Social Work Master of Social Work (MSW)

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of bachelor's degree is required for admission?

For the traditional three year program:
A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university is required for our program, though there is no specific major required.

For the Advanced Standing two year program:
A four year undergraduate degree with a major in Social Work from an accredited college earned within the past 7 years is required.

How long is the program?

The traditional MSW program is three-years and the Advanced Standing program is two-years. Both are part-time cohorts that include in classroom experience two weekends per semester and online instruction.

Who teaches in the Master of Social Work program?

Highly qualified faculty teach across programs at the CSU Fort Collins campus and the distance MSW

Can I get financial aid?

Yes, once you have submitted your CSU Graduate School Application (a short form and an application fee) you will be assigned an ID number. At that point you can begin working with CSU Office of Financial Aid to obtain financial aid. Eileen Griego, in that office, works directly with our distance MSW students.

What type of scholarships are available to social work graduate students?

A comprehensive scholarship search tool is available on the College of Health and Human Sciences website.

Do I need to take the GRE?

No, the GRE is not required.

Can I transfer courses?

Due to our accreditation by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), only courses from a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work program have the potential to be transferred. Contact Timothy Frank for more information about transferring into the program.

Can courses be waived?

Generally, courses are not waived. One potential exception is students who have taken research courses that are comparable to Methods of Research I and II. These students can seek an exception and will need to provide the syllabi and final grade from previous research coursework.

What is the GPA requirement for admission?

3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale is required. Occasional exceptions may be made if the applicant demonstrates the ability to be successful in a graduate program. Read the How to Apply page for more information about admission requirements.

When are classes?

Classes are held two weekends per semester on both Saturday and Sunday. Meeting times are generally 8:30 am – 6:00 pm each weekend day.

What if I am absent from a class?

Attendance is critical as each time the class meets face-to-face represents a significant part of that semester's class time and learning activities. Each instructor has the right to set their own individual attendance requirements for the class they are teaching. These requirements typically include deducting points for classes missed, additional assignments for missed classes, and, in extreme cases, a grade of F that would require the student to retake the course.

What are my options if I need to withdraw from the program?

If you withdraw from the program in good standing, you can request to be readmitted in a later cohort. CSU graduate students have ten years to complete their degree.

Are there prerequisite courses for the MSW program?

Yes, there are a number of prerequisites that must be met prior to beginning classes, including:

  • 18 credits in social and behavioral sciences including statistics, human biology, and human life cycle development covering the life span
  • 9 credits in any combination of the following courses: sociology, psychology, economics, political science, anthropology, or history

These courses must be completed and transcripts received by the first day of classes.

What type of computer do I need?

You need a computer with internet access to participate in web-based instruction.

What is the difference between advanced generalist and Advanced Standing?

The term "advanced generalist" refers to the model or focus of our social work curriculum. "Advanced Standing" refers to the level of experience of a student applying to the program. Students who have a bachelor's in social work may be able to start the program with Advanced Standing status.

What is Advanced Standing? Do I qualify?

To qualify for the Advanced Standing program, you must have earned a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) no more than seven years ago. Advanced Standing students skip the first year in the program and join their cohort starting in year two. Additionally, the credit requirement is lower, as is the number of service hours required.

Earned a BSW? MSW credits required MSW service hours required
Traditional No 60 945 hours
Advanced Standing Yes 40 675 hours
What does "advanced generalist" mean? What is the advanced generalist approach?

The advanced generalist model in our MSW program places emphasis on the knowledge and skills needed for interventions at multiple levels of practice, including individuals, families, groups, and communities. Other central themes are direct services, community and organizational practice, social policy analysis, and social work research.

The advanced generalist model in CSU’s MSW program provides students with an increased ability to demonstrate advanced generalist competencies; integrate research into practice; analyze value and ethical dilemmas; add greater depth to the provision of service; and provide the skills to function as more independent social work practitioners. Additionally, this advanced skill level allows graduates to engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative public and private partnerships for advocacy, policy, practice, and advancing social justice.

Generalist social work is regarded both as a perspective and a practice approach because the social worker is taught to recognize the impact, influence, and potential resources available from the context where practice occurs.

What Next?

  • Discover why more than 10,000 students each year choose to advance their education online with Colorado State University.

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