MSW Admission Requirements

MSW Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for the Master of Social Work Program, applicants must:

    Meet general requirements for admission to Graduate Study at Humboldt State University.
    Meet admission requirements of HSU Department of Social Work.

The minimum requirements for admission to the Master of Social Work Program are as follows:

  •     Baccalaureate degree from an accredited higher education institution.
  •     GPA of 3.0 or better on a scale of 4.0 for the last 60 hours of course work.
  •     Liberal arts background demonstrated by having met the CSU general education requirements or a comparable course of study as an undergraduate. 
  •     Completion with a grade of “C” or better in Elementary Statistics (Math, Psychology or Sociology).*
  •     Completion with a grade of “C” or better in a course related to Native American Studies.*

Prerequisite coursework may be in progress during application process but students must prove successful completion prior to beginning MSW program. For more details and resources for meeting these prerequisites, please visit:

GRE: The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional and will be used in considering admissions for students whose GPA does not meet minimum requirements. International student applicants need to meet the criteria for "Classified" status for graduate students (See University Catalog for International Students).

Applicants who have an accredited Bachelor's degree in Social Work may apply to enter the "Advanced Year" of the Program (See Curriculum Plans for MSW Program). In order to qualify for admission in the Advanced Standing Program, an applicant needs to meet the above criteria and have completed their undergraduate social work degree in a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program with a GPA of 3.5 or better. Preference is for students who have completed their BASW in the past 5 years.

Criteria for Admission

The MSW Program Admissions Committee will admit those applicants whose files reflect the greatest potential for completing the master's level course of study and becoming effective social work practitioners. In the review of applications, we will seek evidence of an applicant's capacity to do graduate level work and to reason logically and think creatively. A successful applicant is expected to reflect attitudes that are congruent with basic social work values, respect for the dignity of all human beings, and a sense of social responsibility. We are interested in how an applicant will maintain the stamina, perseverance and emotional well-being to meet the demands of the program and the profession. It is important to show how you have grown from your experiences, and how what you have learned might impact your social work graduate studies. It is also important to demonstrate that the profession of social work is the right profession for you and that this program, with its unique focus and intent, is the best program for you.

Applications from international students are accepted provided they meet all admission requirements plus those established by the university for foreign students, including a minimum Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. The requirements include proof of financial support for the duration of the program.

In a competitive admission situation, applicants will be chosen not only on basic criteria, but also in comparison to other applicants. Meeting the basic criteria will not guarantee admission.

The following criteria will be used to rank and evaluate applicants for admission:

  •     Academic potential (based on GPA, academic history, reference letters, and personal statement).
  •     Ability to conceptualize and think critically (demonstrated in personal statement).
  •     Commitment to social work values and ideals (demonstrated in personal statement & reference letters).
  •     Ability to engage in positive helping relationships (demonstrated in reference letters).
  •     Life experience, especially with diverse groups (demonstrated in personal statement & reference letters, and other relevant experience).
  •     Relevant work and volunteer experience (demonstrated in work history).
  •     Quality of writing (demonstrated in personal statement).
  •     Personal qualities and readiness for graduate work (demonstrated by letters of reference and personal statement).
  •     Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is optional and will only be used if it is advantageous to your application.

Only COMPLETE applications will be reviewed. Those applications received after the deadline may be considered if space becomes available in the program.

Notification of Admission Decisions

Applications are reviewed by faculty who are a part of the admissions committee. Decisions are made by this committee and recommendations for admission are made to graduate admissions. Students will be notified of offers of admission from the department and university. Formal enrollment materials will come from the University and information about orientation and classes will come from the department. If you have questions about notification please feel free to contact us.

The program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Questions? Please call the MSW Administrative Support Assistant at (707) 826-4443.