How to Apply

Information About Our MSW Program


Informational Meetings

The School of Social Work offers informational sessions starting in early October for the up-coming admissions cycle.  Sessions cover material for both On-Campus and Online/Hybrid MSW Program versions.

Informational Session  October 7, 2020  6:30pm to 8:30pm      registration link here

Informational Session  October 24, 2020 10:00am to 12:00pm registration link here

Overview of the Application Process  Click here for a 16-minute overview of the basics for the MSW Application process.(Download and view)

MSW Program Overview (edited August 2020)         Click here for a 13-minute overview of our MSW Program
(Download and view) 

Online/Hybrid MSW Program Overview (edited October 2020) Click here for a 12-minute overview of the Online/Hybrid MSW Program

Our Advanced Generalist Focus (edited August 2020)  Click here for a 12-minute overview of our Advanced Generalist Focus. (Download and view) 

Our Transcultural Perspective (edited August 2019)
The Transcultural Perspective (TCP) is at the heart of our mission. Click here to see a 14-minute presentation about the TCP. (Download and view) 

LAST YEAR's PowerPoint presentation and the recording of the virtual information session from 2019. Please visit in October 2020 for updated informational session recordings and presentation slides.

Informational Meeting Presentation Slides

Recording of MSW Program Information Session


IMPORTANT - The application for our MSW Program will open October 1, 2020 for entry Fall 2021.  Watch for updates in late September or early October and expect a due date of December 1. 2020.

Thank you for your interest in the On-Campus Program (Full time or 3-year) and/or the Online/Hybrid Master of Social Work (MSW) Program at San José State University (SJSU). We are also launching our new Advanced Standing options via on-campus and online/hybrid programs. Advanced Standing is only for qualified applicants with a bachelors degree in social work.

The application process for the MSW program requires two applications: one for the University (Cal State Apply) and one for the MSW Program (MSW Application Portal).

Use the same application process and materials to apply for any of the MSW program options, except for the Advanced Standing option which will have a some additional materials and criteria. You will be able to indicate your preferences for programs when you apply.  We evaluate your application based on your overall qualifications and suitability for our MSW Program.  If admitted, we then consider available space within the program choices you indicate.

BEFORE you ask questions about the details of the application process, please access and read through all the application materials first. Many of your questions will be answered from that review.

Steps to apply

1. Apply to San Jose State University via Cal State Apply website. This application must be completed in order to be admitted to the University. Applicants must apply early through Cal State Apply in order to obtain an SJSU ID# required for the MSW Application Process. After submitting your application through Cal State Apply,  please allow a minimum of 5-10 business days for SJSU to create and email you your SJSU ID#. 

2. Submit an application to the School of Social Work. Application materials are obtained and submitted via the MSW Program Application Portal. The portal will be open towards the beginning of October.

Applicants to the SJSU MSW Program must submit their personal statements through the MSW Application Portal and NOT through Cal State Apply. However, if you are also applying to other CSU social work programs, please check their requirements including how to submit personal statements to them.

3. Submit an official transcript from all undergraduate institutions attended to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluation (GAPE) office. Contact information for GAPE is as follows:

Phone:     (408) 924-2480

Address:  Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluation (GAPE)
               San Jose State University
               One Washington Square
               San Jose, CA 95192

Electronic transcripts can be sent to


Applications for both the CSU (Cal State Apply) and MSW program are due December 1. Required documents, such as transcripts and recommendation forms, are usually due mid-December.

Prerequisites (Regular MSW Program Options)

Applicants for admission to the MSW Program (non-Advanced Standing) must demonstrate academic preparation and professional commitment to social work. Applicants must have:

  1. Undergraduate Degree. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university in any field.
  2. 2.50 GPA or Better. Applicants must have achieved a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 (this is officially evaluated by the SJSU GAPE office).
  3. Social Work Experience. Applicants must have significant volunteer, internship, and/or paid work experience with groups such as Latinos, African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and other marginalized, oppressed, or disadvantaged groups.
  4. Liberal Arts Foundation. Applicants must have a foundation in liberal arts, usually achieved through general education or major coursework in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Your transcripts must demonstrate this foundation.
  5. 550 minimum paper-based, 80 minimum internet, or 213 computer-based TOEFL Score or 7.0 Minimum IELTS Score. All applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English, must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor’s degree from a post-secondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a minimum score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Application Requirements (Regular MSW Program Options)

In addition to the prerequisites and preparation above, applicants must provide the following information through the SJSU MSW Application Portal:

  1. Contact and background information as requested on the application;
  2. Personal statement;
  3. Listing of social work related experience and current resume;
  4. Recommendations from three individuals. These are composed of evaluative ratings and comments entered through our Recommenders Portal. Actual letters of recommendation are optional.  At least one recommender should be able to evaluate the applicant’s ability to succeed in an academic graduate program, and at least one recommender should be able to evaluate the applicant’s suitability to be in the social work profession. Recommendations should be from professionals (i.e., supervisors, managers, professors, etc.) who can evaluate and comment on your ability to be in a graduate-level academic program and about your suitability for the social work profession.
  5. A writing sample. Among the types of writing samples you can submit, in order of preference: (1) a paper graded by a professor written for an upper division or graduate level course, (2) a report or publication that you wrote for work, (3) any other writing sample of your choice. 


Prerequisites (Advanced Standing MSW Program Option)

Applicants for admission to the Advanced Standing MSW Program must demonstrate greater academic preparation and professional commitment to social work. Applicants must have:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by CSWE at the time of admission or within the last seven years
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.5 and minimum grade of A- in all BSW/BASW (social work major) courses
  3. At least 400 hours of recent social work related experience (cumulative internship, paid, or volunteer experience) in addition to the minimum internship hours requirement for the BSW/BASW degree
  4. Three letters of recommendation specific to qualifications for Advanced Standing, in addition to the usual scored recommendation forms
  5. Evaluations from BSW/BASW field internships
  6. Personal statement
  7. Personal interview
  8. An English language proficiency test is required if a student's baccalaureate was earned outside of the US. Applicants must satisfy the school’s minimum requirements. 550 minimum paper-based, 80 minimum internet, or 213 computer-based TOEFL Score or 7.0 Minimum IELTS Score

*Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the Advanced Standing option. Advanced Standing applicants may also be considered for admission into one of the regular MSW Program options if they indicate that in the MSW Program application. 


If you have questions, please first read all of our informational materials. Also, attend an informational session. If you need to contact us, email ""