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Frequently Asked Questions – On Campus MSW Programs

What is the mission of social work?

The Preamble to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers states: The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.

What do social workers do?

According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), social workers help people overcome social and health problems, such as poverty, mental illness, child abuse and neglect, emotional instability, illness, economic uncertainty, domestic violence, homelessness, and drug abuse. They work directly with individuals, couples, families, and groups to identify and overcome these problems. Some social workers also work with communities, organizations, and/or systems to improve services and/or administrate social and health programs. Social workers apply their professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most effective use of their own abilities. When adequate services do not exist in a community, social workers promote the development of new services and programs.

Where do social workers practice?

Social workers are found in many settings including private practice, mental health, health, schools, community agencies, public welfare, agency administration, legislative services and policy and planning. Social work’s approach is unique among the helping professions because it focuses on people’s problems in the context of their social environment. Social workers believe that people are influenced by the strengths and weaknesses of those around them – in their families, communities, workplaces, and organizations.


What is the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree?

The Master of Social Work Program prepares students for advanced direct professional practice with individuals, families, households, groups, organizations, and communities. Students learn the clinical, organizational, policy and administrative skills necessary for promoting social and economic justice and enhancing the quality of life for all people through agency-based, culturally sensitive advanced professional practice.


What MSW program options are offered by Boise State?

The School of Social Work at Boise State University offers a Regular Standing Master of Social Work with 61 semester credit hours and an Advanced Standing Master of Social Work with 37 semester credit hours.

These degree programs are offered in-person at the Boise State campus in Boise, Idaho and at the Lewis-Clark State College campus in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Students can also select to complete these two degree programs completely online. Finally, there are full-time and part-time enrollment options. Graduates of all our MSW programs receive their degrees from Boise State University.


What is the difference between the Regular Standing program and the Advanced Standing program?

The Regular Standing program is a two year program for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. The Advanced Standing program is a one year program for those who have a bachelor’s degree in social work.

What are the differences between the on campus program and the online program? Is there a difference in tuition prices?

The curriculum is the same for the face-to-face and online MSW programs. The difference is in the delivery method and the order of classes. 

Tuition for the Online program is $495 per credit hour. Please see the following link for the breakdown of tuition for the online program: Online MSW Tuition 

Please see the following link for the breakdown of the on campus program tuition: Boise Campus Tuition

What qualifications are expected for applicants to Boise State MSW programs?

We are seeking potential students of exceptional maturity, with values compatible with those of professional social work, with capacity for critical thinking and self-reflection, and with strong potential for personal and professional growth.


What are the criteria for admission into the MSW program?

  • Completion of the Boise State University Graduate Admissions Application and The School of Social Work Application for admission as a graduate student.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • An overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher and a GPA of 3.0 or higher for the junior and senior years of undergraduate study.
  • Note: Applicants may not receive academic credit for work experience in the field or for life experience.

Is it required to take a human biology and/or a statistics course in order to be admitted into the program?

We do not require a human biology or statistics course for admission into the MSW program.

My overall GPA is lower than a 3.0. Can I still be accepted?

The standard GPA we are looking for is a 3.0 or higher. There are instances where we have admitted a student with a GPA lower than 3.0. If your overall undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0, the Graduate College might admit you on a provisional status. This means that you will need to have at least a 3.0 GPA in your first semester of Graduate School. 

What does the Master of Social Work application consist of?

  • Personal Statement covering the following topics:
    • Pursuing an MSW: What has led you to seek a graduate degree in social work? Why do you want to be a social worker?
    • Case Review: Reflect on a case study
    • Social Issue: Reflect on a social issue you feel strongly about
    • Hot Topic: Write a short essay on a given hot topic
  • Resume
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Notarized Forms (found within the application or on the Boise State University website)
  • Letters of Recommendation

If I was put on a waitlist, what would the expected date of knowing whether or not there was room for me be?

We ask students to let us know of their acceptance of a slot by May 1st. However, for a variety of personal reasons, students sometimes drop out after that date. 

Is the GRE required?

The Graduate Record Exam is not required for admission to the Master of Social Work programs.

I am an international student. Can I apply?

Students can only complete this program if they are living in the U.S. and have the proper visa that allows them to study here. All fieldwork must be done in the U.S.

What is the typical class schedule?

Classes held on the Boise campus are offered during the day on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. There may be an occasional evening class. Below is a typical fall and spring schedule. Please note that the schedule is subject to change.

Regular Standing Program:

Typical Fall Schedule:

SW 503 Th 1:30-4:15p
SW 512 Tu 9:00-11:45a
SW 514 Tu 1:30-3:10p
SW 530 Th 9-11:45a
SW 570 INTERNSHIP- approximately 14-16 hours per week
SW 573 Tu 12-1:15p

Typical Spring Schedule:

SW 504 Mo 1:30-4:15p
SW 505 Tu 9-11:45a
SW 515 Th 9-11:45a
SW 521 Th 1:30-4:15p
SW 531 Tu 1:30-4:15p
SW 572 INTERNSHIP- approximately 14-16 hours per week
SW 574 Tu 12-1:15p

Advanced Standing Program:

Typical Fall Schedule:

SW 526 Mo 1:30-4:15p
SW 532 Tu 9-11:45a
SW 550 Mo 9-11:45a
SW 575 INTERNSHIP- approximately 20 hours per week
SW 577 Tu 12-1:15p

Typical Spring Schedule:

SW 506 Tu 9-11:45a
SW 525 Mo 9-11:45a
SW ELECTIVE
SW ELECTIVE
SW 576 INTERNSHIP- approximately 20 hours per week
SW 578 Tu 12-1:15p

Can I work full-time and attend the face to face MSW program?

When you are in the program, it is not realistic to try to work full-time. We have requirements we must meet to remain a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program and also want to ensure all of our students have rich, meaningful field experiences. It is important for students to get a sense of what it feels like to practice social work full-time (by interning full days at least 2-3 days/week and being able to consistently provide services to clients over time). 

How large are the classes?

Classes are kept small to foster maximum interaction and exchange of ideas among students and faculty. Classes typically have no more than 25 students. Practicum seminars typically have no more than 12 students.


Who are the faculty?

Boise classes are taught by full-time members of the School of Social Work faculty complemented by outstanding community-based social work professionals. Coeur d’Alene classes are taught by full-time Boise State University faculty,  professors of the Lewis-Clark State College Department of Social Work, and by outstanding community-based social work professionals.

What is the cost of tuition?

For the Boise campus Master in Social Work, the Regular Standing program is approximately $21,000. The Advanced Standing program is approximately $14,000. Please see the following link for the breakdown in cost: Tuition – Boise Campus.

The Master of Social Work program at the Coeur d’Alene campus is $400 per credit. The Advanced Standing option, which is 37 credits, is the only option on the Coeur d’Alene campus.  There is no out of state tuition.

When is the deadline for scholarship applications and considerations?

The financial aid and scholarship deadlines are Feb 15th.

How do I find a field placement?

There is no better time and place to start your search for an exciting and fulfilling field placement than the Agency Field Fair held in the spring. It is your opportunity to meet with field instructors and agency representatives. We highly encourage all students to attend. We have had more than forty-five agencies attend the fair. Many students are able to set up interviews with their preferred agencies at this time. Please be aware that you must meet with your field coordinator prior to interviewing with any Agency. 

I would like to transfer from my current University to your program. How can I do that?

In order to transfer credits, you need to first be accepted into the Master of Social Work program. Second, we need the syllabi for the courses and your transcripts showing your grades for those courses. A letter from the institution you were attending, stating that you left their Master’s  program in good standing, needs to be included in your application materials. Once we have those documents,  a review of the courses you’d like to transfer over will be conducted in order to assess whether or not they align with our curriculum.  Our program is accredited based on our specific curriculum. If the courses do not align with ours, we could not offer credit. By School Policy, you can transfer 12 credits at most.

Why was I denied acceptance into the program?

In general applicants are denied admission because:

  1. They have a low GPA, below 3.0
  2. They don’t follow the application instructions
  3. Poor writing and/or not answering the essay questions clearly
  4. Something found in their background check
  5. Poor interview

What is the appeal process to be admitted to the MSW program without having a bachelor’s degree but a Master’s degree or a non-accredited bachelor’s degree?

Graduate College policy reads, in part:

The minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate College are:

  • At least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or a degree from a non-U.S. institution of higher education that is judged equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree by the International Admissions office. Applicants can request an exception to this requirement. Refer to request for an exception to the regionally accredited institution requirement for admission.

Follow this link to the policy/procedure and forms for requesting the exception: Appeal Request

Can a background check recently approved through the Department of Health and Welfare substitute for the background check that is required in the application?

No, we only accept background checks for our application process through Castlebranch.

How do I get a license to practice social work?

Most graduates of the Boise State School of Social Work choose to pursue licensure as a social worker. Many states, including Idaho, regulate the use of the title social worker to those professionals holding a social work license.

State social work boards determine the requirements for social work licensure and it is important that you become familiar with the requirements for the state in which you expect to practice. The universal first step in the licensure process is to graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) – and Boise State’s MSW program has been continually accredited by CSWE since 1992.

In Idaho, licensure to practice social work is administered by the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses and requires either a baccalaureate or master’s degree from an accredited program of social work education, a passing score on the appropriate national licensing examination, practice according to the NASW Code of Ethics and, depending on the desired level of licensure, a period of supervised practice.

Information regarding each state’s licensure process can be accessed through the Master of Social Work Professional Licensure Disclosures website.  Due to the variability in state requirements, Boise State University cannot guarantee that our MSW program will fulfill all requirements in the state you plan to practice. It is your responsibility to seek guidance from the applicable social work board to understand your individual licensure requirements.


I want to get a social work license without getting an MSW. Can I take a few courses from this program as a non-matriculated student?

Maintaining our status as Idaho’s oldest and largest school of social work accredited through the Council on Social Work Education prohibits us from offering classes to students not enrolled in the MSW Program.


Can I take courses even though I have not been admitted?

All of the required courses in the program are restricted to students who have been admitted to the program. However, some electives may be open to students not yet admitted.

Can my work experience convert to social work credits?

By our accreditation standards, we are prohibited from giving academic credit for work experience in the field or for life experience.

Can I retake a graduate course?

To retake a Graduate course you will need to fill out the form found here: Request to Repeat a Graduate Course and submit it to the MSW Coordinator for signature.

Will a DUI affect my chances of getting accepted into the MSW program?

A DUI is not an automatic disqualification for admission. However, it can delay admission and can have an effect on the ability to secure a field placement (internship) as well as being licensed as a social worker. The College policy states that the offense must have been at least 3 years ago.

Social Work Licensure

Most graduates of the Boise State School of Social Work choose to pursue licensure as a social worker. Many states, including Idaho, regulate the use of the title social worker to those professionals holding a social work license.

State social work boards determine the requirements for social work licensure and it is important that you become familiar with the requirements for the state in which you expect to practice. The universal first step in the licensure process is to graduate from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) – and Boise State’s MSW program has been continually accredited by CSWE since 1992.

Information regarding each state’s licensure process can be accessed through the Master of Social Work Professional Licensure Disclosures website. In Idaho, licensure to practice social work is administered by the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses and requires either a baccalaureate or master’s degree from an accredited program of social work education, a passing score on the appropriate national licensing examination, adherence to the rules governing Idaho licensure set out in Idaho administrative code and, depending on the desired level of licensure, a period of supervised practice.

Due to the variability in state requirements, Boise State University cannot guarantee that our MSW on-campus program will fulfill all requirements in the state you plan to practice. It is your responsibility to seek guidance from the applicable social work board to understand your individual licensure requirements.

Where can I get additional information?

Information about the On Campus Boise and Coeur d’Alene programs is available from:

Demi Hoff
MSW Program Management Assistant
DemiHoff@BoiseState.edu
Phone: (208) 426-1568

Boise State University School of Social Work
1910 University Drive
Boise, Idaho 19725-1940
MSW@boisestate.edu
Phone: (208) 426-1568

Information about the Coeur d’Alene program is available from:

Megan Dardis-Kunz, LMSW
1031 N. Academic Way
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
Phone: (208) 779-0738
Fax: (208) 666-6712
MeganDardisKunz@boisestate.edu

Information about the ONLINE MSW Program is available from:

Student Success Coaches:

Crystal Bissell
Student Success Coach
Master of Social Work Online
Phone: (208) 426-5921
Text: (208) 779-0267
MSWOnline@boisestate.edu
Schedule an appointment with Crystal