BSW Application

Admissions Deadlines

The application for 2017-2018 is closed. More information about 2018-2019 BSW admissions will be available later this fall.



Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply:

  1. UW-Madison undergraduate student.
  2. Completion of Social Work 205, Social Work 206, and completion or enrollment in an approved statistics course.
  3. Second-semester Junior Standing (71 credits completed). You must obtain permission to apply with fewer than 71 credits (see advisor).
  4. A minimum of 2.5 overall GPA from all colleges attended.


Application Instructions

Carefully read through the following instructions before completing the online application. The link to the application is at the bottom of this page.


Click on the application sections below to expand the section and review the details.


+ General Information

When you begin the application process, you will be asked to provide:

  1. Basic contact information.
  2. Information on the prerequisite courses and when you completed or anticipate completing them.
  3. (Optional) Details on any special circumstances that might have affected your GPA, e.g. major illness or family crisis.


+ One Letter of Recommendation

One letter of recommendation is required.


A letter should be from someone who can assess your academic ability and your potential for professional social work practice. Keep in mind that someone writing a letter of recommendation needs adequate time to write the letter and submit it electronically. A Late letter means your application is incomplete and cannot be considered.



Steps for requesting a letter of recommendation:

  1. As soon as possible, ask your recommender if they will serve as a reference. Explain that the letter should be one full page in length and explicitly discuss the qualities that make you a strong candidate for a bachelor's program in social work.
  2. Input your and your recommender's information into the application's Recommendation module.
  3. Click the Save button to have the system generate an email request to the recommender you specified. The request will include a link to an online form for the recommender to fill out.
  4. No method exists for viewing a letter of recommendation once it has been submitted by the recommender. We suggest you ask your recommender for a copy of the letter.


    Recommendation Letter Do's and Dont's

    A letter should be:

    • From an academic instructor. An academic letter of recommendation should come from an instructor who has graded your academic work and/or who can assess your potential for success in the professional program. We strongly recommend letters from a teaching assistant (TA) are co-written and co-signed by the instructor of record for the course; or,
    • From a work/volunteer supervisor; or,
    • From a professional who has contributed to your leadership development and/or provided academic coaching to support you as a scholar.

    The person writing your recommendation should know you well enough to write a letter that will serve to strengthen your application to the BSW program.


    A letter should not be:

    • From friends;
    • From family members;
    • From neighbors;
    • From co-workers/colleagues;
    • From personal counselors/therapists;
    • From clergy;
    • From individuals similar to those listed above; or,
    • A generic reference letter from university/college placement office.
    If such a letter is submitted, it will lessen the strength of your application.


+ Transcript(s)

In the Transcripts module of the BSW Application, you will be asked how many post-secondary institutions you have attended. For each institution, you will be asked to provide the name of the institution and provide your overall GPA. You will also be required to upload a PDF copy of each official transcript and your UW-Madison student record (unofficial transcript). If you are scanning an official transcript in, please be sure to scan both sides.


Your UW-Madison student record (unofficial transcript) should contain your fall 2016 grades.


Do not submit your application until you have uploaded a student record with your fall 2016 grades!


+ Statement

Your statement is very important. The content and writing quality allows reviewers to:

  • Gain a sense of who you are as an individual, as well as what led you to choose a career in social work;
  • Determine the extent to which you are prepared and motivated for undergraduate education in social work;
  • Assess how your experiences, social work and non-social work related, have prepared you for studies in social work.


In your statement, be sure to address fully each of the following questions:

  • Why do you want to pursue a professional degree in Social Work?
  • Social workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience. How does your experience with and/or knowledge of diversity issues inform your desire to obtain a BSW degree (e.g., from a study abroad, your course work, life and/or volunteer experience, etc.)?
  • How have your past and current coursework, life experiences, volunteer work, and/or employment prepared you for professional degree studies in social work? Indicate how these experiences have provided you with skills and an understanding of qualities such as responsibility, compassion, judgement, determination, flexibility, ethics, and professionalism.


Formatting instructions:

Required formatting instructions for your statement:

  • 12pt Times New Roman
  • Double-spaced
  • One inch margins
  • Approximately 3 pages (please number each page)
  • Use standard essay format
  • Write one statement that addresses all three questions. Do not write three different statements addressing each question separately.
  • Submit in PDF format


Writing tips:

  • Write a draft of your statement, take a break, and come back to it later to work on editing and clarifying.
  • If possible, utilize the writing lab to obtain feedback on your statement.
  • Do not rely solely on spelling and grammar checks.
  • Read your statement aloud for flow and accuracy.
  • Be sure that your statement expands beyond your desire to help people and beyond your personal background.



Application Checklist

A complete application to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program includes:

  • General Information
  • One Letter of Recommendation
  • Transcript(s)
  • Statement



Application decision notification will occur prior to spring enrollment period. Students will receive information on fall enrollment.


If you have questions, email


Updates and Notices

Please be sure that you have completed all questions in a section before clicking on a Submit button. Submitting a section will lock it from further changes. Using the Save button (prior to closing the browser window) will allow you to return later and make changes.


You will be asked to log in with your email address a number of times throughout the process. This is intended to continually verify your identify an ensure that your application responses are being stored in your application file.



Last edited by portier on Monday, July 17, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version