Social Work

600 Academic and Student Recreation Center

1800 SW Sixth Ave.


The School offers Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science in Social Work (B.S.) degrees. The BSW Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.  Two graduate degree programs are offered by the School of Social Work: a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree, which is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and a Ph.D. degree in Social Work and Social Research.

Degree Maps and Learning Outcomes

Admission requirements

Social Work B.S.W.


Social Work and Social Research Ph.D.

Social Work Courses

Admission requirements

Baccalaureate Social Work

Students must be admitted to the Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) program in order to complete the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree with a major in social work (B.A. or B.S.). Students are admitted as juniors (90 credits completed). Two cohorts will be admitted annually during spring term to start in the fall. One cohort will be admitted to our on campus Portland Program and a smaller cohort to our Hybrid Program (80% online). Information on both options can be found on the website listed below. Additional information and an application form can be obtained by calling 503-725-4712, by writing Portland State University, School of Social Work, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207, or by visiting the School’s Web site,

Applicants to the BSW program must have completed at least one: A) 4 credit 200 level course in psychology; B) 4 credit 200 level course in sociology; C) 4 credit 200 level course in human development. Applicants are also advised to take SW 301 Introduction to Social Work, since this course is designed in part to assist interested students in selecting social work as a profession. If applicants have not completed this requirement prior to admissions, they must take it once they are enrolled in the major.

The application packet must include an application form, questions for a brief personal essay, two reference forms and reference letters and unofficial transcripts from all colleges the student has attended. Students will be required to attend an on-campus orientation session prior to beginning their course of study. Orientation schedule information will be provided at the time of admission. Students must also read the BSW Program Handbook, which is available online at

Master of Social Work

Students are admitted once a year. Admission is selective; applications and all supporting materials must be submitted by the appropriate deadlines for consideration for admission in Summer or Fall terms. Early submission of application materials is encouraged. Further application information is available on-line through the school’s website at:

The M.S.W. program of the School of Social Work is open to qualified graduates from colleges and universities of recognized standing. Undergraduate preparation should include a broad background in liberal arts and sciences including natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Competence in written and spoken English is important for social work practice. Students whose native language is not English should include the scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Graduates of bachelor of social work (B.S.W.) programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may apply for advanced standing. Students who have completed up to one year of study toward the M.S.W. degree at another graduate school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may apply for admission and transfer of credits.

Students admitted to the master’s program are required to be in continuous enrollment unless an approved leave of absence has been granted. A student who withdraws from the School must reapply.

For the M.S.W.-M.P.H. dual degree, students must submit separate applications to each program (the School of Social Work and either the School of Community Health or the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, depending on the focus of study) and will need to meet the minimum requirements for each program. The MSW Program and the MPH Health Promotion track admit students in fall term, while the MPH Health Management and Policy track admits students every quarter. Additional guidelines for admissions for Social Work are at

It is possible to add a second program after beginning one program, if the student completes an application and is accepted by the second program during her/his first year in the entry program. Students must take classes in both programs at the same time for at least one term.

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work and Social Research

Applicants for admission must have a master’s degree in social work or a related field.  Applicants must have writing ability and the capacity for creative and independent work. At least two years of practice experience in social work or a related field is recommended. Students must apply to and be accepted into the doctoral program and be admitted to the University as a graduate student. As part of the admission procedure, students must furnish:

  • transcripts of undergraduate and graduate studies;
  • scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  • an example of scholarly writing;
  • names of three references, two of whom must be academic; 
  • a personal statement; and
  • a resume

Students whose native language is not English should include the scores of the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE-Academic exam scores. Application materials for the Ph.D. program are available through the school’s Web site at:

Application must be made by January 15; admission to the program is for the fall term only.


Three consecutive terms must be spent in full-time residence (9 credit hours or more) on campus. The minimum credit hour requirement for the Ph.D. is 90, of which at least 27 must be devoted to the dissertation. See the Portland State University general doctoral degree requirements.