M.S.W. Program

Admission Requirements

The school will admit those individuals with the greatest potential for completing the master's degree course of study and becoming effective social work practitioners. A successful applicant must present evidence of the capacity to do graduate-level work as reflected in past academic performance and human service practice experience. The school is committed to recruiting applicants who represent the diverse populations within Colorado and the region.

Regular Programs

(All except Advanced Standing and MSW/MPH)

The following are the minimum requirements for admission:

  • A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • 3.0 GPA (4.0 scale). Occasional exceptions may be made if applicant demonstrates ability to successfully complete graduate-level work, and these applicants may be admitted on a probationary basis.
  • Minimum of 400 hours of verifiable post-high school human service work and/or volunteer experience at the time of submission of the application.
  • Minimum of 18 credits of interdisciplinary liberal arts coursework, spanning social, behavioral and biological sciences.
    • Applicants must have completed at least one course in physical and biological sciences and mathematics (examples: biology, calculus, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, or statistics).
    • Applicants must have completed at least three courses in social sciences (examples: anthropology, economics, education, ethnic studies, gender studies, human development, international relations, political science, psychology, social work, or sociology).
    • An applicant must present a plan for completing any missing prerequisites in the above criteria before being considered for admission.
    • These courses may be taken at any accredited college, university, or community college; or by telecourse, by correspondence, by independent study, by CLEP (College-Level Examination Program), or online.
    • These courses must be successfully completed prior to the beginning of classes in order for you to begin the program.
  • Applications that are incorrect, incomplete, &/or have items missing at the deadline may not be included for admissions consideration.

International Applicants:

  • Applications from international students are accepted provided they meet all admission requirements plus those regulations established by the university for foreign students.
  • English proficiency requirements:
    • TOEFL - minimum score of 550 (paper test), 213 (computer-based test) or 80 (Internet)
    • IELTS - minimum score of 6.5
  • CSU’s INTO program offers comprehensive support services along with help with Academic English.
  • The requirements also include proof of financial backing for the duration of the program.

Advanced Standing Program

The advanced standing program is for applicants who have graduated from an accredited undergraduate social work program within the past 7 years. Advanced students begin our program by supplementing their BSW education with three courses, then go directly into Concentration.

The following are the minimum requirements for admission to the advanced standing program:

  • Four-year undergraduate degree in social work earned within the last 7 years from an accredited BSW program
  • 3.0 overall grade point average
  • 3.0 grade point average in social work courses

MSW/MPH Program

Regular 3-year program - all of the Regular Program requirements listed above plus the GRE.

Advanced Standing (2-year) program - all of the above Advanced Standing requirements plus the GRE.


The CSU MSW program may accept transfer students from other CSWE-accredited MSW programs. Please see our transfer policy (pdf) for information on the process, and the materials we will need from you in order to consider your transfer application. The first step is to apply to CSU’s Graduate School.

Once accepted into the program by the Graduate School you will also need to acquire the syllabus for each course you want to have considered for transfer and send those (separately from the application process) to the School of Social Work along with your letter of explanation of your transfer request. The Curriculum Committee will need to evaluate your courses for equivalency to courses within our MSW program to accurately determine where you would fit into the course schedule.

Most graduate programs suggest not transferring if possible, due to the added hurdles inherent to the process. Even though it is difficult and places extra burdens on the transfer student we make every effort to make this option available.

Please contact Timothy Frank at timothy.frank@colostate.edu with any questions about the transfer application process.

Criteria for Admission

Within the framework of the policies established by the university and the Graduate School, the School of Social Work will have the responsibility and authority for the recruitment, screening, selection, and admission of its students.

The School will admit those applicants with the greatest potential for completing the master’s level course of study and becoming effective social work practitioners. In its review of applications, the School seeks evidence of an applicant’s capacity to think critically, do graduate-level work, reason logically, and think creatively. A successful applicant is expected to reflect attitudes that are congruent with basic social work values, that are respectful of the dignity of all human beings, and that indicate a sense of social responsibility. Applicants must be able to meet the emotional requirements of the program and possess a capacity to develop positive interpersonal relationships.

The School is committed to drawing the student body from applicants with a demonstrated concern for social issues and the desire to work for the enhancement of life for all people, especially those groups devalued by society. A successful applicant must evidence a strong determination to acquire the competencies needed for effective advanced generalist practice within the context of community and possess a willingness to develop the abilities needed for contributing to practice and policy development and the knowledge base of the profession.

Criteria for Rating Applicants

  • Academic potential based on grade point average, writing and organizational skills, and ability to think critically
  • Demonstrated ability to enter into positive helping relationships
  • Life and practice experience, including volunteer and field experiences with varied client systems and devalued people from diverse populations
  • Commitment to social work/human services from an advanced generalist perspective
  • Adequate financial plan for education
  • Quality of recommendations by references

For additional information contact Timothy Frank at timothy.frank@colostate.edu.