Application Process

Applications open: September 1, 2021 for the 2022 academic year

Early bird deadline: December 6, 2021

Advanced Standing deadline: January 10, 2022

Final deadline: February 7, 2022

The graduate application process is changing to a new system during Summer 2021. Please do not start your application prior to September 1, 2021 as it may not transfer to the new system.

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.

To complete the application process you need to complete the following. Click on the link for each item for more information as well as tips for putting together a strong application. We also recommend that you download the PDF with complete instructions and that you download and print this checklist to make sure you submit all the required pieces.

  1. Complete a domestic student online application or an international student online application (links will be available when the application process is open). See our Online Application Instructions for more information.
  2. Request an official copy of your transcripts be 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. Unofficial transcripts submitted by the applicant will not be accepted. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree from MSU (or who are expecting one by May) do not need to submit transcripts.
  3. Complete the following through the graduate education student portal.
    • Upload your Applicant Statement as a Statement of purpose/intent.
      +Applicant Statement instructions

      This statement must be submitted with your application for admission. Please upload to the graduate education student portal as a “Statement of purpose/intent”.

      You are expected to organize your personal 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 personal statement but organize it like an essay or paper. The personal 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 you that you have demonstrated through these experiences. Please use specific examples.
    • Register three recommenders (from a professional, academic, and/or volunteer setting).
      • Advanced Standing applicants must have one recommendation from a field practicum supervisor. If for some reason that is not possible, you will be asked to briefly explain why in the online application.
    • Complete the Criminal Background Statement of Understanding and upload. In addition, all applicants to the University must answer a question regarding criminal conduct and academic dishonesty as part of the application process. Students who are admitted to the University may also be required to undergo a criminal background check related to study in a particular field, licensing requirements, or internship placements.
    • Complete the Liberal Arts Form and upload.
    • Upload your résumé.
    • Read the NASW Code of Ethics, complete the Code of Ethics Agreement Form, and upload as a Supplemental Application.
    • For Statewide Blended Regular applicants, upload the Regular Additional Requirements Form as a Supplemental Application.
    • For Statewide Blended Advanced Standing applicants, upload the Advanced Standing Additional Requirements Form as a Supplemental Application.
    • For Weekend applicants, upload the Weekend Additional Requirements Form.
  4. International applicants: review the additional requirements on the International Admissions page.
  5. Pay your $65 application fee. (NOTE: Once you have paid the fee and submitted your application you will not be able to make changes).
  6. Log in to the student portal regularly to view your application status and respond to any messages in the E-Message Center.

    Communication about your application will be made through the student portal. Make sure notifications from the portal are not going to your Spam and log in to the portal regularly.

    You are responsible for making sure all information is complete and required documents are uploaded in a timely manner.

Instructional Videos for the Application Process

We have created a series of instructional videos to help you navigate the application process.

Screenshot of beginning of our MSW Application Instructional Videos