Master of Social Work Application

We offer two Master of Social Work Programs: a traditional full-time MSW program and a Saturday part-time MSW Program. For general information about each, visit the Full-Time MSW Program Information page or Part-Time Program Information page. Acceptance into the MSW Programs is based on quality of applications, community needs, and availability of field placements.

We highly recommend you submit your application early so that any issues can be identified and addressed prior to the deadline. After the deadline has passed, applications with identified issues will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Students newly admitted to the School of Social Work will need to complete a background check with Castlebranch, Inc. prior to starting a field placement. Graduates of UW-Madison’s BSW program who completed a background check with Castlebranch, Inc. within the past two years will not be required to complete another background, check if there has been no change to their criminal history.

Are you interested in applying to the Full-Time or Part-Time MSW Program? In order to answer questions you may have, the School of Social Work advisors offer group informational sessions throughout the fall. You can sign up for a session now by filling out the form below.

Date Time Location Availability Program
Tuesday, September 24th 4-5pm Room 300, School of Social Work Open Full-Time Program
Thursday, October 24th 4-5pm Room 300, School of Social Work Open Full-Time Program
Thursday, November 14th 5-6pm Room 300, School of Social Work Open Part-Time Program
Tuesday, November 19th 4-5pm Room 300, School of Social Work Open Full-Time Program
Wednesday, December 11th 12-1pm Online: Webex (register here) Open Full-Time Program
Saturday, December 14th 1-2pm Room 300, School of Social Work Open Part-Time Program

There are four prerequisites for the MSW Programs that are based on the School of Social Work’s admission policies and the minimum Graduate School’s Requirements for Admission. Applicants must:

  1. Have completed thirty (30) semester credits of social science coursework before they apply;
  2. Have completed an approved statistics course before they start the MSW Program;
  3. Have earned a minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for their last 60 semester credits before they apply;
  4. Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution before they start the MSW Program.

SOCIAL SCIENCE CREDITS

To qualify for application review, applicants must have completed a minimum of 30 semester credits of social science course work. For guidelines on determining whether you have the necessary credits, visit the Social Science Credits Guidelines tab.

Applicants who have not completed 30 social science credits at the time of application cannot be considered for admission.

STATISTICS

All applicants should complete an approved statistics course with a grade of “C” or better before starting the MSW Program.  The Statistics course must be no older than five years from academic year graduated to academic year enrolling in the MSW program.

In very rare circumstances and with advisor approval, students entering the Full-Time MSW Program who have not completed an approved statistics course will be expected to complete statistics in their second semester in the Program. Please note that this circumstance could delay your anticipated graduation date. To avoid this problem, we strongly recommend students complete statistics locally or at UW-Madison before starting Fall classes.

In the Part-Time MSW Program, statistics must be taken no later than the summer prior to starting year three of the program. BSWs entering the Program with Advanced Standing should plan to take statistics in the summer before taking advanced courses in the Fall.

Contact an advisor early to develop a plan for completing the statistics requirement while in the program.

  • Course topics that must be covered include: distributions, measures of central tendency, dispersion and shape, the normal distribution, experiments to compare means, standard errors, confidence intervals, effects of departure from assumptions, method of least squares, regression, correlation assumptions and limitations, basic ideas of experimental design.
  • The statistics course must have been completed within the past five years from academic year of graduation to academic year of enrollment in the MSW Program.
  • A grade of C or better in a statistics course is required (no C- or CD).

GRADE-POINT AVERAGE (GPA)

Applicants are expected to have earned a minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for their last 60 semester credits or earned a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. Grades for social work courses are not considered separately. Post-undergraduate coursework does not count toward the last 60 credits; however, those grades will still be considered as part of your overall academic record.

If your last 60 credit GPA is below the 3.00 minimum, consider the following non-required options to enhance your academic record:

  • Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The minimum score for Quantitative Reasoning is 150 and for Verbal Reasoning is 153.
  • Take 6 to 9 credits of post-undergraduate coursework that result in grades of ‘A’ or ‘AB’.

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

Applicants are required to have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution prior to their admission term. International applicants must have a degree comparable to a regionally accredited U.S. bachelor’s degree. For specific information about comparable degrees in your country, and which academic documents are required, refer to the Graduate School’s Requirements for Admission.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS

International applicants have additional admission requirements that include taking an English proficiency test. For more information, go to the School of Social Work’s page on International Applicant Requirements.

To qualify for application review, all MSW applicants must have completed a minimum of 30 semester credits of social science course work. Applicants who do not have 30 social science credits completed at the time of application cannot be considered for admission.

Social science is a group of academic disciplines focused on the study of humans and their interactions with each other and within society. Social science disciplines include, but are not limited to: anthropology, communication arts, journalism, criminal justice, economics, history, legal studies, philosophy, psychology, political science, sociology, social work, and social welfare.

To determine whether your coursework qualifies as social science credits, applicants are expected to assess their own social science credits.

  1. For all students: the School of Social Work guide to our majors in Social Welfare and Social Work (BSW), and the campus Guide provides useful tools for identifying courses that qualify as social science:
    1. The School of Social Work has identified a list of UW-Madison courses that qualify as social science concentration courses for our Social Welfare and Social Work undergraduate programs. You can use the list within requirements for the major, as a resource, provided in Guide, to identify comparable courses taken.
    2. You can also use the Office of the Registrar’s Guide to find UW-Madison courses that could be comparable to courses taken. Click on departments that are social science disciplines (as listed above under description of social science), look for breadth that state social science (S) or breadth that state both, Social Science (S) or Humanities (H). Courses that state they can be Social Science or Humanities, we would count as a Social Science (Z). Examples of this are both Philosophy and History courses; some of the courses are both, Social Science and Humanities (S, H, or Z).
  2. For UW Systems and Wisconsin technical college students: You can use the UW Transfer Information System (TIS). All social science credits will be marked with an “S”, “W”, “Y”, or “Z” in the GenEd column.
  3. For UW-Madison undergraduate/special students: You can run your DARS report with Letters & Sciences Edits. All social science courses will be marked with an “S”, “W”, “Y”, or “Z”.

 

After you have submitted your online application, continue to monitor the status of your application. Watch for email communications from the UW-Madison Graduate School explaining how to do this. For more information, review the FAQs and other materials at Graduate School Admissions.

APPLICATION ISSUES

It is your responsibility to ensure you submit all of your application materials correctly. Due to the increase in volume of submitted applications near the deadline, it can take up to four weeks for our admissions staff to check off receipt of your materials and identify any application issues. We highly recommend you submit your application early so that any issues can be identified and addressed prior to the deadline. After the deadline has passed, applications with identified issues will not be considered incomplete and not be reviewed.

ADMISSION DECISIONS

Applicants to the Full-Time MSW Program will be notified in early March.

Applications to the Part-Time MSW Program will begin to be reviewed in December. Applicants will be notified approximately 8 weeks after submitting their complete application.

SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK NOTIFICATION

You will receive an email with a letter attached from the School of Social Work informing you of the MSW Admissions Committee’s decision regarding your application. If the Committee recommends you be accepted, the letter will also include notification that we have submitted your name to the Graduate School for final approval for admission.

THE GRADUATE SCHOOL NOTIFICATION

When the Graduate School approves the School of Social Work’s recommendation of acceptance, they will also notify you via email in addition to updating your online application status check page. The email will contain your 10 digit Campus ID number, which you originally received in an email from the Graduate School upon submitting your application. This ID number is required for future correspondence with the School of Social Work and University.

It is critical that you carefully read and follow all instructions from these correspondences. Please retain these communications for future reference.