As the demand for skilled professionals in social work continues to rise, pursuing Master of Social Work (MSW) programs becomes increasingly essential for those passionate about making a difference in their communities. Nestled amidst the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii offers a unique backdrop for individuals seeking to embark on their journey toward becoming licensed social workers. From its rich cultural diversity to its pressing social issues, Hawaii’s MSW programs provide rigorous academic training and offer a profound immersion into the complexities of social welfare within the island’s unique context. This page delves into the landscape of MSW programs in Hawaii, exploring their distinctive features, challenges, and opportunities for aspiring social work professionals.

MSW Degree Program Requirements/Eligibility in Hawaii

Hawaii Traditional MSW Admissions Requirements

Students with a non-social work bachelor’s degree must enroll in a traditional MSW program instead of an advanced standing MSW program. Traditional MSWs require the completion of 60 credits and a two-year commitment along with the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree, typically in psychology or a related area, from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA requirement (typically around 3.0)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement or essay
  • Resume or CV outlining relevant experience
  • Completion of prerequisite courses (such as psychology, sociology, or human services)
  • GRE scores (some programs may waive this requirement)
  • Interview (some programs may require an interview as part of the application process)
  • Background check and/or fingerprinting

Hawaii Advanced-Standing MSW Admissions Requirements

If you’ve graduated from a BSW program with a 3.5 GPA or higher, you’ll qualify for an advanced standing MSW. These programs allow you to get your MSW and become licensed in a year or less. You’ll need all of the above requirements as well as your BSW and transcripts to apply. Here are a few advanced-standing MSW programs based in Hawaii:

RELATED: Learn more about Social Work Salaries

Hawaii MSW Program Tuition and Costs

Two MSW programs are available in the State of Hawaii–the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University. In terms of cost, the most and least affordable options are evident in the table below:

SchoolTuition (per credit hour)Total CreditsTotal Tuition
University of Hawaii$547 (Residents)
$1,181 (Non-residents)
57$31,200 (Resident)
$67,296 (Non-residents)
Hawaii Pacific University$1,23557$70,395

Are Online MSW Programs in Hawaii as Good as Campus-Based?

Can’t afford to fly out to Hawaii for school, or is the distance too much for your specific lifestyle? An online MSW program might be the right option for you! These programs offer flexibility and convenience when a campus visit isn’t always available.

Traditional MSW vs. Online MSW Programs in Hawaii

Traditional MSW ProgramsOnline MSW Programs
FormatIn-person classesOnline classes with some in-person requirements
FlexibilityLimited scheduling optionsMore flexibility in scheduling, often part-time options
LocationGeographically limitedAccessible from anywhere with internet connectivity
Learning EnvironmentClassroom-basedVirtual classroom, discussion boards, and online resources
NetworkingLocal networking opportunitiesNetworking with students and professionals from diverse locations
CostTuition, commuting, and relocation expensesGenerally lower tuition and flexibility to continue working
Hands-on ExperienceField placements and internshipsVirtual or field placements and internships arranged in the student's local area

To ensure that graduation from an MSW will lead to licensure, you’ll need to make sure all programs that you apply to are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Learn more about Social Work Degree Options:

Getting Your Hawaii Social Work License

Like all states, Hawaii requires you to receive licensure to practice as a social worker. Learn about the specific requirements of social work licensure in Hawaii.

Popular Social Work Careers

Discover the specializations available to you within social work. These social work careers can help you work with diverse populations in a variety of environments.

Female social worker talking with elderly female woman

School Social Worker

School social workers provide counseling, support, and advocacy for students facing social, emotional, or behavioral challenges. They collaborate with teachers, parents, and other professionals to develop student success strategies, provide crisis intervention, and facilitate support groups.

Healthcare Social Worker

Healthcare social workers assess patients' social, emotional, and practical needs. They provide counseling and support, coordinate care with healthcare providers, advocate for patients' rights, and connect patients and their families with community resources to ensure holistic and comprehensive care.

Court Social Worker

Court social workers assess the needs of individuals involved in court cases. They develop intervention plans, provide counseling and support, monitor progress in court-ordered programs, collaborate with legal professionals, and advocate for clients' best interests in legal proceedings.

List of MSW Degree Programs in Hawaii

Honolulu, HI

Master's Programs
1 Aloha Tower Drive
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 544-0200

Master's Programs
2500 Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822-2217
(808) 956-8111

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Tara Moretti, LMHC
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