Your Steps to Apply: Social Work (MSW)
We welcome your application for the St. Catherine University MSW.
St. Kate’s has a streamlined admission process – no application fee, no GRE test – 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!
MSW Eligibility and Prerequisite Requirements
To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following requirements:
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.
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.
Specific prerequisite courses are required for the MSW program; review the next section for details.
College-level courses in the following areas are required:
- statistics or research methods
- human biology (lab not required)
- lifespan developmental psychology (from birth to death) — students applying with a BSW may meet this requirement with Human Behavior and the Social Environment
Courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher. Candidates may apply for the MSW program if they are missing one or more of the prerequisite courses, but all three courses must be completed prior to the first day of graduate classes. Please note that general/introductory biology and general/introductory psychology courses do not fulfill our prerequisite requirements.
**COVID-19 Exception: We strongly recommend that prerequisite courses be completed for a letter grade. However, in light of many institutions mandating all Spring 2020 courses be Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (or Pass/Fail) or are allowing students the choice, we will accept a Satisfactory or Pass designation for any prerequisite course completed in the Spring 2020 term only.
Use the online Transfer Evaluation System (TES) resource to determine if a specific course you have taken (or plan to take) will fulfill a MSW prerequisite requirement. All St. Catherine course equivalencies listed in TES are fully verified by our Registrar's Office.
How to use TES:
- Make note of the St. Catherine department abbreviation
(BIOL, CHEM, MATH, etc.) and course numbers for the "St. Kate's equivalent" course list.
- Connect to TES.
- Identify the institution from which you have completed courses (or plan to complete courses). You may search for institutions using the “Find Transfer College by Name” search box, or use the alphabetical index provided.
- Enter the course code for one of our MSW prerequisites (e.g., MATH 1080). Select “Home Course” and click on Search. This will identify any courses from the institution that are equivalent to the St. Catherine prerequisite course. You could also enter the code for the other institution’s course, and select “Transfer Course” and Search. This will identify any St. Catherine courses that might be equivalent to the other institution’s course.
If you have searched via TES and can’t find a specific school or course listing, contact your admission counselor for assistance. Please include the institution, course name and number, and course description in your email.
How do I apply?
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.
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.
The application priority deadline is January 10 for summer/fall enrollment. Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space available basis. PLEASE NOTE: The application priority deadline is Jan 4 for current St. Kate's BSW students applying to the Accelerated MSW program.
We are no longer accepting applications for fall 2021 consideration. We will begin accepting applications for summer/fall 2022 consideration after September 1, 2021.
Prepare a personal statement 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 personal statement prompt. Please see information sent to you from the BSW program director, for details.
This section of the personal statement 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 social justice 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.
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)
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 personal statement described above.
COVID-19 Impact Statement
This is an optional topic - if you feel as though your pathway to a graduate education was educationally, personally, or professionally impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, please describe the impact you experienced (one page included as a separate topic in the personal statement).
Some impacts you may want to consider when responding include:
- Educational: Moving to online or distance coursework; effective interaction with your professors; moving to a Pass/Fail grading system;
- Personal: Changes in your living situation; caring for yourself or a loved one who was directly impacted; seeking out new volunteer opportunities that arose from the crisis
- Professional: Loss of a job or needing to seek new opportunities; other professional or financial barriers.
If you have already submitted the MSW application form, you may upload your personal statement 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 personal statement 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 email@example.com with “MSW Personal Statement” 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “MSW Résumé” in the subject line.
Three recommendations are required for MSW applicants.
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. 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 email@example.com.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org); 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 email@example.com 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.
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), as well as original transcripts and official translations of all documents not in English. 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.
Electronic documents may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 her or his application is completed by the deadline. Fulfillment of the admission requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. No credentials will be returned to the applicant.