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MSW Program Application Process

‌The Application Cycle for Fall 2018 Admissions is now open!

The application deadline for the Fall 2018 Admissions Cycle is January 23rd, 2018 at 11:59 PM.

To be considered for priority admission, applicants must submit all application materials by October 31st, 2017 at 11:59 PM.

Please note: Application processing takes 10-12 weeks from the deadline (not from the submission of the application) to complete. The Office of Social Work Student Services will stay in close contact with you throughout the entire process. If you have questions as you navigate through the application process, please contact the Office of Social Work Student Services via phone at 303-615-0555 or via email at

Applicants who submit all their materials by the priority consideration deadline of October 31st will have their application reviewed in advance by the MSW Admission Committee. Those ranked in the very top of the pool of applicants will be granted early admission to the program, granting them a head start on:

  • Preparing to start the program
  • Securing a field placement
  • Registering for classes

All other applicants who submit their application by the priority consideration deadline will have their application rolled forward and will receive their admission notification in spring 2018, 10-12 weeks after the application deadline.

Although only a select few will receive priority admission, we encourage you to give it a try, submit your materials early, then sit back and relax.

The Office of Social Work Student Services encourages you to read through all of the steps below to gain a through understanding of the application requirements and process before beginning step 1. For information about program eligibility please visit our Regular Program application page and our Advanced Standing Program application page.

Step One:

Create an account and complete the MSU Denver Graduate Application online.

This is your general application to graduate school at MSU Denver

Pay the $50 application fee via your MSU Denver Graduate Application account

Enter 3 References for your Letters of Recommendation via your MSU Denver Graduate Application account.

Your Letters of Recommendation will all be completed through this online system. You should not collect or submit any physical letters of recommendation. If you or any of your references have questions about this process, please email

Three letters of recommendation are required for application to the MSW Program. Recommenders should be professional and not be friends, family and/or personal therapists.  Professional recommenders include faculty and employment/volunteer supervisors. It is strongly recommended that at least one letter come from a faculty (when possible) and one letter from a supervisor. Professional colleagues may serve as adequate recommenders if need be, but use caution that the Admissions Committee highly values faculty and supervisor letters.

Recommenders should be able to speak to your academic and/or professional abilities as well as comment on your potential to succeed in graduate school and the field of social work. When considering your recommenders, think about who can write a strong letter of recommendation for you. The quality of the letter contributes to your overall application score. 

Advanced Standing Applicants ONLY: Applicants must submit one letter of recommendation from their BSW Program. This could include a faculty advisor, field director, field instructor, field liaison, or program director. 

If applicants are absolutely unable to secure a third letter of recommendation, applicants should submit a memo that addresses the reasons for the missing document to Although your application will be considered complete, you will lose points in this area which may have an impact on your admissions decision.

Step Two:

Request Official Transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

Please note that transcripts need to be submitted directly to our office by the college or university or dropped off by a student still in a sealed envelope. Once transcripts have been opened by a student they are no longer considered official.

If you obtained your undergraduate degree from MSU Denver, please email with your 900# and we can pull your official transcripts for you.

All transcripts should be submitted by choosing one of the options below. Please do not submit any materials to the Office of Admissions at MSU Denver. Failure to submit using one of the options below may result in a delay in processing your application.

Request official transcripts be sent electronically to

Request official transcripts be sent by mail to:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
Attn: Office of Social Work Student Services
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362

Drop off unopened official transcripts with the Department of Social Work, 1006 10th Street, Central Classroom Building Room 201, Denver, CO 80204-3802

Regular Program Applicants ONLY: The Office of Social Work Student Services will complete an Undergraduate Prerequisite Review for you as transcripts are received. After submitting your transcripts, please email requesting a transcript evaluation for MSW Program prerequisites so that we have a way to contact you once the review is complete. Make sure to include your full name and any former names in your email. We will send you your review via email once it is complete.

If any prerequisites have not been completed, you will be notified in your review email and provided with suggested completion options. Prerequisites do not need to be completed prior to applying to the program, but they must be complete prior to starting MSW coursework. That means you have until fall 2018 to complete any missing requirements.

Please note: The Office of Social Work Student Services can only perform prerequisite reviews using official transcripts; we cannot perform an official prerequisite review using unofficial transcripts.

MSW Regular Program applicants must have the following undergraduate course content areas completed prerequisites completed with a "C" or better before the Fall semester in which they start the program:

  • At least 12 units of course work in social science (sociology, psychology, economics, political science, anthropology etc.)
    • One course must be centrally organized around American government (not history)
    • One course must be centrally organized around contemporary multicultural or diversity issues
  • At least six units of course work in humanities (english, art, music, foreign language, philosophy etc.)
  • At least six units of course work in natural science (biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy etc.)
  • At least three units in basic statistics (not research)

The undergraduate course content areas listed above must be present on the student's official transcript, but should not be officially transferred to MSU Denver. Course equivalency will be determined by the Office of Social Work Student Services.

Step Three:

It is now time to start submitting additional application materials into Taskstream, an electronic profile where you will submit MSW Program specific application materials.

First, Request Application Keycode

Complete the survey linked above to receive an application keycode. This keycode is required to set up an account in Taskstream, the online service through which you will complete all of your application materials. You should receive an email confirmation with your keycode immediately after completing the survey. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please check your junk mail. If you do not receive an email within 24 hours, please contact

Step Four:

Create a Taskstream Account

After completing the Keycode Request, you will receive an email containing both the keycode and instructions for setting up an account in Taskstream. Those instructions can also be found below.

Fall 2018 MSW Application Taskstream Instructions

Taskstream is the online service through which you will upload all of your application materials

Step Five:

Complete All Forms and Upload Application Materials to Taskstream

Please note that you do not have to complete or upload all of your application materials at once. You can save and come back at a later time. Make sure to hit "submit" after completing each piece of the application. Once you have completed all application materials and clicked "submit" for each one, you're all set! There is no final submit button for the application.

The Professional History Form is built into Taskstream and will be completed there. 

This form is a place for you to document your educational, professional and/or volunteer history. The committee will assess both length/quantity of time and the type of experience to determine its relevance.

The Admissions Essay must be written and saved as a Word or PDF file to the applicant's computer prior to being uploaded to Taskstream.

This submission requirement is an academic essay which helps the admissions committee to evaluate your capacity and readiness for graduate education and advanced social work practice. 

The admissions essay is a critical part of your admission application and will be the basis for evaluation of your writing and critical thinking skills and your capacity for self-awareness and personal growth. Be sure to include all required elements in an academic essay, using academic sources where appropriate (your ability to use and cite appropriate sources is an indicator of critical thinking) and follow APA style. While some personal information is required in the essay (e.g., your strengths), you should be judicious in the use of self-disclosure. You are not expected to disclose intimate details of your life; however, if you choose to do so, you should do so only briefly and make it clear how the issue has been resolved so that you may now succeed in the program and the profession. 

The maximum length of the entire essay is no more than five pages (12 pt. font, double spaced, title page does not count towards page limit). This is not short answer and should not be bullet-pointed; you should arrange the required information in a coherent, well-structured essay.

Your essay should incorporate the following information:

  1. the alignment of your personal philosophy and values with that of the profession;
  2. your understanding of diversity and social justice;
  3. your professional experiences;
  4. your career plans and focus in the field of social work versus another helping profession (i.e., why social work?);
  5. your strengths and weaknesses that are relevant to the social work profession;
  6. describe a time you were given critical feedback; what was your reaction?;
  7. how the MSU Denver MSW program is best suited for your educational and professional goals; and
  8. how you will manage the rigorous demands of graduate education.
The arrangement of this information is up to you; all must be addressed but the order in which you do so should be guided by your writing style. Overall, we are looking that you understand the profession, are committed to it, and are ready for graduate-level work.
Due to the large number of applications the MSW Program receives, we regrettably cannot provide feedback on your admissions essay prior to submission

The Case Study should only be completed by Advanced Standing Applicants, and must be written and saved as a Word or PDF file to the applicant's computer prior to being uploaded to Taskstream.

The case study essay is an important part of your application because it reflects your ability to think critically about a situation and indicates your level of knowledge about social work.

Your essay must incorporate the following: 

  • not exceed 4 double-spaced pages, using 12 point Times New Roman font;
  • be written from the perspective of the hospital social worker;
  • provide the Admissions Committee a clear picture of your ability to construct a cohesive, academic essay that demonstrates your readiness for graduate-level work; 
  • synthesize your foundational social work knowledge and combine academic sources to support your rationale (references are expected and APA style should be followed); and,
  • provide the information requested below in a well formed essay (that is, incorporate the required information into an essay) and NOT in short answer form. 

Case Study Prompts:

  1. Describe your understanding of the current situation and how things are the way they are.
  2. How do you explain the problem, the dynamics, the strengths and challenges this family faces? Your explanation should be supported by scholarly sources.
  3. Describe your action plan to address the issues presented.
  4. What are the cultural considerations that one must consider while working with this family?
  5. How do the macro systems impact the way you serve this family? What changes would you like to see in these systems and how would you go about creating change?


Ab is a 94-year-old Hmong female living alone in a house she owns in Denver.  Her son, Teeb, and his partner, Zoov, check in on her each day, give her medications and prepare her meals for the day.  Each week, they come in to clean the house.  Ab has dementia and takes medications for mood, mental functioning, and high blood pressure. 

Ab has had a series of physical injuries stemming from falls over the past few months. Her son, Teeb, entered the house two weeks ago and found Ab laying on the floor.  She had fallen out of bed and sustained a hip injury making her unable to get up and call for help.  She had been on the floor for 20 hours.

Teeb called for an ambulance and Ab was eventually placed in a rehabilitative facility.  At the facility, Ab refused to take her medication which triggered dementia related aggression.  She was transferred to a local hospital where she was treated and stabilized.  

When Ab is on her medication, she is calm and receptive to treatment.  When Teeb’s partner, Zoov is around, he appears to have a calming influence on Ab and she more readily complies with taking medication.

At the hospital, Ab was assigned a room with a male nurse on duty.  Ab indicated she needed to use the restroom; the nurse insisted, in accordance with hospital protocol due to the nature of Ab’s injuries, on physically assisting her to the bathroom.  Ab became agitated and struck the nurse several times with her cane when he refused to “leave her alone.” 

Ab stayed in the hospital for a few nights, was stabilized on her medication, and her medical team was ready to release her since she was able to walk 200 feet without assistance.  The hospital staff told Teeb that although Ab is not fully recovered, she was fine to return home.  You, the social worker, contacted the rehab facility and found out they would not accept Ab back due to her being labeled as aggressive. 

Teeb and Zoov are concerned about Ab’s ability to be at home alone.  Ab is insisting that she go home and she refuses to go to a nursing home.  Teeb and Zoov live in a small one-bedroom house.  They both work full time, have a modest income that covers their expenses and are unable to provide the level of care that Ab needs. 

Ab has stated several times that she does not want to be a burden.  She has threatened suicide in the past, but she also states that she would never fully go through with it as she is Catholic and that is against her religious beliefs. 

The Petition for Advanced Standing is built into Taskstream and will be completed there.

The Advanced Standing Program is reserved for those who have earned a bachelors in social work from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Accredited University within the last 6 years. If you earned your bachelors in social work between September 2012 and present, you do not need to submit the Petition for Advanced Standing.

However, applicants with degrees older than 6 years, but less than 10, may petition the Program to review their eligibility for Advanced Standing. Eligibility is determined upon the applicant’s extent and level of current professional activity and development in the field of social work. If you earned your bachelors in social work degree between September 2008 and August 2012, you must submit the Petition for Advanced Standing as part of your MSW Program application.

Applicants whose bachelor in social work degree is older than 10 years must apply to the Regular Program. If you earned your bachelor in social work degree in August 2008 or earlier, you are not eligible for Advanced Standing.

Applicants may upload any supplemental items. This is not a required step in the application process. There is no guarantee that the reviewer will review any uploaded supplemental materials. As such, if an uploaded document is a critical component, applicants are encouraged to refer to the document in their admissions essay. Items uploaded in the supplemental items section are not evaluated as part of the formal review, but may serve to answer some questions or paint a more comprehensive picture of the applicant.

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Contact Information

Main Office Phone:



Main Office
Central Classroom Suite 201

Office of Field Education
Central Classroom Suite 202

Office of Social Work Student Services
Central Classroom Suite 206

Maps and Parking

Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362