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MSW FAQs



General questions about the MSW program

Are all of the MSW program options at Portland State University accredited?
All options in the School of Social Work are currently accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Where do social workers find employment?
Graduates of our program work in a variety of settings inlcuding early intervention services; schools; juvenile and adult corrections; inpatient and outpatient mental health; child and family services; hospitals and hospice; programs serving the homeless; domestic violence and sexual assault programs; services to developmentally delayed individuals; case managment with all populations; services to older adults; substance abuse programs; and work with immigrants, refugees and veterans.

Can I work while attending the MSW program?
We recognize that many students will need to work part time while attending the program. If you will be working while attending the program it is important to have flexible work hours to accommodate the class schedule and the field placement.

What type of undergraduate education will best prepare me for the MSW program?
You must have a baccalaureate degree with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university to be considered for admission to the MSW program. Applicants must have successfully completed 6 quarter credits (or 4 semester credits) from each of the following three curricular areas:

  1. social and behavioral sciences;
  2. natural sciences; and
  3. humanities and fine and performing arts.

For information on specific courses, see Coursework For Liberal Arts Requirements. In addition, the undergraduate degree must include a minimum of 50 quarter credits (or 34 semester credits) from any combination of these three areas.

What is the minimum GPA for the MSW program? 
The program does not have a minimum GPA requirement. We use an applicant's upper division GPA to predict the likelihood of success in the MSW program. Students are provisionally admitted to the School of Social Work pending the University's decision to admit an applicant. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 can be admitted to PSU as a regular degree student. Students are admitted conditionally if the undergraduate GPA is between 2.50 - 2.74. When admitted conditionally, a student has nine graded hours to achieve a GPA of 3.0.

On occasion, the School of Social Work can petition the University to admit an individual whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.50.     

Do I have to undergo a criminal background check? 
Please see the Criminal Records and Disclosure to Potential Field Placements information sheet.

How much credit can I get from graduate courses I've taken in the past? 
Admitted students may petition for transfer of up 6 quarter credit hours of graduate courses taken from the PSU School of Social Work prior to admission to the School. Petitions for transfer of these credits must be submitted during fall quarter of the first year of study after the student has consulted with his/her faculty advisor. Credits from a previous master's degree cannot be applied to the MSW program.

Is it possible to take classes prior to being admitted to the MSW program?
Occasionally, we may have space in an elective course on the Portland Campus. If a course has openings, information will be posted on our website outlining the registration process.

When are the MSW classes scheduled?
First-year Portland Option students attend classes on campus Mondays, Tuesday evenings and Wednesdays. Classes generally meet once weekly and most are scheduled in three- hour time periods. Foundation, policy, and two of the generalist practice classes are four hours. Multiple sections of most required courses are distributed in these time periods, and it is possible for the student to build a course schedule to accommodate part-time work and other responsibilities.

We encourage students to plan to be on campus more than one day a week. We cannot guarantee that a student can schedule all classes in one day.

Please visit Ashland, Bend, Eugene or Salem to determine class times and dates for each of these sites.

How much does it cost to attend the MSW Program? 
Visit Tuition, Fees and Financing for detailed information on the 2014-2015 program costs. Also, visit PSU Financial Aid to review information on financing your education. It is critical that you know the cost of your education and plan ahead by taking an honest look at your finances and calculating the cost of attending PSU. Although some students receive student financial aid that covers the full costs of their education, many students will receive less than the estimated cost of attendance due to federal and state fund limits and fund availability.

How difficult is it to get into the MSW program?
In the past, we have had more qualified applicants than we were able to accept. Generally, we admit one out of every three (1:3) students who apply to the Portland Option and a similar ratio in the Distance and Online Options.

How do I become a Licensed Social Worker?
The title "Social Worker" is protected under Oregon Rules and Statutes. In order to represent yourself as a "Social Worker," you must be licensed, certified or registered with the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers. Visit the Board's Website for detailed information. If you are planning on gaining licensure in another state, please review that state's rules and statutes.