Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about the Master of Social Work program

General Questions

Our social justice-focused, community-based clinical MSW program will prepare you for advanced clinical social work practice. You will be trained to engage in all aspects of social work practice including: psychotherapy and counseling, crisis intervention, and organizational management. At our program, you will study with faculty who are passionate about social justice and who are engaged in research, teaching and practice that aim to produce social change. You will gain critical knowledge of contemporary theories and evidence-based practice to understand the interconnection between personal struggles and structural oppression and develop exemplary clinical and advocacy skills to work with individuals, families, and groups. 

Yes, the Seattle University Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  

One of the strengths of the MSW program is its small cohort size, which encourages a close and effective learning community. The department accepts an average of 25 students into the 2-Year Program and an average of 10 students into the Advanced Standing Program.  

No; the MSW program is designed for students to attend full-time day classes and field practicum placements for the duration of the program.  

On average, our faculty to student ration is 1:12 or less.


The priority deadline for each year is January 20. We do accept applicants after this date, but they will be reviewed after priority applicants.  

We do not require the GRE in general. We may require it if your bachelor’s degree was awarded at a non-graded institution. Please connect with us if this is the case. 

You do not need to complete a college-level statistics class before you apply. However, this requirement needs to be completed before class starts in the fall. A passing grade is required and an official transcript must be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions prior to class starting in the fall. This requirement does not apply to Advanced Standing applicants.

We accept this course from North Seattle College via Ed2Go which offers a self-paced or an instructor-led option. If you choose to take this course, please email your certificate of completion to when you have completed the course. The department does not accept any other certificate-based courses but you may also take the required course at any college or university of your choice.

The MSW program does not grant social work course credit for life experiences or previous work experience.

We will review applications with GPAs below 3.0 and have accepted such applications in the past. You are required to submit a GPA Explanation Statement with your application if your GPA does not meet the requirement. Graduate Admissions will reach out to you to request this statement if it is needed.  

Writing A Successful application

Applicants are evaluated based on the contents of their online application including: 

Academic preparation (demonstrated by prior course work and the quality of writing in admission essays). 

  • Relevant work, volunteer, or life experience
  • Evidence of social justice values, critical thinking, and interest in clinical social work (indicated in admission essays)
  • Strength of recommendation letters

Factors considered for admission may include: 

  • Academic performance 
  • Ethical conduct 
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, including sufficient English competency to understand course content and work effectively in field placement  
  • Capacity for self-awareness and willingness to examine own values, attitudes and beliefs as it relates to social work practice  
  • Understanding, appreciation, and respect for diversity and equity 
  • Social, emotional, and psychological maturity and stability to engage in social work practice  
  • Possession of values consistent with those of Social Work (i.e., service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, competence)  
  • Ability to develop and maintain positive working relationships with faculty, fellow students and clients, staff and supervisors from volunteer and work experience 
  • Capacity for professional behavior  

While work and/or volunteer experience are not requirements for admission to either MSW program, it is helpful and important to include any relevant work or volunteer experience (formal or informal) you may have. Reviewers want to get a holistic picture of you as an applicant. Reviewers are interested in learning about what you learned from your work, volunteer, or life experience and how it contributes to your interest in graduate education in social work. 

We recognize that not everyone has had an opportunity to work at a social/human service agency or had the time or resources to volunteer. But many of us have life experiences that shaped our thinking about social work. We recommend that you discuss any life experiences that helped you develop an interest for social justice-focused and community-based clinical social work. (For example, one of our faculty members talked about how they often accompanied their immigrant parents and other family members to medical and social services to interpret for them as a teenager and how that experience taught them about social inequities and the importance of advocacy. Another social worker talked about how they contributed to their family’s economic security by working nearly full-time for their family’s small restaurant business as a college student and how that experience contributed to their understanding of opportunity gap and economic inequalities. In both cases, even though they did not have time and resources to volunteer for a formal social service agency they have gained valuable insight and experiences that are highly relevant to social work through their informal experiences.) 

If you are making a career change, you should note your prior work experience and why you are interested in a career change at this time. 

Additionally, it is recommended that, if you can, you seek out volunteer opportunities that are interesting to you so the review committee can see that you are exposing yourself to the social work field. This is particularly helpful when it comes to practicum placement. 

Advanced Standing

Advanced standing is designed for students who have completed their BSW or BASW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Applicants are required to have earned a “B” (3.0) in each of their required social work courses. Advanced standing allows students to complete their MSW in ten months.  

Yes. You may apply but you must supply us with an official transcript listing all completed and in-process courses. Offers of admission are contingent upon successful completion of your undergraduate degree. 

International Admissions

Information for international students, including English language test scores, can be found on the International Admissions page.


You can review tuition and fee estimates on the Graduate Tuition and Fees page.

Yes. The Social Work department provides scholarships based on financial need and diversity. These are not merit-based and promote equity within the program. There are also scholarship opportunities with organizations such as CSWE, NASW and the Pride Foundation. Learn more about financing resources.  

Yes, we have a limited number of Graduate Assistantships and Student Employment positions each year. There may also be faculty grant-funded assistantships.


You can attach your unofficial transcripts in the Academic History section of the application. Official transcripts need to be sent directly to Seattle University Graduate Admissions from your prior institution.  

No, we do not have a form that allows applicants to authorize transcripts to be sent to us. Transcript ordering procedures vary from one institution to another and we suggest connecting with your prior institution to gain specific instructions. 

If your prior institution has the ability to send electronic official transcripts, please have them sent to

If your institution cannot send electronic transcripts, official transcripts should be mailed to the following address: 

Office of Graduate Admissions 

Seattle University 

901 12th Avenue 

PO Box 222000 

Seattle, WA 98122-1090 

To be considered official, transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope from the college or university. Transcripts may be delivered to our office via the applicant as long as it remains in its original unopened university envelope. We do also accept official electronic transcripts that are password protected.  

You can reach the Office of Graduate Admissions at or by calling 206-220-8010.

Please contact the MSW Program Coordinator at or by calling 206-296-5538 for any questions regarding MSW program admissions. 

After Graduation

A Master of Social Work degree allows for diverse and dynamic career opportunities from clinical counseling with individuals, family and groups to a more macro policy and community advocacy work. Social Workers can be found in a variety of settings from community mental health organizations to hospitals to schools and more. See a sampling of employment positions held by alumni. 

Clinical social workers are in demand! Most of our graduates gain employment within 3 months and some got job offers before they graduated. See our most recent employment data.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about the program or application, we’re here to help!

Ashley Miller

Senior Admissions Counselor

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