Master of Social Work

The Program

The master’s program prepares Advanced Generalist practitioners.  An Advanced Generalist possesses:

  • A broad array of knowledge and skills needed for practice
  • Skills for bringing about change and promoting social justice
  • A focus on the person-situation-environment, with an emphasis on the social context of practice, including psychological, socio-cultural, and political environments
  • Knowledge, values, and skills to assess the influence of context to plan interventions and refine interventions through on-going assessment at multiple levels
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct research and ascertain cutting edge intervention technologies
  • The skills of empowerment and sustainability, achieved through program development, linkages between organizations and programs, community change, and policy development
  • A readiness to move into higher level organizational positions and engage in independent practice

Our Mission is to prepare social work professionals at the advanced generalist level who can practice across a variety of social service settings. Students will be prepared to work effectively and collaboratively as professional social workers to enhance human well-being and promote economic, political, and social justice in a diverse and global society. Using anti-oppressive, justice centered, and community based practice approaches, the MSW program will engage students in an educational program that prepares them to think critically and evaluate practice and programs and contribute to the body of social work knowledge through active research.

To view the course curriculum for advanced and foundation standings, follow the links below.

Foundation Plan of Study

Advanced Standing Plan of Study

Information Packets are available for both Advanced Standing and Foundation tracks:

Advanced Standing Information Packet

Foundation Information Packet

See "Program Information and Courses".


Application & Admission to the Master of Social Work Program

All applications are submitted and reviewed by the School of Graduate Studies ( before being forwarded to the Department of Social Work. Students who are accepted into the MSW Program must first meet the admissions standards established by the School of Graduate Studies at St. Cloud State University.

The graduate application process includes (visit Graduate Studies website for all forms):

  • A completed admission application with a $35 nonrefundable application fee.
  • To be eligible for consideration for admissions to the School of Graduate Studies, a candidate must meet at a minimum one of the following:
      • Possess at least an overall 2.75 GPA (note the social work requirement listed below) in your previous undergraduate and graduate records.
      • Possess a GPA of at least 2.75 (note the social work requirement listed below) in the last half of your undergraduate work.
        • The MSW program requires a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in the last two years of undergraduate study.
  1. A test of English proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS) is required for applicants whose first language is other than English (visit or

Admission Requirements Specific to the MSW Program

Students are admitted to the MSW Program with start dates of the first summer session for Advanced Standing students and only in the fall semester for Foundation students. Please see below for explanation of Advanced Standing and Foundation status. Complete Admission Requirements information can be found at

  • An application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies at St. Cloud State University (see above).
  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.
  •  Advanced standing: applicants must hold a BSW degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education earned within the past seven years. The social work degree must be granted prior to the first day of class. Official transcripts must be submitted before enrollment in coursework if accepted into MSW program.
  • Foundation: applicants NOT holding a BSW degree must have evidence of completion of the following pre-requisites: Human Biology, Social Statistics, Human Life Cycle Development and three (3) additional courses in social/behavioral sciences. This includes courses in the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, economics, political science, psychology, history, and human relations. The courses may be taken at any accredited college or university. A transcript documenting completion of the courses is due at admission.
  • Students must have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale in the last two years of undergraduate education. Advanced standing students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average in their social work courses.
  • Paid or unpaid experience in human services, volunteer or social change activities are preferred for admission. 
  • A current resume which addresses: education, position and responsibilities for paid or unpaid experience and community involvement, which reflects frequency and duration of involvement.
  • A written essay: Please review the mission of the Department of Social Work (see above), MSW Program mission (see above), and the values of the Social Work profession as articulated in the NASW Code of Ethics (found at Please respond to the questions below.
    • How are your career goals consistent with:
      • The mission of the Department of Social Work;
      • The mission of the MSW Program; and
      • The values of the Social Work profession as articulated in the NASW Code of Ethics?
    • Describe a social justice issue that is of interest to you and describe the contribution you plan to make toward the resolution of the problem.

                  Your response should be three to five (3 – 5) typed double spaced pages (12 point font). Remember to include citations for any sources used.

* Please note: the Program does not give academic credit for life experiences and/or previous work experiences.

NOTE: The School of Graduate Studies and the individual programs within it reserve the right to request additional information when they believe it is necessary.


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