MSW Regular Standing: Policies and Procedures

Degree Seeking Students

Students who meet the following University requirements and the additional requirements of their chosen program are granted degree-seeking status.

  • Submit the GVSU graduate school application and MSW application for admission, including a recent resume, three professional and/or academic references and a graduate admission statement.
  • Possess the baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, based on the last 60 credits of study.
  • Have a broad liberal arts perspective, as well as complete the  social sciences coursework form demonstrating a minimum of 18 credit hours in social or behavioral science courses, such as psychology, sociology, social work, anthropology, cultural studies, political science, religion, economics, history, philosophy, and/or human services.
  • Official transcripts sent/submitted from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended.
  • Enclose a non-refundable $30.00 application fee.
  • If the applicant does not meet requirements but believes there are circumstances or conditions that strengthen their application, they are invited to provide a rationale regarding alternative criteria.
  • Complete admission packet and School of Social Work information.

BSW Graduates who do not meet Advanced Standing Admission Requirements:

Baccalaureate graduates who have a BSW, but do not meet the requirements for the Advanced Standing Program, receive a waiver for equivalent generalist courses completed in their BSW Program in which the student has earned a B+ or better and in the case of Field Education and Seminar earned Credit.

The generalist courses are:

SW 600- Cultural Competency for Social Work;
SW 601- Social Work Foundations;
SW 603 – Integrated Methods;
SW 610 – Social Welfare Policy and Services;
SW 620- Human Behavior in the Social Environment;
SW 650 – Field Education I; SW 651 – Field Seminar I

This equivalency is determined through transcript, course description, and syllabus review, completed by the MSW Director, upon admission. When two or more courses equate to the MSW generalist course, the grades achieved in those courses will be averaged and the average must be a B+ or better to waive the associated generalist course.

The MSW course will be waived, however, the credits required for graduation will not be waived, meaning the student must fulfill the 60 MSW credits required for the Regular Standing Program, through other courses (electives etc.). The exception for both the Advanced Standing and the Regular Standing programs is SW 690 – Social Research I, which requires a test out for all MSW admitted students, both advanced and regular standing.

Conditional Admission

Applicants, who do not earn a 3.0 GPA in their last 60 credits from bachelor level studies, may be considered for “Conditional Admission”. Individuals with a GPA between a 2.75 and 2.99 as part of an application that demonstrates skillful writing and reflection, completion of 18 credits of social sciences and strong professional recommendations may be eligible for “Conditional Admission”. Conditional admission may also be granted if application review reveals a history of strong social work experience.

GVSU School of Social Work does not grant SW course credit for life experiences or previous work experience.

The Director of the MSW Program will assign applicants eligible for conditional admission two GVSU MSW classes. Successful completion of the assigned classes is met by attaining a “B” or better in each class and a letter of recommendation from each class professor. Successfully completed class credits are recognized as part of degree completion.

Non-Degree Seeking Students:
Applicants who are not seeking the MSW degree or have not completed all of the admissions requirements are considered to be Non-Degree seeking. These students may earn up to six social work credits in the School of Social Work by selecting up to two of the following courses: SW600, SW601, SW610 and SW620.

The following materials must be collected and submitted in ONE envelope:

  • Your completed GVSU application for graduate study, typed or neatly printed.  
  • A $30 non-refundable application fee (unless you have previously applied to Grand Valley and paid this fee).  
  • An official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended.  *Note* We do not require official transcripts from Grand Valley State University.
  • Graduate Admission statement. Instructions found here.
  • A resume, detailing work and volunteer experiences. 
  • A minimum of three recommendations using Graduate School recommendation forms in sealed envelopes, from professional and/or academic individuals who can speak first hand to your professional or academic work.  At least one academic reference is preferred in addition to individuals who have supervised your work or volunteer experience. Note - Applicants for advanced standing status must include a  recommendation form completed by their B.S.W. field instructor or faculty field liaison.
  •  Coursework Requirement Form

* Letter of Appeal: Applicants not meeting the basic requirements such as: 3.0 grade point average, 18 credit hours in social sciences, etc. set forth must include a letter of appeal with explanations clearly defining their academic deficiencies. 


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