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. 

Two ways to submit your application:

  • Complete the online application and pay the fee with a credit card.
  • Print the PDF application and mail a check to Office of Graduate Studies, 204 S. College Ave., College Place, WA 99324.

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, including one from a former teacher or advisor. Also, references from persons acquainted with your past or current work or volunteer experience. Students with a BSW or other Human Services degree are required to submit one reference from a previous field instructor. Members of your own family or personal friends are not appropriate references.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that references are received in a timely manner. Sign the reference form if you wish to waive your right to review the reference. It is important for the person writing the reference and for the Admissions Committee to know the decision you have made regarding this right to review.

Submit the reference request form online, or download and print the reference form.  Sign the form giving your permission to complete the reference, and distribute them to the three individuals that you have selected as references. References must be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies by the person completing the form.

4. Submit your resume

Submit a current resume with employment and volunteer experiences to

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 to our clients, students and community. Therefore, all MSW applicants to WWU are required to submit a criminal background screening prior to matriculation. A background screening is a review of any 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 is an effort to ensure the safety of MSW students and the vulnerable clients they will serve during their practicum experience. 

Order your background check > 

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. It should be 2-3 double-spaced pages in 12-point font. Consider integrating effective headings and subheadings.

Submit your essay using the  graduate studies admission essay form >

Statement of Purpose
Succinctly address the questions asked below (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
Describe and discuss the four categories outlined below 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.

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