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Social Work M.S.W. (Hybrid)

2-3
Years to Earn Your Masters
95%
CSU Online Grad Students have Plans Related to their Career
93%
Grad Students would choose CSU Online Again
$498M
In research expenditures in FY23
Degree Overview Open Accordion

Social workers are here to advance social justice. With anti-oppressive skills as our foundation, we are anti-racist, promote equity and equality, and enhance human health and well-being across local and global systems.

Earn Your Master of Social Work and Become a Changemaker

Colorado State University's program features a nationally recognized advanced generalist approach, ensuring you develop a robust skill set during your master's in social work. Why choose an advanced generalist degree? Advanced generalist practitioners are equipped to work across a multitude of practice settings. As a graduate of our advanced generalist program, you will have the skills to be more holistic in service of your clients, work in policy, and beyond. It also affords you the flexibility to change careers, or better develop a new skill set after you graduate.

With one degree, you’ll be equipped for many career paths. You’ll gain skills to effectively practice with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities. You’ll be a leader, an ally, a communicator, and a strategist.

Customize your program of study

In addition to the core curriculum, the M.S.W. degree includes built-in electives. With these electives, you can take courses that align with your interests, which includes interdisciplinary electives and graduate certificate courses. You can also gain specialized knowledge by pursuing one of the following graduate certificates:

Gain applicable social work skills and internship experience

The master's in social work prepares you for diverse career opportunities. With intertwined coursework and internship experience, you’ll have the opportunity to complete over 600 hours of direct social work practice. There you will apply the knowledge, values, and skills you learn throughout the program in a social work agency setting.

Exceptional instruction from experienced faculty

Learn from knowledgeable and respected Colorado State University instructors through a combination of classroom and online coursework. In 2014, the school of social work celebrated two important milestones. The bachelor's program commemorated 40 years of accreditation and the master's program reached the 20-year mark. During this time, CSU's social work faculty have become national leaders in researching and elaborating the concept of “generalist” practice. All faculty bring their practice-based knowledge and diverse areas of expertise to the online classroom experience.

A degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education

CSU's M.S.W. program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which enables you to pursue professional licensure upon program completion. Additionally, the Master of Social Work is approved by the Colorado Department of Education for school social work licensure, if you elect to complete the additional course requirement (SOWK 560) or seek our graduate certificate in PreK-12 School Social Work.

Health and Human Science Matters Podcast

Find out how CSU’s research is making an impact by tuning into the Health and Human Science Matters Podcast, a collection of lively, engaging conversations with members of the college community.

Career Opportunities Open Accordion

Graduates of the social work master’s program are equipped for direct and indirect interventions that are client-centered, solution-oriented, and research-based. The curriculum prepares students for roles as administrators, clinicians, supervisors, policy analysts, social planners, and more. Social workers engage with a wide range of clientele, from micro to macro level practice, including working with individuals, families, organizations, and communities. The advanced generalist curriculum allows you to work in countless areas of the social work profession, including positions in the areas of:

  • Counseling (individual, family, or group)
  • Behavioral and Mental Health
  • Substance Use
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Corrections
  • School Social Work
  • Healthcare/Hospital Social Work
  • Child Welfare
  • Older Adults
  • Residential Treatment
  • Economic and environmental injustice
  • End of Life Care
  • Case Management
  • Administration
  • Research
  • Community Planning and Organizing
  • Social Justice and Advocacy
  • Legislative and Policy work
Learning Experience Open Accordion

Why Choose CSU?

As a student in CSU’s distance social work master’s program, you will receive a degree from a regionally accredited, renowned research institution while taking courses at times and locations that fit your busy life.

Key program benefits

  • Training in Advanced Generalist Practice: Our program’s coursework focuses on preparing social work practitioners for professional and ethical practice as advanced generalists. Through foundational-level generalist social work and advanced generalist social work practice, you’ll be able to take a multimethod approach to supporting social justice and promoting the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities in complex, diverse, and dynamic settings.
  • Internship Opportunities: Through two required internship placements, totaling 945 hours (or one required internship placement totaling 675 hours for Advanced Standing students), you’ll apply the knowledge, values, and skills within the advanced generalist practice framework in a social work agency setting.
  • Hybrid Delivery Format: While the majority of instruction is delivered in the online classroom, you are required to attend a weekend class twice each semester at your cohort’s location in Denver or Boulder. The in-person instruction component is vital in earning a social work degree as it allows you to practice the skills of client-centered interventions with faculty and peers through role play and hands-on activities.
  • Education that Helps You Help Others: Make a difference in the lives of people of all ages by using evidence-based knowledge to advocate for the welfare and empowerment of under-represented and disadvantaged peoples and communities.
  • A Cohort Model: Since the same group of students goes through the program together, this offers a cohesive support structure and built-in professional network.
  • Optional Certificates Provide Specialized Knowledge: You can further specialize by pursuing a graduate certificate in Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health, PreK-12 School Social Worker, or one of these specialty areas while simultaneously earning your Master of Social Work. Build your unique skills by selecting applicable elective coursework from your degree curriculum to earn your certificate.

Ranked No. 12 in the U.S.

This program continues to be ranked among the best online social work master’s degrees in the United States.

2023 Best Online Master's Programs


M.S.W. Program Cohort Schedules

The M.S.W. Program offers two different cohort options: a three-year Traditional option and a two-year Advanced Standing option. Students with a bachelor's in social work may be able to start the program with advanced standing status.

Fort Collins 2025-2027 3-Year Cohort Schedule

Fort Collins 2026-2027 Advance Standing Cohort Schedule


Same content, different experience

The hybrid program gives students access to a graduate degree with the same accredited curriculum as our on-campus program, but in a different format. The hybrid program follows a cohort model of learning, centering the distance student experience in a community-learning environment. In this model, students progress through each course together, getting to engage in both online and in-person learning. This approach allows for flexibility in how students balance work, life, and coursework, with most learning occurring in the online platform, asynchronously (on your own schedule). In addition to this, each semester also includes one in-person class weekend and one virtual class weekend of instruction (refer to linked schedule for specific details, dates, and class times). Students receive exemplary instruction from experienced faculty while enjoying the benefits of peer support and connection with your cohort.


Expected workload and internship component

M.S.W. students come from all walks of life and enter the program with a variety of personal and career backgrounds. While the majority of the program content utilizes the flexibility of the online delivery format, it still requires the same amount of work and time as an on-campus program. Depending on your learning and study style, you can expect to spend nine to twelve hours per week on a three-credit course.

While it is possible for students to work full-time while taking courses, it is important to note that many students find the internship requirements particularly challenging if they have full-time jobs that do not allow flexibility in their schedule. Students should expect to spend 10-15 hours per week in their internships.


Course delivery and learning format

The Master of Social Work is a hybrid program that uses a combination of in-person and online learning. The majority of instruction is delivered in an asynchronous, online learning environment, utilizing discussion forums and assignments to develop the foundational concepts and theories of social work. In-person instruction is held one weekend per semester, along with one weekend of synchronous (real-time) online learning.

Exams are not used to evaluate learning in this program. Instead, faculty and students focus on real-time practice skills development, application of concepts and skills, problem-solving approaches, critical thinking, and harnessing personal strengths in skill development.


What is the benefit of the hybrid M.S.W. format?

We offer a program that supports independent learning combined with collaborative application. Online coursework prepares students for further content exploration and synthesis during the in-person, weekend class. The ability to lead both direct and indirect client-centered interventions is crucial to success in social work settings, making the student-to-student activities an invaluable learning experience.


Program options and locations

There are two variations of the distance program available, a Traditional three-year program and a two-year Advanced Standing option. Both programs follow the cohort model and have a spring semester start date, with courses beginning in January. The Advanced Standing program is available for those who have their bachelor’s degree in social work from the past 7 years. The M.S.W. Program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience. The Advanced Standing cohort starts in January of year two of the three-year program, integrating with the existing three-year program cohort.

Note: Locations vary depending on the cohort.


About the advanced generalist model

Programs following the advanced generalist social work model place emphasis on the knowledge and skills needed for interventions at multiple levels of practice including individuals, families, groups, and communities. Other central themes such as direct services, community and organizational practice, social policy analysis, and social work research as part of practice are integrated into the social work course of study.

The advanced generalist model in CSU’s M.S.W. program provides students with an increased ability to demonstrate advanced generalist competencies; integrate research into practice; analyze value and ethical dilemmas; add greater depth to the provision of services; and provide the skills to function as more independent social work practitioners.

Additionally, the advanced skill level gained through the curriculum allows graduates to engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative public and private partnerships for advocacy, policy, and practice; and for advancing social justice.


Curriculum Open Accordion

Colorado State University teaches a nationally-recognized advanced generalist curriculum which consists of foundation courses that follow the core areas of:

  • Direct social work practice and clinical skills
  • Human behavior and theories for practice
  • Social welfare policy and services
  • Social science research
  • Anti-oppressive practice approaches

The foundation courses also feature a field placement in a human service agency, and coursework on social work values and ethics, populations at risk, diversity, and social and economic justice.

Concentration courses build on the foundation courses to include advanced content on:

  • Individual practice
  • Group and family practice
  • Community practice
  • Organizational practice
  • Social welfare policy
  • Organizational research

The concentration courses also include a field placement, which will be secured for you in the community in which you reside.

Curriculum

Year 1


Year 2

Hear from Our Students Open Accordion

Chris French, M.S.W. ‘22

Chris French

“One of my biggest motivators is the desire to better my community and create systemic change for the children, youth, and families of Colorado. Social workers have a lot to offer, and I am confident my Master of Social Work from Colorado State University will equip me with the knowledge and skills to better serve my community and create more positive outcomes for children, youth, and families in the Child Protection System.”

Hear more about the work Chris is doing on CSU Source


Megan Wykhuis, M.S.W. ‘19

"I would recommend the distance program for anyone wanting to maintain their current connections and life, and who wants a more intimate setting than just another online program can offer.”


Allie Miller, M.S.W. ‘21

"I was thrilled when I was accepted into the M.S.W. distance program. I work full time and I have two kids and a husband, so I needed to find a program that would fit into my lifestyle. I love the fact that this program can be completed online, but also has the opportunity to connect with peers and professors face to face.”

Read more about how Allie planned for success on CSU Source

Julie Breidenstein, M.S.W. ‘23

"I knew this degree was going to lead me to a place where I could make a difference and be fulfilled in the work that I do.”

Read about Julie's experience juggling work, classes, and the COVID-19 pandemic on CSU Source.

Faculty and Staff Open Accordion

Amy Martonis

She/Her/Hers
Assistant Director and M.S.W. Program Director, Senior Instructor
Social Work

Amy Martonis discovered her passion for higher education after more than a decade of direct social work practice, domestically and abroad, in child welfare and nonprofit settings. In 2011, Amy was invited to join the faculty team at Southern University, New Orleans, where she also served the Director of the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program. Since joining CSU in 2014, Amy has been dedicated to student success as well as program development, evaluation, and expansion. Amy currently serves as the Assistant Director for the School of Social Work and also as the Master of Social Work Program Director.


Carolyn Tredinnick

She/Her/Hers
M.S.W. Field Education Coordinator
Social Work

Carolyn Tredinnick is an M.S.W. Field Education Coordinator in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. Tredinnick received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University in Sociology and History in 2003. After graduation, she worked in emergency services for the city of Fort Collins before enrolling in CSU's Distance M.S.W. program. Tredinnick then worked for a year in community mental health on the Eastern Plains of Colorado before transitioning to medical social work and working for non-profit hospitals in Weld and Larimer counties for 6 years. During that time, she also served as a Field Instructor for many CSU M.S.W. students.


Charlotte Bright

She/Her/Hers
Director and Professor
Social Work

Charlotte Bright serves as director and professor of Colorado State University's School of Social Work. Her research interests include gender and juvenile justice, child maltreatment, interpersonal trauma, adolescent and young adult development, service implementation, and quantitative and qualitative methodology. Bright's scholarship has been focused on areas such as juvenile justice services and how they are implemented in communities, gender differences, and the impacts of trauma. Prior to joining CSU, Bright served as associate dean for doctoral and post-doctoral education at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore. Bright is editor-in-chief of the journal Social Work Research, is a Society for Social Work and Research Fellow, and has held leadership roles with the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work.


Cheryl Distaso

She/Her/Hers
Instructor
Social Work

Cheryl Distaso, M.S.W., has more than 25 years experience as a community organizer in Fort Collins. She joyfully teaches concentration year policy and community practice classes in the School of Social Work. Cheryl’s interests include social justice, liberatory practice, Critical Race Theory (CRT), Theater of the Oppressed and Paulo Freirean based praxis. She has presented at various conferences, primarily focusing on white privilege and social justice. In the community, she works on decriminalization of homelessness, immigrant rights, community empowerment, disability rights and increased public transportation. She is committed to the praxis of her community work by utilizing CRT as a theoretical lens; she is equally committed to keeping her social work classes relevant by bringing her real-time experiences to students for inquiry and critique.


Holly Panetta

She/Her/Hers
Instructor
Social Work, Human Development and Family Studies

Holly Panetta is an attorney, mediator, and educator at Peak Empowerment LLC, providing mediation services and conflict resolution training. She also serves as a Child & Family Investigator and Parenting Coordinator/Decision Maker. Holly is a former Director of the State of Colorado Office of Dispute Resolution. She served as the Court Programs Manager for the State Court Administrator's Office overseeing the administration of probate, mediation, restorative justice, diversion and problem-solving court programs. She is an adjunct faculty member at Colorado State University teaching courses related to mediation, conflict resolution, family law and social welfare policy. Holly’s prior professional experience includes working as a litigation associate for Henderson, Taylor & Rapp, a law firm in Greeley specializing in family and criminal law. She also served as a Family Court Facilitator in the 19th Judicial District. Holly enjoys spending time with her two young adult children, hiking with her dog, and attending yoga and live music events.


Jordan Brooks

He/Him/His
Instructor
Social Work

Jordan Brooks holds a Bachelor of Arts from Eckerd College and a Master of Social Work from University of South Florida. His research areas of interests include: conceptualizations of mental health, social justice, queer affirmative social work, and psychodynamic psychotherapy.


Kristin Mooney

She/Her/Hers
Instructor
Social Work

Kristin Mooney holds an M.S.W. from The University of Denver, Mental Health Concentration / Substance Abuse Certificate Program and a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University with a Specialization in Hu-man Health and Development. Her research areas of interest include: family therapy, substance use, men-tal health, delinquency, children and youth.


Marie Villescas Zamzow

She/Her/Hers
Senior Instructor
Social Work

Marie holds an M.S.W. from Smith College School for Social Work, a B.S.in Psychology from Colorado State University, and a B.A. in Social Work from Colorado State University. Her Research areas of interest in-clude: mental health, child welfare, diversity, work with families and children, and creating social action. Marie received a Best Teacher Award in 2017 from the Colorado State University Alumni Association.


Mindy Van Kalsbeek

She/Her/Hers
M.S.W. Associate Director for Distance Programs
Social Work

Mindy Van Kalsbeek holds an M.S.W. from Colorado State University School of Social Work and a BSW from Dordt College. Her Research areas of interest include: intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, and organizational and nonprofit management.


Sarah Rudisill

She/Her/Hers
M.S.W. Academic Advisor
Social Work

Sarah holds a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from CSU. She started her career as a counselor at a Residential Treatment Facility in 2007. After two years in that role, Sarah received her M.S. in HDFS, focusing on studying intervention and prevention programs for high-risk youth. During the program, Sarah worked as a mentor coach and instructor for CSU’s Campus Corps (currently Campus Connections). After finishing her M.S., Sarah entered the field of social work as a child protection caseworker for Larimer County Dept. of Human Services. After two years as an intake worker, she transitioned to the Family Partnerships Unit, which was designed to help prevent adolescents who are in-volved in the delinquency system from being placed out of their homes. Sarah has a strong interest in raising community awareness of the reality and presence of Human Trafficking in local areas.


Shannon Hughes

She/Her/Hers
Associate Professor
Social Work

Dr. Hughes teaches, writes, and conducts research about the medicalization of human distress and the role of psychotropic drugs in managing our mental and emotional lives. She has developed and delivered education for professional social workers, counselors, and researchers on the topics of safety and efficacy of psychoactive substances used in mental health care. Hughes is actively engaged in community education and leadership in the emerging field of psychedelic medicine in Colorado. Hughes currently holds positions as Associate Professor in Social Work at CSU and in the Dept. of Community and Behavioral Health, Colorado School of Public Health. She is a member of the Larimer County Behavioral Health Technical Advisory Committee and sits on the Board of two non-profit organizations.


Sofia Webb

She/Her/Hers
Instructor
Social Work

Sofia Webb received a B.A. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Geneseo and earned her M.S.W. degree from LSU's distance learning program while living in Hawaii. After graduating, Sofia spent time working as a school social worker within an alternative high school of Aurora, CO serving primarily immigrant, refugee and asylee students. During that time, Sofia prioritized improving mental health support and creating programs to address increasing rates of teen pregnancy and substance use among marginalized youth. After this position, Sofia further specialized in trauma treatment and trauma-informed care. She currently provides trauma-focused psychotherapy to adolescents and adults in the state of Colorado. In addition to her work in private practice, Sofia volunteers in Spark the Change Colorado's mental wellness program. Sofia also serves as a member of Violet's Clinical Review Board.


Timothy Frank

They/Them/Theirs
Graduate Programs Coordinator
Social Work

Frank currently serves as a Graduate Programs Coordinator for the M.S.W. program. Frank holds a Graduate Certificate in IT Project Management from Colorado State University and a Graduate Certificate in Business Intelligence, also from CSU.


Jodie Ball

She/Her/Hers
Instructor
Social Work

Jodie Ball LCSW, LAC, joined the School of Social Work as an adjunct instructor at Colorado State University (CSU) in Fall 2022. Jodie works full time in a semi-private practice setting providing mental health psychotherapy supported by Neurofeedback. Jodie creates a comfortable and safe environment, where all feel welcomed and at ease to learn and to grow. Her passion is to support those around her to claim their natural strength and greatness, empowering them to navigate, and even overcome, the roadblocks that life throws our way. Jodie has 7 years of experience working as an outpatient therapist with almost all populations and issues, yet her specialties include working with addiction and recovery, trauma, grief and loss, children and adolescence, horticultural therapy, coping with mental illnesses, and utilizing Neurofeedback support within the therapeutic setting.


Eunhee Choi

She/her/Hers
Instructor
Social Work

Eunhee Choi, Assistant Professor, joined the CSU faculty in fall of 2013. She has been a licensed social worker in Korea since 2004 and has field experience in the areas of aging, health, and policy. Dr. Choi worked as a social worker at Migrant Resource Center in Melbourne, Australia, providing home and community care programs for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Her employment also includes working as a program developer at the Korean Labor Force Development Institute for the Aged (KORDI) in Seoul, Korea, fostering a national Korean Senior Employment Program (KSEP). Dr. Choi worked as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching M.S.W.-level research courses, including Research Methods and Program Evaluation. She is devoted to building policies and programs that support older individuals who are willing to work or volunteer as a way to remain healthy and active in old age. Her research interests also include racial inequality, health disparity, advanced methodology, theoretical development, and program evaluation.


View Full School of Social Work Faculty and Staff Directory

Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion


What type of bachelor's degree is required for admission?
  • For the traditional three year program:
    A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university is required for our program, though there is no specific major required.
  • For the Advanced Standing two year program:
    A four year undergraduate degree with a major in Social Work from an accredited college earned within the past 7 years is required.

Which option do I quality for: Traditional M.S.W. or Advanced Standing M.S.W.?

"Advanced Standing" refers to the level of experience of a student applying to the program. Students who have a bachelor's in social work may be able to start the program with Advanced Standing status.

To qualify for the Advanced Standing program, you must have earned a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program within the last seven years. Previous work or life experience does not count toward eligibility for Advanced Standing status. . Advanced Standing students skip the first year in the program and join their cohort starting in year two. Additionally, the credit requirement is lower, as is the number of service hours required.

Earned a BSW? M.S.W. credits required M.S.W. service hours required
Traditional No 64 945 hours
Advanced Standing Yes 39 675 hours

What does "advanced generalist" mean? What is the advanced generalist approach?

The advanced generalist model in our M.S.W. program places emphasis on the knowledge and skills needed for interventions at multiple levels of practice, including individuals, families, groups, and communities. Other central themes are direct services, community and organizational practice, social policy analysis, and social work research.

The advanced generalist model in CSU’s M.S.W. program provides students with an increased ability to demonstrate advanced generalist competencies; integrate research into practice; analyze value and ethical dilemmas; add greater depth to the provision of service; and provide the skills to function as more independent social work practitioners. Additionally, this advanced skill level allows graduates to engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative public and private partnerships for advocacy, policy, practice, and advancing social justice.

Generalist social work is regarded both as a perspective and a practice approach because the social worker is taught to recognize the impact, influence, and potential resources available from the context where practice occurs.


How long is the program?

The Traditional M.S.W. program is three-years and the Advanced Standing program is two-years. Review the above information to determine if you may be eligible for Advanced Standing. Both are part-time cohorts that include in classroom experience two weekends per semester and online instruction.


Can I get financial aid?

Yes, once you have submitted your CSU Graduate School Application (a short form and an application fee) you will be assigned an ID number. At that point you can begin working with CSU Office of Financial Aid to obtain financial aid. Eileen Griego, in that office, works directly with our distance M.S.W. students.


What type of scholarships are available to social work graduate students?

A comprehensive scholarship search tool is available on the College of Health and Human Sciences website.


Can I transfer courses?

Our program does not accept transfer students from other programs.


What is the GPA requirement for admission?

CSU’s Graduate School requires an overall undergraduate career GPA of 3.0 or above for unconditional admission. The School of Social Work’s Admissions Committee does not use GPA as a judgment metric, but instead rates applicants based on other factors as demonstrated through the answers to the essay questions in the application, an understanding of human service work, and references. Our admissions reviewers are able to advocate for strong candidates who have a cumulative undergraduate career GPA of at least 2.8, up to 3.0. If the Graduate School is convinced and offers admission, it would be conditional upon maintaining a 3.0 minimum GPA in the M.S.W. program for the first semester.

For those interested in applying but who have a career undergraduate GPA below 2.8 the Graduate School offers the Access Pathway. This requires an applicant to successfully complete at least six credits of regular, graduate-level coursework through CSU with a GPA of at least 3.0 to be considered for admission. Please refer to the CSU General Catalog’s Graduate and Professional Bulletin for more information.


What if I am absent from a class?

Attendance is critical, as each in-person learning weekend represents a significant part of that semester's class time and learning activities. Each instructor determines attendance requirements for the class they teach, in alignment with the Program’s Attendance Policy. To review the Attendance Policy, refer to the M.S.W. Program Handbook.


Are there prerequisite courses for the M.S.W. program?

Yes, prerequisite requirements include a minimum of 18 credits (6 standard college-level courses) of interdisciplinary liberal arts coursework, spanning social, behavioral, and biological sciences.

  • Applicants must have completed at least one course in physical and biological sciences and mathematics (examples: biology, calculus, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, or statistics).
  • Applicants must have completed at least three courses in social sciences (examples: anthropology, economics, education, ethnic studies, gender studies, human development, international relations, political science, psychology, social work, or sociology).
  • Applicants must have completed at least two additional courses in liberal arts (examples: all of the above plus literature, English, a language other than English, fine arts, philosophy)

These courses must be completed and transcripts received by the first day of classes.

How to Apply Open Accordion

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1 Review Admission Requirements

Admission to the Social Work (M.S.W.) degree has the following requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution
    • Minimum of 18 credits of interdisciplinary liberal arts coursework, spanning social, behavioral and biological sciences.
      • Applicants must have completed at least one course in physical and biological sciences and mathematics (examples: biology, calculus, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, or statistics).
      • Applicants must have completed at least three courses in social sciences (examples: anthropology, economics, education, ethnic studies, gender studies, human development, international relations, political science, psychology, social work, or sociology).
    • An applicant must present a plan for completing any missing prerequisites in the above criteria before being considered for admission.
    • These courses may be taken at any accredited college, university, or community college; or by telecourse, by correspondence, by independent study, by CLEP (College-Level Examination Program), or online.
    • These courses must be successfully completed prior to the beginning of classes in order for you to begin the program.
  • 3.0 GPA (4.0 scale) – occasional exceptions may be made if applicant demonstrates ability to successfully complete graduate-level work
  • GRE scores are not required

Advanced Standing Program:

Only students who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work, obtained within the past 7 years from a fully accredited school of social work, are eligible to apply for the Advanced Standing M.S.W. program.

The following are the minimum requirements for admission to the Advanced Standing program:

  • Four-year undergraduate degree in social work earned within the last 7 years from an accredited B.S.W. program
  • 3.0 overall grade point average
  • 3.0 grade point average in social work courses

Note that meeting the minimum department standards does not ensure admission to the program. Admission to Colorado State University graduate programs is based on a number of factors, including prior academic and professional experience and the personal statement.

2 Prepare Application Materials

Detailed instructions will be available as part of the graduate admissions application process once you create your login. The materials you will prepare for your online application include:

  • a. Statement of purpose
    This is an important component of your overall application. You will use 3-5 pages single spaced, with a 12-point font, to respond to the following questions:

    • Part I: Tell us about who you are:

        Tell us how your background and life experiences contributed to you choosing social work as a career. Describe your current practice interests and/or future career goals. Share how the M.S.W. program will contribute to your current and/or future social work practice.

      • Part II: Tell us about your commitment to social justice:

        Describe your understanding of oppression and social justice. Include an example of how you demonstrate your commitment to social justice in your professional or personal life. Reflect on an instance when you recognized privilege and/or oppression in your professional and/or personal life and describe your response. Describe how your understanding of oppression and your commitment to social justice have evolved over time.

    • b. Two letters of recommendation
      Appropriate sources for references include employers, field instructors, supervisors, and university faculty. Two professional recommendations are required. It’s preferred that one reference be a person who has most recently supervised you in a human service delivery experience, if applicable. You will provide information about your recommenders in the online application. CSU will contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form on your behalf.
    • c. Summary of Experience, Official Transcripts, and Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
      Additional detail on what to include in these areas will be provided in the online application.

    • Colorado State University encourages full and open expression by students; please know we will respond to any reported disclosures related to sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. If your submission contains information related to past or present sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, you may receive an outreach from CSU’s Office of Title IX Programs to discuss reporting options and available support resources. For more information, please visit https://titleix.colostate.edu.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

Application Timelines

Cohort Application Identifier Application Opens Priority Deadline Final Deadline Start Date of Program Years Attending
Fort Collins Select “Social Work (M.S.W.) – Fort Collins” when choosing the program of study March 1, 2024 August 1, 2024 October 1, 2024 January 2025 2025-2027

*All Advanced Standing applicants must have obtained a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program within the past 7 years. The M.S.W. Program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Please Note: Students may be unconditionally admitted and registered in their first semester of courses with an unofficial transcript. Official transcripts must be submitted, prior to or during your first semester, before you can register for your second semester of graduate work. Failure to meet this condition will result in your dismissal from the Graduate School.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or gradadmissions@colostate.edu if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

For International Applicants

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants from countries or United States territories where there are official languages other than (or in addition to) English. This includes the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about English language proficiency requirements.

Questions?

We love learning about your goals and answering any questions you have.

Nicole Schmidt
Prospective Student Support Coach
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Program Details

Courses
Online with in-person components in Colorado
Credits
64 for Trad. M.S.W., 39 for Adv. Standing M.S.W.
Tuition
$725 per credit
Same in-state tuition for all.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships Tuition/fees are just part of the cost to attend CSU. Learn more about the full Cost of Attendance
Degree Awarded
Master of Social Work
Time Frame
Traditional M.S.W. can be completed in 3 years and Advanced Standing M.S.W. can be completed in 2 years.
Admission Reqs.
  • Minimum of 18 credits of interdisciplinary liberal arts coursework, spanning social, behavioral and biological sciences.
  • 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate coursework
  • Math Entrance Exam scores recommended for applicants who have not taken the required prerequisites within the past 10 years

Application Dates

Social Work M.S.W. Deadlines
Earned a B.S.W.? Start Date Location Application Deadline
Traditional (3yr) No Spring 2025 Fort Collins August 1, 2024 (Priority)
October 1, 2024 (Final)*
Advanced Standing** (2yr) Yes Spring 2026 Fort Collins August 1, 2025 (Priority)
October 1, 2025 (Final)*

The next Advanced Standing cohort will begin in Spring 2026. Please refer to the above information for location and application details.

*All applications received by the priority deadline are reviewed early for admission decisions, before applications submitted by the final deadline (October 1) are considered. See 'How to Apply' section for more details.
** All Advanced Standing applicants must have obtained a bachelor’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program within the past 7 years.

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