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How to Apply

PhD Program

Please click here for doctoral program admissions information.

MSW Program

Application Deadlines:

  • October 13, 2020: Chapel Hill 20-month Advanced Standing Program. (The program begins January 2021.)
  • January 12, 2021: Chapel Hill 2-year Full-time Program and the 12-month Advanced Standing Programs (The 12-month Advanced Standing Program will begin May 11, 2021; the 2-year Full-time Program begins in August.)
  • February 9, 2021: 3-year Chapel Hill (Extended) and Winston-Salem Programs (The 3-year programs begin in August.)

We encourage you to apply early! If you are a full-time applicant and would like to be considered for the University Merit Assistantship or the Weiss Urban Livability Masters Fellowship, please complete your application by December 8, 2020.

Please note: Applicants may only apply to one MSW program per application cycle with the exception of the 20-month Advanced Standing Program applicants. If you are reapplying to the SSW, ALL materials must be resubmitted.












Important update: The UNC Graduate School approved a request by the School of Social Work to waive the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) through the 2023 admissions cycle.  Applicants with non-traditional transcripts or undergraduate coursework GPAs below 3.0 may still choose to take the exam if they feel their application may be strengthened by competitive scores on the GRE.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 spring 2020, we are aware that a number of institutions moved to Pass/Fail graduating systems and that many people experienced disruptions in their internships, BSW field placement, and work and volunteer experiences. Applicants will not be penalized due to these circumstances.

To be evaluated for admission, ALL applicants must complete the following and send electronically to the Graduate School Admissions Office:

  • UNC Graduate School Application. Complete online.
  • Application fee is $95.00. (*The fee may change by August 2020.)
  • Statement of Purpose 
  • Current resume
  • Transcript(s) (unofficial) from each accredited university, college and/or community college attended (not just where your degree was completed) must be uploaded within the application. Check file size and do not exceed 1024kb. 
  • Three letters of recommendation. 
  • Interviews will be required for all competitive international applicants and applicants to the 3- year Chapel Hill (Extended) and Winston-Salem programs and the 20-month Advanced Standing Program. The School of Social Work admissions office will contact all applicants for interviews by email.
  • All international applicants must submit acceptable, official TOEFL (reported directly from or IELTS (reported directly from scores. We accept no other English Language tests. Exceptions are only made for applicants from countries where English is the SOLE OFFICIAL language of instruction, applicants who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university in the United States, and pplicants who have received or will receive a degree from an accredited university where English is the SOLE language of instruction. Applicants must meet minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores as set by the School of Social Work.
  • Any Social Work applicant who has responded "yes" to any of the Community Standards questions on the UNC Graduate School application may be asked to submit to a background check before their application will be reviewed. Failure to provide complete, accurate, and truthful information on your application will be grounds to deny or withdraw an applicant's admission or for dismissal after enrollment. For policies related to criminal background checks and our field education program, please visit our Field Education Manual. If you plan to pursue your social work licensure in NC or another state, please be sure to talk with the state licensure board to make sure you are aware of their review policies.

All Advanced Standing applicants must meet the requirements below:

  • Reference letter from a faculty member at their BSW Program. This can be one of the three required recommendations.
  • If you have been out of school more than seven (7) years, you must complete submit a formal request to be considered for the Advanced Standing Program.
  • A copy of Field Instructor's evaluations from undergraduate placement will be required prior to the Advanced Standing orientation.
  • Have a B or better average GPA in the last 60 credit hours of an accredited bachelor's degree and a B or better in all of the required undergraduate social work classes. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Completed a direct service field placement of at least 400 clock hours with a grade of B or better. Applicants with MSW supervision in their undergraduate placement are preferred.

Technical Standards for Professional and Ethical Behavior

All applicants are required to review our program's Technical Standards for Professional and Ethical Behavior. The SSW is preparing students for careers as professional social workers. Given the nature of professional social work practice to protect the clients and communities we serve, the SSW has established requirements for student conduct that not only focus on academic performance but that also emphasize necessary skills, attributes, and competencies. These requirements apply within the traditional classroom setting, in field placements, and in the broader community context. The document describes the Technical Standards for Professional and Ethical Behavior each MSW student must satisfy in order to enroll in, progress through, and graduate from the MSW program.

For more information about the School of Social Work, the admissions process, or to schedule a campus visit, please contact:

Ben Balderas, MSW
Assistant Director, Recruitment, Admissions and Financial Aid
(919) 843-6284

Sharon Thomas, MSW
Assistant Dean, Recruitment, Admissions and Financial Aid
(919) 962-4367