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Application Deadlines and Procedures

The application for the 2021 Admissions Cycle will open on September 8, 2020.

If you are on the MSW Prospective Student List, you will be notified when the application becomes available.

The final application deadline for the 2021 Admissions Cycle will be in January 2021. We will also have a priority consideration application deadline in late October 2020. We will release the exact dates for these deadlines when the admisisons cycle opens.

Application processing takes 10-12 after the deadline to complete, and applicants are notified of their decision via email.

Priority Consideration Deadline Overview

Applicants who submitted all their materials by the priority consideration deadline 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 are 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 have their application rolled forward and receive their admission notification after the final application deadline review period.

We only admit once a year because of the sequencing of our courses. At this point in our program’s trajectory, the Advanced Standing bridge coursework is only offered in the summer semester and the Regular Program first semester coursework is only offered in the fall.

You will be notified via the email address provided in your application materials. Please note that application processing takes 10–12 weeks after the deadline to complete. If you have not heard from us in the agreed upon timeframe, please check your spam folder as sometimes .edu emails get filtered into spam.

Over the past four years, the average acceptance rate for our Advanced Standing Program applicants is 70% and the average acceptance rate for our Regular Program applicants is 75%.

Unfortunately we do not accept late applications. Please contact us after the admissions deadline if you would like information about applying to the MSW Program with Non-Degree Seeking Status.

We do not require the GRE or any other form of standardized assessment as an admissions requirement.

Yes! We look for relevant experience and that weighs in our admission decision. While a lack of experience won’t mean that you won’t be accepted, the more relevant experience, the better!

If you are still working to decide what you’d like to major in, we encourage you to consider a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. The benefit of Advanced Standing is a huge one if you know that ultimately you’d like to pursue your MSW.

If you already have a Bachelor's degree, however, we typically do not recommend pursuing a second Bachelor's degree. For most students it would take them far more time, energy, and money to complete a second Bachelor’s AND a Master’s. If, however, you have concerns about your GPA from your previous Bachelor’s degree, please contact the department and we will discuss your options with you.

Advanced Standing eligibility is only considered for applicants who hold a degree from a baccalaureate social work program accredited by CSWE (within the last six years), hold a degree recognized through CSWE's International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or hold a degree from a program that is covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.

If it has been more than 6 years since you earned your undergraduate degree in social work, you can petition for Advanced Standing as part of the application process.

If you have an undergraduate degree in any other field (including Psychology, Human Services, etc.), you are not eligible for Advanced Standing and will need to apply to the Regular Program.

For the 2021 Admissions Cycle, if your undergraduate degree is in social work and was conferred:

  • December 2014 to present - you are eligible for the Advanced Standing Program
  • December 2010 to November 2014 - you are eligible for the Advanced Standing Program, but will also have to submit the Petition for Advanced Standing as part of your application
  • November 2010 or earlier - you are no longer eligible for Advanced Standing and must apply to the Regular Program

Application Materials

The following components of the application are required from all applicants:

  • Online MSU Denver Graduate Application (including $50 Application Fee)
  • Professional History Form (embedded in the application, a professional resume is optional)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted electronically)
  • Admissions Essay (prompts will be provided)
  • Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

The following MSW Program Application Materials are only required of Advanced Standing applicants:

  • Case Study (prompts will be provided)
  • Petition for Advanced Standing (if undergraduate degree in social work was conferred from December 2010 to November 2014)

We look for academic or professional letters as part of our application process. Recommenders should be professional and not be family, friends, and/or personal therapists. Professional recommenders include faculty members or supervisors of work, volunteer, or internship placements. Professional colleagues may serve as adequate recommenders if need be, but use caution that the Admissions Committee highly vlaues 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.

If you have questions about the appropriateness of a letter writer, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Please use APA formatting (7th edition) in all formal written works. For all written work, a cover page and/or references do not count towards the page limit. For the admissions essay, an abstract is not required.

Please send official copies of all of your transcripts directly to the Office of Social Work Student Services. You should not submit any application materials, including transcripts, to the MSU Denver Office of Admissions.

Please 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.

Electronic transcripts are preferred and can be sent to

Paper transcripts can be mailed to:

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

You can check the status of your application materials in your MSU Denver application account.

Please be aware that our team has to manually mark transcripts as received in your account - this can take several weeks after transcripts are received to complete. Transcripts are the one item we allow to arrive after the deadline so if your transcripts are not marked as complete but all other required materials have been submitted via your MSU Denver Graduate Application account, your application will be considered complete and eligible for review.

Prerequisite Courses

The prerequisites are required of all Regular Program applicants. They are:

  • 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)

Please download our 2021 Admissions Cycle MSW Program Prerequisite Requirement & Completion Options packet for details on courses that fulfill each of these requirements.

When you submit official transcripts, we perform a prerequisite review to determine what, if any, prerequisites you are missing. When you submit transcripts, please email us at with your full name, any former names, and the names of the schools you are submitting transcripts from so we can easily contact you once our review is complete. If, after our review, you believe a course should have counted for a missing prerequisite, we are happy to look over course descriptions and/or syllabi to see if it meets our requirements.

All prerequisite courses must be completed prior to the start of the fall semester in which you begin MSW Program coursework.

Applicants are welcome to apply to the program without all prerequisites complete, and may work on completing any missing course work prior to or after receiving their admissions decision. If an applicant is accepted to the program without all prerequisites complete, it will be with the condition that all courses are completed prior to the start of the fall semester.

For more information about completing missing prerequisite courses through MSU Denver, please email 

Courses Required: 1 course (3 credits)

Course Requirements:

  • Courses must be a social or behavioral science course such as psychology, sociology, geography, social work, gender and women’s studies, political science, economics, criminal justice and criminology, Africana studies, Chicano studies, cultural anthropology, human services, etc.
  • Courses must focus on one or more of the following:
    • One or more regions or countries outside the U.S. (including aspects such as the historical, political, social, cultural, legal, or business contexts of these regions)
    • One or more of the four groups of color in the United States
    • Global interdependence
    • Gender and/or sexualities
    • Effects of bias, prejudice, and discrimination

Suggested Completion Options:

  1. MSU Denver CoursesAAS 1010, 2100, 2200*, 3220*, 3700*; ANT 2330, 3310*, ANT 3340*, 3480*; CAS 3760*; CHS 1000, 2100, 3100*, 3200*; CJC 3720*; ECE 3860; ECO 3600*, 3800*; EDS 1001, 3150*; EDU 1111, 3111, 3200*; GEG 1000*, 1300*; GWS 1001, 1200*,1550, 2100, 2770*, 3070*, 3170*, 3220*, 3395*, 3600*, 3650*, 3660*, 3700*; HCM 2010*, 3700; HSP 3490*; IND 2810*; NAS 1000, 3200*, 3300*; NUT 3300*, 3550; PSC 2200*, 2230, 2240*, 3200*, 3300*; PSY 3030*, 3700*; RECR 2010*; SED 2200; SOC 1020, 1040, 3410*, 3220*; SWK 3110*, 3500*, 3660*; TTM 3700
    * May have prerequisite requirements
  2. Colorado Community College SystemANT 215; COM 220; ETH 200, 212, 224; SOC 218; POS 205

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a course, please email

Courses Required: 1 course (3 credits)

Course Requirements:

  • Courses must be a social or behavioral science, typically must be a political science course
  • American or U.S. History courses are not accepted
  • Courses must focus on the U.S. political system of representation at the national level

Suggested Completion Options:

  1. MSU Denver Courses – PSC 1010 American National Government
  2. Colorado Community College SystemPOS 111 American Government
  3. CLEP Exam – Students must receive a score of 50 or higher for the CLEP Exam to be accepted, options include: American Government (

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a course, please email

Courses Required: 1-2 courses (3-6 credits)

Course Requirements:

  • Students must complete either:
    • One (1) Natural and Physical Science course focused on human biology, anatomy and physiology, general biology, or biopsychology (3 credits required) OR
    • Two (2) Natural and Physical Science course in other areas such as chemistry, geology, physics, astronomy, biological anthropology, environmental science, etc. (6 credits required)

Suggested Completion Options:

Human/General Biology (1 course required)

  1. MSU Denver CoursesBIO 1000, 1030, 1080 + 1090, 2310
  2. Colorado Community College SystemBIO 104, 105, 106, 111, 112, 201, 202
  3. CLEP Exam – Students must receive a score of 50 or higher for the Biology CLEP Exam to be accepted
  4. University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work – Human Biology for Social Sciences (Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues)

Other Science Courses (2 courses required)

  1. MSU Denver Courses – Courses listed under the Natural and Physical Sciences will fulfill this requirement
  2. Colorado Community College SystemAGY 240; ANT 111; AST 101, 102, 150, 160; BIO 103, 104, 105, 106, 111, 112, 116, 201, 202, 204, 208, 220, 221; CHE 101, 102, 105, 111, 112; ENV 101, 110; GEO 111, 112; GEY 108, 111, 112, 135; MET 150; NRE 251; PHY 105, 107, 111, 112, 211, 212; SCI 105, 155, 156
  3. CLEP Exam – Students must receive a score of 50 or higher for the CLEP Exam to be accepted, options include: Biology; Chemistry; Natural Sciences
  4. University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work – Human Biology for Social Sciences (Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues)

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a course, please email

Courses Required: 1 course (3 credits)

Course Requirements:

  • Courses must be either a math or social and behavioral science course focused on statistics
  • Research methods courses are not accepted

Suggested Completion Options:

  1. MSU Denver CoursesMTH 1210 Introduction to Statistics; PSY 2310 Statistics for the Social and Behavioral Sciences
    To take courses through MSU Denver, email for instructions on getting enrolled
  2. Colorado Community College SystemMAT 135 Introduction to Statistics
  3. University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work – Statistics for the Social Sciences (Statistics for People Who [Think They] Hate Statistics)

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of a course, please email


CLEP exams are subject specific tests that can be taken in place of a course. Our applicants can take CLEP exams to fulfill the Social and Behavioral Science - American Government prerequisite and the Human or General Biology/Natural and Physical Science prerequisite as it is less money and more time efficient than taking an in-classroom course. Please note that you need at least a score of 50 to pass the CLEP exam and that you can only take the exam once every three months. We strongly recommend that you not wait until the last moment to take this test.

No, your prerequisites do not expire. It does not matter when you earned your Bachelor’s degree – the prerequisites will qualify as long as they were taken at a regionally accredited institution. 

The MSU Denver Difference

There are approximately 530 students in our program spread between the Foundation and Concentration years.

Yes! We offer our MSW Program fully online. When applying to the program you must select fully online as your course delivery option and will be guaranteed spots in online courses. If you wish to take classes both online and on campus you must select the mixed traditional course delivery option and will not be guaranteed spots in online courses.

All of our classes are available both on campus and online. The on campus courses are offered in a variety of date and time formats.

While all of our coursework is available online, due to our field placement requirements, in the past we have required students to reside in the state of Colorado to complete their degree. However, we are now evaluating out of state applicants on a case by case basis to determine if it is possible for our Office of Field Education to support the out of state fully online student. Out of state students are accepted based on the Office of Field Education’s ability to accommodate additional out of state students for the years that student will be in their field placement. You are welcome to apply to the program, however we cannot guarantee that you would be able to complete the program out of state at this point in time.

Students must be residing in the United States to complete our program, as we cannot currently support students residing internationally.

Please email for more information.

Please take a look at the 19-20 MSW Program Cost Information. As with all institutions of higher education, our tuition does raise marginally from year to year so keep that in mind as you are financially planning. We will update this answer with the 2020-2021 tuition and cost information when it becomes available later this summer.

It depends on whether you are full- or part-time and Advanced Standing or Regular. Regular Program applicants (those without a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work) can complete the program in two years of full-time coursework or four years of part-time coursework. Advanced Standing applicants can complete the program in one year of full-time coursework or two years of part-time coursework. 

It does. Currently our MSW graduates have a 81% pass rate on the licensure exams that you would take post-graduation. Please visit our Licensure Resources page for more information.

We accept up to 9 credits of transfer coursework from other CSWE accredited MSW programs. Please email to learn more about the transfer credit process. We are not able to accept graduate level transfer courses from non-MSW Programs such as Psychology or Counseling.

You can definitely start working on your prerequisite requirements if you have any left to complete, but you cannot take most MSW courses until you have been accepted into the program. If you would like to begin working on your prerequisite requirements, please email for more information.

We do offer the opportunity to be admitted as a non-degree seeking student. You can learn more about applying to the MSW Program with Non-Degree Seeking Status here.

You can apply to the MSW Program with Non-Degree Seeking Status, though there is no guarantee of acceptance. Non-degree seeking students can take and apply a maximum of 12 credits toward their future MSW degree. As part of applying to the MSW Program with Non-Degree Seeking Status, the Office of Social Work Student Services determines which classes the student is allowed to take. Please see our website for our more information.

Advanced Standing Program:

Advanced Standing students are required to complete a 6 credit bridge program, which is only offered in the summer semester. This prepares students for their first semester concentration year courses, which are only offered in the fall semester. Our program is very sequential, with fall content relying on the summer bridge program, and spring content relying on fall content.

Regular Program:

The first semester foundation year courses are only offered in the fall semester. Our program is very sequential with spring content relying on fall content.

Yes. Our programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the state of Colorado.

We have been offering MSW degrees since 2011.

The majority of aid at the Master’s level is in the form of federal loans. We do have some stipend and scholarship programs through our department and you can find details under Scholarships & Stipends on our website. 

The Advanced Standing Program is summer-start only, and students are required to complete a 6 credit bridge program during the summer semester prior to starting concentration year coursework in the fall.

We occasionally offer foundation and concentration year MSW courses over the summer, but outside of the summer bridge program the coursework is primarily confined to the fall and spring semesters.

Yes, there is a part-time option that involves taking approximately half of the credits of the full-time plan each semester. This means that you would complete the MSW in double the amount of time it would take you were you to be full-time. On the part-time plan, your field placement years will not be spread over the years, but concentrated in one year each.

If you are a Regular Program student and begin part-time you must complete the full Foundation Year part-time before switching back to full-time. This means you would complete your Foundation Year in two years and your Concentration Year in one for a total of three years. If you are an Advanced Standing student and begin part-time you do not have the option to switch to full-time status. 

We do.  We work to take the feedback of our students and provide coursework at times that are most convenient for them.

We strongly discourage it. We consider our full-time program to be a 50 hour/week commitment between field placement, in class time, and out-of-class homework. We have found that students in our program are most successful if they are not trying to manage a full-time job. With that said, we understand that working full-time is a necessity for some. If this is your situation we encourage you to attend our program part-time and speak to an advisor in our office to ensure you are receiving adequate support. 

If you have life circumstances that require you to miss a semester or even year of the program, our advisors will work with you to develop an altered academic plan. 

At this point in time, we are unable to connect prospective students with MSW Program alumni.

There are tours of campus that run every day out of the Admissions Office, though they are primarily geared toward undergraduates. At this point in time, we do not offer tours specifically for students interested in the Master of Social Work program. However, we can let you know that the majority of MSW Program courses are located in the Central Classroom and West Classroom Buildings, and all of the Department of Social Work offices are located on the second floor of the Central Classroom Building.

Field Placement Process

Yes! You will submit a field application to the Office of Field Education and they will give you a list of agencies to interview with based on your interests, availability, etc. After each interview there will be a mutual selection process until you find the placement that is the right fit for you.

There is an option to submit your current job for consideration as an employment based field site. Please contact the Office of Field Education for more information.

About Social Work

Social Work knowledge, values, and skills allow helping professionals to examine issues and problems from a perspective that goes beyond just an individual, and takes into account the person in environment perspective. Social workers are equipped to practice at all levels- individuals, families, groups, and larger systems. They may engage in direct practice work, or may choose to address social justice and policy issues from a macro perspective.  Social workers are also rooted in the core value of social justice and not just anyone can call themselves a social worker. Because social work is a value based profession, we have an organized accreditation process for education, a code of ethics and a licensure process. Additionally, the signature pedagogy of social work education is applied learning, where you have skills training through field education.

Social work is a continually growing field so the job market is good for social workers right now. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects social work jobs to grow by 11% by 2028, which is faster than the national average growth rate of 5%. Because social work is such a diverse field, there are many opportunities for individuals with an MSW. Social workers can find jobs in a variety of settings including non-profits, schools, governmental agencies, hospitals, and mental health centers.

The first step to becoming a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or a Licensed Clinical Social Woker (LCSW) is to earn your Master's in Social Work. Please visit our Licensure Resources page for a step-by-step walkthrough.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationally the median pay for social workers is $50,470 per year. 80% of all social workers nationally earn between $31,790 to $82,540 annually.

In the state of Colorado, the median pay for social workers is $51,038 per year. 80% of all social workers in Colorado earn between $32,918 to $76,790 annually.

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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.