Frequently asked questions

Please refer also to ASU Graduate Admission FAQs about your graduate application at:

Application Process

  • The MSW Advanced Standing program begins during the Summer semester. (The Advanced Standing MSW is for students who have received a BSW degree within the last six years prior to the date of admission).
  • The campus-based Standard MSW program including MSW Sync starts every year at the beginning of the Fall semester.
  • There are two start dates for the MSW Online program each academic year: Fall Session A and Spring Session A.

ASU Academic Calendar:

  • The Advanced Standing MSW Program application deadline is February 1st. All supplemental application materials (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be received by the ASU School of Social Work by February 15th.
  • The Fall campus-based Standard MSW program and MSW Sync program application deadline is June 1st.  All supplemental application materials (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be received by the ASU School of Social Work by June 15th.
  • The Fall MSW Online program application deadline is June 1st. All supplemental application materials (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be received by the ASU School of Social Work by June 15th. 
  • The Spring MSW Online program application deadline is November 1st. All supplemental application materials (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be received by the ASU School of Social Work by November 15th.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the Standard MSW program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution and meet all other admission requirements.

All required admission materials are submitted directly to Graduate Education at

If you have any questions about the Online MSW program, application, or admission requirements, please reach out

If you have any questions about the Standard MSW program (at any campus), application, or admission requirements, please reach out to: or

Prospective Students are also encouraged to attend an MSW info session where valuable content is shared regarding the MSW program, admission requirements, internships, and more. You may register to attend an upcoming session here:  

You can login to your MyASU account to check the status of your application and to see what supplemental materials that you might still need to provide.  If you are having issues logging in to your MyASU account, please call the ASU Help Desk at 1-855-278-5080.

Graduate Application Fee

The application fee is dedicated to the administrative cost of processing all applications received.

The application fee is not refundable under any circumstance, regardless of the outcome, the date of filing, time of review, or if for whatever the reason, the application is withdrawn or you are unable to enroll for a class.

When you complete your application for admission, you will be asked to submit your payment for the application. ASU accepts Visa or Mastercard.

GPA Requirements

Applicants are eligible to apply to the Advanced Standing MSW if they have a 3.20 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of a CSWE accredited Social Work, BSW program.


Competitive applicants for the Standard MSW typically have a “B” (3.00 on a 4.00 scale) grade point average in the last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate coursework. If you do not meet the minimum GPA requirements, admission will still be considered using each component of your application, including professional and academic background.


While official transcripts are required if admitted, students can submit unofficial transcripts with their initial application. MSW applications can be considered and reviewed with unofficial copies. If admitted, students are then required to submit official copies prior to starting their program.

Note: If unofficial transcripts are not uploaded at the time of your application, official transcripts will be required to be submitted before your application will move forward for review. 

After being admitted, you must have one set of official transcripts from every college and university from which you earned a bachelor’s degree or higher sent to ASU. ASU accepts official transcripts that are original academic credentials issued by the registrar of the institution attended, bearing the original raised or colored seal of the institution and the signature of your institution's registrar, academic official, or recognized international organization. More information on how to submit your official transcripts can be found here:

Please do not submit your transcripts prior to submitting your application.

First, ensure that the name of your college/university is listed correctly. Then, please contact ASU Graduate Admission Services with your application reference number to inquire further.

If you have a different name on your undergraduate transcripts than you do on your MSW application (for example, your maiden name), you may need to contact ASU Graduate Admission Services to have your transcripts attached to your application.


All international transcripts must be submitted in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Translations must be literal, complete versions of the originals and must be translated by a university, government official or official translation service. You may not complete your own translation.

For further information regarding international transcripts, please visit:

Graduate Test Scores

Test scores from either the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) are not required for admission.

Official test scores (such as GRE, GMAT, etc.) are not required for admission to the MSW program. However, if an applicant would like to submit test scores, they need to be sent directly to ASU. Test scores must be received directly from the agency administering the test. Photocopies and faxes are not acceptable.

Program-Specific Admission Essay 

Your essay will be used to evaluate your knowledge of your career choice, your commitment to the social work profession, and your understanding of and commitment to the mission of the ASU School of Social Work. In addition, your essay will be used to assess your written communication abilities. When formulating your essay please use the guideline statements listed below as paragraph headings. In order for the admission committee to appropriately review your essay, it is necessary for you to address all five of the following guideline statements:

Essay Questions (4-6 Pages Required)

  1. Describe your experience, background and/or relationships that have influenced your selection of social work as your professional career (family, education, employment, diversity experience, volunteer involvements, and personal characteristics, etc.).  Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education, what motivated you to persist, and how you overcame them.
  2. Describe your understanding of the responsibilities of the social work profession and specifically the role and responsibilities that you wish to be able to assume as a professional social worker. How have you incorporated social work values in your human service experiences and interactions with others?
  3. Describe your reason for selecting ASU, your thoughts on the School of Social Work’s Mission Statement and how it will contribute to your short- and long-term career goals. The Mission Statement can be found on our website here:
  4. The ASU School of Social Work is committed to social justice and the dignity and worth of all individuals. Social workers must maintain a commitment to equity by fighting to eradicate racism and all forms of injustice. What is your understanding of social justice and its role in social work, and how will you work to address the inadequacies of our social systems in combating racism?
  5. The School of Social Work MSW programs require the completion of professional Field Practicum. Students must complete 960 hours (two internships) in the Standard MSW program or 480 hours (one internship) in the Advanced Standing MSW program. Internship equates to approximately 16 hours per week in each semester. Because the internship is such a significant component of the program, please detail your plan for managing the rigorous demands of coursework and internship along with your other obligations. 


Your essay should be four to six pages typewritten and double spaced. Format your essay using a twelve-inch font and one-inch margins. You can also download the essay template which will have more information regarding formatting. 

Professional Resume

Your professional resume should include an overview of your background and qualifications and should communicate the most important, relevant information about your professional and volunteer experience, education, and skills.

If you are a current or former ASU student, you can utilize ASU’s Career and Professional Development Services for resume writing assistance. For more information about services offered please visit:


You will be prompted on the Graduate College application to provide the name and e-mail addresses of at least three individuals that you would like to use as a reference. A combination of both academic and professional references are required. References from friends, family members or personal therapists will cause the application to be automatically denied. If you have a BSW degree, it is required that at least one of the academic or professional references be from your BSW field instructor. If you are employed in a social work-related job it is also highly encouraged at least one letter come from your supervisor. If you have work history with multiple employers, it is ideal to obtain a reference from each previous employer, if possible.

After you have submitted your application, the individuals identified to complete your recommendations will be sent an email from ASU within 24 to 48 hours. In this email, they will be given a recommendation form with specific questions and prompts for them to answer. Once they have completed the form they will submit the letter at which time it will be added to your application.

Yes, you will be able to track your application progress in your MyASU portal once the application has been submitted. This will include information regarding what is still needed for your application to be complete. In your MyASU portal, there is also an option to manage your recommenders. This is where you will be able to see what letters have been submitted. It’s important to continuously monitor your MyASU portal to ensure all materials are completed prior to the deadline.

Social Work or Human Services Experience

Applicants should have at least 240 hours of social work or human service experience within the last 5 years. This can include a mix of paid and unpaid jobs, including volunteer work, internships or service corps participation. This experience should involve direct work with people in the community or organizations, and can be in the broad areas of social service, education, health care, legal system, policy or community organizing and advocacy. Here is the Record of Social Work or Human Services Experience form

The following are examples of just some of the activities which fulfill the social work or human services experience requirement:

  • Social Services (i.e. case manager, child protection worker, children’s advocate, home visitor, homeless shelter volunteer, hotline volunteer, job coach, mental health provider, nursing home volunteer, personal care assistant, program manager, refugee coordinator, religious organization volunteer, volunteer coordinator, youth mentor)
  • Health Care (i.e. community health worker, emergency room volunteer, health educator, hospice volunteer, nurse’s aid, patient advocate)
  • Education and Child Care (i.e. teacher of any level, aide, tutor, childcare provider, special education assistant, after school program worker, camp counselor, religious group leader)
  • Legal System (i.e. corrections worker, court appointed advocate, legal advocate, public safety worker)
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy  (i.e. community development volunteer, constituent services, neighborhood center worker, policy advocate, youth organizer) 

 Some examples which do NOT fulfill the human services requirement: 

  • Administrative Assistant or Office Manager
  • Animal Shelter Volunteer
  • Babysitter or Nanny
  • Data Entry or Accounting
  • Fundraising Volunteer
  • Preparing Food Boxes or Stocking a Food Pantry
  • Research that does not include interactions with people
  • Restaurant work
  • Retail

Yes, per School of Social Work policy, students are expected to follow the plan of study corresponding to their semester of admission and full-time part-time status. Programs of study can be found through the MSW Application Procedures/Materials page under curriculum documents.

All ASU social work degrees are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and then eligible for state licensure through the Association of Social Work Board (ASWB). All MSW graduates can pursue an LMSW directly after graduation, regardless of concentration. This credential greatly helps in achieving employment, higher salaries, additional opportunities, and is the first step in the clinical LCSW credential. However, it is strongly encouraged you review your state's licensing requirements prior to submitting an application. 

For more information here are some helpful links: 

Council on Social Work Education 

Association of Social Work Board 

Watts College Professional Licensure Information