Application Process

Admission criteria

Admission criteria are identical for students applying for admission to the MSW program across all program options. All students will be required to complete the admission requirements of the university.   The Office of Graduate Admissions will use the following guidelines to determine whether students may be considered for regular graduate admissions:

  • Electronically submit the application to the Graduate Admission Office.
  • Applicants must request the Registrar of all colleges attended to send official transcripts of college records, and request the last college attended to complete and return the Confidential Report Form to the Graduate Admissions Office.
  • Applicants with a BA or BS degree will be evaluated as a two-year MSW candidate.
  • Applicants with a BSW degree will be evaluated as an Advanced Standing MSW candidate.
  • All applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of "B" (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) or above and be in good standing at the previous institutions.
  • An applicant from a country where English is not the native language is required to demonstrate a proficiency in English by submitting scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Students from non-U.S. institutions will be required to report their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. Minimum TOEFL scores include:
    • BT 88 points total AND a minimum of 20 points in each section
    • CBT: 230 points
    • PBT: 570 points

Official test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service.  An international student must provide documentation verifying resources to meet financial needs for the designated period of study at Virginia State University.

  • The applicant who has met the admissions criteria will be considered for admission for the fall, spring and summer sessions.

Baccalaureate degree:  The VSU Department of Social Work requires an earned baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a recognized accrediting association with a minimum of 18 units of liberal arts coursework.  The coursework may include courses from humanities (philosophy, history, cultural studies, music and so on), social sciences (sociology, psychology, political science, economics, criminal justice, and so on), global studies (foreign language, history, study abroad, and so on), literature (English), mathematics (basic mathematics, algebra, statistics, and so on) and health and wellness.  The VSU Social Work Department welcomes applicants from all academic backgrounds who meet the liberal arts requirements.

Formal admission to the proposed MSW degree program

In order to be admitted to the MSW program the student must:

  • Obtained a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 core credits (this includes any previous graduate-level academic work).
  • Submit three letters of recommendation - Cross-section of references, including employers, faculty or other individuals who have evaluated applicant’s work and can speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and/or related paid social work or volunteer experience.
  • Submit a Professional Statement of Intent - Applicant’s ability to demonstrate their understanding of the social work profession and their suitability for this program.
  • Resume
  • For admission to Advance Standing entrance level pathway- student must have a bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from a CSWE accredited program, with an overall GPA of 3.0.
  • Students will not be required to submit GRE scores. The University will not require Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) exams for the proposed graduate program.

Formal Admission to the Advanced Standing MSW degree program: Advanced standing is an admissions classification available only to students who have received a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program within the last 5 years. Students from all other disciplines (e.g., psychology, human services, criminal justice, sociology, etc.) are not eligible for advanced standing.  In addition to the regular criteria for admission to the MSW program, advanced standing applicants must also meet the following criterion:

  • A cumulative 3.5 BSW GPA.  
  • A “C” grade in a practice class (also frequently called “methods” or “interventions”) are ineligible for advanced standing. 
  • Applicants must have passed all field practicums with an earned grade of “B” or better.
  • A recommendation letter from their undergraduate department chair.
  • A recommendation from an agency field placement supervisor.
  • Applicants must submit a copy of all undergraduate Field Evaluation(s).
  • Applicants must submit three letters of recommendations from employers, faculty or other.

The advanced standing curriculum does not duplicate any courses or content areas already mastered from BSW program requirements.

Other Criteria: Applicants must also demonstrate experience in providing service to people (1-2 years of social work-related or volunteer experience preferred), along with the potential for professional competence.  They must demonstrate a strong interest and motivation, and commitment to social work values such as appreciation for cultural and ethnic diversity, belief in the dignity and freedom of every individual, promotion of social justice and equal access to resources; and institutional responsiveness to human needs and social change.  Personal qualifications such as professionalism, sensitivity and responsiveness in relationships, capacity for self-awareness, concerns for the needs of others, ability for abstract reasoning, conceptual thinking and strong communication skills are also core requirements.