Application Process FAQs


Contact the MSW program at or call 651-962-5800 and ask to speak to someone about MSW admissions.

Yes, nearly 60% of our students come in as Regular Standing students that do not have a bachelor’s degree in social work. The Regular Standing program is intended to give you the foundation level coursework that Advanced Standing students receive as part of their bachelor’s degree in social work.

Yes!  We ask that you apply to a single program completion option, but recognize that some applicants may change their minds based on professional or personal considerations.  If you would like to change the completion track to which you are applying BEFORE the January 10 application deadline, please email with this request and we can change the completion track on your application.  If you would like to change your completion track AFTER the January 10 application deadline, please email AND copy our MSW Program Manager, Lisa Dalsin, at

If you would like to discuss the MSW program completion option that is best for you, please contact Cindy Lorah at or call 651-962-5814.  The 8 completion options are as follows:

Advanced Standing (AS)

AS admission is for applicants with an undergraduate degree in social work from a program accredited by the CSWE. Advanced Standing students complete 38 credits and 600 hours of field practicum for their degree. Advanced standing program options include:

One year weekday/evening (Full-time) - summer start
Two year weekday/evening - fall start
Three year weekday/evening - fall start
Hybrid MSW: Two years - summer start

Regular Standing (RS)

RS admission is for applicants without an undergraduate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Regular Standing students complete 56 credits and 1,000 hours of field practicum for their degree. Regular standing options include:

Two year weekday/evening (Full-time) - fall start
Three year weekday/evening - fall start
Four year weekday/evening - fall start
Hybrid MSW: Three years - summer start

Learn more about our program completion option formats»

The admissions decision is a holistic process based on a range of criteria, including:

  • Undergraduate degree – students must have completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale) preferred.
  • Prior experience – post-undergraduate social service practice experience is preferred, but not required, for admission.
  • Prerequisite content – students admitted to the program need to have completed a course in three specific areas: one in statistics or research methods, one in human biology and one in lifespan developmental psychology. Applicants do not need to have these courses completed in order to apply, but they must be completed before you start classes in the program. (See prerequisite FAQ below for course options)
  • Letters of recommendation – applicants must submit three complete (required form/checklist and letter from each recommender) recommendations
  • Personal statement – applicants must submit a personal statement addressing the specific questions listed on the application form.
  • Fieldwork evaluation – advanced standing applicants only. A copy of your final evaluation from your senior field practicum will be reviewed.

The MSW program does not grant course credit for life experience or previous work in accordance with CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The University of St. Thomas Master’s program has a written policy indicating that it does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience (

Applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA below 3.0 will be considered. A limited number of exceptions may be made to the GPA requirement, with those students admitted on a provisional basis. You should include an Explanation of GPA Statement with your application to explain any extraordinary circumstances for your low GPA and/or why your undergraduate GPA is not reflective of your potential for academic success at the graduate level.

There is no entrance exam required for admission. The only exception is for international students that would be required to take the TOEFL or IELTS English language proficiency exam.

International applicant checklist»


There are three prerequisite courses that must be completed before starting the MSW program. Keep in mind that students may apply to the MSW program if they are missing one or more prerequisites, but all prerequisites must be completed before the first day of graduate classes.  If you are missing one of these courses, click on the course to see a PDF of options in Minnesota or online that meet the prerequisite requirement.

NOTE: In recent years, most incoming students have elected to take the online courses offered by or to meet needed prerequisite requirements. These online courses are designed to be self-paced and able to be completed in 2 months or less.

The MSW application will ask you to indicate if you've taken or are currently taking these courses. If you are unsure, please email and be prepared to share the course name and description (from the course catalog) of the course in question. As appropriate, you may be asked for a course syllabus to help us determine if the course covered the required content. 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.

If you are completing a prerequisite course AFTER admission to the MSW program, we will need you to have the transcript sent directly to the program:

St. Thomas Master of Social Work
2115 Summit Ave., SCB 201
St. Paul, MN 55105

If the school provides the option to have the transcript emailed directly to the MSW program as a PDF, it can be sent to:

No. Courses can be taken for a letter grade or on a pass/fail basis, but must be for college-level credit.

Yes, you can take courses in the MSW program before being admitted by registering as a non-degree student. Non-degree students can take up to 6 credits (2 courses) before they are accepted. The courses taken as a non-degree student will apply to your degree if admitted. Non-degree registration is available for GRSW 500, 540 and any 500-level elective courses on a space available basis after degree-seeking students have registered. Non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid and are not guaranteed admission to the MSW program. Contact the MSW Program manager for further information at


The priority application deadline for all completion options is January 10 each year.  This is for the programs starting the following June (Advanced standing one-year and the Hybrid MSW tracks) as well as all weekday/evening program options beginning the following fall semester. We do not admit students starting in the spring semester. See information about non-degree enrollment if you wish to explore taking classes in spring semester.

Our extended-time (part-time) completion tracks will have a secondary application deadline of March 10, pending space availability. This includes all tracks EXCEPT the Advanced Standing - one year track and the Regular Standing - two year track.  Contact the MSW program, if you would like to explore this option.

Yes! The School of Social Work provides a number of scholarship and grant awards from its own resources to incoming graduate students each year, including the Dean's Academic Scholarships, Diversity Grants, Service Grants and Alumni Grants (for undergraduate alumni of any of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) schools, including the University of St. Thomas, St. Catherine University, Hamline, Augsburg, and Macalester). There is no separate application process for these grants/scholarships.

After acceptance to the MSW program, incoming students are provided information about additional scholarship and financial assistance programs for which they are invited to apply. These opportunities include the following: Area of Emphasis Scholars, endowed scholarships, the Diversity Social Work Advancement Program, and research assistantships. We also encourage you to use outside scholarship searches to identify additional grant and scholarship opportunities.

All financial aid for the MSW program is administered through the University of St. Thomas. Graduate students may receive any of the loan funds administered by the university. For more information, visit the graduate financial aid website (see link below), or connect with the designated MSW financial aid counselor, Becky Stevenson at 651-962-4053 /

Visit the Financial Aid web page  and the School of Social Work Scholarships & Grants page for more information.


If your program completion track has a summer start-date and you wish to be considered for summer financial aid, you will need to complete the current year's FAFSA application and the Graduate Financial Aid Office’s Summer  Financial Aid Application for Graduate Students which will become available on their website at the beginning of April. In order to be considered for aid starting in the fall, you will need to complete a FAFSA application for that academic year.

If you haven’t done so already, please explore our MSW/JD dual degree web page, and consider setting up an appointment with George Baboila, the social work faculty adviser to MSW/JD students. George is a co-director of the Interprofessional Center for Counseling and Legal Services (IPC) and offices at the IPC in downtown Minneapolis.

MSW/JD Adviser:

Social Work: George Baboila, Director, Social Work Services, IPC, / 651-962-4817.

You will need to apply to each program individually. For the MSW application, most Advanced Standing students interested in the JD/MSW will apply to the AS-one year program. Most Regular Standing students will apply to the RS-two year program. There is not an area on the MSW application to indicate that you are interested in the JD/MSW dual degree, so please communicate with the adviser (above) and email stating your intention to apply to the dual program. Please note that admission decisions are made and communicated by each program, not jointly. 

The choice is up to you.  You are welcome to choose a very specific issue or type of social work practice that you’re particularly interested in. The faculty admissions committee looks at this as a writing sample, but is not evaluating the topic, so choose something you’ll enjoy exploring and writing about.

If you need to change one of your references/recommenders and you have not yet submitted the application, you can log back into your application and in the RECOMMENDATION section you can "Delete Above Recommendation," then provide a new recommender's name and contact email and "Save & Send Email to Recommender."

If you need to change one of your references/recommenders and you have already submitted your application, you will need to email the University of St. Thomas graduate admissions office at and identify yourself as a MSW applicant with your full name. Please copy on this request. State the new reference's name and contact email and which reference should be removed from the original list.  Please ask for a confirmation that the recommendation information has been changed and that the new recommender has been sent the necessary email link.

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. If your undergraduate institution sends you an email explaining that they no longer have your evaluation, you may forward this email to as an acceptable explanation (Subject line: Field evaluation related to MSW applicant [YOUR NAME]). 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]

You will upload your resumé or CV and personal statements directly into the online application.

You can log back into the online application at any time (using the user name and password you established to create the application) and check the "HOME" page Application Requirements checklist. This provides a way to see which transcripts and letters of recommendation have been received. Keep in mind it takes one or two business days after the receipt of an item before it is reflected in this list. Once all materials have been received, the "Next Steps" will indicate that your application is COMPLETE.

If you have not yet submitted your application, you can log back into the MSW online application, go to the RECOMMENDATION section, and click the box labeled "Resend Email to Recommender" for the recommender(s) you wish to remind.

Once you have submitted your application, you can log back into the MSW online application at any time (using the user name and password you established to create the application) and check the HOME section of your application, which contains a checklist of completed Application Requirements. As each letter of recommendation is received, the name will be checked off the list.  If your recommender has not completed the process, it is up to you to check back in with your reference to remind him/her to complete the recommendation by the Janualy 10 application deadline.  If your recommender cannot find the email request, please contact the graduate admissions office at with the recommender's name and email and request that the recommendation form be re-sent. 

First, keep in mind that it takes 1-2 business days after the receipt of an item before it is entered into your application file.

If you have reason to believe that a transcript should have been received and entered into your application file, you should send the relevant information in an email to the graduate admissions office,, copying the MSW program:  In the subject line, state, "Missing item for MSW applicant, ___" (insert your name)

In the email, please address the following:
1. Was the transcript sent by U.S. mail or electronically?
2. Did you get a confirmation? (if yes, please forward the confirmation email)
3. When was it sent?
4. Confirm that it was sent to the correct address/e-mail:*

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


*Please note: Several graduate-level applicants have mistakenly sent their transcripts to "University of St. Thomas, Graduate Admission" in Houston, TX.  Please confirm that you have sent your transcripts to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota!

Yes. Official transcripts are required from ALL post-high school institutions* from which you received credit, even if you did not receive a degree and even if the credit appears on your degree-granting institution’s transcript.  See Step 3 in the Application Process for details about requesting transcripts from each institution.

*Exceptions: Transcripts for advanced placement courses, other courses taken while in high school, 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.

IMPORTANT: 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. If the graduate admissions office adds a school to your checklist DO NOT DELETE IT.  If it is credit that you received while in high school or through study abroad, write a note (either in the application or as an email to to this effect and it will be checked off your list.

Yes, please request official transcripts from your current school through the most recently completed semester.  This transcript will be used in the admissions process.  If you matriculate into the St. Thomas MSW program, we will need your final, official transcripts before MSW classes begin (or as soon as they are available, if your program starts immediately after graduation).

NOTE: If you complete another semester AFTER you have submitted your official transcript for application review (for example, the fall semester of your senior year), you can send a copy of your "unofficial" transcript that includes the most recent semester to if you would like it included in your application file to be considered for scholarship purposes.

Advanced Standing - One Year

UPDATED 10/2019: Summer classes will run from June 1 - August 20, Monday - Thursday:

2020 Summer Session I:

  • GRSW 500: Mon/Wed, 6/1 - 7/9, 4 - 7 pm
  • GRSW 681: Tues/Thurs, 6/1 - 7/9, 4 - 7 pm

2020 Summer Session II:

  • GRSW 625: Mon/Wed, 7/13 - 8/20, 4 - 7 pm
  • GRSW 645: Tues/Thurs, 7/13 - 8/20, 4 - 7 pm

Note: Fall and Spring courses are offered in the Weekday/Evening schedule. Class options are offered in the afternoon (1:35 - 4:00 pm), late afternoon (4:40-7:05 pm), and evening (7:20-9:45 pm) time blocks.  Each class meets once per week. For future reference, you will be able to view the upcoming course schedules HERE»

Hybrid MSW - Advanced Standing and Regular Standing

Hybrid summer classes run from June 1 - August 14. Courses meet on campus 3 Saturdays per term, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. REQUIRED in-class hybrid dates for summer 2020 are:

  • June 6
  • June 27
  • July 25

When available, you will be able to view future semester schedules HERE»

NOTE: All other completion tracks start in the fall

The timing varies slightly each year.  Students applying to a full-time program completion track (Advanced Standing-1 year and Regular Standing-2 year) will receive a letter by mid- to late-February if they applied by the January 10 priority application deadline.  All students applying to an "extended-time" completion track (Advanced Standing 2- and 3-year tracks; Regular Standing 3- and 4-year tracks) should receive a letter by the end of February.  

General program FAQs can be found here»

The MSW Application Checklist for International Students can be found here»