Nov 29, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year]

Social Work [M.S.W.]

Welcome to the School of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares graduates for rewarding careers that strengthen people and communities and advance the social work field. The graduate social work program at EMU focuses on advanced practice in one of three practice concentrations: Family and Children’s services; Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery services; and, Health and Aging services.  In addition to core courses, students also take 7-13 hours in specialization courses, which are designed to allow students to personalize their program and focus on obtaining knowledge in specific areas of interest to them.  

The EMU Social Work Program is grounded in our mission and committed to:  the empowerment of poor, oppressed, vulnerable and underserved populations; the creation of social welfare policy based on a strengths perspective; the advancement of community problem-solving; and, leadership in organizations and communities.

Our MSW program allows students to continue their education part-time with classes offered in the evenings and/or on Saturdays.  The part-time nature of our program allows students to advance their education while balancing other personal/professional responsibilities.  

Program Admission

Please download Instructions for Applying to the Master of Social Work Program here or contact Julie Harkema, Admissions Coordinator, 317 Marshall, 734.487.0393,

There are two tracks for individuals entering the MSW program at Eastern Michigan University, as outlined below:

Full Program - This program is for students applying to the MSW program who have not obtained a BSW. Full Program students complete 63 hours of foundation and advanced-level courses. Full Program students can successfully matriculate through the Master’s program in four years while attending part-time.

Advanced Standing - This program is for admitted students who earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree accredited by the CSWE. Advanced Standing students are required to complete 35 approved credit hours of course work. Students can successfully matriculate through the Master’s program as an Advanced Standing student in two years while attending part-time.

Admission Criteria

Faculty assess applicants on the following criteria:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university - Advanced Standing admission requires a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited college or university. Applicants admitted without a BSW will pursue the Full Program. The bachelor’s degree must appear on an applicant’s official transcript before enrollment.
  • A minimum GPA of 2.75 - This GPA can be attained with a cumulative undergraduate or a completed graduate degree. A cumulative undergraduate GPA includes all college courses taken prior to receiving a bachelor’s degree. A limited number of exceptional applicants who have been working in the social work field for a substantial amount of time may be considered for conditional admission to the Full Program if their GPA is below 2.75. Advanced Standing admission requires a 3.0 in the last sixty credits of the bachelor’s degree.
  • A Personal Statement - Applicants complete a Personal Statement that speaks to their readiness for graduate studies and connection to our mission. Your Personal Statement will be evaluated as a reflection of your writing skills, your ability to reflect and learn from your experiences, and as a narrative of your background, interests, and goals. You must be the sole author of this statement, but others may provide proofreading assistance and feedback. For additional information, please see the Personal Statement Criteria .
  • Three Reference Letters - Three professional reference letters are required. Strong letters would be from professionals that could speak to the applicant’s academic strengths, professionalism, and/or readiness for master-level social work. Three reference forms and narratives letters on professional stationery are required; the recommenders will access and submit online.
  • Experience - Professional experience in the human services field, both paid and unpaid, is weighed in the decision-making process. This includes paid work experience, volunteer experience, and internships. Please complete an Employment and Voluntarism Form and submit it with your application.

Admission Process

Part 1 - Application Submission (Priority Deadline: December 1, 2020, at 11:59 pm)

Submit a Social Work CAS application.

Complete all four sections of this application, pay the application fee*, and request transcripts are sent to the CAS system. Instructions for completing the CAS application can be found at (

A complete application will include the following: transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities; a personal statement; an Employment and Voluntarism Form; and, reference letters.

*Note – Please find instructions for applying for a fee waiver on the Social Work CAS website. 

International Transcripts - Students with non-U.S. post-secondary credentials must submit an evaluation of their international transcripts from one of four approved evaluation services for a detailed, course-by-course report. Applicants should allow 2-6 weeks for the completed evaluation. Please visit International Admissions for additional information.


Part 2 - Application Review and Decision

An application is considered complete when the Social Work CAS is submitted, including all transcripts and reference letters.

Once a complete application has been submitted to the School of Social Work through the CAS system, each application will receive two separate reviews. First, reviewers from the School of Social Work read the application and respond using a formal scoring rubric, which takes into account the applicant’s: written explanation of their personal connection to the EMU School of Social Work mission; overall ability to write at a level required for success in a Master’s program; work and volunteer experience directly or indirectly related to social work; assessment of references regarding the applicant’s ability to succeed in graduate school and as a Master level social worker; and, academic ability as demonstrated by their overall grade point average and the average of their last 60 credits as an undergraduate student.

If the two reviewers are ten or more points apart in their assessment, the application will be reviewed by a third reviewer.

Once the review is complete, the application is sent to the Admissions Committee for a decision.

Notification of an admission decision

All applicants are notified of the School of Social Work’s decision by email through the Social Work CAS system followed up by mailed letters. Students may be accepted, accepted conditionally, or denied admission. Students accepted by the School of Social Work will be asked to accept, defer, or refuse admission contingent on acceptance by the graduate school (must meet graduate school requirements for overall/last 60 credit GPA).

Once a formal decision by the graduate school is made, applicants receive a final acceptance email, which includes instructions about orientation, information about how to registration for classes, and general information from the School of Social Work and EMU.

Transfer Applicants

Suppose an applicant is currently in another EMU graduate program and interested in an MSW. In that case, the student must complete the formal application process as outlined above to be considered for the MSW program. If accepted, some classes may transfer as specializations electives or core classes dependent on the date of the class and relevance to the social work curriculum. Discretion for transfer credits lies with the Director of the MSW program.

Suppose an applicant has been accepted into and attended another MSW program. In that case, the applicant must complete the formal application process as outlined above to be considered for the EMU MSW program. Also, the applicant must submit a letter from their current/previous MSW program stating that they left the program in “good standing.” Only students in “good standing” will be considered for the EMU MSW program.

An Appeal of Decision of Acceptance/Denial into the EMU MSW Program

There is no appeal process. Decisions are final. Suppose applicants are interested in re-applying for a future year. In that case, they are encouraged to do so by reapplying to the Master of Social Work program and updating their application materials.

School Information

Social Work | Jennifer Kellman-Fritz, Ph.D., Director | 323 Marshall, 734.487.1418,

Sarah VanZoeren, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator343 Marshall, 734.487.4296,

Advisor Information

David Evoy, 315 Marshall, 734.487.6807,

Program Information

Course Requirements

Students admitted to the MSW program begin coursework in the fall semester immediately following their admission. Students are admitted as a cohort with a structured, approved Plan of Study.  See below for course requirements.

Length of the Program

The EMU Graduate School policy states that all MSW requirements must be completed within six years from the first course taken to meet the Program of Study requirements. Exceptions to this requirement may be requested by students who need an extension due to extraordinary and/or unavoidable extenuating circumstances (please see the Graduate School policy).  Please seek advice from the School of Social Work if you: receive an incomplete, must withdraw from a course, or stop out.  

Field Placement

All MSW students must complete field placements that are authorized and arranged with affiliated public and nonprofit social service agencies through the field placement office. Generalist Field Placement (SWRK 595  and SWRK 596 ) requires 400 hours of supervised fieldwork. Advanced Field Placement (SWRK 695  and SWRK 696 ) requires 500 hours of supervised fieldwork in a student’s chosen concentration. MSW students admitted to the full program must complete both placements. Students admitted to the advanced standing program complete only the advanced level placement. In accordance with our national accreditation standards, no credit can be given for past or present work experience.

School Social Work Certification

The EMU School of Social Work offers a sequence of three specialization courses that have been approved by the State of Michigan and are required to become a school social worker. Consultation should be made with a social work graduate advisor or the MSW office about this opportunity.

Degree Requirements: 31-35 hours

Concentration: 18-22 hours

Select one concentration from the following.