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Admissions FAQs

Questions about the application process


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.

I'm filling out the coursework section of the MSW program application and have a question about which course goes under what curricular area.
View the Coursework For Liberal Arts Requirements to determine how courses are classified. We only need to see that you have successfully completed 6 quarter credits (or 4 semester credits) from each of the three curricular areas. In addition, the undergraduate degree must include a minimum of 50 quarter credits total (or 34 semester credits) from any combination of the three areas mentioned above.

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 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.

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.

The application deadline is approaching and I'm missing one letter of reference and/or one of my official transcripts. Should I wait until the missing item arrives before I submit my application?
No. Send your application in by February 2 (January 3 for Advanced Standing) with a note about the missing item. When the item arrives, send it to us immediately. We will consider your application incomplete until all materials arrive. Once we have all application materials, we will begin processing your application.

When will I know if I've been admitted into the MSW program?
Applicants will be informed by email of the SSW Admissions Committee decision. Advanced Standing applicants are notified in mid-March of our decision. All other applicants are notified of decisions by the end of April. Please note: Application packets must be complete before an applicant will be considered for admission.

I mailed my application and want to know if it was received. Should I call?
No. Please do not call to see if we have received your application. This only slows the process of entering applications into our database. Most years we receive more than 600 applications and it will take 3-4 weeks to open all applications and enter each one into our database.

All applicants will receive notification via email once the application has been input into our database and the initial audit is performed to determine if the application is complete. Please wait for the email notification. Additionally, we do not track any items sent individually as the application is required to be complete when submitted. Thus, it's important to follow the instructions carefully and send a complete application. If your email address changes, please email your new address to Erika Woods.

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. Once an applicant is admitted as a student in the MSW Program, she/he has access to a student file in which the application is kept. If a student waives the right to review the letters of reference at the application stage, those letters will not be available for a student's review.

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 $50 PSU Graduate Application fee?
No. This fee cannot be waived and is non-refundable.