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Goal Statement Guidelines

The purpose of the goal statement is to determine if what you want to learn is a "match" with what the field site has to offer. The goal statement document is an opportunity for you to demonstrate professional writing. It should allow potential field instructors to view a "snapshot" of your interests, why you chose social work as a career, and the impact you want to make.

As you write your goal statement, remember that professional graduate school is preparing you to become a provider of service. You should think about and consider:

The goal statement must:

  • Be written in a narrative format--it functions as a writing sample.
  • Provide behaviorally specific examples (e.g. things you want to learn, skills you want to develop, population(s) you want to work with, etc.)

  • Please be cautious when sharing private and personal health and mental health information: this is a public document that will be shared electronically with your potential field instructor(s) and colleagues. 

  • Be no longer than 2 pages, double spaced, and no smaller than 12 pt. font
  • Include all of the following information:
    • Header
      • Full name & pronouns
      • Pathway
      • Curriculum schedule (16-month, 20-month, advanced standing, micromasters, part-time, global, national or PhD Candidate)
      • Special Scholar Program (if applicable)
    • Content
      • Share why you selected your pathway and how your pathway will prepare you for your first job post MSW.
      • Describe the learning or work environments where you have been most successful. This could include information about the pace of the work in the setting, progression from observation to independence, and/or specific teaching qualities.

Reminder: You have the opportunity to have the U-M SSW Career Center review your goal statement prior to submitting your field application to the Office of Field Education. Please contact them directly for assistance at: or (734) 763-6259

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