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BSSW Application Basics

Students who have decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in Social Work should select “Undeclared Social Work” (UNSW) as their major when applying to MSU Denver. After being accepted into the social work program, we will declare your major as Social Work. The UNSW major lets us identify and support students who are planning on pursuing a degree in social work but are still working on prerequisite and general studies requirements.

If you would like to change your major to “Undeclared Social Work” to indicate your plans to complete a degree in social work, please email the Office of Social Work Student Services at [email protected]. Make sure to include your student ID number in your email!

Students must apply to the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) Program in the Spring semester prior to the Fall semester they intend to start the upper division BSSW Program coursework. Students must have their major changed to Social Work through the application process before registering for any upper division required social work courses. Students may only begin the BSSW Program in the fall semester.

Learn more about BSSW Program Options and Curriculum. On that page you can also download an advising chart, review prerequisite requirements, and learn more about course delivery options.

Course Delivery and Enrollment Options

When you apply to the BSSW Program, you will need to indicate your Course Delivery Method and Enrollment Option on the application. Below is a brief description of each of these areas, but if you’re unsure what the best fit would be, we recommend meeting with an advisor.

The Course Delivery Method refer to how you take courses. There are two options:

  • Fully Online – students take all courses online and are guaranteed a spot in online sections of all required courses. Note: our online courses are not self-paced, and many courses will have both synchronous and asynchronous requirements.
  • Mixed Traditional – students can take courses on campus, online, and/or in the hybrid format. While we guarantee that there will be a spot for all students in a section of all required courses, we cannot guarantee that you will get a spot in your first choice of section.

Whether you are fully online or mixed traditional, chances are you will take one or more online or hybrid courses during your time in the BSSW Program. You can read more about what to expect in online and hybrid courses on our course delivery information page.

The Enrollment Option refers to if you are following the full-time or part-time plan for the upper division social work courses:

  • Full-Time – you will take 12 to 15 credits of upper division social work courses each semester (4 to 5 courses), and can complete the upper division coursework in two academic years.
  • Part-Time – you will take 6 to 9 credits of upper division social work courses each semester (2 to 3 courses), and can complete the upper division coursework in three academic years.

BSSW Program Application Process

The application to apply for a Fall 2024 start is open from February 29, 2024 through April 21, 2024 at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time). If you have any questions about the BSSW Program application, please email [email protected]. Late materials may be accepted, please email us if you need an extension.

All students who wish to apply for the BSSW Program must complete and submit an application. All application materials must be submitted at the same time, and your application cannot be submitted as incomplete. As the applicant, you are responsible for ensuring that all items are complete.

You will not be able to register for Fall 2024 upper division social work courses until your application has been processed and your major changed to social work. Applications are processed and reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received, therefore we highly encourage submitting your application as soon as you are able. Applications submitted by Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 11:59 PM will be processed and your major changed prior to the start of fall registration at the end of March. Applications received after that date may cause you a delay in registering for upper division social work courses.

The application does not need to be completed in one sitting. You will create an account when applying that allows you to save and re-open your application.

Click the button below to access the online application or visit

Personal Statement Instructions

There are four personal statements prompts you’ll need to respond to in the application. Each answer should be 200-250 words maximum. The purpose of personal statements is to assess your dedication and understanding of the social work profession, ethics, and values, and that you can communicate clearly and effectively in writing.

We recommend drafting your responses in Word and then pasting your responses into the text boxes in the application once they are ready. Sometimes formatting can get a little odd when pasting into the text boxes in the application – if you run into this issue, pasting with Ctrl + Shift + V is one way to paste from Word without formatting, and then you can use the formatting tools in the essay box.

Remember to keep your responses brief but thorough (there are word limits), and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Writing Center if you need any assistance along the way. They’re here to support you at every stage of your writing process, ensuring your essays shine brightly! To schedule an appointment, please visit the Writing Center website.

The personal statement prompts are:

  • Beyond your desire to help others, why have you selected social work as a major and profession over another helping profession or field? Please include any relevant work, volunteer, or life experience that contributes to your choice of social work.
  • Social Work is a value-based profession with Social Justice and the Inherent Dignity and Worth of the Person as two of its core values. Illustrate your understanding of social work by sharing how your values and lived experience support the social work values of Social Justice (i.e., equity, liberation, power/privilege, oppression, etc.) and the Inherent Dignity and Worth of the Person.
  • Describe a recent occasion when you experienced conflict in your life. This can be a conflict with another person or perhaps when you have had a long-cherished or accepted belief challenged. What do you think you handled well in this situation? What do you wish you had done differently? What did you learn about yourself?
  • In the social work program, each three-credit course you take requires at least six hours of out-of-class work per week. Social work classes will examine emotionally challenging topics such as suicide assessment, oppression, child abuse, neglect, and grief & loss. Course content will require ongoing critical self-reflection. Additionally, the BSSW Program requires 400+ hours of agency-based work across the upper division coursework. Please share how will you manage the rigorous demands of the BSSW Program and take care of yourself on this journey.