Master of Social Work Admission

MSW Video

Click here to watch a video about why you should pursue your MSW degree at Appalachian State University.

Information Sessions

To learn more about the MSW program, please consider attending an information session in the fall. Please see the fall information session schedule:

2021 MSW Program Information Zoom Session

Thursday, September 24, 20206:00pm-7:00pmJoin Here
Tuesday, October 13, 20206:00pm-7:00pmRegister Here
Tuesday, October 27, 20206:00pm-7:00pmRegister Here

Zoom Sessions Specific to the 2021 Advanced Standing Hybrid Program in Hickory, NC

(learn more here:

Thursday, September 17, 20206:00pm-7:00pm-
Tuesday, October 6, 20206:00pm-7:00pmRegister Here
Thursday, October 29, 20206:00pm-7:00pmRegister Here

*Sign up for Graduate School program news, here.

The application deadline for programs beginning in 2021 is February 1, 2021. All application materials must be received by this deadline. Completed applications will be reviewed prior to the deadline, and these applicants may be considered and offered early admission. Prospective students should apply through the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School's website. When applying to the program, please select the correct term of entry. Advanced Standing students must select Summer Session II and Regular students must select Fall. If you select the wrong term of entry, please email the Graduate School ( to move your application to the correct term.

Admissions Requirements

  • Advanced Standing is awarded only to graduates holding degrees from baccalaureate social work programs accredited by CSWE, recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Services*, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.

* This and all future references to degrees from social work programs accredited by CSWE, include degrees from CSWE-accredited programs or recognized through CSWE’s International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors.

  • the baccaleaureate Social Work degree as described above must have been earned within the past seven years.
  • a GPA of 3.2 or higher was earned in social work major courses.
  • a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last earned degree and official GRE  scores, unless a waiver is being requested (please see below for details about the wavier), OR 2.5 GPA in the last earned degree and official GRE scores at the 25th percentile. (Note: This is a minimum requirement for initial application review and does not guarantee acceptance). 
  • a complete Application Package (see all components listed below)
  • an undergraduate liberal arts background including knowledge from a variety of disciplines

Additional Admissions Requirements for the Advanced Standing Program

  • a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program, completed within seven years prior to the first day of MSW classes in the year of entry
  • a GPA of 3.2 in social work major courses

Application Package

Program admission is competitive, and applications are evaluated based on the entire application package. A strong applicant is one who has at least a 3.25 overall GPA, GRE scores in the top 25th percentile (scores between 75% and 100% in all sections), evidence of a commitment to social work values, evidence of readiness to complete a professional graduate program, and a background of paid and volunteer work in human service agencies.

Applicants apply through Cratis D. Williams Graduate School's website. All application components must be received by the deadline in order for applications to be reviewed, and these components are:

  • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended
  • Cratis D. Williams Graduate School's Application Form and Fee
  • The Graduate School and our MSW Program require a standardized entrance exam unless students meet the waiver requirements for this specific program.

    1. For those with a GPA of 3.2 or higher, you may meet the MSW program’s entrance exam waiver, as follows:

      1. Regular MSW Program:  A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher in the last earned degree or a completed graduate degree in another discipline.

      2. Advanced Standing MSW Program:  A GPA of 3.2 or higher in social work major courses.

                        *Please note:  To be considered for university-wide fellowships, you must still submit a standardized exam score.  Thus, applicants who wish to be considered for university-wide fellowships must still submit GRE scores even if they meet the MSW Program’s entrance exam waiver criteria. For more information about these fellowships please click here and for other information about financial support click here.

                         *The MSW Program may discuss qualifications and offer a preliminary assessment of eligibility for a waiver, but the Graduate School performs the formal evaluation and final approval.  The Graduate School review will not take place until the applicant has submitted an application, all required materials for the application except the test scores, and paid the fee.

                     2.   For those with a GPA of less than a 3.2 or for those who wish to apply for university-wide scholarships or fellowships, applicants must submit official GRE Scores from within the  last 5 years to the Graduate School.

                                   *Note:  Please plan to take the exam at least 4-6 weeks prior to the application deadline to allow time for the scoring and mailing of official score

  • Three Letters of Reference
    • Three professional letters of reference, preferably with at least one academic and one human service experience (paid or volunteer)
    • Those who write letters of reference must know the applicant as a current or former student, or have supervised the applicant in either a paid or volunteer job.
    • According to the Graduate School's FAQ, family members may not be recommenders, and character references or reference from well-known people are not desirable if they do not know you as an employee or student
  • Personal Statement
    • Reviewed to evaluate suitability for the MSW Program and the social work profession, writing skills, and English proficiency
    • Required format: 12 point font, double-spaced, one inch margins, 3-4 pages maximum
    • Required content:
    • Discuss the development of your interest in and commitment to a career in social work. Include the particular aspects of social work that most interest you. Describe the personal and professional experiences you have had that influenced your choice to pursue the profession of social work. 
    • Discuss your commitment to social justice and diversity, both personally and professionally, and how you see these issues related to your future practice in social work. 
    • Explain what makes Appalachian State University's MSW Program stand apart from other programs and how it will help you to achieve your personal and professional goals. 
    • NOTE: If you are interested in the Advanced Standing program you should indicate this by including a statement of readiness for entry into the advanced standing program within your personal statement. The statement of readiness should include information about how your BSW studies and field experience prepared you for the Advanced Standing Program.
  • Resume
    • Reviewed, in part, to determine the extent of the applicant's human service experience
    • In the absence of human service experience, reviewed for other indicators of effective interpersonal communication
    • Note reasons for any gaps in the resume
  • Program Selection Form
    • All applicants will utilize this form to select either the Advanced Standing or Regular program.
    • Program selection should correspond to your term of entry as explained on the form (summer II for advanced standing students, and fall for regular students). If you selected the wrong term of entry for your application, please follow the directions on the form to correct this error.
    • You can access the Program Selection Form here (DOCX, 24 KB).