School of Social Work

Apply to the MSW Program

The MSW Application Process opens October 1, 2024

MSW Application Deadline: January 15, 2025

  • MSW Program Informational Meetings

    If you have any questions about our MSW Programs, please join us for an MSW Information Meeting, held on Zoom.

  • How to Apply to the MSW Program:

    The entire Graduate School application must be completed and submitted online via  Cal State Apply  

    Please visit the Tuition & Registration(opens in new window) page on the Student Financial Services(opens in new window) website for information on program costs

  • What Programs are available to apply to?

    -MSW 1-Year Program, 2024-2025 (Note: The One-Year Program is available to apply to if you have or will earn an undergraduate degree in Social Work (BSW) within the past five years)

    -MSW DL 1-Year Program, 2024-2025 (Note: The One-Year Program is available to apply to if you have or will earn an undergraduate degree in Social Work (BSW) within the past five years. This is a Hybrid program with summer 2024 courses and on-line learning and two weekends per semester of on-campus classes)

    -MSW 2-Year Program, 2024-2026 (Note: The Two-Year Program is available to applicants with any undergraduate background)

    -MSW 3-Year Program, 2024-2027 (Note: The Three-Year Program is available to applicants with any undergraduate background.  This is a Hybrid program which includes on-line learning and two weekends per semester of on-campus classes)

  • Service Region

    Our students must complete their Practicum Education(opens in new window) within the School of Social Work Service Region - 18 Northern California counties - Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, or Yuba.

  • Prerequisite Information

    Prerequisites: MSW One-Year Program and MSW One-Year Distributed Learning (DL) Program

    Applicants applying to the One-Year MSW programs, at the time of beginning the MSW program, are required to have earned a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association within the last five years. No other prerequisite courses are required for One-Year MSW program applicants.

    Prerequisites: MSW Two-Year Program and MSW Three-Year Distributed Learning (DL) Program

    Applicants applying to the Two-Year and Three-Year MSW program, at the time of beginning the MSW program, are required to have an earned baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized regional accrediting association.

    Additionally, applicants must have completed three prerequisite courses:

    • Statistics/Research Methods/Data Analysis - Applicants must have completed Statistics/Research Methods/Data Analysis at an accredited college/university for 3 units (minimally) with a grade of C or higher.
    • Human Biology - Applicants must have completed Human Biology or another similar course that includes a significant amount of human biological content (examples may include: Anatomy, Human Biology, Genetics, Sexuality, Physical Pathologies, Nutrition, or Health).  The course must have been completed at an accredited college/university for 3 units (minimally) with a grade C or higher.
      • The title of the course will likely reflect a human biological focus
    • Ethnic Diversity or Multicultural Studies - Applicants must have completed a Ethnic Diversity or Multicultural content course (examples may include: Multicultural and Gender Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Latin American Studies, Chicano Studies, American Indian Studies, Religious Studies, Geological & Environmental Sciences, Geography, History, Literature, Sociology, Social Work, or Political Science).  The course must have been completed at an accredited college/university for 3 units (minimally) with a grade C or higher. 
      • The title of the course will likely reflect a diversity or multicultural focus

    Reporting Prerequisites in the Application:

    Applicants will be asked to list their MSW Program Prerequisites in their applications. The following information is required:

    • College/University where course was taken
    • Name of course (including the number)
    • Semester and Year course was taken (or will be taken)
    • Units of course
    • Grade for course (or “In Progress” if not yet completed)

    What if I'm not sure that my course will fulfill a prerequisite?

    If you need more clarification regarding a specific course, to see if it meets a prerequisite requirement, please complete the MSW Prerequisite Verification Form(opens in new window), and email it along with a copy/picture of the unofficial transcript listing the course to the MSW Directors (listed below). Use one form for each prerequisite in which you are inquiring.

    Chelsea Cornell – ccornell1@csuchico.edu & Meka Klungtvet-Morano – mklungtvet-morano@csuchico.edu

    International Applicants:

    International academic documents will all be assessed by International Admissions and/or the Office of Graduate Studies during the application review process. This includes the review of prerequisites and transcripts. For your application, please list the courses you think meet the prerequisites.

  • Personal Statement

    The Personal Statement is a critical component to the MSW Program application. The purpose of the Personal Statement is to allow us to learn about you, from you. This is your space to share your interest in Social Work, understanding of Social Work values, and academic and personal goals, as well as show us your writing skills. Each prompt should have a written response that is approximately one page in length. Please use headings (for each prompt), doubled-spacing, and a 12-point font. The Personal Statement document (.doc, .docx, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .jpg, .jpeg, .png) will be uploaded into your Cal State Apply application.

    Prompts for all applicants:

    1. Share your reason for pursuing a graduate degree in social work. How will an MSW help you to advance personally and professionally?

    2. Share your understanding of your own power/privilege. How has this informed your interaction with people whose lives, worldviews, beliefs, and/or values are different from your own (e.g., culture, race/ethnicity, ability, class, religion, sexuality, gender identity, politics, education).

    3. Share how your own experiences of hardship, marginalization, and/or oppression influenced the person you are today. How will you incorporate what you have learned into your practice as a social worker?

    4. Share your understanding/definition of social justice. What do you believe is the role of social work in addressing social justice? As a graduate-level Social Worker, what role do you anticipate (or see yourself playing) in promoting social justice, particularly for marginalized and vulnerable populations.

    5. Please use this space to share what you would like us to know, that may not have been shared in your responses to the prior prompts/questions.  PLEASE ENSURE YOU RESPOND TO THIS REQUIRED PROMPT.

    Prompt only for applicants with a cumulative GPA lower than 3.0 ONLY:

    If your GPA is below 3.0, please share why you feel it is not reflective of your ability to succeed in graduate school.

    Prompt only for Distributed Learning (DL) applicants:

    If you are applying to the Distributed Learning (DL) program, please share how the DL option is a good fit for your educational goals and emphasize your commitment to the north state after graduation.

    Prompt only for MSW One-Year and MSW One-Year Distributed Learning (DL) applicants who are unable to secure a Practicum Liaison reference:

    Please share detailed information on why you are not including a Practicum Liaison (or Director of Practicum Education) reference with your application. Ensure you are sharing the diligent efforts you have made to attempt to secure a Practicum Liaison reference.

  • References

    Applicants must provide the names and emails for three (and only three) references within the Recommendations section of the Cal State Apply application. Once reference information is provided, an email request will be sent to the reference on the applicant’s behalf. Applicants should advise all references to look for the automated email in their inbox, as well as their spam or junk-mail folder, as emails do occasionally get filtered out. Applicants should monitor their applications to ensure all recommendations forms get completed. Initial requests are listed as “requested” and will change to “completed” when recommendation forms are completed.

    Please see the sample Recommendation Form. (PDF)

    Reference Types: MSW One-Year Program and MSW One-Year Distributed Learning (DL) Program

    Three references (and only three) are required. References should be from the following three categories:

    1. Academic Reference – We strongly recommend applicants include at least one reference from their academic advisor and/or major professor. Applicants who have been out of college for several years could request letters of reference from the current department chair of their previous university, or submit an additional reference from the Work Experience category below.

    2. Work Experience Reference – We strongly recommend applicants include one reference from an employment supervisor who is acquainted firsthand with their work experience, whether that work experience is paid, volunteer or internship/practicum in nature. Please note that preference may be given to applicants who have a minimum of one year of paid or volunteer experience in human services.

    3. Faculty Practicum Liaison Reference (REQUIRED FOR ALL MSW ONE-YEAR AND MSW ONE-YEAR DL PROGRAM APPLICANTS)– We require that all MSW One-Year and MSW One-Year DL program applicants use their Practicum Liaison as one of their three references.

    • The Practicum Liaison is the university faculty who taught the practicum/seminar course that aligned with the internship experience.
    • The Practicum Liaison is NOT the agency task supervisor (TS) or agency practicum instructor (PI) that worked within the internship agency.
    • To meet this reference requirement, students should ensure that they are using the Practicum Liaison (as defined here) as one of their references.
    • If the applicant has made diligent efforts to reach the Practicum Liaison and has been unable to make contact, the applicant will then reach out to the Director of Practicum Education to serve as a reference. If a reference still cannot be secured, the applicant will obtain a second academic or work experience reference (as defined above). Additionally, the applicant will include detailed information in their personal statement (see Personal Statement directions) on why they are not including a Practicum Liaison (or Director of Practicum Education) reference.

    Reference Types: MSW Two-Year Program and MSW Three-Year Distributed Learning (DL) Program

    Three references (and only three) are required. References should be from the following two categories:

    1. Academic Reference – We strongly recommend applicants include at least one reference from their academic advisor and/or major professor. Applicants who have been out of college for several years could request letters of reference from the current department chair of their previous university, or submit an additional reference from the Work Experience category below.

    2. Work Experience Reference – We strongly recommend applicants include one reference from an employment supervisor who is acquainted firsthand with their work experience, whether that work experience is paid, volunteer, or internship/practicum in nature. Please note that preference may be given to applicants who have a minimum of one year of paid or volunteer experience in human services.

     

  • Office Closure

    All notifications will be sent to applicants via email (to the email you use to create your application in Cal State Apply), sometime between the end of March, and the beginning of April. You MUST check your email - we will not be sending your notification to any other addresses. (Subject to change, any updates will be posted prior to this timeframe.)

    Applicants may check the status of their application anytime by signing into the Cal State Apply Application System.

  • Acceptance Rate

    The School of Social Work receives roughly 150 applications per year. We accept 20 applicants into our One-Year Program, and 24 applicants into our Two-Year Program. When a Three-Year application is offered, we accept 40 applicants into that program. On average the acceptance rate is about 50% for all three of our MSW program options.

    We also create wait lists for each program, and the offer of acceptance for those on the wait list is dependent on the status of "accepted" applicants.

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    I have questions about whether social work is right for me, and what the program is like. Who can I talk to?

    Please contact the MSW Program Co-Directors:

    Chelsea Cornell, MSW & Meka Klungtvet-Morano, MSW 

    Which MSW Program can I apply to?

    The One-Year Program and One-Year DL Program are available to apply to if you have or will earn an undergraduate degree in Social Work (BSW) within the past five years. The Two-Year and Three-Year DL Programs are available to applicants with any undergraduate background.  

    International students are only able to participate in our campus-based programs, and not our DL programs.

    Do I have a better chance of being accepted into the One-Year or Two-Year Program?

    This is hard to predict, as applications numbers vary from year to year.  Some years we have more applications to one program and some years we have more applications to the other. You should apply to the program that you think best fits your educational needs.

    Is there only one filing period per year?

    Yes. You can only apply to the MSW program between October 1st and January 15th.

    Is there someone in the School of Social Work who will look over my application before I submit? Can you look at my application and make sure it looks good?

    No, there is no one at the School of Social Work who will review your application.

    Who can help me fill out my prerequisite information?

    If you have specific questions about prerequisites, please email the MSW Director for assistance. Please complete as much of your prerequisite information as you can before bringing your questions to the MSW Director. Please see the previous section "Prerequisite Information" for more information.

    Who should I ask to write a letter of reference for me?

    If you are applying to the MSW One-Year or MSW One-Year DL program:

    • One reference will be your Faculty Practicum Liaison (this is the university faculty who taught the practicum/seminar course that aligned with the internship experience);
    • One should be an academic reference; and
    • One should be a work experience reference.
    • Do not submit a reference from a friend, family member, therapist, etc.

    If you are applying to the MSW Two-Year or MSW Three-Year DL program:

    • One should be an academic reference;
    • One should be a work experience reference; and
    • One should be an additional academic or work experience reference.
    • Do not submit a reference from a friend, family member, therapist, etc.

    Who submits a Practicum Liaison Reference?

    The Practicum Liaison is the university faculty who taught the practicum/seminar course that aligned with the internship experience. The Practicum Liaison is NOT the agency task supervisor (TS) or agency Practicum instructor (API/PI) that worked within the internship agency. To meet this reference requirement, students should ensure that they are using the Practicum Liaison (as defined here) as one of their references.

    Can my Reference email a reference directly to the School of Social Work?

    No, all references must be submitted online through a specific link that they will receive by email. A reference receives their link after an applicant adds their information into the online Cal State Apply system.

    What if I have been out of school for a few years, do I still need an academic reference?

    We prefer it if you have an academic reference, but we know that is not always possible. If you do not have anyone who can write an academic reference for you, you can submit additional work-related references.

    My reference forgot to submit a letter for me. Can they still use the reference link that was sent to them and submit a reference for me?

    References can be submitted up until the application deadline. After the deadline, no additional information will be accepted.

    My reference did not receive their link to submit an online letter of reference for me, what do I do?

    Please ask your reference to check their Spam/Junk/Clutter email folders, since the reference emails are sent from an automated account. If your reference needs their link re-sent to them, please ask them to contact the Cal State Apply Applicant Help center.  Additionally, you can go into your application, edit the reference, and use the “resend the recommendation request” button.

    How do I know if my references have been submitted?

    Applicants may check the status of their references anytime by logging into Cal State Apply.   Incomplete references are listed initially as “requested” and “accepted” once they have been received by the reference. Completed references are listed as “completed.”

    Can I submit an Application after the deadline?

    No, the deadline is firm. No matter what the reason, we do not accept applications after the January 15th deadline. If you miss the deadline you will have to wait and apply next year.

    If something is missing from my application, will my application still be reviewed?

    No, only complete application will be reviewed and considered.

    Will I be contacted if something is missing from my application?

    No. An application can only be submitted if all sections contain content. If you are missing a reference or any transcripts, you may review that information by logging into Cal State Apply to review your submitted application.

    Is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required?

    The GRE is not required for admission into the MSW programs. However, a high GRE score will count favorably for applicants who may have a low undergraduate grade point average. GRE scores should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies.

    How will I be notified about my application status?

    Applicants are notified by email. The email address listed in your Cal State Apply Application is the address your notification will be sent to.

    How much does the program cost?

    Please visit the Student Financial Services and Financial Aid & Scholarship Office websites for more information.

    I was not accepted into the MSW Program, what do I do?

    You can appeal the School of Social Work decision through the process with the Office of Graduate Studies. You can also apply next year. We do not discuss specific admission decisions with applicants. However, in general, if you have a low GPA, you might improve your chances of acceptance by taking additional courses to increase your GPA, or by doing well in a graduate course you can take through Open University. You might also improve your chances by getting additional social work-related work experience.

    What do I do if I'm on the wait list?

    We will notify you if you are accepted off of the wait list into the program. This can happen as late as a week before classes begin. There is nothing you can do other than wait to hear from us.

  • Need Help?

    Please contact the School of Social Work with any questions regarding the  application process:

    530-898-6204
    swrk@csuchico.edu

    Please contact the Office of Graduate Studies, Cal State Apply, or International Admissions with any questions regarding the Cal State Apply application and process: 

    Office of Graduate Studies(opens in new window)
    530-898-6880
    graduatestudies@csuchico.edu

    Cal State Apply
    (opens in new window)
    857-304-2087

    International Admissions
    (opens in new window)
    530-898-5415
    apply@csuchico.edu(opens in new window)