The UW School of Social Work seeks to enroll well-qualified students with diverse backgrounds. We especially seek applicants committed to working with diverse populations. Admission to the Master of Social Work Program is selective and based on a thorough review of relevant professional and academic background, potential for success in graduate study and potential to contribute to the profession.  Our commitment to diversity is elaborated in the document Essential Skills, Values and Standards of Professional Conduct. It outlines the qualities and professional behavior expected of students. All applicants should carefully review these essential abilities before applying.

Before You Begin 

MSW Application Timeline, Instructions and Materials

MSW applications for the 2020-2021 school year will be available starting mid-September. Applications will be due January 2, 2020. 

Notification of Decisions

  • The review of applicant files is an important and time-intensive effort taken by the school’s faculty. Applicants will be notified of an admission decision by email, as early as possible. Typically, notifications are sent by the end of March. Please monitor your spam and other inbox folders if you feel you have missed any communication from us.

Eligibility Criteria and Special Applicant Groups

Please review the instructions for in-depth details about eligibility requirements and the application process. Admission is competitive, and applicants are evaluated holistically. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for the MSW program. While there are no prerequisite classes necessary for admission, applicants are strongly encouraged to complete a Statistics course in advance of starting the program.


Applicants to the MSW Day Program or MSW Extended Degree Program must meet the requirements outlined by the UW Graduate School. While there is no minimum GPA requirement for these programs, applicants must meet the 3.0 grade point average (on a 4 point scale), set forth by the UW Graduate School, from a regionally accredited college or university or its equivalent from a foreign institution. However, the School of Social Work may consider an exceptional applicant with a GPA below a 3.0 – applicants with less than a 3.0 GPA are encouraged to provide additional information related to the context of their GPA in the supplemental application and/or their admissions essay. An admission petition to the Dean of the Graduate School, by the School of Social Work, must be submitted before an offer is made for any applicants that do not meet the GPA minimum and is subject to denial.  Please see this document for suggested strategies to help strengthen your candidacy for admission.

Additionally, applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by meeting/surpassing the “recommended” range scores to satisfy the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement:

TOEFL iBT (School of Social Work Required Score)             92 or higher

IELTS* (School of Social Work Required Score)                    7.0 or higher

TOEFL Pbt                                                                                580 or higher

*Only IELTS test dates prior to June 1 2017 will be accepted

For additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency, please visit the UW Graduate School’s website. Admission is competitive and applicants are evaluated holistically.  We do not require any specific major or baccalaureate degree to apply for either program.

Advanced Standing applicants must meet the requirements outlined by the UW Graduate School including the GPA requirement and English proficiency requirement noted above. Additionally, to be eligible Advanced Standing applicants must have:

  • Earned a grade of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in each required BSW/BASW course required for your undergraduate degree OR earned at least a 3.50 cumulative GPA in the required major courses.
  • Graduated within the last five years from a U.S. baccalaureate program in social work or social welfare (BASW or BSW) accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), or a Canadian program accredited by CASWE. Students who have a BSW/BASW degree from a social work program outside of the U.S. may have their degree evaluated by the International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, and may apply for Advanced Standing if the degree is determined to be consistent with CSWE requirements.

Please note: Advanced Standing Applicants will be admitted to a concentration based on their prioritized selection of "interest areas" in the Graduate School application - please review concentration choices before finalizing these selections and submitting the application.  Applicants will also be asked to write a short rationale for their top choice selection in the essay portion of the application.  Concentrations are space-restricted and once offers are made, changes are not guaranteed and limited.  Please contact us if you need additional information to select your concentration area.

The UW Graduate School requires that any applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. This is explained in the Graduate School’s Memo 8: English Language Proficiency Requirements. For the School of Social Work, this requirement may be satisfied by meeting or surpassing the recommended TOEFL/IELTS scores.

The School of Social Work accepts applications from prospective students regardless of citizenship status – we encourage applicants who identify as undocumented, DACA eligible, or HB 1079 eligible to connect with the various resources on campus that may provide additional information about UW resources, residency, and funding opportunities. Our hope is that you’d find safe and welcoming spaces at the School of Social Work and the UW. The Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Programs, or GO-MAP, has detailed instructions for students on how best to complete the demographics portion of the graduate school application. Please review these materials prior to beginning your application. We highly encourage students to review the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project DACA Advisory that outlines recommendations for community members who have applied for DACA or who are interested in applying. Need additional support in applying? Feel free to reach out to our office, GO-MAP, or Leadership Without Borders.

International students requiring a student visa to attend the University of Washington should not list the Extended Degree Program (EDP) among application choices for consideration; most international applicants are only eligible for a visa if enrolled full-time (Day or Advanced Standing program). Visit the UW Graduate School’s website for international applicants, which includes important details about visas, U.S. immigration laws, and a financial ability requirement. International applicants must provide proof of financial ability, demonstrate English proficiency (usually by submitting TOEFL scores) and will need a student visa to attend.

Beyond the standard MSW application, there is no separate application for applicants who are applying as transfer students from another MSW program. However, such applicants are expected to include at least one member of the social work faculty of their current/previous institution among the three required references. Transfer students who are transferring from a CSWE-accredited MSW program may be eligible to transfer up to 39 quarter credit hours (their entire foundation curriculum) from their previous institution, however, this is subject to review by the MSW Program Director and Student Services to ensure course equivalency. Students considering transferring from a CSWE-accredited program should, if at all possible, complete the full foundation curriculum at their first program in order to maximize how many credits can be accepted. All degree requirements need to be completed within a 6 year window; courses that will be older than that at the time of graduation from the UW may not be able to be used. If admitted, transfer students may be required to submit syllabi for each course taken at their previous program. Students wishing to transfer credits from a different type of graduate program from which they didn’t graduate are limited to 6 transfer credits as written on the UW Graduate School website.

All applicants who applied in a previous year should indicate the last year they applied in the MSW Supplemental Application.  Applicants who previously applied for 2018 MSW admission, and were not admitted or chose not to enroll, may request to use some of last year’s application materials without having to resubmit everything new this year. Applicants who did not submit a complete MSW application for the Summer/Fall 2018 quarters do not have the option of re-using past materials and all new materials must be submitted.  Re-applicants are required to submit a signed “Re-Applicant Re-Use of Materials Form” (see the MSW Application Instructions page) if previous materials are being re-used.

What are the School of Social Work GNM or NM requirements?

Per Graduate School policy, prospective GNM students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the UW or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
  2. Have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.

How do I apply to the School of Social Work as a GNM or NM student?

Before filling out the application and paying the fee, please contact the School of Social Work Student Services at to inquire about classes available to GNM and NM students during the quarter you are hoping to enroll. Initial contact must be made more than two weeks prior to the quarter beginning. The adviser will go over the next steps with you, at this time. We only want you to pay the fee if we are able to allow you into a course in which you’d like to enroll.

For GNM status, you will also have to complete these additional steps.

  1. Visit the Graduate School's online application to complete the application. There is a $75 non-refundable or transferable fee for GNM applications.
  2. As part of the online application, you will upload unofficial transcripts.
  3. Additionally, you will also be required to upload a resume and a personal disclosure statement.
  4. Alert the Student Services Department that your application has been submitted and is ready for review. Please email  The application portal does close for a period of time during the spring and summer – in order to submit your application you will need to communicate with Student Services to coordinate your online submission.

What other things should I know in order to take class(es)?

  1. UW Time Schedule  for course and schedule information.
  2. Tuition information .
  3. Academic Calendar .
  4. If you are a UW or State employee, planning to use tuition exemption, please visit the Registrar’s webpage.

UW Graduate School Policies for GNM.