Apply to the MSW Program

Available: September 1; Deadline: January 10

Application instructions:

International applicants must review the additional requirements on the International Admissions page.

  • Step 1: Start your application

    • On the Other Information page, in the Major Preference dropdown, select the code for one of the following program options:
      • Regular: 4493 (Clinical) or 7724 (OCL)
        • Regular programs all start Fall semester except Statewide Blended which starts Summer semester.
      • Advanced Standing: 4502 (Clinical) or 7723 (OCL)
        • All Advanced Standing programs start Summer semester
    • Please note that the code 4746 is intended for applications to our PhD program and should not be used for any MSW applications.
    • To secure a spot in our MSW program, it is critical to select the correct semester and Major Code during this step. No MSW programs begin in the Spring semester.
  • Step 2: Save your application

    • For questions requiring short answers, please limit your response to approximately 300 words and 600 words each for the personal and academic statements
    • After saving, you will receive your Applicant ID by email from the Office of Admissions; use this, along with the password you created, to access your saved application
    • Prior to submitting your application, you may save and revise it as often as you wish.
    • Once you have submitted your application and paid the fee, you will no longer be able to edit your application.
  • Step 3: Log in to the account portal

    • The account portal is where you upload files, request recommenders, and view your application status
    • There is no way to access your application from the account portal; you must visit the separate application site
  • Step 4: Complete and upload the following files in the account portal:

    • Resume
    • Liberal Arts Form
    • Criminal Background Statement of Understanding (All applicants must submit this form but if you answered Yes regarding criminal offense history or academic dishonesty, also upload a letter of explanation as a Supplemental Application)
    • Read about how the School of Social Work handles applicants with a criminal offense history
      The School of Social Work closely reviews applicants’ criminal history during the admissions process. The School’s policy on criminal history is rooted in the strengths perspective and begins with a belief that an applicant will not commit further offenses. This is balanced by the School’s recognition of the social work education role of gatekeeping, and the school seeks to protect current and future clients from possible harm. Criminal background answers may affect a student's ability to be placed in a field agency, or to receive licensure from the State of Michigan. The Michigan Board of Social Work in the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs reviews applications for licensure and makes determinations of moral fitness. Before beginning the MSW program at MSU, applicants with concerns about licensure may reach out to the Michigan Board of Social Work to seek clarification regarding the policy and pre-certification of moral fitness.
    • Statewide Blended Regular Program applicants only: Regular Additional Requirements Form (upload as a Supplemental Application)
    • Statewide Blended Advanced Standing applicants only: Advanced Standing Additional Requirements Form (upload as a Supplemental Application)
    • You do not need to upload your Personal Statement or Academic Statement, since you already entered these directly into your application
  • Step 5: Request three letters of recommendation

    • In the Letters of Recommendation section of the account portal, click Register Recommender and follow the instructions
    • Download the letter of recommendation instructions and share with each of your three recommenders
    • Your recommenders must follow the instructions they are sent; hard copies of letters will not be accepted
    • All letters of recommendation should be from a professional standpoint reflecting prior academic or work experience (paid or volunteer). Advanced Standing applicants must have one letter coming from their prior field practicum supervisor.
  • Step 6: Request an official copy of your transcripts, if required

    • An 'official copy' is one that is generated by the institution, placed in a sealed envelope and submitted by the institution; unofficial copies submitted by the applicant will not be accepted
    • If you have earned 60+ credits from MSU, your transcripts are not required
    • If you received less than 60 credits from your degree-granting institution (MSU or otherwise), an official copy of your transcripts from previous institution(s) must be submitted to account for your last 60 credits
    • If your degree-granting institution is located in China, verification of your transcripts from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) must also be sent
    • Official transcripts should be emailed to, or mailed to:
    • Graduate Programs
      School of Social Work
      655 Auditorium Road
      239 Baker Hall
      East Lansing, MI 48824

  • Step 7: Submit your application and pay the $65 (domestic students) or $75 (international students) application fee

  • Step 8: Log in to the account portal regularly to view your application status and read any application-related e-messages