Information For

How to Apply

Accepting Applications for Fall 2015!

The MSW program has a priority deadline of March 30th.

Applications for the Fall 2015 cohort are accepted on a rolling basis until the cohort is full.

A complete Application to the MSW program includes:

  • An Application Form
  • Three (3) current letters of reference
  • Official transcripts from every college or university attended
  • A Personal Statement
  • A resume

Applying to the MSW program is a three step process.  Please follow the steps below and use the MSW Graduate Application Checklist to ensure that you complete all parts of the application process.

Application Checklist

Application Step #1:  Complete Online Application 

All prospective students are required to submit a MSW Program Application using the link below. Once you have submitted the application on-line, you will receive a prompt to pay a non-refundable $105.00 application fee.  You should receive both an email confirming your application submission and your payment. *Applicants will not apply to the University through CSU Mentor. 

After your MSW Program Application is received, an individualized advising worksheet will be created to help you track and successfully complete all parts of the application.  The worksheet will list items in the application packet that the University has received, and items still outstanding. 

If you are accepted into this program, you will be asked to pay a $150.00 "intent to enroll" fee.  This non-refundable deposit will be credited towards your first semester's fees.

Online Application

Application Step #2:  Additional Materials Sent

We recommend that all additional application materials be compiled by the student and hand delivered or mailed in one packet to the Department of Social Work at:

California State University San Marcos
Department of Social Work, University Hall Suite 321
333 S.Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
San Marcos, CA  92096-0001


A completed application packet includes three letters of reference (either two academic and one professional, or two professional and one academic reference).  Academic letters of reference come from professors.  Professional letters come from individuals who have supervised your paid or volunteer work experience.  Note:  Personal references (e.g. friends, colleagues) will not be considered.  The Reference Form below must be used for all individuals who provide a reference.  (If you want to include a letter in addition to the form, attach it to the completed form.  Do not substitute a letter for the Reference Form.)

Reference Form

Official Transcripts

Note about Transcripts:  We recommend that official hard copy transcripts be sent directly from the institution to the student's home.  Once you have compiled all official hard copy transcripts, please mail or deliver them in one envelope to the Department of Social Work.  Do not open the transcripts or they will be deemed "unofficial".

Please note: Electronic official transcripts will be accepted, however, hard copies are always preferred. Electronic transcripts must be sent to in order to be considered official. There will be no exceptions.

Personal Statement

Please carefully follow the instructions provided in the personal statement when writing your 6 - 8 page response.  You must answer each question to be considered for admission. 

Personal Statement Instructions


Provide a resume that lists all of your work experience.  Thoroughly substantiate all volunteer, internship, or other paid or unpaid work experience in social work or human services positions, preferably demonstrating 500 or more total hours of service.

Sample Resume

International Student Admissions Requirements

For Extended Learning degree programs, "foreign students" include those who hold U.S. visas as students, exchange visitors, or in other nonimmigrant classifications. Foreign students must submit academic records/transcripts from all foreign institutions they have attended.  If the records are not written in English, they must be accompanied by certified English translations. You must send your foreign transcripts to be evaluated by one of eight CSUSM-approved foreign transcript evaluation agencies.  Both the evaluation and the original foreign transcript must be submitted to Extended Learning.

International students, please note:  If you have an F-1 visa, you are only eligible to enroll in the full-time MSW program (F-1 visas require full time student status.)  Non-F-1 visa holders, who do not need an I-20 document for their status (e.g. H-1 and E-1), are eligible for the part time MSW program.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The California State University system requires that foreign applicants demonstrate English language competency if they have not attended a secondary level (or higher) educational institution where English is the principal language of instruction for a least three years.

Most frequently, students document English language competence via results on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This test is available in three scoring formats:  paper-based, computer-based, and Internet-based.

CSU minimum scores for each TOEFL format are provided below:



Internet-based (iBT)

Undergraduate 500 173 61
Graduate 550 213 80

Admission Deadlines

The MSW program has a priority deadline of March 30th. However, the program accepts applications on a rolling basis; applications are reviewed as they are received. This means the earlier you submit your completed application, the more likely you are to be accepted into the program track (2 or 3 year) and concentration (children, youth, and families or behavior health) you prefer.  Applications are currently being accepted!

*For International applicants (i.e., applicants with transcripts from colleges and universities outside the USA) the admissions deadline is May 1st.  All documents from international applicants must be received by May 1.

Please note: The administration of the MSW program is contingent upon having the appropriate number of qualified candidates.  In the event the number of minimum qualified candidates is not satisfied, the program may be delayed or cancelled prior to the program’s stated start date.  Accepted applicants will be notified in writing if the program is cancelled or delayed.  We encourage you to visit our website frequently for the most up-to-date information.