Admissions Requirements

Students seeking admission to a graduate level program must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution or an equivalent foreign institution and satisfy the admission requirements listed below. The admission policies presented here are the minimum requirements. 

Admission to graduate level coursework does not equate admission to candidacy for a graduate degree. For full degree requirements, please review the MSW Program in the Graduate Bulletin.

Students who have previously achieved BSW from an accredited program and meet specified GPA requirements should apply for Advanced Standing. Students who have completed an undergraduate degree other than a BSW should apply for Regular Standing.

Priority Admission Deadline: December 1st. We recommend this deadline is for early-decision makers only.  Early decision makers are applicants who are already committed to attending NMU for their MSW, whereas regular applicants may be considering and applying to other institutions.  

Regular Admission Deadline: February 28. All applicants must submit their applications no later than February 28th.


We are no longer accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year. We look forward to reviewing your application for the 2025-2026 school year. 

Regular Standing Admissions

Applicants who have not previously achieve a BSW from a CSWE accredited program must have:

  • A four-year undergraduate degree from a college or university recognized by a regional accrediting association
  • personal statement demonstrating interest in social work, career goals, commitment to values and ethics of the profession, and program preferences
  • A Cumulative GPA of 3.00
  • Graduate admission application and fee.  
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions.
  • Three academic or professional letters of recommendation.

In addition, non-BSW applicants’ transcripts will be reviewed by the program director to determine if there is sufficient preparation for MSW program content. Courses needed to demonstrate preparation are as follows:

  • SW 100 Exploring Social Work (or at least a 3 credit equivalent course as determined by admissions committee)
  • SW 230 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (or at least a 3 credit equivalent course as determined by admissions committee)
  • at least a 3 credit course in Statistics, Research Methods, or Quantitative Reasoning
  • at least a 3 credit course in Biology (must include human biology content)
  • at least 10 credits in some combination of the following content areas
    • Lifespan Development
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Social Work

Advanced Standing Admissions

Applicants who have previously achieved a BSW from a CSWE accredited program and wish to apply for advanced standing must have:

  • A BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program, or recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Services, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors, ideally conferred no more than five years prior to the date of application
  • personal statement demonstrating interest in social work, career goals, commitment to values and ethics of the profession, and program preferences
  • a cumulative GPA of 3.0 with no BSW courses falling below a B
  • Graduate admission application and fee.  
  • Official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions.
  • Three academic or professional letters of recommendation.

For all Regular and Advanced Standing applicants: 

The graduate admissions committee within the MSW Program will review all applications in their entirety, and will offer full or conditional admission to the program based on each candidate's comparative strengths and weaknesses.  Positions will be offered to a limited number of applicants per year.  For GPA requirements, primary consideration will be given to the last 60 credits of undergraduate or graduate study, and to courses determined especially relevant to the field of social work.

Admissions Policies

Admission to graduate studies is granted in one of the following categories based on the qualifications and educational objectives of the applicant. Eligibility for enrollment is based solely on the applicant’s academic qualifications without regard to gender, race, marital status, color, age, religion, handicap or national origin.

Regular Degree Admission is granted to the student who wishes to pursue a master’s degree and who has a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 (A=4.0). For regular admission, a student must meet all of the admission requirements of the Office of Graduate Education, as well as any additional requirements for the program of their choice.

Conditional Admission may be authorized, based upon a recommendation from the department or by the Director of Graduate Education and Research, for students who do not meet the requirements of regular admission. Conditional admission can be granted to students in their final semester or session of enrollment in an undergraduate program if the academic record is satisfactory, based on the final transcript sent by the student. The conditions for regular admission are recorded on the letter of admission that is sent to the applicant. Students who fail to meet the conditions of their admission by the completion of 12 semester hours of graduate credit are denied further registration. The determining factors for the conditions of admission are the responsibility of the assigned adviser with the endorsement of the appropriate department head and the Director of Graduate Education and Research. Students will not be granted regular admission status until all the requirements and conditions for regular admission have been met.

Non-Degree Admission is granted to students who do not wish to obtain a graduate degree, but have an interest in work beyond the baccalaureate degree, or who graduated from a non-accredited undergraduate program. Included in this category are those students selecting special workshops or those who wish to pursue additional study for educational benefits. Students who are non-degree can later elect to change to a degree seeking program by submitting an application to that program. 

Certification or Endorsements Admission is granted to education students seeking professional teacher certification, professional development, or endorsements but not wishing to pursue a master’s degree.  Admission for certification or endorsement in no way assures subsequent admission to a degree program. A student who wishes to later apply for regular admission to a degree program must fill out an application for that program. All admission requirements of the school and the Office of Graduate Education must also be met.

A student enrolled in another accredited graduate school in Michigan may register for a limited number of graduate credits at Northern Michigan University under the Guest Student status. The Michigan Intercollegiate Graduate Studies (MIGS) Program is a cooperative program established by a group of Michigan Universities to provide an opportunity for "guest" graduate students to participate in unique educational opportunities throughout the state without changing their status of enrollment at their present university.

A graduate student's record remains open for three years from the date of last enrollment unless the student graduates, withdraws, or is dismissed. Graduate students who no longer have active student status must reactivate their files by completing another admission application before enrolling in graduate courses.

Applications from undergraduate students who have yet to complete course work for their bachelor's degree will only be processed if the student is in his/her final semester of undergraduate course work. Transcripts from the university that he/she currently attends should not be sent until that time. Admission to graduate programs for these students will be on a conditional basis, and the student will be required to furnish a final transcript for their undergraduate work once their final grades and bachelor's degree is conferred and listed on that transcript. The final transcript will be reviewed by the NMU academic department in which the student has conditionally been admitted, and if acceptable, the student's admission status will be changed to regular status.

Field Placement Application Process

When students are selected for the NMU MSW program, they will be required to complete the below materials and submit them to the Field Director early in the winter semester to begin the matching process.

Students will also be required to be familiar with the MSW FIELD EDUCATION MANUAL prior to beginning their placement(s).

Regular Standing

Advanced Standing