The UW School of Social Work attracts well-qualified students with diverse backgrounds who are committed to racial justice and anti-oppressive practice, and have significant experience in diverse and marginalized communities. Admission to the Master of Social Work Program is selective and based on a holistic review of an applicant’s academic preparation, graduate study readiness, relevant experience in the field, alignment with our program’s mission, and the potential to contribute to the profession. Carefully review our Essential Skills, Values and Standards of Professional Conduct before applying.

Before You Begin 


Page Contents:

Application Timeline

Eligibility Criteria and Special Applicant Groups

Application Tips

Required Application Items

Access the Application Portal


Application Timeline 

  • September 1st, 2024: All MSW applications open for the 2025-2026 academic year.

  • January 15th, 2025 by 11:59pm PST: Applications for the Day and Advanced Standing Programs are due. This is also the Extended Degree Program priority deadline. The Extended Degree Program application will remain open on a space-available basis until February 15th, 2025 by 11:59pm PST.

  • Early March: Applicants will be notified of an admission decision by email. Please monitor your spam and other inbox folders if you feel you have missed any communication from us.

  • July 2025: MSW Advanced Standing Programs (part-time and full-time) begin. Please note that both the full-time and part-time Advanced Standing Programs begin in mid-summer (Summer Session B) with a required full-time summer bridge program

  • September 2025: MSW Extended Degree Programs & Day Program begin. 


Eligibility Criteria and Special Applicant Groups

Please review the eligibility requirements. Admission is competitive, and applicants are evaluated holistically. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for the MSW program.

MSW Day Program and MSW Extended Degree Program

MSW Advanced Standing (Part-time and Full-time)

UW Seattle BASW Seniors

Undocumented Applicants

International Applicants

Non-Native English Speakers

MSW Transfer Applicants

Re-Applicants

Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) and Non-Matriculated (NM) Applicants

MSW Day Program and MSW Extended Degree Program

Admission is competitive and applicants are evaluated holistically. Applicants to the MSW Day Program or MSW Extended Degree Program must meet the minimum requirements outlined by the UW Graduate School. 

  • Social Work Experience: 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. 

  • Degree: We do not require any specific major or baccalaureate degree to apply for either program. Applicants must have, at a minimum, a four-year baccalaureate degree. The degree must be posted before the start of the MSW Program. However, the School of Social Work may consider an exceptional applicant without a four-year bachelor’s degree. An admission petition to the Graduate School must be submitted by the School of Social Work before an offer is made for any applicants that do not meet the degree minimum and is subject to denial. More information on minimum degree requirements here

  • GPA: Applicants must meet the 3.0 grade point average (on a 4 point scale) for credits earned at a regionally accredited institution awarding the bachelor’s, master’s, graduate doctoral degree, or professional doctoral degree OR at least a 3.0 for the last 90 quarter credits/60 semester credits. 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 Application Questions section of the application. An admission petition to the Graduate School must be submitted by the School of Social Work 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.

  • English Proficiency: Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English language proficiency. More information on English proficiency requirements can be found here

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MSW Advanced Standing (Part-time and Full-time)

Admission is competitive and applicants are evaluated holistically. Applicants to the Advanced Standing Programs must meet the minimum requirements outlined by the UW Graduate School, in addition to a bachelor’s degree in social work/social welfare. 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. 

  • Social Work Degree: All Advanced Standing applicants must have graduated from a U.S. baccalaureate program in social work or social welfare accredited by the CSWE or a Canadian bachelor's level social work program accredited by CASSW (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. 

  • 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).

  • Social Work Experience: 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. 

  • GPA: Applicants must meet the 3.0 grade point average (on a 4 point scale) for credits earned at a regionally accredited institution awarding the bachelor’s, master’s, graduate doctoral degree, or professional doctoral degree OR at least a 3.0 for the last 90 quarter credits/60 semester credits. 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 Application Questions section of the application. An admission petition to the Graduate School must be submitted by the School of Social Work 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.

  • English Proficiency: Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English language proficiency More information on English proficiency requirements can be found here

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Application Tips

The Admissions Committee strives to give all applications the most prompt and holistic consideration possible. To make this process smooth and efficient, please consider the following:

  • Ensure your email address is accurate - use one personal email address for all of your application materials (application, funding consideration, scholarships, etc.). You may want to add our email to your contact list to avoid these messages going to spam folders. Please check your email regularly as this is the main form of communication we use. Be cautious of using school-issued email address that may expire.

  • Submit all completed application materials early. Applications will not be processed until all materials are received (including references); in the event your application materials are incomplete we will attempt to contact you by email. 

  • Select references early and ask them to respond promptly; references must be completed via a unique link sent via email. Emailed letters or physical materials are not accepted.

  • Notify the School of Social Work via email of any changes (e.g. address, name change) or decision to withdraw from consideration. 

  • Keep copies of your essay and other materials submitted.

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Access the online portal  

  • Be sure to select the correct program, quarter and year. Selecting the wrong program, quarter, or year may require you to begin a new application, repay the application fee, and submit requests for recommendations again. 

  • Please only submit one application- choose the program application that is your top choice. If you are interested in applying to multiple MSW programs, applicants have the opportunity to list second and third choice MSW program options in the application. 

Applicants to the Day and Extended Degree Programs, apply HERE

Applicants to the Advanced Standing Program, apply HERE

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Required Items

Download the application checklist here!

Applicants are expected to create and submit accurate and original application materials by the deadlines without the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) content generators, such as ChatGPT. Issues of dishonesty may result in denial of admission, rescinding an offer of admission, and/or revoking funding/scholarship. Scroll back to top

An $85.00 application fee is required and must be paid by credit card through the online application system. Information about an application fee waiver through the Graduate School is available here. Be sure to submit an application fee waiver at least one week prior to the application deadline to allow adequate time for processing.

If you are not eligible for the Graduate School Fee Waiver, you may be eligible for a departmental fee waiver. More details here.

You must submit unofficial transcripts from every accredited college or university where you earned academic credit. Please review the Eligibility Criteria and Special Applicant Groups (above) regarding minimum degree and GPA requirements.

  • Please make sure your first and last names, degree conferred date, and the name of the institution are clearly included on all transcripts.

  • If you are currently enrolled in a college/university and have not yet graduated, please upload a transcript including the most recently completed quarter/semester. A final transcript showing confirmation of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent will be due before the start of the program, if admitted. 

  • If you transferred credits from a previous institution and they are listed in detail on your degree-granting transcript with a GPA (and full course names), you do not need to list and upload them separately. If they are not listed in detail, or if there is no GPA, please list and upload the additional schools and transcripts. 

  • Please submit PDF files only via the Graduate School application; we will not accept incomplete, blurry, or illegible documents or pictures from your phone. We will not accept e-mailed, faxed, mailed transcripts nor transcripts sent through electronic transmission services. 

  • All current or former students of the University of Washington, including UW Tacoma/UW Bothell, must upload unofficial transcripts. 

  • If you attended a school that does not use a traditional grade point system, please upload all narrative transcripts as one PDF package.

  • Transcript evaluations such as those from WES must be accompanied by the original transcript(s).

  • Day students will officially select their area of specialization during Winter Quarter. However, to help with course planning, we ask you to rank the specialization options.
  • EDP and Part-Time Advanced Standing applicants do not need to select a specialization since we offer only one specialization in our part-time programs: Clinical Social Work. 
  • Full-Time Advanced Standing applicants are admitted directly to a specialization. Applicants will note their ranking of the offered specializations in the application in the “Interest Area” section. Please review specializations choices before finalizing these selections and submitting the application. Advanced Standing 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 interested in the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP) or Behavioral Health Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) should note that in order to be considered, they must follow a Clinical Social Work specialization. 

Need help choosing a specialization? Watch this webinar!

Applicants have the opportunity to list second and third choice program options in the event they are not admitted to their first choice. Only list alternate options if you have fully reviewed the MSW program information, fully understand the distinct program options and costs, and are willing to pursue an MSW degree in this program. (Note: the specializations offered in the full time programs are different than those offered in the Extended Degree Program and Part-time Advanced Standing Program.)

Day and EDP applicants will be prompted to enter all relevant experience in the application, as well as the total hours of experience. 

Advanced Standing applicants must fill out the Relevant Experience Form and upload it to the application.  

For additional guidance on identifying relevant experience we have developed a handout with information on social work and human services.

  • GPA: We highly encourage applicants with a GPA below 3.0 to provide additional information for our Admissions Committee. Please see this document for suggested strategies to help strengthen your candidacy for admission.

  • Transfers: If you are transferring from another MSW program please enter the college/institution you have attended and the reason for your desire to transfer. Transfer students are only eligible to apply to the Day and Extended Degree Programs. More information on transferring can be found under Eligibility Criteria and Special Applicant Groups.

We are seeking students who want to join us as we wrestle with complex social problems, and who understand that we must work together to end white supremacy and oppression in all its forms. As such, You are required to critically reflect and respond to two short answer questions. 

  • How does oppression impact the communities you intend to serve? Please highlight examples of structural, institutional, or systemic level racism and white supremacy that are of particular concern to you. (300 words or less)

  • How have you developed self-awareness around racism or other areas of oppression? Identify areas where you’d like to grow in your anti-oppressive approach. (300 words or less)

The required personal statement portion is an important component of your application package. 

  • Prompt: The MSW Program at the University of Washington School of Social Work is grounded in our commitment to racial, economic, gender, and social justice informed by and for those at the social margins of our local, national, and global communities. Reflecting on the UWSSW’s MSW Program Statement of Purpose, in 2 - 3 pages write a personal statement about why you have decided to pursue an MSW at UW. Include the following:

    • How has your unique background shaped your perspective and prepared you to work towards social justice? Highlight any skills, professional work, and/or lived experiences you see contributing to the diversity of the school's learning community and the field of social work.

    • How do your professional goals align with the Program’s Statement of Purpose?

 

  • Part 2: Advanced Standing Specialization Rationale (ONLY applies to Advanced Standing applicants): Please restate your first-choice specialization and provide reasoning for your selection. How might specializing in this area help you to achieve your social work career goals? If you identified a second choice option, please briefly describe why you might also consider specializing in this area. This section should be less than 1 page.​

 

  • Format: Statements should be double-spaced with 1-inch margins, using 12-point font (either Times New Roman or Calibri). Citations are not required or expected unless you have cited specific evidence in your writing. Feel free to tell your “story” in a reflective, creative, and expressive style. If you are including Part 2, please use the header: “Advanced Standing Specialization Rationale”. Please submit all parts as one PDF document and upload to the "Personal Statement" section in the online application.

Provide a resume (no more than 2 pages; in PDF format only) that includes:

  • Educational background

  • Paid work experience: dates, employer name and address, job title, brief overview of job responsibilities

  • Unpaid, relevant social work experience including practicums/internships

  • Other paid/unpaid experience involving community work, leadership/capacity building, and/or advocacy/activism

  • Awards, honors, and special achievements you have earned (academic, work, volunteer)

  • Languages spoken and written and level of fluency, if bilingual (including ASL)

  • Research experiences: any research you have conducted or been a part of

  • International experiences (length of time, work/volunteer experience)

Please address gaps in your work history as appropriate and/or explain these in your Personal Statement.

Please do not include a photo of yourself, your home address, or phone number.

Three (3) unique recommendation forms must be submitted. You must designate these references in the online Graduate School application portal. References should support your social work/human service background and/or academic preparedness, and potential for contributing to the learning community and field of social work.

It is recommended that all applicants designate at least one reference that is an academic reference and at least one reference that is a professional reference. You may choose to send your references this MSW Recommender Guide prior to designating them in the application. 

  • You do not need to wait for your recommendations to be submitted in order to submit your application.

  • Three (3) completed recommendations are due no later than one week after the application deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure all three are submitted on time. 

  • Upon designating a reference, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation form; there will also be space for them to upload a supporting document. You can check that they've completed the recommendation by logging in to the application portal.

  • We will not accept e-mails, faxes, or mailed letters as substitutes for the recommendation forms.

  • Family members, partners, clients and personal friends are not appropriate references.

  • Advanced Standing (Part-time and Full-time) Applicants: Must include one social work faculty member from your BASW/BSW program among the required references.

  • Applicants Transferring from Other MSW Programs: If you are applying as a transfer student from another MSW program, include at least one member of the social work faculty at your current/previous MSW institution among the three required references. 

  • Re-Applicants: As of May 2023, reusing materials (such as recommendations) is no longer possible due to a change in application platforms.

Prior to submitting your application, you'll need to review and agree to the following School of Social Work Admissions Policies in the online application:

  • I acknowledge that failure to submit complete and accurate information by the deadline, including all required documents, may result in denial of admission.
  • Applicants are expected to create and submit original application materials without the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) content generators, such as ChatGPT. Except for minor editorial assistance, I confirm I wrote all my own application materials and understand the importance of academic and professional honesty and integrity. Issues of dishonesty may result in denial of admission, rescinding an offer of admission, and/or revoking funding/scholarship.
  • I acknowledge that I have read, understand, and, if admitted, will be held accountable to the UW Student Conduct Code, the School of Social Work’s Essential Skills, Values, and Standards for Professional Conduct and the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • I understand the School of Social Work reserves the right, on the basis of an educational judgment, to recommend to the Graduate School that an applicant be denied admission or to recommend dismissal to the Graduate School of an admitted student whose academic record or performance in field instruction does not meet minimal expectations, or whose performance is not consistent with the accepted standards for professional behavior.
  • I assert that I am prepared to fulfill the expectations of the Master of Social Work program. I will work with advisers and/or Disability Resources for Students to arrange reasonable accommodations as needed.
  • Applications and fee payment must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. PST on the deadline date; the portal will close exactly at midnight. Fee waiver requests should be submitted at least one week prior to the deadline to ensure they are processed in time. 

  • Applications will not be considered complete until the application fee has been paid. 

  • You can login into the application portal to check your admission status, and/or the status of your recommendations.

  • After submission, applicants can still submit/update unofficial transcripts and update recommenders.

Congratulations on completing your application, and good luck!

This form is separate from the online Graduate School application and does not impact admissions decisions. We encourage applicants who would like to be considered for School of Social Work fellowships/scholarships to submit this form. The deadline for submission is the same as the general admission deadlines. Please be aware that this is the only opportunity for departmental funding consideration for incoming students. 

  • In order to be considered, the applicant must also file a FAFSA (or WAFSA, if eligible) for the current year, however, the departmental funding consideration form is not a replacement for the general need-based financial aid application (FAFSA). UW's priority FAFSA/WAFSA deadline is February 28th, however, we strongly recommend submitting by January 16th to ensure full consideration for School of Social Work funding. Please note that international students are exempt from completing the FAFSA/WAFSA.

  • Please explore the School’s website for additional options for funding your education (e.g. graduate assistantships, traineeships, scholarships for continuing students, resources for undocumented students)

Day and EDP applicants, the Funding Consideration Form will appear in your online application upon submitting and paying the app fee. It is titled "Post-Application Questions".

Advanced Standing applicants, access the Advanced Standing Funding Consideration Form HERE (now closed).


UW has two state-funded partner programs (CWTAP and WDI) that offer comprehensive financial support for MSW students at UW Seattle. These both have separate applications. 

  • Applicants who submit an MSW application will receive email invitations to CWTAP info sessions.

  • To apply for the WDI Program, follow the instructions here.