Florida State University

Statement of Purpose Guidelines

Masters in Social Work Online from FSU


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  • CSWE accreditedOnline MSW program accredited by CSWE
  • clinical focus iconClinically-focused curriculum

Writing Your Statement of Purpose

When submitting your application documents, including your statement of purpose, please put your first and last name on all documents and indicate Distance Learning Clinical Social Work Traditional or Advanced Standing

Social Work is a profession that addresses the needs of vulnerable populations. We are bound by a professional Code of Ethics (see MSW bulletin) that mandates our professional behavior.  Students admitted into our graduate program are expected to act in a manner that reflects these standards.

We wish to evaluate as accurately as possible your qualifications for a professional education in social work and the appropriateness of the program for your educational needs and goals. Therefore, it is important that you respond to EACH of the following questions. Please type your replies, double-spaced, in three to six pages. This is one of the most important parts of your admission application. It is your opportunity to share with the Admissions Committee information about yourself that we will use to evaluate your appropriateness for the program and the profession.

Before submission, make certain that you give the committee members a clear picture of your interests, experiences, and objectives. Remember, each of these questions is scored individually, along with your writing skills, so please answer to the best of your ability.

Type out the questions below in your statement of purpose and answer them accordingly.

  1. Give specific examples how your past experiences and academic achievements have led you to choose social work as a profession.
  2. The social work profession is guided by the NASW code of ethics: https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English - This code includes working with diverse populations and clients/communities whose values and beliefs may be different from yours. Discuss how your personal values and beliefs are or are not compatible with this professional standard. How will you reconcile any conflicts between your personal values and the requirement of the profession?
  3. Describe an ethical dilemma (Ethical dilemmas, also known as a moral dilemma, are situations in which there is a choice to be made between two options, neither of which resolves the situation in an ethically acceptable fashion) that you have faced in your life. How was it resolved? 

If you feel that your present record does not reflect your potential, please share with the Admissions Committee in your Statement why you think you can manage the demands of graduate education.


Tips For Writing a Great Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose demonstrates both your ability to communicate and a sense of your character as a prospective student with unique qualifications for the FSU Online MSW program. In short, it shows the admissions committee evidence of your ability to function as an independent thinker. Writing the Statement of Purpose is a crucial part of the application process.

To start, think about your life, work and success. Consider what makes you who you are; what experiences, goals, achievements—including any awards—failures, successes and ideals have shaped your life? Be introspective and think about why. Give clear examples supporting your points.

For example, if you claim that certain experiences made an impact on your character, simply describe the nature of the hardship and, then, explain why it matters.


Focus on answering the questions asked

Read the Statement of Purpose questions carefully so you can be sure to fully answer the three required questions for the Statement of Purpose. Still feel as though you need to supply the Admissions Committee with more information about why you would be a terrific candidate for the MSW program? If your record doesn't fully reflect your potential, your statement would be a great place to tell the committee how you would be able to meet the demands of graduate education.


Keep your audience in mind

You’re writing the statement for admission into a university online program. So, stay on point with the questions asked and don’t deviate from your purpose to show an ability to perform under pressure, guide your own progress and advancement and seek and acquire new knowledge, insight and mastery of facts, analysis and subjects. Keep the statement to 3 to 6 double-spaced pages.


Proofread, edit and check your statement

...for spelling, punctuation, formatting, and grammatical errors—and, especially, for clarity. The statement is an important way for the university and admissions committee to judge whether and why you may become a student in good standing here in the graduate MSW program at FSU Online. Be sure to have someone you know and trust proofread your statement. Even better if you can find a second proofreader.

With clarity, concision and a positive, purposeful approach, you can write a statement that connects your life experiences to your academic and professional goals and philosophy and gives us a strong sense of who you are. Good luck and happy writing!


Get started on your MSW today!

A Preeminent University

Our devoted faculty and commitment to research help put us in the top 12% of social work graduate schools ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Top Institution for Diversity

Join the vibrant FSU community consistently recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

CSWE Accredited

As one of the first online MSW accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, we rigorously adhere to CSWE accreditation standards.

Connect With an Online Recruitment Advisor

Whether you just have a simple question or need advice to determine if this Master of Social Work program is right for you, our friendly recruitment advisors are here to guide you. They can chat with you about your schedule and guide you through the entire admissions process so that you feel confident moving forward.

Get in Touch With an Online Recruitment Advisor

My Advisor has impacted me tremendously ... she supported me the entire way through my MSW application process. She made it easier to complete all the necessary requirements and apply for the social work program I was meant to take. 
- S. Thompson