Graduate Social Work Admission Requirements

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Students from all academic disciplines are invited to apply to the Master of Social Work program. Students admitted to the graduate social work program may be admitted to the foundation program (63 semester credits) or to the advanced standing program (38 credits).

Students requesting admission to either program must demonstrate the following:

  • A four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 is expected with a GPA of 3.0 or better in the applicant's major field of study. Students with an overall GPA lower than 2.75 may be considered for admission provided that the GPA from the junior and senior years of their baccalaureate program is 3.0 or higher.
  • An official transcript showing evidence of having successfully completed (C [2.0] or better) a minimum of 21 semester credits in any of the following liberal arts areas: psychology, sociology, ecology, political science, law, economics, business, statistics, research, and oral or written communication. At least one course in human anatomy/physiology, human biology or biology that included content in human biology is required.
  • Evidence of potential to practice social work, such as submission of evaluation material from field supervisors in the applicant's baccalaureate program, letters of recommendation from supervisors in professional employment settings (or full-time volunteer settings, e.g., VISTA), letters of recommendation from faculty in a related field of study (e.g., religion, psychology, sociology).
  • Personal statement/writing sample (6-8 pages). See instructions under Application Forms.
  • A basic understanding of computer technology, including good word processing skills.

Additional requirements for advanced standing:

  • Applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better for the last 90 quarter credits or last 60 semester credits in their baccalaureate program.
  • A grade of B- [2.7] or higher is required in all upper division social work classes.
  • Applicants must have completed their BSW within five years of enrollment in this MSW program. This limit may be extended if the applicant has been working full time in the field of social work since receiving their undergraduate degree. Individuals applying for advanced standing must submit a copy of their senior practicum evaluation and any other supporting documents (such as information related to terms spent overseas, in urban or rural settings, or a copy of a research project) that can establish their competency to begin graduate study.
  • It is preferred that applicants have one full year of social work employment, one year of voluntary service in a human services setting (e.g., VISTA, MCC, AmeriCorps), or an overseas experience by the time they matriculate. Applicants need to submit a letter of reference from their on-site supervisor with their application materials.
  • Consideration for admission to advanced standing will be given to outstanding, recent graduates of BSW programs who have not completed a full year of work in a social service agency but have participated in diverse voluntary settings during their college or university experience (e.g., overseas terms, urban plunges, rural projects, or outstanding research projects).

Other options for students not qualified for advanced standing:

  • Applicants who are recent graduates of a baccalaureate program accredited by CSWE but do not meet all of the program's requirements for advanced standing may request to meet with the Program Director.
  • Applicants who are not graduates of a BSW or B.A. social work program but who have graduated in a related field, and believe that a particular foundation course will be redundant, may request to take an examination as an option for challenging the course. A maximum of 12 credits may be challenged.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply online to the University & pay their $50 application fee online as well.  The Priority application due date for the fall cohort is February 15.  Applications will continue to be accepted & evaluated for the following fall cohort if additional spots are available.  When the upcoming fall cohort is full, accepted students will be placed on a wait list.  New cohorts begin each fall.

Off-site locations include: Twin Falls & Idaho Falls.  Come talk to us at the NNU Info nights in Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Boise and Nampa.  If you have questions or need information not available on the website, please contact Marilyn Holly at (208)467- 8688 or mswinfo(at)nnu.edu.

Application Forms

In order to complete your admission file, please review below. Please return the forms that indicate they need to be returned to either mswinfo(at)nnu.edu or the Graduate Admissions Dept., Attn:  Marilyn Holly, Northwest Nazarene University, 623 S. University Blvd., Nampa, ID 83686.  If you have questions about these forms, please contact us.

  • Application is online only
  • Personal Statement Guidelines
  • Resume - Please include volunteer service & a brief description of duties, especially if you do not have work experience in Social Work.
  • Reference Form - A total of three reference forms, professional and/or academic. Simply send your reference the link to this form. When completed it will arrive here securely.
  • Official Transcript(s):  One official transcript from the college or university with your bachelor degree posted.  Additional transcripts from other universities attended are only needed if your Human Biology or Human Anatomy/Physiology prerequisite was taken from an institution different from the one your degree was posted at.  If transferring in graduate credits, please include graduate transcript(s) as well.  We do accept transcripts submitted through a secure electronic delivery service. Please call for instructions about foreign transcripts.
  • Nationwide Background Check - We require a nationwide background check with fingerprints processed through your state or local police station and then sent to the FBI.  In Idaho there is a $10 fingerprint card fee + an $18 fee that needs to go to the U.S. Treasury. You will need to send your fingerprint card directly to the FBI. Go to www.fbi.gov, Stats & Services, Criminal History Summary Checks. Under Forms and Links on the right side of the page, you will find a Record Request Checklist along with an Application Information Form. There is also a Credit Card Payment Form if you choose to pay the $18 that way. It may take up to 10 weeks to receive the results.  If you have had a nationwide background check/fingerprints processed through your employer, within 12 months of your fall start date, you may have the report sent to us in a sealed envelope.  Your employer may give it to you instead of sending it to us.  If this happens, please request the copy in a sealed envelope and send it to us unopened and signed across the envelope flap.

To help track your application process to the Master of Social Work program you can download an Admission Checklist.