Skip to main content

LAKERS TOGETHER‘We can’t wait to meet you.’ One constant is our passion for teaching. Watch a faculty member talk about your learning experience.



An M.S.W. student on Grand Valley's Robert C. Pew campus in downtown Grand Rapids.

Social Work, M.S.W.

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program at Grand Valley State University prepares you for advanced professional micro, mezzo, and macro practice in social work, and in the development and implementation of social welfare policies and programs. The M.S.W. lays the foundation for you to assume leadership roles in society's institutions, organizations, and communities.

Visit the program website for more information.

Listen to Podcast

National Job Growth By 2024
M.S.W. Grads Employed After Graduation
GVSU Ranking a West Michigan Talent Provider

Source: EMSI, 2020

Program Overview

The M.S.W. 60 credit hour program is available on a full or part time basis, including 12 credit hours of field education. The curriculum incorporates a focus on CSWE core competencies. Advanced standing status, a 38 credit program with 8 field education hours, is for those who successfully completed a B.S.W. degree at a CSWE accredited program and meet other admission criteria. You may apply for the hybrid advanced standing program if eligible. Course requirements are available online.

Why Study Social Work at Grand Valley?

You will:

  • Learn to apply a range of theories and methods to practice at multisystemic levels.
  • Become a culturally competent practitioner in an increasingly complex society through field education and practice.
  • Are prepared to engage in grassroots, political, and community organizing as well as electoral politics.
  • Become a skilled practitioner capable of assuming leadership and scholarly professional roles in regional, state, national, and global communities.
  • Contribute to the ongoing development of professional social work knowledge and practice through research and scholarly inquiry that employ state-of-the-art technology.
  • Earn a degree that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • The M.S.W. program and the M.P.A. program provides an opportunity to receive a combined degree of 81 credits.


The M.S.W. degree at Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Location & Format

Classes for graduate students in this major meet downtown on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

Hybrid format available Winter 2021.

  • Face To Face


You will study a variety of topics and methods:

  • Substance abuse
  • Human behavior
  • Community-based learning, including global and domestic service learning
  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Social research and policy
  • Practice with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities

Career Options

The M.S.W. prepares you for advanced professional practice in direct service and in the development, implementation, and evaluation of social welfare policies and programs.

Skills Employers Want

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual job postings in the social work field.

  • Social Work
  • Mental Health
  • Psychosocial Assessments 
  • Treatment Planning
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Behavioral Health
  • Case Management
  • Substance Abuse

Application Deadline

  • February 1 (advanced standing - full time, spring/summer)
  • March 15 (advanced, part time; regular - full/part time, fall)
  • October 1 (regular program - part time, winter)

The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if you previously applied to GVSU. Visit

Admission Requirements

In addition to the University requirements of admission, all students seeking a degree for the Master's of Social Work must also meet the following requirements: 

  • Grade point average of 3.0 (B) cumulative for undergraduate coursework
  • Graduate Admission statement, using our Guidelines Formdetailing academic preparation, background experiences, and professional, educational and career goals
  • A recent resume submitted
  • A minimum of 18 credit hours in social or behavioral science courses and have a broad liberal arts background
  • Coursework Requirement Form submitted. Click here for Coursework Requirement Form
  • Recommendations: Three recommendations received from professional individuals who can respond to the questions on the form. At least one academic reference is preferred in addition to individuals who have supervised your work or volunteer experience. You will be asked to provide the email addresses of your recommenders when you complete the online application.

For More Information

School of Social Work
391C DeVos Center
(616) 331-6550

Graduate Admissions Office


“The M.S.W. program at GVSU prepares students to practice at multiple levels as they meet the needs of a diverse society.”



When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)