Application Instructions

Important Dates

Applications open: September 1, 2022 for the 2023 academic year

Early bird deadline: December 6, 2022

Final deadline: February 7, 2023

Applications are reviewed and applicants are notified in a rolling process. We encourage applicants to submit the application and all supporting documents at the earliest date possible after September 1.

The instructions on this page can be downloaded as a pdf and you can also download and print this checklist to make sure you submit all the required pieces.

Begin the Application

Log in to Select “start new application” and follow the menu to fill out the application step by step.

Personal Background

  • Enter personal information.

Personal Background - Continued

  • Enter citizenship status, residency information, biographical info, gender/pronouns,

Other Information

  • Select semester to enroll
    • Regular start Fall 2023
    • Advanced Standing Start Summer 2023
  • Select Major Preference
    • Clinical Social Work (MSW) (Masters)
    • Clinical Social Work – Advanced Standing (Masters)
    • Organization and Community Leadership (MSW) (Masters)
    • Organization and Community Leadership – Advanced Standing Masters (Masters)
  • Answer Financial Aid questions
  • Answer Communication questions
  • Upload Applicant statement as "academic statement"
  • See applicant statement and personal statement instructions below
  • Upload Personal Statement (optional - see details below)
  • If relevant, provide Covid 19 statement. Enter N/A if not applicable.
  • Answer Conduct Questions

Academic History

  • Add your institution and fill out form
  • You will add your GPA here

Test Scores

  • We do not require GRE Leave this section blank.


  • Add employment information


  • Volunteering or professional affiliations


  • Add three recommender's. On the form you will provide the name and information of your recommender, then answer a series of questions.
  • Recommender's should be from a professional, academic, and/or volunteer setting. They should not be personal references such as a family friend or a therapist.
  • Advanced Standing applicants must have one recommender from a field practicum supervisor. If that is not possible, you will be asked to briefly explain why in the online application.

Clinical Social Work – Department Questions

  • Select Area of Interest
    • East Lansing Full Time
    • East Lansing Part Time
    • Flint Full Time
    • Flint Part Time
    • Weekend
    • Statewide Blended Regular Part-Time
    • Statewide Blended Advanced Standing Part-Time
    • Statewide Blended Advanced Standing Full-Time
  • Select Certificate Interest (if any)
  • Answer department question
    • If you are applying to a joint degree, select one. (PLEASE NOTE: You must apply and be accepted into the Law School or the School of Public Health separately)
    • For Advanced Standing applicants, if you are not able to get at least one letter of recommendation from a previous field practicum supervisor or from someone at your undergraduate field office, briefly explain why.
    • For Regular MSW applicants, if your undergrad GPA is below a 3.0, briefly explain the circumstances and why you believe you are now able to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in a graduate program.
  • Make sure all information is entered, and materials uploaded before submitting your application. Once all items are completed, submit and pay the application fee.


Request that an official copy of your transcript is sent via email to or mailed to:

Graduate Programs
School of Social Work
655 Auditorium Road
239 Baker Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

An official copy is one that is generated by the institution and submitted in a sealed envelope by the institution. Transcripts submitted by the applicant will not be accepted. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree from MSU (or who are expecting one by May) must upload an unofficial transcript through the student portal.

Applicant and Personal Statement Instructions

As part of your application, you must include an applicant statement. The personal statement is optional.

The Applicant Statement is uploaded to your online application in the “academic statement” section.

Applicant Statement

You are expected to organize your applicant statement into a cohesive essay, rather than a list of discrete answers to the questions posed. In other words, you should use the questions to guide your statement but organize it like an essay or paper. The applicant statement is a critical part of the application: We will assess your ability to address the questions, as well as your writing skills, and fit with our MSW program. Your statement should be double-spaced, 12 pt font, and a maximum of 5 pages long. If you choose to reference scholarly or other sources, be sure to cite appropriately using APA format. A reference page will not count to the 5-page page limit.

The NASW Code of Ethics is a guide for professional social work conduct. The principles outlined in the Code address our ethical responsibility to clients, colleagues, employers, the social work profession, and to society. These include the core values in which our mission is rooted: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.

After reviewing the Code of Ethics:

  • Discuss a current societal problem that drew you to social work. Choose one of the core values and discuss how it relates to this problem and your goals as a social work professional? What skills and knowledge do you plan to obtain from the MSU MSW program to help you develop this core value and address the problem?
  • Describe how your personal and intellectual qualifications and past human service experience are relevant to furthering social justice and assisting the most economically and social disadvantaged groups in our society as a whole. Discuss a core value that you have demonstrated through these experiences. Please use specific examples.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is an opportunity to share any additional information that you think we should consider as we review your application that does not fit within the applicant statement as outlined above.  Examples may include the circumstances behind a low undergraduate GPA; reasons for a career change if you are new to social work; unique experiences, skills, or perspectives you bring that contribute to the diversity of the program, etc. If you choose to include a personal statement, it should be no more than 1 page and uploaded to the “personal statement” section of the online application.

Uploading Additional Documents

The School of Social Work requires additional documents that you will need to upload once you have submitted your application. After you have submitted your application, log back into You will be able to see the status of your application, including whether letters of recommendation and transcripts have been received. There is also a section titled “Upload Materials”. Use this section to upload the materials listed below. Use the pull down menu to identify these documents as “certification”.

The Statewide Blended and Weekend programs have requirements regarding how far you live from various campus sites. In addition, because of the unique blend of online and face-to-face instruction, we want to ensure that applicants have access to appropriate technology. By completing these forms, you confirm this information.

International Applicants

International applicants must complete all parts of the application detailed above. The MSU Graduate School website has useful information and the Office for International Students and Scholars is a great resource for application and Visa information.

If you are an international applicant, you must also provide the following information.

Official Transcripts

Due to the circumstances of COVID-19, there are temporary rules in place for official transcripts. If you are unable to request an official transcript, please visit our Graduate School website to learn how you can still apply to our program.

Emailed transcripts will not be accepted for international applicants. You must request official hard copies of your transcripts – as soon as possible – from all of your previous University coursework.

Official means, signed, sealed and delivered by your academic university to the School of Social Work.

Transcripts must show courses taken and grades earned, and must be translated into English if the original records are in another language. If a document is translated, it should be certified as accurate and correct by an appropriate public or school official, or sponsoring agency or government.

Emailed transcripts will not be accepted for international applicants.

In addition, if you are pursuing or have earned degrees from universities in China, the Office of Admissions requires you to submit not only transcripts and graduation certificates from China, but also verification of these documents from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) in English. All documents should be sent to:

Graduate Programs – School of Social Work
655 Auditorium Road, Office 239 Baker Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

Passport (International applicants only)

You must upload a photocopy of your passport in the student portal.

English proficiency examinations

International applicants are required to submit TOEFL, Duolingo English Test, IELTS Indicator, or TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition scores. The Testing center must electronically submit your scores directly to the Office of Admissions. Scores submitted by you will not be considered official.  The Michigan State University code is 1465.

In order to be admitted, you must meet minimum scores as detailed at

Affidavit of Support

In order to comply with U.S. Government regulations, you must complete the Affidavit of Support, which can be found under Financial Proof at Final admission cannot be granted until the Office of Admissions is satisfied that all documents are complete and correct.

The deadline for submitting your application is January 10, however, government or agency-sponsored international students may have additional or other applications to complete with their own deadlines.