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Admission to the MSW Program

Pillars on Redhill

The ISU MSW program prepares graduates for advanced clinical or forensic social work practice. Courses are held in the evening either in person or via Zoom.

Graduate Catalogue: http://coursecat.isu.edu/graduate/

Applicants with a BA in Social Work can be admitted with Advanced Standing and complete the MSW degree in one year. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in another field are admitted with Standard Admission and complete the MSW degree in two years. Part-time study (two or four years) is available for standard and advanced standing admission.

Admissions will be reviewed after the March 1st deadline. Applicants should not expect to hear back regarding admissions decisions until early April.

All applications are ranked using a standard rubric and admissions decisions are based on overall scores per the ranking rubric. Each application is evaluated by three members of the admissions committee and the score utilized to determine admissions standing is an average of the three reviews. 

General Admission Requirements to the MSW Program- Submit the following documents to the ISU Graduate School:

  • A personal statement: Applicants should submit a personal statement, up to three pages, that details their commitment to social work values, understanding of the social work profession and competent practice, sensitivity to cultural differences, and an explanation of how their previous education and experiences have motivated them to seek the MSW degree. Applicants are encouraged to share their rationale for seeking the MSW degree and how this will impact their career goals in the future. Applicants who are seeking advanced standing admission should clearly discuss their understanding of competent social work practice as articulated by CSWE. This personal statement is weighted at 40% of the scoring rubric. Please be mindful that we are evaluating your understanding of Social Work practice and values, your commitment to diversity, your motivation for obtaining an MSW, and your overall written communication skills. Please be sure to edit your statement for clarity of content, grammar, and style. 
  • Two letters of recommendation are required. A third letter is optional. Letters may be: 1) a letter of reference from a faculty member in the Social Science area; or 2) a letter of reference from either an undergraduate practicum instructor or supervisor for paid or volunteer work in social service agencies, or other professional references. Individuals who have not been in school for the past four years are not expected to have a letter of recommendation written by a former professor. Please note that the assessment of your skills and potential as described by the individuals who write these letters is utilized in the admissions ranking process. We advise you to discuss whether or not an individual is willing to write you a positive letter of recommendation prior to asking them to submit it on your behalf. Letters of recommendation comprise 25% of the scoring rubric. 
  • A current resume. Please ensure that your resume captures all of your human service work. Reviewers will look at your resume to get a sense of your experience in social work, social-work adjacent positions, and volunteer positions. The number of years of experience identified in your resume will be utilized in the admissions ranking process. Please note your resume is worth 10% of the scoring rubric. 
  • A criminal background check is no longer required as part of the admissions process. Students should be advised that a criminal background may create barriers to obtaining a license to practice social work and the rules and regulations regarding licensure for those with a criminal background vary by state. Please refer to the licensing board in the state where you plan to seek a license upon graduation to review state policies. Students may be required to obtain a background check when seeking practicum placement; if a student opts to seek a placement in a facility that requires background checks they will be required to do so. If a student does not wish to submit to a background check they will need to seek a practicum placement in a setting where one is not required. If a student's unwillingness to submit to a background check, or if a student's criminal background prohibits them from securing a practicum placement the student's progress in the program may be delayed and/or they may be dismissed from the MSW program.
  • The GRE/MAT requirement is waived for admission to the MSW. See the minimum GPA requirements listed below.
  • Additional points on the scoring rubric are awarded to Idaho State University graduates and Idaho Residents. 

Requirements for Advanced Standing Admission - One Year MSW Program With BSW Degree - Applicants must verify the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.3 or better for all Social Work courses. (GPA is 10% of the scoring rubric). 

Requirements for Standard Admission - Two Year MSW Program Without BSW Degree - Applicants must verify the following:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a college or university regionally accredited in the U.S. or equivalent from a school in another country with a minimum of 21 credits in social or behavioral sciences.
  • A grade of C or better in Human Biology with a Lab OR a General Psychology course, AND at least one introductory social or behavioral science course.
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • 30 hours of paid or volunteer experience in human services. See Volunteer Hours Confirmation for instructions on completing and submitting the volunteer hours confirmation form. Submit the completed form via email to msw@isu.edu

Application Process and Deadline:

  • Applications for admission must be submitted online to the Graduate School.
  • Official transcripts must be sent either in printed form or electronically from the institution(s) directly to the Graduate School; Students cannot mail their transcripts.
  • Applicants must include a $65 non-refundable processing fee with each application form.
  • The application deadline for Summer and Fall enrollment is March 1st, annually. There are no Spring admissions for the MSW program. 
  • Applications are reviewed after the March 1st deadline. All applications are reviewed by three members of the admissions committee and ranked using a scoring rubric. Each applicant is given a final score which is the average of all reviewers' independent scores. This final score is utilized for making admissions decisions. 
  • This is a competitive application process. The number of seats available in our program depends on multiple variables, including the number of students who have recently graduated, the number of full and part-time students currently enrolled, and the number of faculty currently teaching in our program. Thus, the number of students admitted in any given year may vary. 
  • Students should not expect to hear from ISU regarding admissions decisions until April. Please do not contact the department for admissions updates until after April 1st. 
  • The MSW program typically admits to capacity. Qualified applicants may be placed on the waitlist if the program is already full.  Applicants placed on the waiting list will be offered admission if available. 
  • If you have received a notification of admission to the MSW program, you will receive communication from the MSW program director regarding next steps. Incoming students will receive a new student welcome packet on April 15th, and orientation sessions will be held at the end of April and early May. Incoming students should not attempt to register for classes prior to attending these orientation sessions. Once you have attended orientation, you will be assigned an academic advisor. 

Note: The Master of Social Work Program does not grant academic credit for previous life experience, or any volunteer/paid work experience. Students with prior volunteer or social service work experience are encouraged to seek practicum placements that may offer different learning activities and opportunities for personal and professional growth.