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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.

BSSW Program Application Process

The application cycle for the Fall 2022 start opened on February 4, 2022. If you have any questions about the BSSW program application, please email [email protected].


  • To have your application reviewed and major changed prior to the start of Fall priority registration on March 28, 2022, you must submit your application no later than Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time)
  • If you are a current MSU Denver student, the final deadline to submit your application is Tuesday, May 31 at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time)
  • If you are transferring to MSU Denver from another institution for a Summer/Fall 2022 start, the final deadline to submit your application is Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 5:00 PM (Mountain Time)

Application Overview

All students who wish to apply for the BSSW Program beginning in Fall 2022 must complete and submit an application. All application materials must be submitted at the same time. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all items are complete. Complete packets are necessary for consideration into the program. Incomplete applications will not be able to be submitted.

Students will not be able to register for Fall 2022 upper division social work courses until their application has been processed and their major changed to social work (SWK). Applications are processed and reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. We highly encourage you to submit your application as soon as you are able.

A complete application includes the following:

  1. Complete application packet, including all pages within the online application
  2. Admissions Essay (see instructions below)

Click here to access the online application or visit The application does not need to be completed in one sitting. As long as you access the application from the same device you started it on, it should save where you left off.

Admissions Essay Instructions

Please include your full name and MSU Denver Student ID on all pages of  your essay. The essay should be typed, double-spaced, and approximately 3 pages in length. Your essay should comply with academic standards in writing as strong writing skills are needed in order to be successful in the Department of Social Work. If during the application review it is determined that you may require additional writing support to be successful, you may be required to complete additional requirements prior to or after being admitted.

The Admissions Essay should address the following:

  • Tell us why you selected the social work major and field (as opposed to another helping profession). Please include any relevant work, volunteer, or life experience.
  • How does the social work profession connect to issues of diversity and social justice? How do these professional values connect (or not) to your personal values?
  • Briefly describe a recent occasion when you experience conflict in your life. What do you think you handled well in this situation? What do you wish you had done differently?
  • Each three credit course you take requires an additional nine hours of out-of-class work. Social work classes will examine emotionally challenging topics such as suicide assessment, child abuse and neglect, and grief & loss. Course content will require ongoing critical self-reflection. Additionally, the BSSW Program requires 500+ hours of agency-based work hours across the upper division coursework. How will you manage the rigorous demands of the BSSW Program and take care of yourself on this journey?

If your essay does not address each of these points, it will be returned to you with a request to answer each point fully before you can be accepted to the BSSW Program.

If you need assistance with your essay, we recommend reaching out to the Writing Center. The Writing Center offers help at any stage of a writing project, from finding a topic to organizing the content to producing a final draft. They will work with writers in all areas of study, at all levels, in all stages of their writing processes, and with all types of writing projects. To schedule an appointment, please visit the Writing Center website.