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.

Volunteer/Work Experience

All MSW Program applicants must have completed a minimum of 240 hours of volunteer/work experience in social service within the past five years. The 240 hours of volunteer/work experience must include face-to-face contact with people in need and cannot be waived.

We are specifically looking for experience working directly with and on behalf of people and communities in need including those experiencing social and emotional distress, vulnerable or marginalized populations, and those who are historically under-served.

If you are applying to the Advanced Standing MSW program and have a BSW degree, your internship will automatically meet this requirement.

It is important to include in your essay a very specific description of your volunteer/work experience duties/activities and the hours and dates of your experience. Applicants are strongly encouraged to download the Record of Volunteer/Work Experience and upload it with their resume.

Examples of activities or jobs which fulfill the requirement for volunteer/work experience are:

  • Delivering food to needy families
  • Helping children in school to obtain resources due to family problems or behavioral health needs
  • Helping disadvantaged individuals to obtain needed assistance and resources
  • Serving food to individuals who are homeless
  •  Volunteering in hospitals, human service agencies, Big Brother/Big Sisters organizations, shelters, church groups, summer campus, etc.
  • Advocating for human rights, developing and delivering, or participating in service delivery
  • Being involved with community development activities which have immediate impact on improving living/social conditions of individuals or groups of people
  • Behavioral Intervention Aid
  • Case Manager
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Volunteer
  • Foster Care Caseworker
  • Hospice Volunteer
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Legal Advocate for those suffering from discrimination 

Examples of activities which do not fulfill the requirement for volunteer/work experience are:

  • Preparing food boxes
  • Tutoring or teaching children in any capacity, including school settings
  • Babysitting or working as a nanny
  • Seating on an organization’s Board of Directors
  • Developing programs, but not participating in service delivery
  • Performing medical tasks, helping exclusively with medical conditions – nursing, nursing aids
  • Performing administrative duties in any formal/informal setting
  • Retail or restaurant service work
  • Accountant, bookkeeper, or data entry
  • Working only with other college students in a peer capacity

Please note that applications that do not follow the listed requirements will be denied and applicants must reapply and pay the required application fee for the following admission term to be considered.

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