Program description

The East Lansing campus is rich in resources, beautiful, and located near the state’s capital, giving our students extraordinary access to the policy debate and policy formation processes. The student population is active and diverse. There are over 500 student organizations on the East Lansing campus that emphasize a broad range of interests and issues, including racial/ethnic, gender and gender identity, religious, international, musical, academic interest area, political, social service, volunteer, professional organizations and professional fraternities and sororities, and recreational and athletic groups. Many groups sponsor social events, speakers, films, and cultural, recreational, and entertainment events. The cultures of many different nations are brought to campus through a variety of events and programs. This provides opportunities for students to improve cross-cultural communication skills and to learn about and experience cultures from different parts of the world, as well as the cultures of racial/ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities.

This supportive context gives the School of Social Work a special and valued role in the University and a broad network of connections to University administration and other departments. The 38-credit Advanced Standing Program (10-month full-time and 2-year part-time options) is available on the Michigan State University Campus in East Lansing. All MSW programs are fully accredited by CSWE. Both Clinical Practice and Organization and Community Leadership advanced concentrations are available. A joint MSW/JD degree program is also available on MSU’s main campus. This requires admission to the MSW Program and successful admission to the MSU College of Law. A joint MSW/MPH degree program is available to students throughout the state; this requires admission to the MSW Program and successful admission to the MSU Program in Public Health. In addition, several study abroad programs are offered.

Admissions process

The application deadline is January 10 of each year for all MSW programs. Detailed admissions information is available on our website at socialwork.msu.edu. The entire admissions process is completed online, and online applications open in September.

Specific requirements for admission:

  1. A bachelor’s in social work degree from a program accredited by the CSWE and granted within the last six years.
  2. A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.25 (on a 4.0-point scale) during the last 60 credits of undergraduate study.
  3. One official transcript sent directly from your degree-granting institution. If fewer than 60 credits, include transcripts from previous colleges and/or universities attended.
  4. Evidence of personal qualities considered important for the practice of social work.
  5. Evidence of strong academic writing skills.
  6. Prior academic work reflecting a liberal arts perspective that provides the basis of social work graduate education, including at least 19 semester credits in humanities and social and natural sciences.
  7. Three recommendation letters (one specifically from field practicum) and/or prior academic and work experience (paid and/or volunteer).
(Note: The GRE is not a requirement for admission into any of the MSW programs.)

Admission will be determined by a combination of factors including: grade point average, length and type of work and volunteer experience, letters of reference addressing the applicant’s academic and professional potential, writing ability, diversity, and assessment of the applicant’s commitment to social work and capacity for the profession.

Schedule of courses

Courses are offered during the day and/or evening, with 16 hours of field placement scheduled around class time during the 8–5/M–F work week. Advanced Standing students begin in the summer semester.

Field education

Students complete three semesters of field education (4 credits each fall and spring and 2 credits for summer) for a total of 600 field hours. Field education is conducted during the first year for full-time status and second year for part-time. Typically, students participate in field 16 hours per week for 15 weeks per semester (seven weeks during summer semester). Every attempt is made to locate field placements close to where students live or work. Employment-related field placements are not available for Advanced Standing students.


The School of Social Work, East Lansing, is located on the main campus of Michigan State University.