To be admitted to the MSW program, students must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university or college (or an equivalent degree from a college or university in another country) with a minimum 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale. A limited number of applicants with a grade-point average of 2.5-2.99 and relevant work experience may be admitted provisionally, at the program’s discretion.
  • 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 August 20. 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.

Application Deadlines

Please contact Karen Maynard at or (626) 857-2400 to verify if late applications are being accepted.

  • Early Admission Deadline: January 15
  • Advanced Standing Deadline: January 15
  • Regular Admission Deadline: March 1

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

International students have a separate application procedure that precedes the standard admission process. View international requirements below or contact the International Center.

    • Graduate application for admission
    • $45 nonrefundable application fee
    • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study

      An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.

  • Résumé
  • Willingness to participate in an admission interview, including writing sample
  • Two reference letters specifically discussing professional and/or academic interests and aptitude for MSW education. References are to be limited to individuals familiar with academic and/or professional abilities.
  • Personal statement, six to eight pages long (double spaced), including attention to each of the following:
    • Motivation for pursuing MSW education, including relevant background experiences and professional goals.
    • Professional, internship, and volunteer experiences related to social work.
    • Expectations regarding attending a Christian university for an MSW program, and approach to faith integration in social work practice. Although no admissions requirements exist regarding faith identification, Christian and other religious perspectives may be presented and discussed in classes.
    • Discussion of a social problem of interest to you, including your perceptions of the causes of, and potential solutions to, the problem.
    • Discussion of an ethical challenge you have encountered in professional, field, or volunteer work and how you resolved it.
  • Personal statements are assessed based on:

    • Writing and organizational skills.
    • Evidence of professional commitments to service and social justice.
    • Self-awareness and maturity indicating readiness to successfully complete program requirements.
    • Engagement in employment, volunteer work, leadership activities, and/or other experiences relevant to professional social work.

Send official transcripts to:

Graduate and Professional Center
Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

Admission Requirements—Advanced Standing Applicants

In addition to the above requirements, Advanced Standing applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Graduation from a CSWE-accredited BSW program within seven years of starting the MSW program
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum B grade in all social work classes
  • Statistics course (grade C or higher)
  • One reference must be from a BSW field instructor

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Graduate and Professional Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Meet Our Students

Click on any of the names below to view videos in which some of our alumni describe the great experiences they had in our program.

Bryan Brewer, MSW ‘17
(VA Medical Center, Loma Linda)

Ashley Allen
MSW Student

Pam Dong, MSW ’13
(Salvation Army, Divisional Strategic Mission Advancement Director)

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English Proficiency Requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English Proficiency Requirements must be submitted directly to the International Center. Applicants applying for conditional admission through the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) must apply to both ALCI and the academic program. Read about ALCI admission requirements.
  • Provide an affidavit of financial support (PDF) and a bank statement from within the last six months proving financial ability to pay for education costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.

International applicants send official transcripts to:

International Center
Azusa Pacific University
901 E. Alosta Ave.
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

What to Expect

After the International Center receives all transcripts, a committee of department faculty reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is then notified of the committee’s decision within approximately four weeks.

Technical Standards

The Department of Social Work welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to apply for admission, but the BSW and MSW programs necessarily place specific requirements and demands on students accepted into the program. The following is a description of the technical standards that establish the essential qualifications required for safe and competent performance of the duties and skills needed in the social work profession.

If a student believes that he or she cannot meet one or more of the technical standards without a reasonable accommodation, APU will work with the student in an individualized, interactive process to determine whether reasonable accommodations can be made. Contact the Academic Success Center to apply for an accommodation.

Students must have and maintain:

  1. Physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in classroom and social work agency settings.
  2. Physical mobility to transport to and from their classroom, field internship agency, and additional field meeting sites.
  3. Functional use of the senses to acquire and integrate data in order to conduct accurate observations in the classroom and in field settings.
  4. Language competence to communicate effectively with faculty and students, agency staff, clients, and other professionals.
  5. Reading and comprehension skills at a level and speed to respond to reports and other written documents in a timely manner.
  6. Writing skills at a college level and produced within a timely manner.
  7. Cognitive abilities to interpret objective and subjective data, and functional use of abstract reasoning to problem-solve.
  8. Mental adaptability to work under pressure in emotionally charged situations and unpredictable environments, and to demonstrate an acceptable handling of conflict without overt emotional display or aggression.

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. 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 2.50-2.99, he or she could be admitted provisionally, and must earn a B- or higher in each course (and 3.0 or higher GPA) 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 B grade).

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 August 20. 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.

How do I find out about financial aid?

Please refer to Graduate and Professional Student Financial Services. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to continue receiving financial aid.

Do I need to submit reference letters?

Yes. We require three reference letters from individuals familiar with your academic and/or professional abilities.

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 prompts outlined above.

Do I also need to complete the APU Graduate Application form?

Yes. We require completion of the APU graduate application for admission, in addition to the MSW application form. Complete all application requirements and submit the required $45 application fee. APU alumni and military veterans 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. Advanced Standing students cannot transfer any coursework into 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 courses. Preference will be given to applicants who have graduated within the past five years, although up to seven years is permissible.

Note: This information is current for the 2019-20 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.