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MSW Program Application Process

The application deadline for the 2019 Admissions Cycle was January 15th, 2019 at 11:59 PM. We will not be accepting any late materials.

To be considered for priority admission, applicants must submit all application materials by October 31st, 2018 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 2019, 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. In order to submit this application, you will need to:

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. 

After entering your recommender into the system, they will automatically receive an email with a link to complete their recommendation via the online system. They will need to upload a written narrative as a Word or PDF document as well as fill out an evaluation form within the system to complete their recommendation.

Each letter of recommendation will be individually evaluated by the Admissions Committee. The committee can only evaluate three recommendations per applicant. Therefore, if you enter more than three recommenders into the system, it is your responsibility to exclude the recommendations you do not want reviewed by the committee prior to the deadline. If you have not excluded any recommendations from review, then our office will take the first three letters submitted for review. In order for your application to be considered complete and eligible for review, you must have three completed recommendations by the application deadline.

Step Two:

Submit 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. For electronic transcripts to be considered official, they must be sent directly to our office by the college or university. Electronic transcripts emailed to us by students are considered unofficial.

If you attended a college or university outside of the United States, you must have your transcripts evaluated by either Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES). We cannot accept un-evaluated transcripts for review or for admission to the MSW Program. Once your transcripts have been evaluated, you will have the official evaluation submitted directly from ECE or WES to the Office of Social Work Student Services. We do require that you submit a course-by-course evaluation.

If you obtained an undergraduate degree from MSU Denver, please email with your full legal name and 900# (Student ID Number) and we can pull your official transcripts for you.

If you have previously submitted official transcripts to MSU Denver, please email with your full legal name, any former names, 900# (if known), and date of birth, and we will pull your transcripts from our internal system.

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.

Please note: due to the volume of transcripts we receive, it can take us 2-3 weeks from when a transcript is received by our office or you submit your MSU Denver Graduate Application (whichever occurs second) to get your transcript(s) marked as received in your application checklist. However, we can review applications without transcripts as long as all other materials are submitted, although we cannot release your admissions decision until we receive your transcript(s).

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 2019 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 are required to 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 three units of course work in written or oral communication
  • At least three units of course work in arts and humanities (english, art, music, foreign language, philosophy etc.)
  • At least three units of course work in human biology OR
    At least six units of course work in natural and physical 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. Please visit our FAQ page for more information on courses that meet each requirement.

Step Three:

Request Application Keycode in order to set-up your Taskstream Account

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

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.

2019 MSW Admissions Cycle 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.

Make sure that your computer will allow pop-ups while you are completing forms and uploading materials in Taskstream, as the site uses pop-ups frequently to have you confirm your submissions.

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 six pages (12 pt. font, double spaced, title page and/or reference page do 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 and commitment to 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 and how did that experience inform your development?;
  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 Adult Protective Service’s 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. Very briefly describe the current situation.
  2. Assess the family. What are the major issues, the dynamics, the strengths and challenges this family faces? Your explanation should be supported by scholarly sources.
  3. Develop an action plan. Describe your action plan to address all of the identified issues.
  4. What are the cultural considerations for working with this family? Support with scholarly sources.
  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?


The Johnsons, Mary and James, are an African American couple who have been married for almost 60 years.  James served in the Army for two years during the Korean war.  Upon returning from the war, he got a job working in a warehouse for a large manufacturing company and he and Mary met and married.  Mary had been a homemaker during the marriage, taking care of all domestic matters including managing the money.  James eventually became the warehouse supervisor and retired at the age of 70.  Upon retirement, he discovered that his company’s pension fund had been raided and he only received a small percentage of its value.  At this time, the couple receives pension payments of $100 monthly and Social Security in the amount of $1000 (James) and $500 (Mary).  They own a small two-bedroom home in Southwest Denver in the Harvey Park South neighborhood, which is their most valuable asset.  They have some savings (around $50,000).

Mary Johnson, 79, has been in generally good health.  She attends church every Sunday and has a small group of friends who are around her age and attend the same church.  She takes medicine for diabetes and high blood pressure and wears glasses for far-sightedness.  She has been feeling weak and tired lately.  Her spouse, James Johnson is 84 and his health is declining.  He has been taking medicine for high cholesterol and high blood pressure for over forty years.  About ten years ago, he fell off the porch and broke his leg.  The recovery period was long and painful and he started exhibiting some cognitive decline at that time.  He stopped driving about five years ago when he had begun forgetting things, stumbling into furniture, and having bouts of confusion (e.g., not knowing where he is, who his wife and children are, etc.).  These episodes have been increasing lately and Mary is having difficulty in managing his needs.  In the past month, he has wandered from the house only to be found by neighbors blocks away.  On one of these occasions, he fell and had some minor cuts and bruises.  One of her neighbors threatened to call Adult Protective Services on her, so Mary now keeps all the doors and windows locked at all times.

Mary and James have two children: Clarice, a daughter who is 50 and a single parent. Clarice has three children and works full-time as a dental hygienist in Colorado Springs.  Her two youngest children are in high school and live at home.  One of the children, Sondra, is struggling in school and Clarice is concerned about her ability to graduate this year.  Clarice is also concerned about Sondra’s friends and feels she has to keep a close eye on them to keep Sondra out of trouble.  Clarice calls her mom every day and visits her parents every weekend.  Although she also has high blood pressure and diabetes and is exhausted much of the time, she helps run errands and clean the house for her parents when she visits. 

Mary and James also have a son, Clarence, who is 39 and has Down’s Syndrome.  He has low cognitive functioning and has lived with his parents all of his life.  He has some heart problems, is on medication for this and is monitored by a doctor.  He is generally helpful and listens to his parents but with his father’s decline, he has been experiencing deep sadness and frustration that only his mother seems to be able to soothe.  Mary is committed to her son but fears for his care when she is no longer around. 

On Monday, Mary was in a car accident.  She began to feel weak and passed out while driving.  She hit a curb and a tree and is currently in the hospital.  Her injuries include some minor cuts and bruises and she has a broken clavicle and whiplash.  The medical team believes she passed out due to low insulin levels.  The family’s only car is totaled and they did not have physical damage coverage on the car.

Although walking is difficult for her right now, Mary is medically stable and able to be released from the hospital.

Clarice is concerned about her mother’s care and her mother’s long-term ability to continue caring for James and Clarence.  Her mother refuses to talk about this and maintains that everything is fine.

The hospital social worker is working on discharge planning.  Clarice is taking her mother back to her mother’s house and can stay with her for two days.  In consultation with Clarice, the hospital social worker contacts Adult Protective Services.  The hospital social worker has a number of concerns about the safety and well-being, both short-term and long-term, for the family.

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

This form is only for individuals whose bachelors in social work degree is more than 6 years old. 

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.  However, applicants with degrees older than 6 years, but still less than 10, may petition the MSW 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.  Applicants whose bachelor in social work degree is older than 10 years must apply to the Regular Program.

  • If you earned your bachelors in social work between June 2013 and present, you do not need to submit the Petition for Advanced Standing.
  • If you earned your bachelors in social work degree between June 2009 and May 2013, you must submit the Petition for Advanced Standing as part of your MSW Program application if you want to be considered for Advanced Standing. 
  • If you earned your bachelor in social work degree in May 2009 or earlier, you are not eligible for Advanced Standing and may submit the Regular Program application. 

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

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Mailing Address:

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


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Our MSW and BSSW Programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education - the sole accrediting body for social work education.

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