Requirements and Admission Materials for MSW Programs

Required General Graduate Application and Admission Materials

  1. Completed application for graduate admissions. Graduate Application for Admission
  2. Non-refundable $ 35.00 application processing fee.
  3. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. Note: Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the university.
  4. International students should consult the International Student Applications section of the current Graduate Catalog or contact Graduate Studies at 256-782-5325. International Student Applicants

Required Program Specific Application Materials

  1. Three completed Graduate Reference forms. Please note that the forms must be completed by individuals who can assess the applicant's potential for success in graduate study (you must have at least one (1) from a previous professor or instructor and one (1) from a supervisor of a paid or unpaid social services agency. Letters from friends or family members are not suitable. Reference forms will be submitted electronically. Instructions for submission will be sent through email to the applicant upon submission of the online graduate application.
  2. Professional Resume. Your resume should detail your education, employment, and social-work related experience such as internships, volunteer/service work, presentations, publications, advocacy, board memberships, etc.
  3. Autobiographic/Personal Statement. ~600-800 words detailing your interest in social work, including personal experiences, strengths, values and beliefs that will contribute to your competence as a social worker.

The MSW Admissions Committee will review all admission and application requirements specific to the program. Admission to the MSW program is determined on a selective basis. Meeting the minimum standards for consideration for admission does not guarantee admission into the MSW program. The MSW Admissions committee may request a personal interview with applicant(s) when deemed necessary for application evaluation. NOTE: The MSW Admissions Committee reserves the right to make exceptions to admissions requirements.

Background Checks and Criminal History

A criminal conviction history does not automatically disqualify you from admission to the Master of Social Work program, nor is a background check required as part of the admissions application process. Before you apply for admission to the Master of Social Work program at Jacksonville State University, please be aware that all students accepted into the MSW program must be eligible for field placement, required coverage under the School's professional liability insurance policy, and individual liability insurance.

A criminal history may limit or prevent a student's eligibility for field placement. Successful completion of a field placement is required in order to complete the MSW degree. Many of the agencies that JSU uses for field placement require a background check and/or a drug screening as a condition of placement or employment. Some agencies may not accept a student for field placement have a certain criminal history or a positive drug screen. If you have a concern about a previous criminal history please contact the MSW Program Coordinator prior to applying, enrolling, or accepting admission into the program. 

Admission to the MSW program does not automatically guarantee a field placement. After admission to the program, students are evaluated on their eligibility for field placement by participating in a comprehensive and interactive assessment with the Coordinator of Social Work Field Education. As part of this assessment, students must disclose all relevant ethical violations or legal convictions before the placement process can begin. Details and instructions for disclosure are included in the MSW program manual.

It is possible that a criminal history, even with an MSW degree, could limit or prohibit one's ability to obtain a social work license in Alabama or another state. The Alabama Board of Social Work Examiners (ABSWE) evaluates all social work license applications who have a prior criminal conviction history on a case-by-case basis to determine the applicant's ability to practice social work safely to the public. For more information regarding the aforementioned, please visit

Guidelines for the Personal Statement (~600-800 words)

The autobiographic statement must be included in your application for admission and should detail your interest in social work. The statement should include personal experiences, strengths, and values and beliefs that will contribute to your competence as a social worker. The autobiographic statement should be a prepared document that is typed, double-spaced, 10-12 font, one-inch margins, and page numbers that are centered at the bottom of each page. Place your name in the top right-hand margin of each page.

The autobiographic statement must include the following:

  • your personal understanding of social work as a profession, in detail
  • your interest in rural/non-rural social work practice
  • what factors influenced your decision to seek graduate social work education at JSU
  • why are you considering a career change to social work if you have any work or training experience in another field
  • your intellectual and personal qualifications that will enable you to practice social work successfully in non-urban/rural social work
  • your limitations in work experiences, skills, personal biases, or other attributes that you need to address to ensure your effectiveness in practicing social work
  • your plans to balance outside responsibilities with academic responsibilities
  • your notable accomplishments such as work, military, volunteer, or academic

Life Experience

The Master of Social Work program at JSU does not award academic credit for life or work experience under any circumstances. There are no exceptions to this policy.

For more information or specific questions regarding the Master of Social Work degree, please contact the JSU Social Work department at 256-782-8208.