The UW School of Social Work seeks to enroll well-qualified students with diverse backgrounds. We seek students who are committed to racial justice and anti-oppressive practice and have significant experience in diverse communities. Admission to the Master of Social Work Program is selective and based on a holistic 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
- Take a look at our MSW Admission Class Profile for 2020 and 2021.
- Explore our topics-based Zoom events and register for an MSW info session.
- Browse our MSW frequently asked questions as well as our MSW Programs to learn about specialization areas and example practicum sites.
MSW Application Timeline and Applicant Information
All MSW applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are now open - please carefully review our instructions as several components have been revised. MSW Advanced Standing & Day Programs have a deadline of January 4, 2023. MSW Extended Degree Program has a priority deadline of January 4, 2023; we will accept EDP applications on a space-available basis with a final deadline on February 15, 2023.
- MSW Advanced Standing Programs start in July
- MSW Extended Degree Program & Day Program start in September
Please review our application instructions and materials page to get started on your application.
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.
Criminal Background Check: Applicants who are offered admission to the School of Social Work will receive instructions to complete the criminal background check and Request for Criminal History Information Form with the admission notice. Prospective applicants with questions or concerns about this requirement should review our information on Criminal History Information and Admissions/Continuance.
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.
MSW Day Program and MSW Extended Degree 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. An admission petition to 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.
Admission is competitive and applicants are evaluated holistically. We do not require any specific major or baccalaureate degree to apply for either program. All MSW candidates are recommended to have at least 2000 hours of relevant social service experience by the time of application; however, this is not a requirement.
MSW Advanced Standing (Part-time and Full-time)
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:
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. Students with social work degrees outside of the U.S. and Canada may be interested in seeking International Degree Recognition and Evaluation through CSWE.
All MSW candidates are recommended to have at least 2000 hours of relevant social service experience by the time of application; however, this is not a requirement.
Advanced Standing applicants who graduated more than five years ago should demonstrate continued professional growth through social work experience. (Professional training, leadership, and advancement in the social work field are also considered).
NEW: If you are a current BASW Senior at UW Seattle with a 3.5 GPA at the end of junior year you are eligible for a streamlined application process - please click here for specific instructions.
Please note: Advanced Standing applicants will be admitted to a specialization. Applicants will first note their prioritized selection of "interest areas" in the Graduate School application. Please review specializations choices (see Full-time Advanced Standing here and Part-time Advanced Standing here) 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. After the application deadline you will be contacted by email to complete a separate Advanced Standing survey, with additional specialization information, to confirm your selection and preferences; make sure the email you use on your Graduate School application is accurate. Specializations 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 specialization area.
Applicants Whose Native Language is Not English
The UW Graduate School requires that any applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate language proficiency by meeting/surpassing the “recommended” scores to satisfy the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement. We will accept the TOEFLI or TOEFLB scores of 92 or higher, Duolingo scores of 120 or higher, and IELTS scores of 7.0 or higher. For additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency, please visit the UW Graduate School’s website.
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 Student Equity & Excellence (GSEE) 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, GSEE, or Leadership Without Borders.
International students requiring a student visa to attend the University of Washington should not list the Extended Degree Program (EDP) or Part-time Advanced Standing Program among application choices for consideration; most international applicants are only eligible for a visa if enrolled full-time (Day or Full-time 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.
MSW Transfer Applicants
Transfer applicants are considered on a space-available basis. Beyond the standard MSW application, there is no separate application for those applying to transfer from another MSW program. However, please indicate your status as a transfer applicant in the application and include at least one member of the social work faculty from your current/previous institution among the three required references.
Applicants are expected to have completed their full generalist (formerly known as "foundational") curriculum – both coursework and practicum – in order to be considered for admission. Once admitted, transfer students will be required to submit syllabi for each course taken at a previous program. Most students transferring from a CSWE-accredited MSW program are eligible to transfer up to 39 quarter credit hours from their previous institution. However, this is subject to review by the MSW Program Director to ensure course equivalency – admitted students may be required to take additional generalist coursework at the UW in order to meet our program standards. Unfortunately, due to space restrictions and the tight curriculum of our compressed Advanced Standing program, at this time we cannot consider Advanced Standing transfer applications.
Please note that per UW policy, students must complete all degree requirements within six years. If previously completed MSW coursework was done four years ago or more, please contact admissions about your transfer eligibility.
Other Master’s Programs
Students wishing to transfer credits from a different type of graduate program from which they did not earn a degree are limited to 6 transfer credits per UW Graduate School policy. Additionally, students who have taken graduate-level research courses may be waived out of the required MSW research courses. Under both circumstances, we’ll assess eligibility only after the student has been admitted and has provided relevant syllabi.
The UW does not award general credit for work or life experience.
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 2022 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 2022 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.
Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) and Non-Matriculated (NM) Applicants
What are the School of Social Work GNM or NM requirements?
For full details about the current GNM registration process, visit this Canvas page.
Per Graduate School policy, prospective GNM students must meet the following minimum requirements:
Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
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?
Visit this Canvas page for full details. Before filling out the application and paying the fee, please contact the School of Social Work Student Services at email@example.com 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.
Visit the Graduate School's online application to complete the application. There is a $75 non-refundable or transferable fee for GNM applications.
As part of the online application, you will upload unofficial transcripts.
Additionally, you will also be required to upload a resume.
Alert the Student Services Department that your application has been submitted and is ready for review. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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)?
UW Time Schedule for course and schedule information.
If you are a UW or State employee, planning to use tuition exemption, please visit the Registrar’s webpage. MSW Extended Degree Program students cannot use tuition exemption, since the EDP program is a fee-based program