Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Varner Hall, Room 518
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608

Social Work
512 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2371

Admission and Requirements

BSW Admissions

A Bachelor of Social Work degree is a professional degree that permits one to work with clients who seek help at a vulnerable time in their lives for complex problems. Students interested in the program are encouraged to meet with a departmental advisor prior to declaring a pre-social work major. Although students may declare a pre-social work major at any time, formal admission into the program requires a separate application and approval process. As such, Oakland University’s Social Work program rigorously reviews candidates to assure that they are appropriate to continue pursuing the profession of social work. 

If you are transferring from another University, please view the  transfer requirements online and make an appointment with the  College of Arts and Sciences advising office.

All students will need formal admission to OU. See below for eligibility criteria to apply to OU's BSW Program

1. Overall GPA of a 2.8

2. 56 credit hours completed

3. Completion of all necessary program prerequisite courses:

  • SOC 1000: Intro to SOC with a letter grade of C or better
  • PSY 1000: Intro to PSY with a letter grade of C or better 
  • PS 1100: Intro Political Science with a letter grade of C or better 
  • BIO 1002/BIO  1200: Human Bio with a letter grade of C or better;
  • SW 2301: Intro Social Work with a letter grade of B or better

4. Aptitude for the profession of social work including a commitment to social justice, emotional stability and the capacity to build helping relationships with others, and respect for diversity

5. Suitability for the profession as evidenced through work or volunteer experience. We recognize with COVID-19, volunteering may be difficult. If you have concerns about meeting the volunteering requirement, email

As an applicant, you will be providing the following information to apply to the Social Work Program. 

  • Intent to Apply Application: Click this link for access to our intent to apply application. Once you submit this application, you will receive a user name and password to our application system. Click here for access to the intent to apply form.
  • Application: This application is a separate application for admission to our social work program using our SONIA system under the forms tab. 
  • Personal Statement: This statement will be carefully read and assessed as one of several criteria used to evaluate each applicant. The statement should be approximately two to four typewritten, doubled spaced pages in length. Be sure to address each of the questions listed on the form. Here is a preview of the personal statement instructions that you will find in the Sonia software.
  • Reference Request Form: Please fill out this form with the contact information for two references (one academic - ideally your SW 2301 professor, and one volunteer/work - no personal references). The program will contact them and solicit your letter of reference. You must allow ample time to for your Recommenders to respond, therefore please submit before the deadline. Please note, your reference cannot be a family or friend unless it is related to employment.

Deadline for the completed application for admission to the Social Work Program is June 1. *** Due to COVID we are extending the deadline. If you need extra time, email

 All application materials (application, references forms from recommenders, personal statement) must be turned in by June 1 to be considered for fall admissions. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure all application materials are turned in and submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
For assistance with our application system, please see this step-by-step guide.
For additional questions or concerns, call 248-370-3166
MSW Admissions

A student with a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited programs may be considered for the advanced standing program if the student received a BSW degree from a CSWE accredited social work program.

  • For advanced standing students, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in BSW coursework is required.
  • For admission into the traditional 2-year MSW program, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or its equivalent from a foreign institution with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all work attempted in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study is required.

In addition for both programs, student must have successful completion (grade of C- or better) of undergraduate courses in social and behavioral sciences (12 credit hours, drawing from sociology, psychology, government, economics, or related disciplines), research (4 credit hours), and biology with human content (4 credit hours). These courses may be completed at the introductory level.

Additional documents students must include in their application package are:

  1. Letter of support from BSW field placement supervisor (agency supervisor) or copy of final field evaluation for advanced standing students only;
  2. Two other letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s academic and/or professional suitability for advanced study in Social Work; at least one of these must be from a professor or instructor;
  3. Personal statement that will be used to assess preparation for and commitment to advanced study in Social Work, suitability for the profession, and skills in written communication; and
  4. One-page resume including volunteer, internship or paid work experience relevant to Social Work practice.

Students with lower GPAs may be considered for provisional admission when combined with volunteer work and work experience, or when there are extenuating circumstances. The Admissions Committee will assess a GPA between 2.7 and 3.0, generally for provisional acceptance. Provisional applicants will be admitted on a part-time basis. These applicants may petition the admission committee by explaining reasons for their lower GPA and how the student plans to overcome such difficulties while attending full-time. Students with GPAs lower than a 2.7 will need to provide a strong rationale in the personal statement and may require an interview with the admission committee for a decision.

Deadline: Prospective students will apply through the OU Graduate Admissions for admittance into the program for the Summer Semester (advanced standing) and Fall Semester (traditional program).

  • February 15 (regular) and April 15 (late) for fall semester for the traditional M.S.W Program
  • February 15 (regular) and April 15 (late) for summer semester for the Advanced Standing M.S.W Program
  • International applicants