I gained at APU have been invaluable to me in my current profession as a clinical social worker. I appreciate my education at APU and recommend the program to others.”

Jesse J. Montes, MSW ’10, LCSW
Metropolitan State Hospital, California Dept. of Mental Health

“APU has really developed a strong MSW program that pushed me to my full potential in the field of social work at both micro and macro levels. The faculty provided a genuine sense of guidance and support that I will never forget. I have grown as a social worker and developed confidence behind my clinical skills, which allowed me to obtain my current employment prior to graduation.”

Ruben Lara, MSW ’13, LMSW
Intensive In-Home Therapist, KVC Health Systems, Topeka, KS

Frequently Asked Questions

Admission Information

When are applications due?
The early admission and Advanced Standing deadline is January 15. The regular admission deadline is March 1. Applications may be accepted after March 1 if there are still any openings. Please call (626) 857-2400 before submitting a late application.

Do I have to take the GRE?
No, we do not require the GRE.

Can I apply if my undergraduate degree is not in social work?
Yes. We accept applications from students with any undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university or college.

What is the GPA requirement?
APU requires a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for regular admission. If a student earned a baccalaureate GPA of 2.50 to 2.99, he or she could be admitted provisionally, and must earn a B (3.0) in each course for the first 12 units to stay in the program and have the provisional status removed.

Advanced Standing requires graduation from a CSWE-accredited BSW program with a minimum 3.0 GPA (social work courses must have been completed with a minimum 3.0 GPA).

Are there any prerequisite courses?
Completion of a Statistics course (3 semester units, with a grade of C or higher). If Statistics has not been taken at the time of MSW application, it must be completed (at any regionally accredited college or university) prior to the start of the MSW program in the fall. Proof of registration in a Statistics course must be given to the MSW director of student services by April 1, with proof of progression given by June 15. Proof of completion is due by September 1. Applicants needing Statistics will be admitted on provisional status until proof of completion of course is submitted, at which time provisional status will be removed.

For advanced standing applicants, a working knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) is strongly recommended. Abnormal Psychology is a suggested prerequisite unless knowledge has been gained through use of the DSM in the workplace.

How do I find out about financial aid?
Please refer to the Graduate Student Financial Services website. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to continue receiving financial aid.

Can I attend part time?
The four-year part-time program consists of classes one night per week. In addition, there are four weekend-intensive courses throughout the program, which meet three to five times per semester on Saturdays (8 a.m.–6 p.m.). Internships (16 hours per week) take place in the second and fourth years of the program. While all classes are scheduled for evenings and weekends to allow students to continue working, students must have flexible work schedules that accommodate an internship two days per week (during the traditional Monday–Friday workweek).

Do you offer an Advanced Standing program?
Yes. APU has a nine-month full-time (August–May) and a two-year part-time Advanced Standing program. This is available only for graduates of CSWE-accredited Bachelor of Social Work programs with a minimum 3.0 GPA (both cumulative and in social work classes). Advanced Standing students are required to work 20 hours per week in an internship. Part-time students work in an internship in their second year, with classes evenings and weekends.

Do I need to submit reference letters?
Yes. We require three reference letters from individuals familiar with your academic and/or professional abilities. The forms are provided with the MSW application materials and are also available online (please use specific MSW reference forms).

What else do I need to include with the MSW application?
Applicants are required to submit a personal statement (6–8 pages, double spaced), and include attention to each of the following:

  1. Motivation for pursuing MSW education, including relevant background experiences and professional goals.
  2. Professional and volunteer experiences related to social work.
  3. Expectations regarding attending a Christian university for the MSW program, and approach to faith integration in scholarship and service. (Although no admissions requirements exist regarding faith orientation, Christian and other religious perspectives may be presented and discussed in classes.)
  4. Discussion of a social problem of interest to you, including your perceptions of the causes of and potential solutions to the problem.
  5. Discussion of an ethical challenge you have encountered in professional, field, or volunteer work, and how you resolved it.

Do I also need to complete the APU Graduate Application form?
Yes. We require completion of the APU Graduate Application form, in addition to the MSW application form. Please send in a complete application package with the required $45 application fee. APU alumni are not required to pay an application fee.

Can I transfer in any units?
Students previously enrolled in a CSWE-accredited MSW program may be able to transfer up to 12 units of foundation-year courses (completed within the last five years of the projected graduation date). In addition, it is possible to transfer up to six units of elective credit from another graduate program, providing the courses are relevant to the MSW program and have been completed within the last five years of admission to the program. All transfer requests will be assessed by the MSW program director for eligibility after admission to the program.

What are the requirements to apply for advanced standing?
Students must have a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a B or higher in all social work classes. Preference will be given to applicants who have graduated within the past five years, although up to seven years is permissible. A working knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is strongly recommended—Abnormal Psychology is a suggested prerequisite unless knowledge has been gained through use of the DSM in the workplace.

Program Information

How long is the Advanced Standing program?
The full-time Advanced Standing program is nine months. Students take three weeks of courses in August (6 units), then begin second-year MSW courses in September. Graduation occurs in early May. The part-time Advanced Standing program is two years. Students take three weeks of courses in August (6 units), followed by two years of part-time coursework beginning in September.

What concentrations do you offer?
We currently offer concentrations in Community Practice and Partnerships and Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families. Please see our web pages for detailed information on each concentration.

Do I find my own internships?
Our director of field education places students with qualified, trained field instructors at internship sites. Students are required to interview with the agency they are referred to. Students must provide their own transportation to and from the field site, with possible home visits at some internships.

How long are the internships?
Students in the two-year full-time program spend approximately 16 hours per week at internships throughout the whole program. A new internship is assigned for the second year in order to expand students’ learning experience. Students in the four-year part-time program spend approximately 16 hours per week at internships in the second and fourth years of the program. Internship schedules are determined by the agency (usually Monday-Friday during traditional work hours when supervisors are available). Students must be willing to be flexible with regard to agency hours. A total of 960 internship hours are needed in order to graduate (480 hours per internship year). Some agencies require students to work 20 to 24 hours per week in the second internship. Students in the Advanced Standing program spend 20 hours per week at their internship.

Do you offer online courses?
No. All courses are at the Azusa campus. Courses in the part-time program are, however, scheduled on evenings and weekends.

Do you offer summer courses?
All required classes are fall semester (September-December) and spring semester (January-late April/early May). Two summer elective courses are currently offered.

General Information

Where is Azusa Pacific University located?
APU is located 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Azusa, California. This vibrant Southern California urban environment offers many diverse opportunities for field placements in all areas of social work.

Do you have graduate housing?
For information on graduate housing and other local rental accommodations, go to apu.edu/asset/students/. Surrounding cities include Glendora, San Dimas, Covina, Claremont, La Verne, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, and Arcadia.

Does APU have a wireless network?
Yes. The wireless network is available on all parts of campus.

What other campus resources does APU offer?
APU has a counseling center, duplicating and graphics center, bookstore, writing center, three libraries, fitness center, health center, computer centers, shuttle service, campus safety, and various dining venues.

What recreational activities are available nearby?
APU’s Azusa campus is centrally located with easy access to a wide variety of exciting places. You can be at the beach or in the mountains in about an hour; in the desert in two hours; in downtown Los Angeles or Hollywood in 30 minutes; or in Pasadena in 20 minutes. There are also many beautiful places nearby to hike or ride bikes. For those interested in diversity, theatre, arts, and music, this is the place to be. Learn more about our campus and view photos online.

Whom can I contact with other questions about the MSW program?
Please contact Karen Maynard, M.A., director of student services/assistant professor, at kmaynard@apu.edu or (626) 857-2400 with any questions.

Social Work Resources

The Department of Social Work can connect you with resources that will prove indispensable to your education and career as a social worker.

Graduate and Professional Center

The Azusa Pacific University Graduate and Professional Center houses Graduate Admissions, Graduate Student Financial Services, and the Graduate Registrar. Located in one convenient center, these offices work as an integrated team to provide students with the tools and services they need to enter and proceed through their graduate program. For more information, visit the Graduate and Professional Center or call (626) 815-4570.

Contact Information Location and Hours
Graduate and Professional Center
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

(800) 825-5278
(626) 815-4570
Fax (626) 815-4571
gpc@apu.edu
apu.edu/graduatecenter
Administration West Building
568 E. Foothill Blvd.
Azusa, CA 91702


Monday–Thursday
    8:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday
    9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Note: This information is current for the 2013-14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.