Apply to the WWU master of social work program

Outlined below are several important steps. Each one is an important aspect of the application process.

1. Submit an application

Submit a graduate application and $75 application fee to the Office of Graduate Studies. 

  • Complete the online application and pay the fee with a credit card.
  • What is the difference between Advanced Standing and Regular Standing?
    • Advanced Standing: Must hold a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE accredited program with a graduation date within the past 5 years. A cumulative GPA of 3.0+ is also required. 6 quarters long.
    • Regular Standing:  Open to all majors with an accredited bachelor’s degree by the time your MSW program begins. The Regular Standing MSW program option is designed for students who do not have a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, or who do not meet the other admission requirements for the Advanced Standing program.

2. Send transcripts

Please send your official bachelor degree granting college, university and any graduate level transcripts electronically to or in their original sealed envelope to this address:

Walla Walla University 
Office of Graduate Studies
204 S. College Ave
College Place, WA 99324

3. Provide references


Three professional references are required. Professional references can be from professionals knowledgeable of your past or current work and volunteer experience. Members of your own family or personal friends are not acceptable references.

  • Advanced Standing applicants: A previous field placement supervisor is highly preferred as one of the three professional references. A faculty reference who can speak to your work at the field placement may be used if the supervisor cannot provide one.
  • Regular Standing applicants: An employment supervisor within the last 5 years is highly preferred as one of the three professional references. A faculty reference may be used if an employment supervisor cannot provide one.


4. Submit your resume

Submit a current resume with employment and volunteer experiences through your applicant portal.

5. Complete background check (MSW Students)


It is Walla Walla University’s Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology responsibility to ensure the highest level of integrity and safety for our clients, students, and community. Therefore, all MSW applicants to WWU must submit a criminal background screening before matriculation. A background screening is a review of past activities that might signify a potential risk for clients or others, including criminal behavior, that otherwise may exclude a student from eligibility for field placement or licensure after the conclusion of their academic career. This policy aims to ensure the safety of MSW students and the vulnerable clients they will serve during their time in field education.

Applicants should be aware that some criminal charges may impact future employment opportunities as established by RCW 43.43.830 and RCW 43.43.842. Applicants currently on probation for criminal charges will not be considered for acceptance until after probation requirements are satisfied.

Background Check Request is submitted during the application process through your applicant portal.


WWU will handle payment for your background check which is covered under your application fee.

6. Write an admission essay

The admission essay should provide a clear picture of who you are by addressing the two main areas with their stated components outlined below. 


Submit your essay through the applicant portal.

Statement of Purpose
Address the questions below in paragraph form (1 page).

  1. What motivates you to seek a Master of Social Work degree?
  2. Why is Walla Walla University a good fit for you personally and professionally?
  3. What career goals and experiences will contribute to your success as a graduate student and professional social worker? 
  4. What are your academic and practice interests?  
  5. What professional contributions do you hope to make to the field of social work?

Personal Statement
Address the four categories outlined below in paragraph form to support your application to the MSW program (2 pages).

  1. Characteristics that demonstrate potential in WWU MSW program:
    • Collaboration with others. 
    • Leadership ability.
    • Ability to empathize with others, especially those who are different from you.
    • Communication and language skills (oral, written, bilingual, etc.).
    • Awareness of personal biases and privileges.
    • Perseverance in overcoming obstacles (economic, discrimination, health, criminal justice, etc.).
  2.    Notable accomplishments that demonstrate your potential in the WWU MSW program:
    • Paid and/or practicum Social Work practice experience.
    • Professional paid experiences or military service.
    • Community involvement and voluntary service.
    • Educational accomplishments and areas of focused study.
  3.  Strengths and assets.  
  4. Areas needing improvement and/or areas of concern. Areas of concern include gaps in employment, involvement with criminal justice, GPA that does not meet minimum admission standards (3.0, Advance Standing; 2.75, Regular Standing), or any other special circumstances. If any of those circumstances exist, support your request to be conditionally admitted.

7. Social Problem Analysis

The ability to conceptualize and communicate effectively through writing is essential for success in graduate education. Your social problem analysis affords you the opportunity to demonstrate your professional writing abilities and critical thinking skills.

Social Problem Analysis. Analyze and address a social problem of significant concern with the assumption that you have available resources at your disposal.  Paper should be 2-3 pages and include references from credible sources in a citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, etc.) with which you are familiar. Social Work students will learn APA style in our program. Please address the five aspects outlined below with precision and thoughtfulness, integrating the headings with your professional writing style.

  1.  Identify and describe a social problem of significant concern:
    • Discuss what makes it a social problem.
    • Compare competing perspectives on the issue/problem.
    • Describe groups most impacted.
  2.  Discuss contributing and preventative factors:
    • Examine factors that contribute to and maintain the problem.
    • Evaluate prevention efforts to reduce or eliminate the problem.
  3.  Develop and critique solution(s) to the social problem.
    • Pay attention to challenges that may impact the proposed solution(s)
  4.  Explain why society should be concerned about this social problem.
    • Reflect on potential consequences/costs if ignored vs. benefits if addressed.
  5.  Describe the role you envision yourself playing as a social worker in addressing this social problem.

8. (optional) Ballmer Behavioral Health Scholarship application