Admission requirements

Applications for the MSW program are accepted year round. Advanced standing students can begin the program in January or August. Foundation students can begin the program in August.  

Admission criteria:

  1. GPA of at least 3.0 on 4.0 scale (or equivalent). Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement may be conditionally accepted.
  2. College transcript showing undergraduate degree from a college or university that is accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  3. Two professional references that attest to academic and professional achievement; strong preference for one reference to be from a practicing social worker. If applying for advanced standing, strong preference for one reference to be from one of the applicant's BSW social work faculty.
  4. Personal statement/essay. 
    • After submitting your online application, admissions will send you the Personal Statement Form to complete and return. This form asks five questions about the social work field, your intentions for joining the program and managing the rigorous demands of graduate coursework.
  5. Resumé. (Applicants are highly encouraged to have professional experience in the human service field.)
  6. TOEFL scores if English is not the applicant’s first language, and undergraduate degree was completed in a language other than English.
  7. An interview with the MSW program director may be required.

Advanced standing is awarded to graduates holding degrees from baccalaureate social work programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Services. The degree must be conferred within the last 10 years (Applicants whose BSW was earned more than 10 years ago may submit a special request for admission.)

Expedited application

The MSW program offers expedited admissions for individuals who earned their BSW degree at Bluffton University or Goshen College three years prior to their MSW application and earned a career GPA of 3.0 or higher.

To apply, these individuals only need to complete an online application, submit a resume and provide the name of one BSW faculty member who can serve as a reference for them. Their enrolling institution will access their transcript. These individuals will not need to submit a personal statement or second reference. The MSW program reserves the right to ask the individual to complete a full admission package.


The MSW program is approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. The program is in pre-candidacy for accreditation with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). According to CSWE, “Students admitted during or after the academic year in which the program is granted candidacy will be recognized as having graduated from an accredited program, once the program is fully accredited.” The MSW program expects to be granted candidacy in the 2023–24 academic year.

Bluffton University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and its University agrees to accept certain coursework from Goshen College to be applied toward degrees from Bluffton University. Coursework or credits may or may not be accepted by institutions not a party to this agreement should a student seek to transfer such coursework or credits; the decision to accept coursework in transfer from any institution is made by the institution considering the acceptance of such coursework.

More more information, contact

Jeanette Harder at