M.S.W. Admission Requirements

M.S.W. Application Materials

Apply now online!

We are still accepting applications for the Traverse City Campus.
We are accepting applications for Part-Time Advanced Standing, Full and Part-Time Foundation on the Big Rapids campus.

Admission Process

Applicants are encouraged to review the admission criteria before completing the online application. The application form and required documents provide significant information upon which decisions for admission are based. It is critical that applicants for the MSW program carefully follow the online application directions and give complete and accurate data. Omission or falsification of any information will delay the admission process and may remove the applicant from the admission pool. Application materials are listed below. All materials must be submitted online through the Office of Graduate Studies.

Admission Steps

*For consideration of early decision, submit a full application by December 1.
  Students will be notified of early decision acceptance by December 15.

  1. Submit full online application, including Candidate statement and the receipt of all references, by March 15. Please note that it may take about a week to obtain references through the system, so be prepared to submit your application in a timely manner.
  2. Applicant will be notified of the Committee’s decision on or about March 30. Interviews will be scheduled at this time if required.
  3. The applicant then has 10 business days to notify the committee of their intent to enroll.
  4. Applicants who are not admitted and wish to have their application reconsidered may appeal to the Director of the program by providing additional evidence in support of their acceptance.
  5. Applicants who are accepted will be notified of the date of the required orientation to take place in the summer before the program begins for further information.

Admission Policy

The applicant’s application form will be considered holistically and may include informal references with persons having a previous professional relationship with the applicant. The achievement of the basic criteria does not automatically qualify the student for admission into the program. The admission committee reviews the applications (with a focus on the Candidate statement) and references for demonstration of the student’s potential to meet the necessary skills and ability to become a professional master’s level social worker. The Admissions Committee will form an overall judgment of the application’s qualifications for the program by evaluating the following areas: academic preparation, writing ability, motivation, ability to provide a clear self- evaluation as a future social worker, adherence to social work values, and ability to demonstrate critical thinking. Applicants who are not able to show clear adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics will not be accepted into the program. Only the applicants who are most likely to excel in the program based on the above criteria will be admitted into the program. In addition to the required materials for the application, the Admissions Committee may request that some students participate in a formal interview with one or more members of the Admissions Committee.

Admission Criteria

Traditional Program

  1. Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or will have completed the program by the semester prior to entrance into the program.
  2. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree that included a clear liberal arts base with a firm foundation in the social sciences. Students who do not meet this requirement may be accepted into the program but will be required to take courses to meet this criteria.
  3. A 3.0 overall GPA.
  4. Applicants must have 3 letters of reference, including at least one academic reference.
  5. Applicants must complete a Candidate Statement (see below).
  6. Submit a Resume
  7. Submit a transcript from undergraduate education. (Upon acceptance, candidates will be required to submit an official transcript).

Advanced Standing

  1. Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited social work program, or will have completed the program by the semester prior to entrance into the program.
  2. A 3.2 overall GPA with a 3.5 GPA average in social work courses.
  3. Applicants must have 3 references, including at least one academic reference. It is highly recommended that students have their senior field instructor as one of the references.
  4. Applicants must complete a Candidate Statement (see below).
  5. Submit a resume
  6. Submit a transcript from BSW undergraduate education. (Upon acceptance, candidates will be required to submit an official transcript).
  7. Provide copies from all BSW Field Evaluations

Candidate Statement

The candidate statement must be submitted with the application for admission and must be uploaded to the relevant section of the online application. Please provide a four (4) page, double spaced statement that addresses the following:

  1. Please tell us why you are interested in the social work profession.
  2. Describe how your personal and intellectual qualifications, your past human service experiences and/or future goals are relevant to assisting the most disadvantaged in our society?
  3. Provide a cogent assessment of your personal strengths and challenges.
  4. The Preamble to the NASW Code of Ethics is below. Please discuss how your personal values and beliefs are compatible with these values.

The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well­being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well­being in a social context and the well­being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.

Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. “Clients” is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.

The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective:

  • service
  • social justice
  • dignity and worth of the person
  • importance of human relationships
  • integrity
  • competence

This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience. (https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/)

The personal statement will be evaluated regarding the above material and also will be considered a writing sample to evaluate your ability to express yourself in written form.

Applicants who believe that they have extraordinary circumstances regarding the GPA requirements should include their rationale for this in their personal statement.

Although human services experience is not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to describe any prior volunteer or work experience in their personal statement.

Application Deadlines

The closing date for receipt of all admission materials is March 15. Admissions MAY continue past this date until cohorts are full; however, the committee will not consider applications once the cohort is full. In addition, early applications may be accepted prior to the deadline based on extremely high qualifications, so it benefits the applicant to apply prior to this date.

Notification of Acceptance

Notice of acceptance will occur on or about March 30 for study beginning in the fall semester (there are no mid-year admissions). Within ten days of receiving notification, accepted applicants must confirm in writing their intention to enroll in the program. Confirmation of acceptance should be mailed or emailed to the Program Director. Failure to confirm their intention within this time frame will result in that prospective student’s place being awarded to another applicant.

MSW Admission Committee

It is the policy of Ferris State University that all graduate admissions are reviewed by the specific program. All academic admissions will be reviewed by the MSW Social Work Admission and Academic Standing Committee. This committee is comprised of at least four social work faculty, including the MSW Program Coordinator and the Social Work Program Director. Criteria used in weighing each application include: undergraduate grade point average, professional training, references, and the individual’s narrative candidate statement.

The MSW Social Work Admission and Academic Standing Committee reserves the right to make exceptions to admission policy based upon individual circumstances.

The college and the social work program maintain and promote a policy of nondiscrimination against any person on the basis of race, gender, age, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, political orientation, veteran status, marital status, or sexual orientation.