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Felony Disclosure & Criminal History Information

Michigan Social Work has a long-standing commitment of assisting individuals with criminal conviction histories to pursue their MSW. We understand that some applicants’ history of criminal convictions may have been the inspiration that led them to the field of social work. If you have a criminal conviction history, this information is important to read.

In the interest of a fair and inclusive admissions process, the University of Michigan School of Social Work does not ask MSW applicants to disclose felony convictions or pending felony charges. We strongly support applications from all interested prospective students.  

Applicants who are offered admission to the School are required to complete a Felony & Criminal History Disclosure Form as a condition of enrollment if they have any felony convictions in the past 10 years or pending felony charges. The School requires disclosure of criminal background in order to evaluate and enable your successful completion of the field placement requirement of your degree and continued success in the social work profession.

It is important, and in your interest, for the School to be transparent regarding the challenges that students with criminal histories may face if and as they pursue their social work education and career. Students with criminal histories may be precluded from participating in field education experiences, which are required to graduate. While the School will make every reasonable effort to assist students in securing an appropriate field placement, the School cannot guarantee a field placement. Also, students with criminal histories may be excluded from obtaining social work licensure in some states.

The following sections provide relevant information regarding field education and licensing issues pertinent to students with criminal convictions.

Field Education

Placement in a field education experience is required to complete the program and receive an MSW degree. The State of Michigan has set forth exclusionary criteria for criminal conviction histories, of both felonies and some misdemeanors, for professionals working in certain human service settings and with specific populations. This includes workers in hospital settings, adult foster care, work involving children, and psychiatric settings.  These exclusions balance the protection of individuals who are part of a vulnerable population, with the contributions that individuals with a variety of lived experiences to be able to add to the workforce. This means that there may be some applicants with criminal conviction histories that make it difficult or preclude obtaining a field placement.

If you have been convicted of a felony within the past 10 years, or have current felony charges filed against you, you must inform the School prior to enrollment and you must also work with the Field Placement Office once enrolled. The School can help you evaluate whether there are field placement opportunities available that meet your interests and goals should you decide to enroll in the MSW program. And the Field Placement Office can help you navigate the process of securing an appropriate field placement opportunity once enrolled.


Each state has different policies and procedures regarding criminal convictions, ethical violations and eligibility for a social work license. Students are responsible for investigating the licensure requirements in the state(s) in which they plan to practice. Please note that criminal conviction(s) may result in the denial of state licensure for social work.

Prior to beginning the program, students will need to verify that they have read the relevant information above regarding criminal convictions. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management at 734-936-0961 if they have any questions.

We are here to assist you with any questions regarding  field education or licensing. Students are encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management, Tim Colenback (734) 936-0961 or the Assistant Dean for Field Education, Dan Fischer (734) 764-5331 with any questions.     

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