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MSW Application Procedures

Fall 2021 MSW Options

2021 MSW Admissions Booklet


*Please review the "MSW courses listed by semester" document for an outline of when each specific course will be offered



Bowling Green

  • MSW Final Admissions Deadline is May 15, 2021
  • Face-to-face classes meet only on Saturdays 
  • A two day orientation held in Bowling Green, Kentucky is required
  • Orientation will be in August 2021



MSW Online Program


  • MSW Final Admissions Deadline is May 15, 2021
  • Part-time Advanced Standing cohort offered each fall
  • Full-time Advanced Standing cohort will be offered each fall
  • Part-time Traditional Program will be offered in the fall of 2021
  • A two day orientation held in Bowling Green, KY is required for students in August 2021

Class Times

  • Advanced Standing part-time web classes will be on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 7:30pm (Central Time)
  • Traditional Program part-time web classes will be on Thursdays from 5:30pm to 7:30pm (Central Time)

More Information

All students considering any online social work program should check into their residing state about specific licensure requirements upon graduation. Two places that can be helpful to examine are the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and your specific state requirements to assist with ease of licensure upon confirmation of the degree.

Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Kentucky Board of Social Work Tennessee Board of Social Workers

With our CSWE accredited MSW degree options, you should be prepared for licensure in your residing state. However, each state is unique and may have additional expectations beyond your basic coursework. If you have any questions or concerns, it is recommended you first contact your residing state as the resident experts help you understand the expectations for licensure upon graduation. If you still have questions, we are happy to help!

(All application forms are located at the bottom of this page)


Application to the MSW program requires two separate applications: an application to the Department of Social Work and an application to the Western Kentucky University Graduate School. Each applicant must apply both to the Graduate School as well as the Department of Social Work. A $65 non-refundable application fee is to be submitted along with the online application to The Graduate School, and applicants must make arrangements to have official copies of undergraduate transcripts sent from ALL previous universities attended sent to the Graduate School. Only applications that have fulfilled all of the application requirements for the MSW Program and the Graduate School will be considered complete.

The MSW program’s Admissions Committee independently reviews each application to determine admission. There may be personal or telephone interviews by the admissions committee, if necessary. Letters of determination will be mailed to each applicant upon decision. No admissions outcome information will be given over the telephone.

  1. Undergraduate degree from an accredited university

  2.  A GPA of 2.75 (Traditional Program)/3.0 (Advanced Standing) based on the last 60 hours of undergraduate or graduate credit hours.

  3. Liberal arts background – at least 30 hours in liberal arts coursework (social sciences, humanities, natural science, communication, mathematics, etc) including at least one course in sociology, psychology, OR anthropology AND at least one course in American government, political science, OR economics. All courses counted towards the liberal arts requirement must have been completed with a final grade of “C” or higher.

(TOEFL requirements are as follows: A minimum of 550 on the paper based TOEFL, a minimum of 79 on the iBT TOEFL , or a minimum of 6.5 on the ITELTS)

Statistics Course

Any college statistics course which includes substantial content on descriptive and
inferential statistics and completed within the last 7 years with a minimum grade of "C". (A research methods course is not sufficient.)

*Students who believe they have mastered the basic knowledge in certain courses may opt to take a waiver examination. It is recommended that students take waiver exams early enough to complete the required course if they do not receive a passing grade. Students who have not completed all prerequisites may not start the MSW program.

The Advanced Standing Program at WKU is available only to students who have graduated within the last seven years from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited BSW program. Students must have a 3.0 GPA based on their last 60 hours of undergraduate and/or graduate credit hours. Students considering the Advanced Standing Program must complete all other requirements for admissions including pre-requisites and complete the application process. This program does not allow students to count work or life experience as a substitute for the accredited BSW. The Advanced Standing Program is designed for students who have mastered basic social work practice. The Advanced Standing Program is intense and rigorous. Students considering the advanced track should weigh several factors. First, students will be joining the educational process at the equivalent of the end of year one of graduate school. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to learn and internalize the expectations of the graduate education process. Students who enter the Advanced Standing Program and find that they may not have mastered concepts at the same level as the foundation curriculum are expected to overcome those deficits by directed experience, reading, and personal perseverance. Secondly, the successful Advanced Standing student must have graduate level critical thinking and writing skills including strong analytical ability.

The one year, advanced standing program is offered every year and only in Bowling Green. There is also a part-time advanced standing program that takes two years to complete. The part-time advanced standing is offered in Bowling Green (every year) and online (every other year).Advanced Standing Part-time program.

The two year full-time and four year part-time 60 hour programs are offered (every year) in Bowling Green. The three year, part-time is offered online (every other year).

Students who are not accepted into the Advanced Standing Program may be considered for the Traditional (two-year) Program the Part-Time (four year) Program or the Part-Time (three year) online program at the conclusion of the pre-qualifying process.

Transfer Admissions

Students transferring from CSWE Accredited MSW Programs must complete all application materials and process. Students transferring must have a 3.0 GPA and be in good standing with the originating school. Transfer students are highly encouraged to meet with program administration.

The transfer of credits from an accredited institution of higher learning toward the MSW requirements will be examined on a case-by-case basis. If transfer is granted by the program, all University requirements for transferring credits must be met. Only 9 hours of electives may be transferred.

Petition for Alternate Admission

Both the University and the Social Work Department have alternate admissions procedures. If an individual does not meet the basic requirements for the MSW program, he or she must petition for alternate admission. The Traditional MSW program requires a GPA of a 2.75 or better based on last 60 hours of course work on undergraduate and/or graduate credit hours. If applicant does not meet this requirement, he or she must submit a petition for alternate admission along with the MSW application and take the GRE. In the petition, the individual must state why his or her GPA or GRE score does not represent his/her capacity for success in an arduous MSW program and provide examples that support likelihood of achievement in graduate school.

Admissions Appeal Process

Any student who is denied admission into the MSW program may appeal the decision. The student will notify in writing the MSW program director that he or she wishes a second consideration. All appeals must be received within 10 days after receiving the notice evidenced by a postmark. A second consideration does not guarantee admissions into the program. The MSW program will initiate the reconsideration process, which will involve meeting with MSW faculty to present a case for admission. The faculty will then make a recommendation to the Program Director as to whether the student should be admitted. A final decision will be issued to the student within 14 days of the Department’s decision. 




Application Forms

Please read the Admissions Booklet for detailed information!

(All recommendations must be submitted on our forms and applicant must fill out cover sheet)
The recommendations may be emailed to mswadmissions@wku.edu from the recommenders email address only!




The Admissions Booklet, highlighted in red at the top of the page, will answer many questions for you! Call (270) 745-2676 with any questions not addressed in the Application Booklet.





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 Last Modified 5/3/21