important information
  • Great news for students admitted for the 2024-2025 academic year! You'll receive a $10,000 tuition waiver spread across your program. Individuals who qualify for Federal Work Study may be able to receive an additional $18,511 to put toward the cost of their education (payroll taxes apply). Check our Scholarships page for more funding options.
  • All application fees currently waived!
    • Now accepting online and on-campus MSW applications for Fall 2024! Apply by 6/30/24.
  • The MSW programs are open only to applicants residing within the United States.
  • The online MSW program option is for California residents only. Courses use a combined synchronous and asynchronous format. Practicum requirements are completed at minimum of one weekday each week in-person at approved sites (within 75 miles of student's residence).

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Admissions Criteria

General admissions information regarding the MSW can be obtained from the School of Behavioral Health Office of Admissions. However, applicants should direct requests for specific information about the MSW Program to the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology.

Admission requirements for all MSW options include the following:

  1. A four-year baccalaureate degree (or its equivalent) from an accredited college or university.
  2. The MSW curriculum is built on a liberal arts perspective. Individual applicants whose undergraduate degree does not reflect this perspective may be asked to enroll in additional courses.
  3. Applicants must submit an application, a personal statement, application fee, all college and/or university transcripts, and at least three letters of recommendation--preferably one of which is from an academic source and one from a work supervisor. All students who are working full-time must also submit a letter from their agency director acknowledging support in completing the practicum and educational requirements of the MSW program.
  4. Applicants must meet the minimum academic and professional compatibility criteria established by the program. These criteria include:
    • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or above (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants with lower grade point averages will be considered if the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester units) of non-field practica coursework shows significant improvement or if they have additional attributes that demonstrate preparedness and an appropriate fit for graduate social work education. Work and volunteer experiences must be verified by employer/supervisor statements on official agency stationery. Further consideration will also be given to individuals who provide evidence of additional graduate coursework, certifications, and/or training that illustrate preliminary preparation for a career in social work. Students who are admitted to the MSW Program with a cumulative GPA below 3.0 may be required to participate in individualized academic assessment and a targeted learning assistance program.
    • Demonstration, through the application and interview processes, of compatibility with the profession of social work, ability to develop and nurture interpersonal relationships, communication skills, self-awareness, professional comportment, critical thinking skills, fit with the mission and values of Loma Linda University and the Department of Social Work and Social Ecology, and the capacity to successfully complete the Master of Social Work curriculum.

Application Deadlines

The MSW program has a Priority Deadline, a Standard Deadline, and for Fall enrollment, rolling admissions following the Standard Deadline. If you miss our Standard Deadline for Fall enrollment, please contact us at 909-379-7572 or regarding our rolling admission options. The MSW curriculum is designed for Fall quarter enrollment, but other enrollment options are available in order to meet individual student needs. One such exception is made for Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) graduates enrolled in our MSW program with an Advanced Standing status. These students, already trained in generalist social work practice, begin their coursework during the summer quarter and then move directly into advanced MSW courses giving them the opportunity to graduate in 12 months.

Admissions Deadlines


Application Opens

Priority Deadline

Standard Deadline*

Summer 2024 Enrollment (Advanced Standing Only) August 15, 2023 November 15, 2023 January 15, 2024
Fall 2024 Enrollment (On-Campus and Online) August 15, 2023 November 15, 2023 February 15, 2024
Winter 2025 Enrollment (Online Only) April 15, 2024 - October 15, 2024

*We offer rolling admissions following our Standard Deadline. Please contact us at 909-379-7572 or regarding our rolling admission options.

Admissions FAQ

Application Process

Applications must be completed online and include an application fee. The online application process will require you to establish a username and password. Once established, select the "Social Work, MSW" link for the On-Campus MSW Program application, and the "Social Work, MSW (online)" link for the 3-Year Part-Time Online Program application.

Once your application is submitted, the School of Behavioral Health Office of Admissions informs all applicants when their files are complete or if additional information is required. The Department's Admissions Committee reviews all completed applicant files and then coordinates contacting all qualified candidates for admission interviews.

Once the above is complete, the Department's Admissions Committee forwards recommendations of regular or denied status to the Dean of the School of Behavioral Health for confirmation. All applicants are notified by the Dean's Office of their admissions status. Accepted applicants are required to use the University's Online Confirmation System to acknowledge their intention to enroll in the program. This final step helps to assure that registration documents are in order when students are ready to enroll in courses.

A description of Loma Linda University's admission policies can be found on the LLU Admission Policies and Information page.

Admissions Classifications

  • Regular Status: Granted to applicants who meet or exceed admission criteria.
  • Denied Status: Granted to applicants who do not meet admissions criteria.

Admissions Decision Making

Graduate social work education programs are accountable to the profession to prepare individuals for competent, compassionate, and ethical practice. This charge carries with it responsibility for what is known as "gate keeping," or the process of selecting, admitting, progressing, and graduating individuals who are suitable for participating in and advancing professional social work practice. In support of this view, the courts consider graduate professional education a privilege and not a constitutional or property right.

Admission into the MSW program is based upon an evaluation of an applicant's suitability for professional social work practice and their potential for successful completion of required coursework. As such, this screening includes an evaluation of an applicant's fit with social work values and her/his academic potential as measured through School of Behavioral Health and Department of Social Work and Social Ecology criteria for admission.

Non-Discrimination in Admissions

As representatives of the University, the School of Behavioral Health, Department of Social Work and Social Ecology, and the MSW Program, have expectations of students, faculty and staff in the areas of conduct and behavior while they are on campus or involved in Program, Department, School, or University activities. Following University policies, the School, Department, and Program do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, ethnic or national origin, or handicap. The enrollment of students in School programs is not conditioned on their political or sexual orientation; in these areas the School’s policy is directed towards conduct or disruptive behavior, not orientation. In support of this position we expect our students, faculty, and staff to demonstrate unwavering respect for the diversity of others and interact with integrity, never forgetting the standards that guide professional actions. Further, we expect all programs, through their faculty, to develop competent, compassionate, ethical professionals who possess the knowledge, skills and values necessary for a life dedicated to service to all those in need regardless of their lifestyles.

Transfer Credits

Transfer students who have taken courses in a MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may transfer up to 20 percent of the 78 units required for the MSW degree at Loma Linda University unless otherwise approved. Evaluation of all courses are conducted on a case by case basis where course outlines, transcripts, and course catalog entries are reviewed to assure adequate equivalency. The Academic Standards Committee evaluates these equivalencies. The 20 percent transfer of units is limited to credits that have not already been applied to a degree and for which a B (3.0) or better has been recorded. Note: The grades of courses transferred do not calculate into a student’s earned GPA acquired while matriculating through the program at Loma Linda University.

A maximum of 9 quarter units that have been previously applied to another master's degree may be accepted as transfer credits in the areas of research methods and statistics. Individuals wishing to transfer research methods and/or statistics courses must first pass the Program's competency examination(s) in these areas. Consideration is given to other course transfers on a case by case basis.

Professional (field) practica grades/credits are not typically transferable—review is made on a case-by-case basis. Consideration may be given if there is clear evidence that the student has met the practice competencies of the MSW program.

No academic credit is given for life experience and/or previous work experience for any part for the MSW Program (i.e., professional (field) practicum, courses in the professional foundation, or advanced curricula).

Deferred Enrollment

Once admitted, students may request up to one year of deferred enrollment. Contact the Dean of the School of Behavioral Health for additional guidance in this area.


A student who discontinues his/her studies in the MSW program must comply with University policies regarding re-entrance. As such, the University requires that he/she meet the entrance requirements effective at the time of re-entrance, unless a leave of absence was previously granted. Fees are required for re-entrance applications. Supplementary documents may also be required.

Change of Program or Degree

Students should refer to the University Catalog for information regarding transfer to a different degree program.

Concurrent Admission

Applicants may not be admitted to a School of Behavioral Health program while admitted to another program at this University or elsewhere. Combined-degree programs are exempt from this policy.

  • Non-Degree Status: The MSW program makes limited use of the non-degree status. This status is given to students who wish to enroll in graduate courses for personal or professional benefit but who are not seeking graduate degrees. Such applicants complete a special application form with the program. Non-degree students are permitted only 12 units of study. Individuals who have been denied admission are not eligible for consideration of non-degree status.
  • Audit: Requests for the auditing of courses are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Program Director in consultation with the course instructor. Students auditing a course are required to pay half the normal tuition and to agree to attend at least 80 percent of course lectures.

International Students

For admission policies, English competency requirements, and information pertaining to international students and exchange visitors (including visas and student aid), please refer to the University Catalog. Inquiries may also be forwarded to the University's Student Affairs Office and the International Student & Scholar Services office.

For more information, contact us at 909-379-7572 or

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Social Work (MSW Online or On-Campus)