Prepare to Help Individuals Thrive With a Social Work Degree

Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability, and mental illness. It’s an essential field, and Azusa Pacific’s Department of Social Work prepares compassionate professionals with the skills to help people cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.

The department offers two rigorous programs, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and the Master of Social Work (MSW), that equip students with the professional skills to serve in a range of social work settings. Graduates are equipped to help diverse people and communities in a variety of ways, including one-on-one counseling, intervention with families, leading small groups, and facilitating advocacy and change in communities and the environment.

Students in APU’s social work programs benefit from:

  • Small classes that allow you to build close relationships with each other and with faculty-mentors representing diverse backgrounds who bring relevant experience into the classroom.
  • Use of live simulation, internships, and other real-world experiences to put learning into practice.
  • Scholarship opportunities to help make your degree more affordable.
  • A part-time option at the graduate level to support working students.

Master of Social Work

The MSW program equips social work professionals for careers dedicated to improving the lives of others in a variety of settings, including advanced-level practitioners, clinicians, supervisors, and managers, as well as leadership roles in community and program development. A combination of rigorous coursework and internship opportunities provide the tools you will need to help others thrive. Full-time, part-time, and Advanced Standing options are available.

Choose a specialization and emphasis to focus your studies:

  • Clinical Practice with Individuals and Families
  • Community Leadership and Program Administration

Bachelor of Social Work

The social work major prepares students with knowledge, values, and skills for generalist social work professional practice in work with diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities, both locally and globally.

Department Cornerstones

APU’s Department of Social Work focuses on four cornerstones that guide its mission and are embedded through students’ learning experience: Competence, Character, Critical thinking, and Community.

Competence: Training competent social workers is central to our mission. By offering current curriculum, competitive internships, and innovative teaching strategies, our students develop skills as competent social workers. Current innovations include coursework in military social work and clinical Spanish, skills testing with live actors, engagement with community projects and research, agency-based leadership capstone projects, and ongoing development of new interdisciplinary internship sites.

Character: We hold to high standards of professionalism in our students. We adhere to the National Association of Social Work Code of Ethics and work diligently to prepare and train students in the professional behavior exemplified by our respected alumni. As a Christ-centered university, we ascribe to the highest level of integrity for faculty and students, including training in ethical decision making to prepare students for the challenges of real-world practice.

Critical Thinking: In a global world where social welfare issues, programs, interventions, and policy can change quickly, we train students to be problem solvers who can effectively engage new trends, research, and technology with confidence and determination. We want students to be independent thinkers so they become leaders in the field of social work, not content with the status quo but innovators of change.

Community: Joining an APU social work program means joining a community of social workers who care about each other, their local communities, and the world. We strive to keep our classes small so students build relationships with each other and with faculty. These synergistic relationships provide a platform for professional mentorship to students throughout their careers, and establish a network of relationships through our alumni who are serving communities all over the world.


Azusa Pacific University receives accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). In addition, the BSW and MSW programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Note: This information is current for the 2017-18 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.