MSW Application Process

Step 1: Review Admission Criteria»

Step 2: Complete the St. Thomas online application

The MSW application for all tracks starting in 2021 opens September 1, 2020. Priority application deadline for all options is January 10; secondary deadline for extended-time completion options is March 10.

  • Create an account. You will be asked to create a username and password for the online application, which will allow you to save your progress and return to complete the application at any time before the application deadline. Select that you are interested in a graduate degree from the School of Social Work, then select the MSW. You will be asked to choose a program track. If you are unsure which track is best for you, please review our program options and/or contact us to discuss your options. To continue with the application, select the program track that is most likely at this point in time. As appropriate, you will be able to change your selected track.
  • Once you create an account, complete your profile by completing the Enrollment Questions and providing your personal and contact information.

The 2021 online application will have instructions to complete the following:

  • Academic History of each undergraduate and graduate institution attended. Please include all post-high school institutions, even if you did not receive a degree and even if the credit appears on your degree-granting institution’s transcript. See Step 3 for details about requesting transcripts from each institution.
    • Note: If you do not list an institution and it appears on another transcript, the graduate admissions office will add this institution to your application checklist as a required transcript. Your file will not be considered complete until ALL transcripts have been received. Exception: Transcripts for advanced placement courses and study abroad transfer credits are not required. If you took a course while in high school, we don't need the transcript, but you should include a note (either in the application or as an email to that the course was taken in high school so it is not added as a requirement to your application checklist.

  • Employment information. The application will ask for your current or most recent employer. You can only enter one employer, but your entire employment history will be reviewed using your résumé.

  • Submit a current résumé. Please differentiate between paid work experience and volunteer activities. Indicate whether the experience/activity was part-time or full-time in nature, and specify the dates of employment/volunteering. You will be asked to upload this as a PDF (preferred) or Word document.

  • Request three letters of recommendation: You will email your recommenders directly through the online application. This can be done immediately, you do not have to wait until the rest of your application is complete.
    • MSW recommendation forms should be completed by individuals who can attest to the intellectual ability, professional competence and leadership ability of the applicant. Only professional or academic references will be considered; personal references are not acceptable. Please note, the MSW recommendation process has two parts:
      1. Recommenders will be asked to prepare a written statement of recommendation to upload into the application portal as a PDF (preferred) or Word file.
      2. Recommenders will be asked to assess the applicant on a number of criteria and to provide their contact information.
    • After you enter each recommender's name and email address into the online application, click the "Save & Send Email to Recommender" box to send the recommendation request.

  • Fieldwork instructor evaluation: Advanced-standing applicants must submit a copy of the senior fieldwork evaluation from their undergraduate social work program. Applicants may submit a copy of the evaluation from their own records (if they retained the paperwork after graduation). Otherwise, applicants should contact the social work department at their undergraduate institution and request that a copy be sent to the Office of Graduate Admission at the University of St. Thomas. If the evaluation is no longer on file, the social work department should submit a brief letter of explanation to our office. Students who have not yet completed their senior field placement may submit a copy of their junior fieldwork evaluation.  Evaluations for Advanced-standing applicants should be sent to:
    • University of St. Thomas
      Graduate Records - Admissions
      1000 LaSalle Ave., Box 5
      Minneapolis, MN 55403-2005

      OR Fieldwork evaluations can be emailed directly to the University of St. Thomas as a PDF to:; Subject line: Field evaluation for MSW applicant [YOUR NAME]

  • There are three prerequisite courses that must be completed before starting the MSW program: Statistics or Research Methods; Lifespan Developmental Psychology; and Human Biology. You may apply to the MSW program if you are missing one or more prerequisites, but all prerequisites must be completed before the first day of graduate classes. The MSW application will ask you to indicate if you've taken or are currently taking these courses. If you indicate a course has been “completed,” you'll be asked to provide the course name and institution where it was completed in the text box below. Learn more about prerequisite coursework and recommended options for those who are missing one or more of these courses on the Prerequisite Coursework webpage»

  • If your cumulative undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, you will be asked to include an Explanation of GPA Statement with your application to explain any extraordinary circumstances for your low GPA and/or why it is not indicative of your potential for success in a graduate program.
  • Essay section - Personal statement: Prepare a written response to each of the following:

    Part 1:
    This section of the personal statement provides an opportunity to demonstrate your written communication skills, understanding of an issue relevant to social work, ability to critically assess the dimensions of the issue and present a coherent presentation. Use formal citation (as needed) to support your perspective. (Maximum 1,500 words)

    Identify and critically assess an important issue for professional social workers now and in the next decade. Provide evidence to support your assessment; include citations. Incorporate your own perspective on the role and responsibility of social workers relevant to this issue.

    Part 2: (Part 2 A & B should be uploaded as a single document)
    A. Identify your personal strengths and professional goals and discuss how the MSW program at the University of St. Thomas, with its emphasis on social justice and clinical social work practice, will help you achieve those goals. Provide specific examples. (Maximum 500 words)
    B. Part of pursuing your MSW degree means completing either one or two field placement practicums (one 400 hour and one 600 hour placement if you do not have an undergraduate degree in social work; or one 600 hour placement if you have an undergraduate degree in social work). Monday-Friday daytime availability is needed in order to successfully complete this part of your program. Please share ways in which you will adjust your schedule and/or your personal and professional commitments in order to accommodate field placement(s). (Maximum 500 words).

    For Hybrid MSW applicants:
    Identify and reflect on your strengths and limitations relative to successfully completing the Hybrid MSW program with online curriculum delivery components: include dimensions such as your ability to be a self-directed learner; your online experience and ability; other skills or attributes that will serve you well in an online format; and any concerns you may have about learning in a primarily online environment. (Maximum 500 words)

  • International applicants must submit credential evaluations and acceptable test scores for proof of English proficiency, as detailed on the MSW Application Checklist - International Students»
  • There is no application fee to apply to the MSW program

Step 3: Request transcripts from all institutions from which you received credit.*

  • Transcripts should be sent to:

University of St. Thomas
Graduate Records - Admissions
1000 LaSalle Ave., Box 5
Minneapolis, MN 55403-2005

  • If the institution provides the option to have the transcript emailed directly to the University of St. Thomas as a PDF, it can be sent to:

* Exception: Transcripts for advanced placement courses and study abroad transfer credits are NOT required. If you receive a notice from the graduate admissions office requesting a transcript for a course you took in one of these formats, please email and clarify that the course was either advanced placement or study abroad.

Step 4: All completed applications will be reviewed by the MSW faculty admissions committee after the application deadline. 

  • All letters of recommendation and transcripts must be received before your application will be reviewed. 
  • Use your user name and password to log back into the application at any time to see view the status of your application materials on your "application checklist."

Questions? Check out our Application FAQs»