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School of Social Work

Master of Social Work Admissions Requirements

Required Qualifications

The minimum requirements for applying to the M.S.W. program are:

social worker with signAn M.S.W. student participates in Social Work Day at the Capitol.


Preferred Qualifications

The School gives strong preference to applicants with the following qualifications.

  • Potential for academic success demonstrated by an undergraduate record with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 may wish to include a statement of extenuating circumstances with their application.
  • A liberal arts background that includes course work in history and social sciences, the humanities and the arts, physical and biological sciences, and mathematics.
  • One year of work experience in human services that has provided the applicant with opportunities to gain skills used in direct work with clients. Work experience may include paid, volunteer, and intern positions.

Prerequisites for Enrollment

Before registering for the first semester in the M.S.W. program, students must successfully complete college-level courses in statistics and human biology or general biology. You must have a grade of at least C- and prerequisites cannot be fulfilled by CLEP or AP credits taken in high school. You may apply and be accepted without the statistics and biology requirements, but, if admitted, you must complete them before you can enroll as a degree-seeking student. The completion of your prerequisites has no bearing on the review of your application.

  • BIOLOGY REQUIREMENT: Introductory biology classes including “Human Biology” or “General Biology” or classes with content in human anatomy and physiology fulfill the biology requirement.  Biology classes that focus on human evolution or ecology or courses from departments such as psychology or anthropology generally do not have the required content and do not fulfill the biology prerequisite.
  • STATISTICS REQUIREMENT: Any college statistics class, including those from other departments, fulfills this requirement.  Research methods classes generally include only a brief review of descriptive statistics. Most of these courses do not have enough statistics to prepare you for graduate-level research methods and do not fulfill the statistics requirement. If, however, you feel your research methods class was essentially a class in statistics, we will review the class to determine if it meets the requirement.

Based on the written materials submitted with the application, some applicants may be admitted with the contingency that they complete a writing course beyond regular college writing requirements prior to beginning course work.

Criteria Used in Reviewing M.S.W. Applications

All complete applications are reviewed independently by two reviewers. Applications are rated on the following categories:

Professional Preparation in a human service setting with preference for at least one year of experience. Greater weight is given to length of time served and direct service or client service management. This is assessed through the resumé, personal statement and letters of recommendation, particularly those from a social service supervisor or manager.

Written Communication Skills demonstrated by the ability to conceptualize ideas clearly and succinctly, to demonstrate critical thinking in written format, to organize and communicate ideas logically and to write using correct grammar and spelling. These skills are assessed through the personal statement, formal writing sample and letters of recommendation.

Academic Potential for Graduate Study demonstrated through strong undergraduate performance (3.0 GPA preferred). This is assessed through the review of the transcripts (with special attention to the last two years of study and/or study in the major field), formal writing sample, letters of recommendation, GRE scores (if required) and explanation of GPA (if included).

Preparation for Practice in a Multicultural Environment including demonstrated sensitivity to issues of racial identity, ethnicity, national origin or culture; physical, intellectual and emotional differences; religion and spirituality; gender and sexual orientation; public assistance, veteran or marital status; and a commitment to equal opportunity and working with oppressed populations, is assessed through review of the personal statement, formal writing sample (if appropriate), resumé and letters of recommendation.

Potential for Leadership/Advocacy/Commitment to Social Justice is assessed through the personal statement, resume and letters of recommendation.

Congruence of Applicant’s Values and Ethics with those held by the social work profession is assessed through the personal statement, resumé, formal writing sample, and letters of recommendation.