The BSW program at PLU has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1975. This offers students a curriculum that is up-to-date, passes national review, and allows students with excellent grades to apply for advanced-standing, one-year MSW programs nationwide.


Reputation and Community Support

PLU’s Social Work program is held in high regard by graduate programs and the local community. A BSW graduate said he was attracted to PLU because of “the school’s strong reputation for providing a well-grounded education with a focus on ethics. The Social Work program seemed to keep a good balance between academics and workplace skills.”

An advisory council comprised of local social workers guides and strengthens PLU’s social work program. Human services professionals are invited to participate in senior case presentations, offering their feedback to students.

Social Work Program Application Process

Admission to the Social Work major is selective and there is a separate application for admission to the Social Work Program. For general information about admissions to PLU, visit the PLU Admissions Home Page.

Strong Field Program

During their senior year, students will complete a minimum of 400 hours of field practicum. Students choose a local social service agency that offers the supervision of an experienced and approved social worker. This provides students with the opportunity to integrate classroom learning with hands on work with clients who benefit from the help provided.

Global Emphasis

The social work curriculum is infused with content on other cultures both in this country and abroad. Students have opportunities for study abroad as well as field learning in other countries. PLU’s Pacific Rim location and Tacoma’s diverse community afford students an opportunity to experience cultures different from their own on a daily basis.

Faculty-Student Ratio

Small class sizes mean students and faculty have many opportunities for interaction. Faculty work to create a learning environment where students learn from one another as well as from professors and social workers from the community.

Criteria for Admission

To be considered for the major in Social Work applicants must:
  1. Be admitted to the University. Transfer students can obtain an application to the University by contacting the Admissions Office. (253-535-7151)
  2. Submit a current copy (official or unofficial) of all transcripts of your undergraduate work.
  3. Have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA.
  4. Have completed at least 40 college level semester hours by the time an application is submitted.
  5. Have completed for credit or be currently enrolled in the following courses or their equivalent: Writing 101, Psychology 101, Introduction to Psychology, Sociology 101 Introduction to Sociology, Cultural Anthropology*, and Human Biology* [only a C or better will be accepted in these classes.] In addition, applicants must fulfill Pacific Lutheran University’s Math Entrance Requirement.
  6. Complete and submit all application materials.

(*May be completed during first term in the Social Work Program.)

Other factors considered in the admission decision include the following:
  1. The applicant’s personal biographical statement describing the development and interest in social work, relevant employment and/or volunteer experiences, special interests and abilities in social work, and career objectives.
  2. The applicant’s two (2) letters of recommendation.
  3. The applicant’s completion of the Academic Contract.
  4. The applicant’s completion of the Personal Disclosure Statement.
  5. The applicant’s completion of the Washington State Patrol Criminal History Record Form.

Social Work Application 2018-2019