M.S.W. application guidelines
Only full and complete application packages received by the deadline will be reviewed. Supplemental documents such as letters of recommendation and additional transcripts may be accepted up to one week after submission of an application. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
Admissions review process
The admissions review process is complex for both the regular and advanced standing programs, as are the reasons for deciding to admit or not admit an applicant. It involves an evaluation of each application in four broad areas: educational preparation, work experience, professional statement of intent and recommendations. Applicants are also evaluated based on compliance with the Technical Standards and Essential Functions for Social Work Students.
Admissions requirements for applicants to the M.S.W. regular standing program options include:
- Four-year undergraduate degree in any major (or the equivalent as determined by VCU International Admissions if degree was earned outside of the U.S.)
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater recommended. Those with lower GPAs will be reviewed, but the overall score will be affected. Other graduate credits taken with a GPA of 3.0 or higher will help your application.
- All applicants must have passed with a "C" or above, a minimum of one three-credit class in the behavioral sciences and one three-credit class in the social sciences. These classes may include psychology, sociology, math, biology, political science, economics, history, etc. Applicants who do not meet the prerequisite criteria are admitted provisionally with enough time to register for and complete the course requirement at a university or community college of their choice. Failure to complete these requirements before the start of classes could preclude admission to the program. Online students admitted with less than four months before the start of the next term will be allowed to defer to the subsequent term or complete the prerequisite criteria concurrently with the first semester of M.S.W. courses.
Check upcoming terms' application dates and deadlines by full time, part time, advanced standing, on campus and online.
The application form, along with all other additional materials, must be submitted to Graduate Admissions digitally through the online application system. When you apply to the M.S.W. program, you will have to select your area of specialization — either clinical or social work administration, planning and policy practice (SWAPPP). You may change your specialization at any time prior to enrolling in your specialization courses. Please note that the only specialization offered for the online option is clinical.
Additional items to include with your application
Select a cross-section of references, including employers, faculty or other individuals who have evaluated your work and can speak to your academic abilities and/or related paid social work or volunteer experience.
Applicants will be required to respond to three different questions. Each statement should be no more than 500 words. We are looking for your ability to demonstrate your understanding of the social work profession, ethics/values and your suitability for our program. Visit the National Association of Social Workers website to learn more about our school’s commitment to social and racial justice. The questions include:
- Identify one value from the NASW code of ethics (e.g., social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relations, etc.) and how it relates to your desire to complete/acquire an M.S.W. degree. Tip: refer to the NASW Code of Ethics.
- Please describe your social work career goals. Include the resources and supports available to you to successfully complete the M.S.W. Program and manage challenges that may include the academic rigor of the program as well as the stress that is common to working with intense life experiences of people and communities served by social workers.
- The School of Social Work is committed to social and racial justice. We stand against oppression of all groups and acknowledge specifically anti-Black racism and white dominance in perpetrating institutional discrimination. (See the school’s commitment statement). Please comment on what these statements mean to you and your desire to be a social worker.
Detail your social and human services-related work and volunteer experience in the application. Please make sure to list any military, AmeriCorps or Peace Corps experience as well.
Provide original and complete transcripts from all institutions you have attended, including current or past VCU transcripts for applicants who have attended or are attending VCU. For application purposes, you may use unofficial transcripts, but applicants will be unable to matriculate without submitting their original transcripts to VCU Graduate Admissions.
Transfer students from other accredited M.S.W. programs must submit the standard application package, including the items listed above. We will accept up to 30 generalist credit hours in transfer as long as they are less than five years old. Additionally, they must submit:
- A letter of good standing from the department chair/head
- Course syllabi for all graduate social work courses that they wish to transfer
- M.S.W. field evaluation
Find information on transfer credits and course waivers on the VCU Bulletin website.