Application Information

MSW Application Criteria & Steps

Questions about which application is the correct application for you, contact Chris Babcock at or 509.359.6485.


Degree Requirement

  • MSW – Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Advanced Standing MSW – Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in social work (BASW or BSW) from an accredited social work program.

GPA Requirement

  • MSW – A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher in an undergraduate program. Less than 3.0 GPA, requires a statement in the application process on readiness for graduate level work.
  • Advanced Standing MSW– the degree must be from a CSWE accredited undergraduate social work program, awarded no longer than seven years prior to the application date with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0.

Complete the Graduate Admissions Application

  • Check when you can apply using the application cycle below. The School of Social Work does not open applications for all MSW Programs each year. Only one application per applicant is considered at a time.
  • Create an account in the GradCAS online application portal.
  • Choose the correct MSW program application from the list:
    Select – Social Work Advanced Standing Cheney = the Cheney Full-time Advanced Standing MSW Program.
    Select – Social Work Advanced Standing Everett = the Everett Part-time Advanced Standing MSW Program.
    Select – Social Work Cheney = the Cheney Full-time MSW Program.
    Select – Social Work Spokane = the Spokane Part-time MSW Program.
  • Follow the GradCAS system directions on requesting an official transcript from the undergraduate degree-earning institution and three professional references.
  • Upload a current resume and responses to the social work essay questions.
  • The GradCAS system will save an applicant’s material allowing the applicant return to the application to complete the materials over time, but before the deadline.
  • Incomplete applications at the deadline date will not be reviewed unless there are extenuating circumstances.


Application Announcements: Admit/Waitlist/Decline

  • Following the deadline date, applications are reviewed by faculty, and admissions decisions are made as admit,  waitlist, or decline. Waitlist applicants may be brought into programs if space is available.
  • Timing of announcements. Example: after priority admission date of February 1, applications are reviewed and announcements made within 30-45 days.
  • For Advanced Standing (MSW-AS) applications to the full-time program, applicants who are not accepted to the MSW-AS program will be reviewed for the MSW standard program if the applicant indicated on the application they wished to be considered. Those decisions will be announced along with the standard program application announcements.
  • The MSW Program application cycle is Fall to Spring each year. Different applications are accepted each year. Watch this page for updated information on the current application cycle.

Important Things to Know

  • The GRE is not required for social work.
  • Previous life or work experience cannot be substituted for course credit.
  • There are no exceptions to the Advanced Standing admission criteria.
  • Questions on paying for your Graduate Education: Go to Graduate Tuition & Fees page for options on Scholarships, Tuition Waivers, Graduate Service Appointments, and Financial Aid to complete your FAFSA or WASFA.

MSW Program Application Cycles

Priority Admission
Regular Admission
Next Cohort Program Length
(Yr. 1- Cheney;
Sept. 30, 2022Feb. 1, 2023Apr. 1, 2023Fall Quarter 20232
Full-Time Advanced Standing (Spokane)Sept. 30, 2022N/AJan. 21, 2023Summer 20231
Everett Part-Time Weeknight Hybrid ProgramSept. 30, 2023Feb. 1, 2024March 1, 2024Summer 20243
Everett Advanced Standing Part-Time Weeknight Hybrid Program
Sept. 30, 2022 N/AFeb. 15, 2023Summer 20231.5
Spokane Part-Time Weekend Hybrid Program
Sept. 30, 2022Feb. 1, 2023March 1, 2023Summer 20233
Spokane Advanced Standing Part-Time Weekend Hybrid Program (Spokane) Sept. 30, 2023N/AFeb. 15, 2024Summer 20241.5

Questions Related to the Application

Strong essays are developed carefully and thoughtfully. Essays should address each question. Strong answers include examples and evidence. To demonstrate an ability to apply concepts, strong essays include examples from work, volunteer, education, and other pertinent details.

Essays should be written clearly, concisely, and ideas should be expressed explicitly. Be sure to allot plenty of time to complete essay questions. Essays written hastily reflect a lack of preparedness.

You have 250 words for each question. Strong essays provide enough detail to fully answer the question without being wordy. Strong essays answer the questions concisely and clearly. We recommend typing your response in Word and then pasting it into the application.

It is extremely important. Essay responses are a key component of the application and provide information faculty consider when reviewing your application materials.

It is very important to use complete sentences, proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics of written English. Strong essays often undergo revision and proofreading.

For the purpose of this application, no.

Yes. Be sure to fully answer each question. Some questions have multiple parts. Make sure you address each part in your answer.

We are not concerned with gaps in your resume only that your resume corresponds with what you share in your essay questions.

We recommend you include one academic, one reference from someone involved in your field experience and one professional reference. If you have been out of school for more than 5 years, it may be more difficult to obtain an academic reference. Choose references who can accurately and directly speak about your past work and your potential in this program. References should be able to speak to your ability to succeed academically and/or to your ability to practice as a social worker. We do not accept references from personal friends, family, a counselor/client, or faith leader/parishioner.

General Application FAQs

No, previous life or work experience cannot be substituted for course credit.

We accept applications for multiple programs each year. Be sure to select the correct program in the GradCAS. It is very important you complete the correct application for the program to which you want to apply. You may only apply to one program. If you apply to the wrong program and want to apply to a different MSW program, an additional $75 fee will be charged.

If you are having trouble identifying which application to choose, contact Christine Babcock at or 509.359.6485. When calling, please specify which program you are interested in.

No, in both instances. The part-time Spokane MSW Program primarily serves Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. The part-time Everett MSW Program serves the west side of the state. Vancouver area applicants may want to contact the Graduate Program Director at

We may ask students for an interview.

Overall GPA is one of the primary factors considered in the admissions criteria. Students with an overall GPA of less than 3.0 may find it more difficult to be successful in a graduate level program. Additionally, Graduate Studies only allows admission of a small number of applicants with an overall GPA of less than 3.0.

If your overall GPA is less than 3.0, you will be asked to write a rationale explaining why you should be admitted to the program.

No, the program is competitive. We receive many strong applications each year and not everyone who applies is admitted.

No, you need to indicate on the Advanced Standing application you would be willing to accept admission to the standard MSW program.

If you indicate yes, your application will be re-evaluated for admission to the standard program.

There is no appeals process, but you can reapply when we are accepting applications for the next cohort.

The GRE exam is not necessary for admission.