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MSW FAQs



General questions about the MSW program

How do I become a Licensed Social Worker?
The title "Social Worker" is protected under Oregon Rules and Statutes. In order to represent yourself as a "Social Worker," you must be licensed, certified or registered with the Oregon Board of Licensed Social Workers. Visit the Board's Website for detailed information. If you are planning on gaining licensure in another state, please review that state's rules and statutes.

Can I work while attending the MSW program?
We recognize that many students need to work part time while attending the program. If you will be working while attending the program it is important to have flexible work hours to accommodate the class schedule and the field placement.

Can I apply to all of the options: Portland, Online and Distance? 
No. Applicants can apply to only one option. Applicants are admitted to the option they apply to.

Do you accept late applications?
No, the MSW Program does not accept applications which were submitted after the deadline. Application packets must be completed before an applicant will be considered for admission. Applications without all the letters of recommendation will be considered incomplete.

What type of undergraduate education will best prepare me for the MSW program?
You must have a baccalaureate degree with a liberal arts perspective from an accredited college or university, or its international equivalent to be considered for admission to the MSW program. Applicants must demonstrate attainment of a liberal arts perspective by having successfully completed course work from each of the following three curricular areas:

1) Social and Behavioral Sciences,
2) Natural Sciences, and
3) Humanities and Fine Performing Arts. 

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?
GRE scores are not required for admission to the MSW Program. For applicants who believe their undergraduate GPA does not represent their ability to do graduate level academic coursework, GRE scores may be helpful. If you choose to take the GRE, please submit scores to the MSW program with the application packet. Applicants applying to the combined MSW/MPH options will need to take the GRE for submission with the MPH application.

What is the minimum GPA for the MSW program? 
The program does not have a minimum GPA requirement. We use an applicant's upper division GPA to predict the likelihood of success in the MSW program. Students are provisionally admitted to the School of Social Work pending the University's decision to admit an applicant. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 can be admitted to PSU as a regular degree student. Students are admitted conditionally if the undergraduate GPA is between 2.50 - 2.74. When admitted conditionally, a student has nine graded hours to achieve a GPA of 3.0.

On occasion, the School of Social Work can petition the University to admit an individual whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.50.     

I graduated from a school that used narrative transcripts. How do I calculate my GPA?
Applicants who attended institutions using non-graded transcripts do not complete the GPA sheet. The full narrative transcript should be submitted with your application. We will evaluate your academic performance based on instructor reviews.

Do I have to undergo a criminal background check? 
Please see the Criminal Records and Disclosure to Potential Field Placements information sheet.

I do not have an academic reference. What should I do?
If you do not have an academic reference, ask one of your references to include information on those skills you often use in work settings such as organization, report writing, speaking, training, research, etc.

When are the MSW classes scheduled?
First-year Portland Option students attend classes on campus Mondays, Tuesday evenings and Wednesdays. Classes generally meet once weekly and most are scheduled in three- hour time periods. Multiple sections of most required courses are distributed in these time periods, and it is possible for the student to build a course schedule to accommodate part-time work and other responsibilities.

We encourage students to plan to be on campus more than one day a week. We cannot guarantee that a student can schedule all classes in one day.

Please visit Ashland, Bend, Eugene or Salem to determine class times and dates for each of these sites.

How difficult is it to get into the MSW program?
In the past, we have had more qualified applicants than we were able to accept. Generally, we admit one out of every three (1:3) students who apply to the Portland Option and a similar ratio in the Distance and Online Options

If I am admitted can I defer my admission?
We do not offer deferment. Your application is retained for one year. If you chose to reapply to the program, you may use materials from your previous application for the next year’s application.

Can I waive the PSU Graduate Application fee?
No. This fee cannot be waived and is non-refundable..

I decided not to attend the MSW Program at PSU. Could I have my application returned to me?
Once an application is received it becomes property of the University and may not be returned to the applicant. Additionally, we do not provide copies of the application materials to the applicant. Applicants are encouraged to make copies of their application (with the exception of the confidential letters of reference) for record keeping prior to submission.