Master of Social Work (MSW) Admissions

We welcome your application for the St. Catherine University MSW.

St. Kate’s has a streamlined admission process – no application fee, no GRE test, and no prerequisite courses – to accelerate your MSW onboarding process.

If you have questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact your admission counselor. They’re here to help!

Timelines and Deadlines

New students start in the summer (for the one-year Advanced Standing option) or in the fall (for two and three-year Advanced Standing and all Regular Standing options).

Applications are now being accepted for summer/fall 2023 enrollment. The application priority deadline is January 10 for summer/fall enrollment. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a space-available basis. For best consideration for scholarships, all applicants are encouraged to apply early.

To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Degree: A completed bachelor's or graduate degree from an institution that is accredited by one of the regional accrediting organizations (e.g. Higher Learning Commission). Advanced Standing students must have their BSW from a Counsel on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited institution.  Advanced Standing students  must have completed a bachelor's degree with an accredited social work major.

  • Grade Point Average: A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or higher on a 4.0 scale. If the applicant's GPA is less than 3.0, an explanatory statement must be submitted that addresses any factors that influenced previous academic performance, and how the applicant plans to ensure future academic success. If you are unsure of your cumulative GPA, please use these instructions as a guide to help you determine if an explanatory statement is necessary.

  • Prerequisite courses. New for 2023 -- there are no prerequisite course requirements for admission to the Regular Standing option.

A reminder: When choosing your track, note that Advanced Standing (AS) is for those that already have a BSW; Regular Standing (RS) is for all other applicants.  Additionally, there are a number of different format options (1, 2 and 3 year for AS or 2, 3 and 4 year for RS). Please research and consider carefully which format will work best for you when completing the application. It is also important to note, the MSW admission committee may offer admission to a different (and perhaps longer) track that they determine is better suited for an applicant based on prior academic performance or other factors.

Application Form

Please read the application instructions below before completing the online application at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in our MSW/MAHS dual degree, please use these application instructions.


Prepare an essay that demonstrates written communication skills and clarifies your purpose in pursuing a graduate program in social work. All applicants whose cumulative GPA is below 3.0 must also include an explanatory statement. Please submit one document addressing the following in separate essays and provide a separately titled section in the same document if submitting an Explanatory Statement.

PLEASE NOTE: Current St. Kate's BSW students applying to the Accelerated MSW program are required to submit a different essay prompt. Please see information sent to you from the BSW program director, for details.

Part 1

This section of the essay provides an opportunity to demonstrate your written communication skills, understanding of an issue relevant to social work, ability to critically assess the dimensions of the issue and present a coherent presentation. Use formal citation (as needed) to support your perspective. Answering this part will also prompt consideration for the MSW Social Justice Mission Scholarship. (Maximum 1,500 words)

Identify and critically assess an important issue for professional social workers now and in the next decade. Provide evidence to support your assessment; include citations. Incorporate your own perspective on the role and responsibility of social workers relevant to this issue.

Part 2

A. Identify your professional goals and discuss how the MSW program at St. Catherine University, with its emphasis on critical clinical social work practice, will help you achieve those goals. Provide specific examples. (Maximum 500 words)
B. Identify and reflect on your strengths and limitations relative to professional social work. Consider how both will contribute to your success in the field of social work. Be candid with examples of strengths, and state how you have addressed, or are currently managing, your limitations related to professional social work. (Maximum 500 words)

Explanatory Statement

If you are an applicant who does not meet the minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA requirement, please include an explanation of factors that affected previous academic performance, as well as your plan to ensure academic success in a graduate program. This statement should be limited to 400 words and is in addition to the essay described above.

If you have already submitted the MSW application form, you may upload your essay via your Application Status page (instructions for accessing the status page were provided at the time you submitted the application). Please include your full name at the top of the statement.

If you wish to submit the essay prior to the MSW application, or if you are unable to upload the document to your Application Status page, you may send the statement as an attachment via email to with “MSW Essay” in the subject line.


Submit a current résumé. Please differentiate between paid work experience and volunteer activities. Indicate whether the experience/activity was part-time or full-time in nature, and specify the dates of employment/volunteering.

If you have already submitted the MSW application form, you may upload your résumé via your Application Status page (instructions for accessing the status page were provided at the time you submitted the application).

If you wish to submit the résumé prior to the MSW application, or if you are unable to upload the document to your Application Status page, you may send the résumé as an attachment via email to with “MSW Résumé” in the subject line.

Recommendation Forms

Two recommendations are required for MSW applicants. (New for 2023 applicants -- previously, three recommendations were required.)

MSW recommendation forms must be completed by individuals who can attest to the intellectual ability, professional competence and leadership ability of the applicant. Only professional or academic references will be considered; personal references are not acceptable. References must complete both the checklist and the accompanying statement sections of the form.

A link to the recommendation form will be sent when the Recommendations section of the MSW application form has been completed. Please alert your references in advance to expect an email from St. Catherine University. These are confidential recommendations submitted directly from the references to the Office of Graduate Admission; applicants who wish to view the recommendations are responsible for making the appropriate arrangements with their references.


Transcripts are required from each post-secondary institution attended (including PSEO coursework), even if courses are recorded on another transcript and regardless of the number of credits earned. NOTE: Joint Services (formerly SMART) military transcripts are accepted, but not required. For the initial review of your application, we will accept official transcripts sent directly from the institution or scanned copies of official or unofficial transcripts. All documents must be up-to-date and include your name, institution name, all courses taken with grades and degrees received (if applicable). Screenshots from your institution’s website or degree evaluations from your student portal will not be accepted. Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded using your applicant status page (a link is sent once you’ve started an application) or sent as an attachment to  

Upon an offer of acceptance, applicants are required to submit official transcripts from baccalaureate and graduate (if applicable) degree granting institutions before registration for courses is allowed. Paper transcripts must be mailed in a sealed envelope directly from the registrar of each institution to the Office of Graduate Admission at St. Catherine University. Transcripts that do not meet these criteria will be considered unofficial and will not be used to complete the applicant’s file. Electronic transcripts must be sent directly from the institution to St. Catherine (; electronic transcripts forwarded by the applicant will not be accepted.

Fieldwork Instructor Evaluation

Advanced-standing applicants must submit a copy of the senior fieldwork evaluation from their undergraduate social work program. Applicants may submit a copy of the evaluation from their own records (if they retained the paperwork after graduation). Otherwise, applicants should contact the social work department at their undergraduate institution and request that a copy be sent to the Office of Graduate Admission at St. Catherine University. If the evaluation is no longer on file, the social work department should submit a brief letter of explanation to our office. Students who have not yet completed their senior field placement may submit a copy of their junior fieldwork evaluation. You may submit the fieldwork evaluation as an attachment via email to with "MSW Fieldwork Eval" in the subject line.


Applicants whose native language is not English are required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test or 80 on the iBT, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum score of 6.5. Applicants who have achieved an ELS level 112 or higher may submit those scores in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS. This requirement is waived for applicants who have completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in the United States.

Credential Evaluation

Applicants with a college or university degree completed outside of the United States must submit an official course-by-course evaluation from World Education Services (WES) or SpanTran. Original transcripts and official translations of all documents not in English must also be included. In addition, if you are applying for one of our Advanced Standing options and completed your BSW outside of the United States or Canada, you must also complete a CSWE Credential Evaluation as part of the application process. All costs related to document translation and evaluation are the applicant’s responsibility.

Submitting Materials

Please review all application instructions. Once you’ve submitted the online application, you will have access to your Application Status page to upload any supporting documents (instructions for accessing the status page were emailed at the time you submitted the application). If you are unable to upload electronic documents to your Application Status page, you may send items as an attachment via email to Paper documents may be mailed to:

St. Catherine University
Graduate Admission #4027
2004 Randolph Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that their application is completed by the deadline. The Admission Committee will not review your application until we have received all required documents. Fulfillment of the admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. No credentials will be returned to the applicant.

International Applicants

The following information pertains to applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Please review the information below regarding other application materials that may be required for international applicants.


Earlier deadlines may apply for international applicants to ensure that all immigration requirements can be met in time for you to enroll in the desired term. Contact your admission counselor with questions.

International Student Forms

International applicants for graduate study must complete the International Information section of the application form.

The U.S. government requires international applicants to provide proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses before the University can issue forms necessary to obtain a visa. International applicants must submit a Certification of Finances form.

Additional Documentation

Some international applicants may be required to submit additional documentation, such as a credential evaluation, language test scores, etc. Please review the application instructions for your graduate program for more information.

Questions about the application process?

Email your admission counselor at any time, or call us during office hours (8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.).

Contact an admission counselor