School of Social Work

MSW Admission Information

PROGRAM OPTIONS

There are two distinct program options--the Traditional MSW program or the Advanced standing program.

THE TRADITIONAL MSW PROGRAM

The first option is the Traditional MSW  program which is a 60-credit masters program and typically takes 2 years full-time, 2.5 years accelerated part-time, or 4 years extended part-time.

TRADITIONAL MSW PROGRAM PREREQUISITES

Students are not required to have a bachelor's degree in social work or any other specific major in order to be considered for admissions to the Traditional MSW program, but they should have earned a bachelors degree and completed a minimum of eight social science classes prior to admissions. Social science classes include but are not limited to psychology, speech communication, women's studies, political science, gerontology, criminal justice, anthropology, diversity, African American studies, human development, economics, social work, sociology, and urban studies. Student that do not have a minimum of eight social sciences classes may submit a petition with their application materials demonstrating how they have learned commensurate social science content elsewhere.  The minimum required GPA for admissions to the Traditional MSW program is an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

THE ADVANCED STANDING PROGRAM

The second program option is the Advanced Standing Program. The advanced standing program is an accelerated master of social work program. The advanced standing program consists of a minimum of 30 credits which can be completed in one year full-time or one and half years accelerated part-time, or two years extended part-time. Many students in the advanced standing program have past exposure to content on social work ethics and diversity which is prerequisite knowledge. Advanced standing students have two options, 1) they can choose to take SWK 501 - Ethical Decision Making for Social Work Practice and SWK 508 - Disparities, Diversity, and Inclusion while enrolled in the advanced standing program, or 2) they can demonstrate competency in these two academic areas by passing a proficiency exam.

ADVANCED STANDING PREREQUISITES

Students must have a bachelor of social work degree from a BSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) within the last 5 years in order to be considered for the advanced standing program. They also must have a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their undergraduate social work classes.

CLINICAL OR ADVANCED GENERALIST SPECIALIZATION

During the specialization year, all students (Traditional and Advanced Standing) will be required to select a specialization-either "Clinical" or "Advanced Generalist." Applicants will be asked to state their desired specialization in their application materials.

CLINICAL SPECIALIZATION

Students in the clinical specialization develop skills to be competent in the practice of psychotherapy, that is, to provide behavioral and mental health assessment and treatment for individuals, couples, families, and groups.  The clinical specialization integrates a trauma informed curriculum.  Students trained with a clinical trauma-informed specialization can be prepared to work with a range of clients in mental health clinics, hospitals, child welfare, social serve agencies, substance abuse settings, domestic violence and rape crisis centers.  Graduates will also be prepared to address neighborhood violence, gun violence, and gang-related violence providing individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and programs for victims. This is the most common path to licensure.

ADVANCED GENERALIST SPECIALIZATION

The advanced generalist specialization prepares students to assess and intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students develop competencies for practice in settings that prepare them to take the Advanced Generalist examination for Ohio's Licensed Independent Social Worker license. Social workers with an advanced generalist, multi-dimensional skill set work in hospitals and nursing homes, rehabilitation, child welfare, aging, developmental disability, settlement houses, social service agencies, and in advocacy, community education, community organizing, and other settings serving clients and communities.

ADMISSION INFORMATION

The priority application deadline for summer admission is January 15; late applications will be reviewed but may be subject to a later start date. February 28 is the deadline for fall admission. Submit materials to the Cleveland State University Graduate Admissions Office. Students are expected to adhere to the program format under which they were admitted (day/evening, full-time/part-time, advanced standing). Any changes in this admission status will be based on the program's ability to accommodate the change. Changes must be requested before the beginning of the academic year.

All students must gain admission to the Program in order to earn the MSW degree. There is no foreign language requirement for admissions. For international students, the minimum combined score on the internet TOEFL exam is 78 including at least 20 in reading, 21 in listening, 17 in writing, and 20 in speaking. Only official test scores received directly from ETS are accepted. No academic credit is given for work or life experience. Students applying prior to completing their bachelor degree must provide evidence of successful completion of their degree prior to beginning the MSW program. In addition to the College of Graduate Studies admission requirements at Cleveland State, the School of Social Work requires the following:

REQUIRED MATERIALS
 FOR TRADITIONAL MSW PROGRAM ADMISSION

  1. Three references will be required. It is preferred that all come from a student's professor, field supervisor, work supervisor, or academic advisor. At a minimum, two of the references must be the student's professor, field supervisor, work supervisor, or academic advisor. Exceptions may be granted by the MSW Program Coordinator if more than five years have passed since the applicant attended school or work. One reference may come from a supervisor of a social work-related volunteer activity, including a social work-related volunteer activity performed in a religious setting. Family members may not be used as a reference. In lieu of a traditional letter of reference, references should complete the MSW  Program Reference Form available.
  2. A writing sample. An essay of three to five typed pages (1.5 spacing) explaining: 

a. Why the student wants to be a social worker;

b. Why a graduate degree is felt to be necessary to fulfill the applicant's personal or professional objectives;

c. The applicant's views regarding diversity in society; 

d. A situation in which the student was the recipient/provider of help, emotionally, socially, or economically; and 

e. A description of the applicant's previous social work/human service work experience.

  1. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and undergraduate institutions attended. Students who apply before completing their bachelor degree must submit evidence of degree completion before beginning the MSW  program.

REQUIRED MATERIALS FOR ADVANCED STANDING ADMISSION

  1. Three references will be required. It is preferred that all three references come from a student's professor, field supervisor, work supervisor, or academic advisor. At a minimum, two of the references must be the student's professor, field supervisor, work supervisor, or academic advisor. One reference may come from a supervisor of a social work-related volunteer activity, including a social work-related volunteer activity performed in a religious setting. Family members may not be used as a reference. In lieu of a traditional letter of reference, references should complete the MSW  Program Reference Form available.
  2. A writing sample. An essay of three to five typed pages (1.5 spacing) explaining: 

a. Why the student wants to be a social worker; 

b. Why a graduate degree is felt to be necessary to fulfill the applicant's personal or professional objectives; 

c. The applicant's views regarding diversity in society; 

d. A situation in which the student was the recipient/provider of help, emotionally, socially, or economically; and 

e. A description of the applicant's previous social work/human service work experience.

  1. All advanced standing applicants will be required to include their field evaluations from both required undergraduate practicums.  For those admitted students who are continuing directly from a BSW program to the MSW program, admission will be considered pending until they successfully complete field and their final field evaluation is received.
  2. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Students who apply before completing their bachelor degree must submit evidence of degree completion before beginning the MSW program.