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Frequently Asked Questions on our MSW Program

Financial Aid
Campus Visits & Campus Life


What type of MSW programs does the UNC School of Social Work offer?

We offer a variety of program structures to meet the needs of our students. Our traditional Full-Time program is two years and starts in August. We offer a twelve month Advanced Standing program for students with a BSW from an accredited institution, which typically starts the second week of May. For those who wish to complete their MSW on more of a part-time schedule, we also offer Distance Education programs in Chapel Hill and Winston Salem. These three year programs start in August each year.

I graduated with my BSW several years ago, can I still be considered for the Advanced Standing program?

If you have been out of school more than seven (7) years, you must submit a formal request to be considered for the Advanced Standing Program prior to completing your application. If your request is denied for consideration for the Advanced Standing Program, you may be considered for the Full-time or the 3-year Distance Education MSW Program. (Applicants may only apply to one program per year.) For more information, please see the Formal Request to Apply for Advanced Standing.

Are GRE scores required? 

No.  The UNC Graduate School has approved a request by the School of Social Work to waive the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as an admissions requirement through the 2023 admissions cycle. 

If I submit my standardized test score (GRE) will they be considered?

GRE scores may benefit applicants who have non-traditional transcripts (i.e. transcripts without grades) or undergraduate coursework GPAs below 3.0, but they are not required. If GRE scores are submitted they will be considered in the application review. We do not recommend submitting scores unless there is a weakness in the application that you feel the scores will specifically mitigate.

What is the average GPA of students admitted to the program?

The average GPA for newly enrolled students is ~ 3.4.  We do not require a specific GPA for admission into the program. While strong scores may make an applicant highly competitive in terms of their academic aptitude, please know that the Admissions Committee will review your entire package and assess admissions more broadly.

Do you have an online or weekend program?

At this time we do not offer an online or weekend program.

Can I receive academic credit for life or employment experience?

The School does not award academic credit for life experience or previous employment experience. Similarly, the School does not accept life experience or previous employment as a replacement for academic courses or field practica.

Can I still work as a student in the MSW program?

We strongly advise students not to work more than 8-10 hours per week while they are a full-time student in our program. 

What are the prerequisites needed to apply to the MSW program?

Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from a four-year college or university. Although no specific coursework is required, participation in social science courses and/or related fields is preferred.  If you are interested in applying to the Advanced Standing program, a bachelor's degree in Social Work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is required.  

Can I apply for more than one program?

Applicants are only able to apply to one program per year within the School of Social Work. Students who are applying to the Advanced Standing and Full-Time programs do have the option of indicating whether they want to be considered for the Distance Education programs if we are unable to grant them admission to their initial program of choice. 

When will I hear back regarding admissions decisions?

Applicants can expect to be notified of admission decisions between late January and late March. You will be notified via email regarding your decision. We encourage students to frequently check the status of their application using the online application system.

Is it possible to contact current students in the MSW program?

You can contact our current student ambassadors who are happy to give you a student perspective of life as a MSW student. They also have a blog that prospective students enjoy reading. You can find their information on the SSW Ambassador page


Tuition & Financial Aid

What is the cost of tuition for the MSW program?

The estimated cost of full-time, on-campus tuition/fees for the 2019-2020  academic year is $16,630 for residents and $34,606 for non-residents. The estimated cost for Advanced Standing students, including summer terms, is $20,992 for residents and $42,543 for non-residents. 3-year Triangle students pay the On-Campus Programs tuition and fees rate which will vary based on their year within the progam. 3-year Winston-Salem students pay the Off-Campus Programs tuitin and fees rate which will vary based on their year within the program. There is also a $300 field education fee for each semester students are registered for a field placement. Please visit the Office of the University Cashier for current tuition rates and more information.

Is financial aid available?

The UNC School of Social Work has a number of awards and scholarships available to our students. We recommend that our students apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal loans and encourage admitted applicants to complete our SSW Scholarship Application.  The SSW Scholarship Application will be emailed to all admitted applicants after they have received their acceptance letter from the UNC Graduate School.  Please see the SSW Financial Aid page for more information.

Can I work as a program, research or teaching assistant as a MSW student?

There are a limited number of students who are able to work as Research Assistants with our SSW faculty. Completing our SSW Scholarship Application will place students in consideration for some of these positions. A few Research Assistant, Graduate Assistant, and Program Assistant positions will be advertised in August. We do not offer Teaching Assistant positions to MSW students.

Can I still be considered for the Merit or Weiss award if I apply after the priority deadline?

Yes, applications will still be considered for Merit and Weiss funding beyond the December 11 priority deadline to the SSW.

Is there any way to waive the application fee?

All application fee waivers are processed through the UNC Graduate School. You will see the eligibility requirements and instructions for applying for the waiver at The Graduate School.

When will I be notified of financial aid decisions?

Advanced Standing students will be notified by early March. Full-Time and Advanced Standing applicants will be notified by mid-April.


I have been in North Carolina for over a year. Will I be considered a NC resident for tuition purposes?

The School of Social Work does not determine residency status.  If you believe that you qualify as a North Carolina resident under state law, you will need to submit a residency application with the North Carolina Residency Determination Services (RDS), a government agency that serves the entire state. Please visit The Graduate School for more information.

What are the deadlines for applying for residency?

Residency applications must be submitted during designated filing periods for each semester. For additional details including application deadlines and required documentation, please visit The Graduate School

My residency status has been classified as “undetermined.” What should I do?

Any admitted student with an "undetermined" or "nonresident" status on their UNC Graduate School admissions letter must complete an online NC Residency application to be considered for in-state tuition. For more information, please visit The Graduate School.

Campus Visits & Campus Life

How can I learn more information about the MSW program at UNC?

You are welcome to join us for our monthly information sessions at the School of Social Work. The information session are a wonderful opportunity to meet current students and faculty in our program, learn more about the field of social work, and find out about our admissions process and financial aid opportunities. For more information and to register for an upcoming information session, please visit the SSW website.

I can’t make it to campus for an information session. Is it possible to schedule an appointment with someone?

Yes, the Assistant Dean or Assistant Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Financial Aid would be happy to schedule a time to speak with you. Please contact us at to schedule an appointment. 

Can I get a tour of the UNC Campus?

Yes, the UNC Visitors' Center offers tours for prospective graduate students to orient them to the Chapel Hill campus and community and provide them information on housing, dining, recreation, and gradute student life.  For more information or to schedule a tour, please visit the UNC Visitors' Center

Does the UNC School of Social Work help students find housing?

The School of Social Work willl connect students with resources to assist them in locating housing and/or roommates. You can refer to UNC Housing for more information about on-campus housing options that may be available.