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Degrees & Programs

MSW

FAQ

Admissions FAQs

What are the requirements for admission to the regular MSW program?
  • Any baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (based on a 4.0 system) for last highest degree earned is preferred. Applicants who do not meet the 3.0 GPA will be reviewed for admission on a case-by-case basis.
  • At least 15 quarter or 10 semester credit hours of coursework in the social sciences (examples of approved subjects are typically: Anthropology, Communications, Criminology, Economics, Geography, Globalization Studies, International Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Speech and Hearing Science, and World Politics). If you believe you have taken a social science course, but it is not directly from one of the departments listed, a course syllabus will be needed for review.

To be considered for fellowships, applicants must have a completed application by December 1st. This includes all application components (letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.): https://gradsch.osu.edu/pursuing-your-degree/graduate-fellows
The application for the academic year opens October 1 and all application materials must be submitted by April 1 to be considered for admission. This includes all letters of recommendations, and transcripts. We have rolling admission, which means your application will be reviewed once all supporting materials have been submitted. On average, you will receive an admissions decision within 3-5 weeks. 

What are the requirements for admission to the Advanced Standing Alternative Plan (ASAP)?
  • Bachelor of Social Work within the last five years from an accredited college or university.
  • “B” or better in all social work required courses (a “B minus” does not meet eligibility requirements)
  • Cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher (based on a 4.0 system) for Bachelor of Social Work degree.
  • Successful completion of field evaluation/learning agreement from their undergraduate program
  • At least 15 quarter hours or 10 semester hours of coursework in the social sciences (examples of approved subjects are typically: Anthropology, Communications, Criminology, Economics, Geography, Globalization Studies, International Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Speech and Hearing Science, and World Politics). If you believe you have taken a social science course, but it is not directly from one of the departments listed, a course syllabus will be needed for review.
  • To be considered for fellowships, applicants must have a completed application by December 1st. This includes all application components (letters of recommendation, transcripts, etc.): https://gradsch.osu.edu/pursuing-your-degree/graduate-fellows

The application for the academic year opens October 1 and all application materials must be submitted by April 1 to be considered for admission. This includes all letters of recommendations, and transcripts. We have rolling admission, which means your application will be reviewed once all supporting materials have been submitted. On average, you will receive an admissions decision within 3-5 weeks. 

What are the admissions requirements for international students?

International students must have a completed application by February 20th. In addition, the English language testing requirements are:

  • 550 Paper-based TOEFL
  • 79 Internet-based TOEFL (IBT)
  • 82 MELAB
  • 7.0 IELTS

Please note: if you have earned a degree in the United States, we recommend you consult with Graduate and Professional Admissions on this requirement. Their contact information is gpadmissions@osu.edu or 614-292-9444.

Do I have to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) to enroll in the MSW Program?

The GRE is not required for any applicant, including any fellowship applicant or any student below a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

I have a GPA below 3.00, what can I do to strengthen my application?

For students who have below a 3.0 cumulative for their last degree earned (excluding associate’s degree), the MSW Program has to petition students they feel would be successful in the MSW Program and request a conditional admission. Here are some tips for strengthening your application as these candidates will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

  • Strong academic reference(s) as part of your required 3 letters of recommendation
  • Thorough response in your statement of purpose describing your academic challenges and how you plan to be successful in the MSW Program
  • Taking the GRE could be beneficial if you feel your performance would provide academic support for your graduate program readiness
  • Enrolling in Graduate Non-Degree courses and using your instructor as a reference will help showcase your graduate program readiness
Do I need to submit transcripts from all the schools I have attended?

Official copies of all institutions you have attended must be submitted with your online application (OSU transcripts exempted). Transcripts submitted with the application are considered unofficial and if admitted, you will be required to submit an official set of transcripts prior to enrolling at Ohio State. Only transcripts sent directly from your institution to Graduate and Professional Admissions are considered official. Transcripts sent by you will not be accepted, considered or reviewed.

Official transcripts should be sent to gpadocs@osu.edu if submitted electronically or the following mailing address:

Office of Graduate & Professional Admissions
The Ohio State University
PO Box 182004
Columbus, Ohio 43218-2004

If your institution provides electronic official transcripts, they may be submitted instead but they need to come directly from your institution. Make sure to mark out all U.S. social security numbers before scanning.

Please note: Ohio State will not accept web reports, advising reports, self-reported scores, or transfer credit on another school’s transcript. For more information, please read the Graduate School Application Instructions.

I am a graduate of The Ohio State University. Do I need to upload copies of my transcripts to the application?

Applicants who have attended Ohio State are not required to purchase Ohio State transcripts but must submit transcripts of any courses completed elsewhere. If you are a current student at Ohio State when you apply, please upload a copy of your Ohio State advising report.

How do I Invite my recommenders to complete the online recommendation form?

When completing your application online, you will submit three names and contact information for each. Make sure in advance that your references have indicated they are willing to submit the reference electronically. Once you submit your application with the $60 application fee, an email invitation to complete the referral will be sent to your recommenders about one to two business days after.

It is recommended that your three letters of recommendation are submitted from individuals separate from your field evaluation.

What do my recommenders need to include in their letter?

Recommenders are e-mailed a link to complete a form in which they will rank the applicant in a number of fields. In addition to the form, they will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation with the following prompt:

I agree to upload a letter on my organization's letterhead that will help provide a complete picture of the applicant's abilities and potential as a graduate student and social worker. For example, I will provide the following information: (1) How long and in what capacity I have known the applicant; (2) Concrete examples to support why I believe the applicant will succeed in graduate school; (3) Qualities that will make the applicant a good social worker. In general, the reference letter should highlight the applicant's strengths and accomplishments as well as contributions you believe they can make to the field of social work. Please speak to what you believe sets the applicant apart from others.

Can I save my MSW application and come back to it?

Yes, by clicking save at the bottom of the window, applicants can save their progress on the online application. It is highly recommended that applicants frequently hit save while completing the online application. After being away from the computer or inactive for several minutes, the application session will end and all unsaved data will be lost.

When can I expect my admissions decision?

We admit on a rolling basis which means we will review applicants as soon as they are complete. To be considered “complete,” ALL materials must be submitted before going out for review.

The review time for an application is on average about 3-5 weeks. When a decision has been made for each applicant, it will be posted. Once the decision is posted, a letter of acceptance or denial will be e-mailed to the applicant via the e-mail address provided by the applicant on the application.

Which semester would I begin the MSW Program?

Students admitted to the Advanced Standing Alternative Plan (ASAP) begin during summer semester. Most students will begin classes during the 8-week, Session-2 term which would begin during the first week of June.

Students admitted to the Traditional program would begin during autumn semester during the third week of August.

Can I start taking classes earlier than my admit term?

While students need to begin courses with their cohort, there is the option of Graduate Non-Degree courses. Graduate non-degree is an option for students who wish to familiarize themselves with our MSW program prior to being admitted. As a graduate non-degree student, you can take up to 7 credit hours of graduate level electives that can be transferred into the program. For additional information on how to apply as a graduate non-degree student, visit: http://go.osu.edu/graduatenondegree.

Does the online program have any face-to-face components?

All online students will complete their field practicum in person. You will work with the Office of Field Education to be referred to a field placement within a 50 mile radius.

Our online program is asynchronous, which means you can take online courses on your own schedule. While our program is asynchronous, many of our courses offer live sessions to provide opportunities to engage in real time with faculty and other students. We recognize that our students have busy lives, so don't worry, all sessions are recorded and can be viewed when it fits your schedule. Course materials, lectures and learning activities are released weekly and can be completed at any time during a one-week window.

Is the Online MSW Program (ASAP or Traditional) available in my state?

Because you are considering an online academic program that leads to a professional license, it is highly recommended you contact the appropriate licensing agency where you plan to receive instruction before beginning your academic program. SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) does not provide reciprocity for state professional licensing requirements. Academic programs and individual graduates must meet standards set by that state’s licensure requirements for a graduate to be eligible for a license.

To learn more about state authorization, eligibility and accreditation, please visit https://online.osu.edu/state-authorization. Any questions can be addressed to the State Authorization team by emailing ODEE-stateauth@osu.edu.

What types of references do I need to apply to the program?

Three letters of recommendation (academic or professional) must be submitted electronically through the university's online system. Please list the names and addresses of persons you are asking to complete letters of recommendation. For applicants to the online sub plans, one letter of recommendation should be from a distance-learning professor, if applicable.

Once you submit your application, expect three to five business days before your application posts to the Student Information System (SIS). At that time, your recommenders will be notified of your request for a recommendation. The College of Social Work will only accept recommendations submitted through the online system; please do not submit paper or other electronic recommendation forms. You must include valid email addresses for your references. Make sure in advance that your references have indicated they are willing to submit the reference electronically.

What kinds of financial aid are available to me?

Fellowships: Fellows are selected on the basis of academic merit through university-wide competitions without respect to financial need. Graduate fellows cannot be required to perform a service in return for receiving a stipend. The College of Social Work offers the University Fellowship and the Enrichment Fellowship. For more information, please look at eligibility requirements here (https://gradsch.osu.edu/funding/fellowships/eligibility-requirements). Please note: our fellowship deadline is December 1st and a completed application is required for consideration. This means all transcripts and letters of recommendation need to be submitted. Students planning to pursue the Online MSW Program (ASAP or Traditional) are not eligible for fellowships.

Assistantships: The College of Social Work typically does not award these to students. Master’s students are eligible for assistantships and are encouraged to contact other departments at the university if they are interested in an assistantship. Please note: students planning to pursue the Online MSW Program (ASAP or Traditional) are not eligible for assistantships.

Scholarships: The College of Social Work does have a scholarship application with a deadline of March 1. To access the application, please go to this link: https://csw.osu.edu/degrees-programs/msw/current-students/ and information is in the drop down menu under, “Scholarships and Financial Aid.”

Loans: students can utilize loans for graduate school by filing a FAFSA. Questions about loans should be directed to Buckeye Link (buckeyelink@osu.edu or 614-292-0300). Please note: OSU’s School Code for FAFSA is 003090.

Which GRE Test should I take?

Applicants to the MSW Program should plan to register for the GRE General Test. The Ohio State University’s GRE code is 1592. Please note: your test scores take approximately 10 business days to get processed at Ohio State once you have taken the exam. For more information about the exam, please go to the GRE site:https://www.ets.org/gre

What should I include in my personal statement?

Admissions Committee reviewers of your application want to understand why you are interested in graduate social work education. Toward this objective, please prepare a detailed statement covering the questions and points below.  Add any relevant information you wish, but please do not omit any sections or questions; indicate “not applicable” where appropriate.  Note: A resume is not acceptable in lieu of the personal statement.  Your personal statement in general should be a minimum of three pages, no more than five pages, typed, double-spaced, and in 12-point font.  Please use the question number and its associated subheading when responding to each question.

  • Knowledge and Awareness of the Social Work Profession.
    • Describe how your understanding of the social work profession applies to your social work career goals.
    • Describe your motivation to pursue a graduate degree in social work, and how you foresee it helping you to attain your professional goals.
  • Volunteer or Work Experience Related to Social Work
    • Discuss your student organization, volunteer, and/or paid work experiences that are relevant to social work practice.
    • Discuss the skills you have developed from these experiences that you think provide a foundation for the social work profession.
  • Personal Strengths and Potential Impact on Social Work
    • Discuss any unique contributions you believe you will bring to graduate study at The Ohio State University and the field of social work in general.
  • Diversity
    • Write about your experiences working with diverse populations. Which issues and populations do you find particularly challenging? What issues and populations do you enjoy working with the most?
    • How did you handle those challenges, or what would you like to learn to handle those challenges more effectively in the future?
  • Academic Performance (These questions pertain only to those with a cumulative GPA less than 3.0)
    • Describe what contributed to your academic challenges in your undergraduate studies that prevented you from achieving a 3.0 GPA.
    • What measures will you take to improve your academic performance if admitted to the program?
  • Evaluation and Research Interests, Other Accomplishments (These questions are required if you are applying for a University Fellowship)
    • Describe any research experience and related interests.
    • Summarize any achievements, scholarships and/or honors you’ve received related to academics and/or community service.
What is the difference between the on-campus program and the online program?

The online program (ASAP or Traditional) allows students to complete all coursework online whereas the on-campus program (ASAP or Traditional) would require students to come to campus.

 

Advising FAQs

1. Do I need to meet with an advisor to schedule my courses?

While it is highly recommended to meet with an academic advisor before scheduling your courses, it is not required. Academic counselors will work with you to create a course plan that will assist you in planning your schedule through the entire MSW Program.

2. What is the difference between my faculty advisor and my academic counselor?

Faculty advisors are assigned on your Buckeye Link and are there as a resource for research or career questions. You should speak with the academic counselors about anything related to your classes, curriculum or scheduling.

3. Does the Online (ASAP or Traditional) MSW Program have any face-to-face requirements?

Students in any of the online programs (ASAP or Traditional) will complete their field practicum in person.

The coursework is all online but many of the advanced courses have required live sessions in which the instructor will host a session with the class. If a student is unable to attend the live sessions, students can watch the recorded live session and prepare a summary reflection.

4. What Areas of Emphasis are available for online program options?

At this time, the areas of emphasis offered for the Online (ASAP or Traditional) MSW programs include Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Children and Youth Services.

We offer our on-campus students two additional areas of emphasis: 1) Aging and 2) Health and Community and Social Justice. At this time, they are not available to online students. However, online students can take these courses as elective credit on campus.

5. When can I register for classes?

All students receive an email from the Registrar’s office stating when their registration window will be posted. The date and time posted on your Student Center is actually when you are able to register for courses. Prior to your registration window being posted on your Student Center, you can find a date range of when you will register for courses on the Registrar’s website at https://registrar.osu.edu/registration/

Click on current term under “Important Dates”. If you scroll down, you’ll find a window that lists when students will schedule based on rank.

6. How do I register for classes?

Class registration can be completed through your Student Center at Buckeye Link. For more detailed information, see Enroll in Classes/Add a Class.

7. Where can I find the course planning worksheet?

We strongly encourage all students to complete a course planning worksheet during their first semester. This helps us to know your preferences so we may plan for course enrollment, but of greater importance, it gives you a planned schedule for completing your MSW program. This plan will guide you in the actual courses you will take throughout your program. This is a useful tool for future planning. You may contact Brenda Davidson via email at davidson.8@osu.edu or phone at 614-292-7684 or Brittany Ward via email at ward.787@osu.edu or phone at 614-688-1487 between the hours 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

8. Can I take classes online and in person?

Online classes are reserved for students who have been admitted to an online program. If you are an on campus student interested in taking an online advanced course you may add yourself to the waitlist. You will need permission from the MSW Program Director to be added to the online cohort. At this time, we do not offer a hybrid option. If you are considering taking coursework online, please submit an online application.

9. What electives can I choose?

Traditional MSW students are required to complete 9 credit hours of electives and advanced standing (ASAP) students are required to complete 7 credit hours of electives. There are a variety of electives to choose from. College of Social Work electives are 5000 level courses. You may also take graduate level electives from other colleges/departments within OSU to be counted towards your MSW degree.

10. What is the field placement timeline?

Field Placement Process and Timeline

  • • ASAP Part Time – Students start the process during SWK 7500 and will receive communication from the field office during the semester you are enrolled in this course.
  • • ASAP Full Time – Students start the process during SWK 7500 and will receive communication from the field office during the semester you are enrolled in this course.
  • • MSWI – MSWI students start the process during SWK 6188 and will receive communication from the field office during the semester you are enrolled in this course.
  • • MSWII – Students start the MSWII placement process during MSWI placement
Please refer to your individual course plan to determine when you will be starting your field placement. This varies depending on full-time/part-time status and deviations to the course plans. 
Due to extremely limited options for evening/weekend placements, we ask students to consider any flexibility in schedules to allow for some daytime availability for placement hours. We cannot guarantee that all field placement hours will be available during evenings and weekends.
If you have additional questions after reviewing this information, please email cswfield@osu.edu.