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MSW Program Application Process

The 2020 Admissions Cycle is now closed. The 2021 Admissions Cycle will open in Fall 2020.

The final application deadline for the 2020 Admissions Cycle is January 15th, 2020 at 11:59 PM. All required materials must be submitted by this date and time for an application to be considered complete and eligible for review.

To be considered for priority admission, applicants must submit all application materials by October 30th, 2019 at 11:59 PM.

Please note: Application processing takes 10-12 weeks from the deadline (not from the submission of the application) to complete. The Office of Social Work Student Services will stay in close contact with you throughout the entire process. If you have questions as you navigate through the application process, please contact the Office of Social Work Student Services via phone at 303-615-0555 or via email at

Applicants who submit all their materials by the priority consideration deadline of October 30th will have their application reviewed during the fall and early winter by the MSW Admission Committee. Those ranked in the very top of the pool of applicants will be granted early admission to the program, granting them a head start on:

  • Preparing to start the program
  • Securing a field placement
  • Registering for classes

All other applicants who submit their application by the priority consideration deadline will have their application rolled forward and will receive their admission notification in spring 2020, 10-12 weeks after the application deadline.

Although only a select few will receive priority admission, we encourage you to give it a try, submit your materials early, then sit back and relax.

The Office of Social Work Student Services encourages you to read through all of the steps below to gain a through understanding of the application requirements and process before beginning step 1. For information about program eligibility please visit our Regular Program application page and our Advanced Standing Program application page.

Step One:

Create an account and complete the MSU Denver Graduate Application online.

This is your general application to graduate school at MSU Denver. In order to submit this application, you will need to:

  • Fill out all required information;
  • Enter 3 references for your Letters of Recommendation;
    *Note: you will not be able to submit you application until you have entered all three recommenders into the system.
  • Pay the $50 graduate application fee

Colorado Free Application Day is October 15, 2019 - to inspire more Coloradans to continue their education, the Colorado Department of Higher Education has teamed up with colleges and universities all across the state of Colorado to waive college application fees for all Colorado residents on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. If you submit your application between 12:01 AM and 11:59 PM on the 15th, you can apply for free! You can feel free to start your application and enter your recommenders prior to that date, but the automatic fee waiver is available on the 15th only and you must submit your application that day to receive the waiver.

If paying the graduate application fee is a financial hardship, please fill out the MSW Program 2020 Application Fee Waiver Request Form to request an application fee waiver. After submission, your request will be reviewed by the Office of Social Work Student Services. Make sure you do not click the "Finalize Application and Pay" button on the "Review" page of your application until you hear back from us. Fee waive codes can only be entered on the "Signature" page of the application and once that button is clicked, you can no longer enter a fee waiver code. Please be aware that if you have already paid the application fee, we cannot issue a refund.

Your Letters of Recommendation will all be completed through this online system. You should not collect or submit any physical letters of recommendation. If you or any of your references have questions about this process, please email

Three letters of recommendation are required for application to the MSW Program. Recommenders should be professional and should not be friends, family and/or personal therapists. Professional recommenders include faculty and employment/volunteer supervisors.

After entering your recommender into the system, they will automatically receive an email with a link to complete their recommendation via the online system. They will need to upload a written narrative as a Word or PDF document as well as fill out an evaluation form within the system to complete their recommendation.

Each letter of recommendation will be individually evaluated by the Admissions Committee. The committee can only evaluate three recommendations per applicant. Therefore, if you enter more than three recommenders into the system, it is your responsibility to exclude the recommendations you do not want reviewed by the committee prior to the deadline. If you have not excluded any recommendations from review, then our office will take the first three letters submitted for review. In order for your application to be considered complete and eligible for review, you must have three completed recommendations by the application deadline.

It is strongly recommended that at least one letter come from a faculty (when possible - the committee understands that applicants who have been out of school for many years may not have faculty able to provide recommendations) and one letter from a supervisor (employment- or volunteer-based). Professional colleagues may serve as adequate recommenders if need be, but use caution that the Admissions Committee highly values faculty and supervisor letters.

Recommenders should be able to speak to your academic and/or professional abilities as well as comment on your potential to succeed in graduate school and the field of social work. When considering your recommenders, think about who can write a strong letter of recommendation for you. The quality of the letter contributes to your overall application score. 

Advanced Standing Applicants ONLY: Applicants must submit one letter of recommendation from their BSW Program. This could include a faculty advisor, field director, field instructor, field liaison, or program director. 

Step Two:

Submit Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

Please note that transcripts need to be submitted directly to our office by the college or university or dropped off by a student still in a sealed envelope. Once transcripts have been opened by a student they are no longer considered official. For electronic transcripts to be considered official, they must be sent directly to our office by the college or university. Electronic transcripts emailed to us by students are considered unofficial.

If you attended a college or university outside of the United States, you must have your transcripts evaluated by either Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES). We cannot accept un-evaluated transcripts for review or for admission to the MSW Program. Once your transcripts have been evaluated, you will have the official evaluation submitted directly from ECE or WES to the Office of Social Work Student Services. We do require that you submit a course-by-course evaluation.

If you obtained an undergraduate degree from MSU Denver, please email with your full legal name and 900# (Student ID Number) and we can pull your official transcripts for you.

If you have previously submitted official transcripts to MSU Denver, please email with your full legal name, any former names, 900# (if known), and date of birth, and we will pull your transcripts from our internal system.

All transcripts should be submitted by choosing one of the options below. Please do not submit any materials to the Office of Admissions at MSU Denver. Failure to submit using one of the options below may result in a delay in processing your application.

Please note: due to the volume of transcripts we receive, it can take us 2-3 weeks from when a transcript is received by our office or you submit your MSU Denver Graduate Application (whichever occurs second) to get your transcript(s) marked as received in your application checklist. However, we can review applications without transcripts as long as all other materials are submitted, although we cannot release your admissions decision until we receive your transcript(s).

Request official transcripts be sent electronically to We can only accept official transcripts when they are sent to us directly by the college or university. Any electronic transcripts sent to us directly by an applicant are considered unofficial.

Important Note: if you are ordering your transcripts and select to send them to a school, you may be forced to choose from a list of schools and will not be able to enter the Office of Social Work Student Services email or mailing address. If this is the situation, do not have your materials sent to MSU Denver Office of Admissions. Instead, you should select to send the transcripts to a third party at which point you should be able to directly enter our information. Sending to a third party and directly entering the email or physical address you want them sent to should be an option at all institutions. We have had transcripts from all schools in Colorado and from schools across the U.S. sent to our office via the account.


Request official transcripts be sent by mail to:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
Attn: Office of Social Work Student Services
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362

Important Note: if you are ordering your transcripts and select to send them to a school, you may be forced to choose from a list of schools and will not be able to enter the Office of Social Work Student Services email or mailing address. If this is the situation, do not have your materials sent to MSU Denver Office of Admissions. Instead, you should select to send the transcripts to a third party at which point you should be able to directly enter our information. Sending to a third party and directly entering the email or physical address you want them sent to should be an option at all institutions. We have had transcripts from schools across the U.S. sent to our office via our mailing address.

Drop off unopened official transcripts with the Department of Social Work, 1006 10th Street, Central Classroom Building Room 201, Denver, CO 80204-3802

Regular Program Applicants ONLY: The Office of Social Work Student Services will complete an Undergraduate Prerequisite Review for you as transcripts are received. After submitting your transcripts, please email requesting a transcript evaluation for MSW Program prerequisites so that we have a way to contact you once the review is complete. Make sure to include your full name and any former names as well as the institutions you submitted transcripts from in your email. We will send you your review via email once it is complete.

If any prerequisites have not been completed, you will be notified in your review email and provided with suggested completion options. Prerequisites do not need to be completed prior to applying to the program, but they must be complete prior to starting MSW coursework. That means you have until fall 2020 to complete any missing requirements.

Please note: The Office of Social Work Student Services can only perform prerequisite reviews using official transcripts; we cannot perform an official prerequisite review using unofficial transcripts.

MSW Regular Program applicants are required to have the following undergraduate course content areas completed prerequisites completed with a "C" or better before the fall semester in which they start the program:

  • At least 3 credits of course work in social and behavioral sciences (sociology, psychology, economics, political science, cultural anthropology, etc.) centrally organized around contemporary multicultural or diversity issues.
  • At least 3 credits of course work in social and behavioral science centrally organized around American Government (not U.S. history). This will typically be a political science course.
  • At least 3 units of course work in human/general biology OR 
    At least 6 units of course work in natural and physical science (chemistry, physics, geology, etc.)
  • At least 3 units of course work in basic statistics (not research methods)

The undergraduate course content areas listed above must be present on the student's official transcript, but should not be officially transferred to MSU Denver. Course equivalency will be determined by the Office of Social Work Student Services. Please visit our FAQ page for more information on courses that meet each requirement.

Step Three:

Request Application Keycode in order to set-up your Taskstream Account

It is now time to start submitting additional application materials into Taskstream, an electronic profile where you will submit MSW Program specific application materials.

Applicants must submit both an MSU Denver Graduate Application and complete all required materials in Taskstream for their application to be considered complete and eligible for review.

Complete the survey linked above to receive an application keycode. This keycode is required to set up an account in Taskstream. You should receive an email confirmation with your keycode immediately after completing the survey. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please check your junk mail. If you do not receive an email within 24 hours, please contact

Step Four:

Create a Taskstream Account

After completing the Keycode Request, you will receive an email containing both the keycode and instructions for setting up an account in Taskstream. Those instructions can also be found below.

2019 MSW Admissions Cycle Taskstream Instructions

Taskstream is the online service through which you will upload all of your MSW Program specific application materials

Step Five:

Complete All Forms and Upload Application Materials to Taskstream

Please note that you do not have to complete or upload all of your application materials at once. You can save and come back at a later time. Make sure to hit "submit" after completing each piece of the application. Once you have completed all application materials and clicked "submit" for each one, you're all set! There is no final submit button for the application.

Make sure that your computer will allow pop-ups while you are completing forms and uploading materials in Taskstream, as the site uses pop-ups frequently to have you confirm your submissions.

The Professional History Form is built into Taskstream and will be completed there. 

This form is a place for you to document your educational, professional and/or volunteer history. The committee will assess both length/quantity of time and the type of experience to determine its relevance.

The Admissions Essay must be written and saved as a Word or PDF file to the applicant's computer prior to being uploaded to Taskstream.

This submission requirement is an academic essay which helps the admissions committee to evaluate your capacity and readiness for graduate education and advanced social work practice. 

The admissions essay is a critical part of your admission application and will be the basis for evaluation of your writing and critical thinking skills and your capacity for self-awareness and personal growth. Be sure to include all required elements in an academic essay, using academic sources where appropriate (your ability to use and cite appropriate sources is an indicator of critical thinking) and follow APA style. We strongly encourage applicants to thoroughly review and edit their submission prior to upload.

While some personal information is required in the essay (e.g., your strengths), you should be judicious in the use of self-disclosure. You are not expected to disclose intimate details of your life; however, if you choose to do so, you should do so only briefly and make it clear how the issue has been resolved so that you may now succeed in the program and the profession. 

The maximum length of the entire essay is no more than six pages (12 pt. font, double spaced, title page and/or reference page do not count towards page limit). This is not short answer and should not be bullet-pointed; you should address and arrange the required information in a coherent, well-structured essay.

Your essay should incorporate the following information:

  1. the alignment of your personal philosophy and values with that of the profession;
  2. your understanding of and commitment to diversity and social justice;
  3. your professional experiences;
  4. your career plans and focus in the field of social work versus another helping profession (i.e., why social work?);
  5. your strengths and weaknesses that are relevant to the social work profession;
  6. describe a time you were given critical feedback; what was your reaction and how did that experience inform your development?;
  7. how the MSU Denver MSW program is best suited for your educational and professional goals; and
  8. how you will manage the rigorous demands of graduate education.

The arrangement of this information is up to you; all must be addressed but the order in which you do so should be guided by your writing style. Overall, we are looking that you understand the profession, are committed to it, and are ready for graduate-level work.

Due to the large number of applications the MSW Program receives, we regrettably cannot provide feedback on your admissions essay prior to submission

The Case Study should only be completed by Advanced Standing applicants and must be written and saved as a Word or PDF file to the applicant's computer prior to being uploaded to Taskstream.

The case study essay is an important part of your application because it reflects your ability to think critically about a situation and indicates your level of knowledge about social work. The case study is assessed based upon its level and quality of comprehensiveness, appropriateness, clarity, and academic writing.

Your essay must incorporate the following: 

  • not exceed 4 double-spaced pages, using 12 point Times New Roman font;
  • be written from the perspective of the school social worker;
  • provide the Admissions Committee a clear picture of your ability to construct a cohesive, academic essay that demonstrates your readiness for graduate-level work; 
  • synthesize your foundational social work knowledge and combine academic sources to support your rationale (references are expected and APA style should be followed); and,
  • provide the information requested below in a well formed essay (that is, incorporate the required information into an essay) and NOT in short answer or bulleted form. 

Case Study Prompts:

  1. Very briefly describe the current situation.
  2. Assess the family. What are the major issues, the dynamics, the strengths and challenges this family faces? Your explanation should be supported by scholarly sources.
  3. Develop an action plan. Describe your action plan to address all of the identified issues.
  4. What are the cultural considerations for working with this family? Support with scholarly sources.
  5. How do the macro systems impact the way you serve this family? What changes would you like to see in these systems and how would you go about creating change?


Paula Romero, age 35, was born and raised in El Salvador.  She has lived in the US for eight years and her daughter Beatriz, age 8, was born here.  Paula does not have papers for legal residency in the US.  Her husband and son, Edgar, age 37, and Tomás, age 15, live in El Salvador and have been trying for years to join Paula and Beatriz.  They have applied for Visas to the US but have been denied. The family has typically communicated several times a week by phone and computer.  Paula’s sister Evelyn and her husband Mario were also born and raised in El Salvador and have lived in Denver area for 15 years.  Evelyn has a work visa and has had an application pending for a green card for the past three years.  Evelyn’s husband, Mario, does not have a visa or green card.

Until recently, Paula worked long hours at a small, family-owned (no relation to her) restaurant six days a week. With her limited income, she has been able to support Beatriz and herself.  They have a small, one-bedroom apartment.  Paula is a devout Catholic and loving mother. Beatriz is a good student and attends the second grade at a local elementary school. She walks home from school, heats up dinner her mother would prepare, does homework, and reads or watches television until her mother arrives at about 8 p.m.  On weekends while her mother works, Beatriz sometimes stays at home but often stays with her aunt or friends.

Six months ago, Paula began experiencing multiple health issues.  She lost her appetite and experienced extreme pain and fatigue.  After several visits to the doctor, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy at Denver Health.  The treatment was unsuccessful and her condition has deteriorated.  She is expected to live for just a few days longer.

Beatriz and Evelyn and several friends and neighbors have been caring for Paula at home during these past several months.  Since Paula is unable to work, Edgar and others were sending money to help pay the bills.  Church members from their parish also have provided financial and other support to Paula and Beatriz during Paula’s illness.  For the past two months, Beatriz has been quiet and seems disinterested in any activities.

Both Evelyn and Mario work full-time.  They are renting a small, two-bedroom apartment, where they have lived for the past two years.  They have no children.  They are hoping Beatriz can stay with them.  Beatriz is probably open to the idea but worries about her father.  If she stayed with Evelyn and Mario, Beatriz would remain in the same school district but would have to change schools, as they live too far away from her current school.  Evelyn and Mario are concerned about any state support or interference, due to Mario’s residency status.  Edgar would like to be with Beatriz but would prefer for Beatriz to remain in Colorado, as he thinks it too dangerous for her to be in El Salvador.

You are the School Social Worker at Beatriz’s school.  You received a referral from Beatriz’s teacher, Ms. Ochoa. Ms. Ochoa has been concerned about Beatriz for the past several months.  She reports that Beatriz has missed approximately 20 days of school in the past four months and has not been in school at all for the past week.  When in attendance, Beatriz has been uncharacteristically quiet and unprepared for her lessons.  She also appears tired and a little unkempt at times.  When Ms. Ochoa has talked with Beatriz, Beatriz has teared up and has only said her mother is ill.

The Petition for Advanced Standing is built into Taskstream and will be completed there.

This form is only for individuals whose bachelors in social work degree is more than 6 years old. 

The Advanced Standing Program is reserved for those who have earned a bachelors in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accredited University within the last 6 years as of the start of MSW Program courses in June 2020. However, applicants with degrees older than 6 years, but still less than 10 years old as of June 2020, may petition the MSW Program to review their eligibility for Advanced Standing. Eligibility is determined upon the applicant's extent and level of current professional activity and development in the field of social work.  Applicants whose bachelor in social work degree is older than 10 years must apply to the Regular Program.

  • If you earned your bachelors in social work between June 2014 and present, you do not need to submit the Petition for Advanced Standing.
  • If you earned your bachelors in social work degree between June 2010 and May 2014, you must submit the Petition for Advanced Standing as part of your MSW Program application if you want to be considered for Advanced Standing. 
  • If you earned your bachelor in social work degree in May 2010 or earlier, you are not eligible for Advanced Standing and may submit the Regular Program application. 

Applicants may upload any supplemental items. This is not a required step in the application process. There is no guarantee that the reviewer will review any uploaded supplemental materials. As such, if an uploaded document is a critical component, applicants are encouraged to refer to the document in their admissions essay. Items uploaded in the supplemental items section are not evaluated as part of the formal review, but may serve to answer some questions or paint a more comprehensive picture of the applicant.

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Contact Information

Main Office Phone:



Main Office
Central Classroom Suite 201

Office of Field Education
Central Classroom Suite 202

Office of Social Work Student Services
Central Classroom Suite 206

Maps and Parking

Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362


Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation logo

Our MSW and BSSW Programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education - the sole accrediting body for social work education.