Master of Social Work


Fall 2024 admissions is open for students who qualify for Advanced Standing only.  Admissions for traditional two-year students and the second cohort of Advanced Standing students will open in November 2024 for Fall 2025 Admissions.

Admission Requirements

The application requires the submission of transcripts, a personal statement, an essay response to a social issue prompt, and two recommendations. Required criteria include:

  • An earned a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association.
  • A preferred minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale over the last 60 semester credits (90 quarter credits) of the undergraduate degree. Applicants have an opportunity to provide a description of any extenuating circumstances in their academic history that may be taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee.
Advanced Standing
  • Students who have earned a baccalaureate social work degree within the last 10 years may apply for Advanced Standing. Advanced standing is awarded to students who have earned a baccalaureate social work (BSW) degree and who meet additional criteria for eligibility.
  • To be eligible for Advanced Standing students must have graduated from a U.S. baccalaureate program in social work or social welfare accredited by the CSWE or a Canadian bachelor’s level social work program accredited by CASSW (CASWE). No exceptions can be made.  Professional experience or related degrees do not qualify. Students who have a baccalaureate degree from a social work program outside of the U.S. may have their degree evaluated by the International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service through CSWE and may apply for Advanced Standing if the degree is determined to be consistent with CSWE requirements.
  • Advanced Standing applicants will have earned preferred minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale overall in undergraduate BSW courses. Applicants can provide a description of any extenuating circumstances in their academic history that may be taken into consideration by the Admissions Committee if their GPA falls below this level.
  • A supplemental essay is required for Advanced Standing applicants to demonstrate achievement of CSWE social work competencies.
  • Advanced Standing applicants who graduated more than 10 years before applying can appeal for an extension if they demonstrate continued professional growth through social work experience, professional training, leadership, and advancement in the social work field.
Admissions Essays

The purpose of the comprehensive essay questions is to assess applicants’ academic experience, personal experiences, and personal and professional goals. These questions aim to provide insightful and reflective responses, allowing the admissions committee to gain a deeper understanding of each candidate’s unique qualities, motivations, and overall fit with the Master of Social Work program at Heritage University.

Personal Statement: (500-750 words)

How has your personal background shaped your perspective and prepared you to become a master’s level social worker?

Please include:

  • How your professional aspirations align with the MSW Program Mission.
  • The skills, professional work, and/or lived experiences that will contribute to the field of social work.
  • The values or characteristics you hold that will enhance your ability to practice social work.
Commitment to School-Based Practicum: (Yes/No)

Will you commit to a school-based practicum placement at least two days per week for the duration of the MSW program?

(This question assesses the applicant’s fit for one of the seats allocated to achieve goals for the Department of Education grant.)

Advanced Standing Applicants Only: (500-750 words)

Please describe a specific social work challenge or social issue that you encounter in your professional experience. Next, explain how you utilize the social work competencies to address the challenge or issue.

CSWE Competencies can be found in the Council on Social Work Education 2022 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards.

Program Curriculum

Students in the traditional MSW Program complete two years of coursework (both blue and yellow).  Students with Advanced Standing begin in Semester 3 and take only the final three semesters (yellow only).

The MSW Program at Heritage University is designed to fit into a busy professional schedule.  Classes will be held in a hybrid format with online work as well as in-person classes on the Toppenish campus held on seven (7) Saturdays from 8am-5:00pm each semester. Class sizes range from 12 to 25 students with personalized attention and support.  This format allows students to experience the best features of in-person learning with the added flexibility of hybrid learning.


While the Council on Social Work Education considers the MSW Program at Heritage University to be an online program because more than 50% of the content is delivered online, it is more accurately described as a hybrid program.  Online content and coursework will be required each week, and classes will meet seven Saturdays a semester on the Toppenish campus for in-person learning.  Saturday sessions are required.

You will have three classes and a practicum seminar meeting each of the seven Saturdays. Classes will usually begin at 8:30am and last for 90 minutes each.  A lunch break will be provided that can be used for study time, group project work, individual advising, or traveling to Toppenish or Wapato for lunch.  We aim to finish classes by 4:30pm on each of the Saturdays we meet in person.

Students in the traditional two-year program complete 900 hours of practicum over four semesters.  Students with Advanced Standing complete 500 hours over two semesters.  Students should plan to complete two days per week in their practicum placements.  Work-based practicum is possible if it meets the criteria described in the Practicum Manual.  The Practicum Director ensures that student learning goals are considered when placements are made. 

Advanced Standing applications are open to candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program within the last 10 years and complete the supplemental essay to demonstrate sufficiency in the social work competencies. Due to accreditation requirements, no other degree or work experience can substitute for a bachelor’s degree in social work.

Educational Service District 105 (ESD 105) and Heritage University have a grant-funded partnership to implement the Yakima Grow Your Own Consortium to offer a Master in Social Work program focused on school-based social work and mental health. School districts partnering with ESD 105 to host internships include Union Gap, Wapato, Toppenish, Mt. Adams, Granger, Yakama Nation Tribal School, Mabton, Grandview, Royal and Wahluke. Students who commit to a practicum placement in these districts will be prioritized for admissions and will be eligible for partial scholarship funding.

Our first cohort, an Advanced Standing only group, will begin in August 2024.  There will be a week-long orientation process to refresh students on the social work competencies, prepare for practicum placements, and learn about the program structure and expectations.  Classes will begin on August 19th, with first Saturday class held on August 24th.

Contact Us

MSW Program