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MSW Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to UNC School of Social Work, you must provide documentation of the following in your UNC Graduate School application:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline, earned from an accredited four-year college or university (or the international equivalent of a bachelor’s degree)
  • Academic background that encompasses knowledge and world views from a broad variety of disciplines
  • Unofficial transcripts from each college and university attended
  • Statement of Purpose (4-5 pages)
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Current resume or CV
  • TOEFL or IELTS score within the past 2 years (international applicants only)

Interviews are required for all competitive international applicants and applicants to the 3-Year MSW Chapel Hill and to the 3-Year MSW Winston Salem programs.

Social work experience is not required. However, social work-related coursework and volunteer or professional experience are preferred.

An applicant who responds “yes” to any Community Standards questions on the UNC Graduate School application may be asked to provide information for a criminal background check before consideration for admission.

For more information on required application materials, please visit the UNC Graduate School website.


Additional Criteria — Advanced Standing Program Applicants

If you have graduated from a BSW program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), you may apply to earn your MSW as an Advanced Standing student. To be considered for admission to an Advanced Standing program, you must meet all of these criteria:

  • Graduation from a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • “B” (or higher) grade point average on the last 60 credit hours of your undergraduate degree
  • “B” (or higher) grade on all required undergraduate social work courses
  • Satisfactory completion of 400 clock hours in a direct service field placement with a “B” (or higher) grade
  • At least one of the three letters of recommendation must be from a faculty member in your BSW program

In addition, if you completed your BSW degree more than seven years ago, you must submit a written request for consideration (including a detailed statement of your social work experience and continuing education activities) to UNC School of Social Work and receive approval to apply before submitting your application for admission to the Graduate School.


Additional Criteria — International Applicants

Our academic programs are enriched by students who represent a diverse range of cultural perspectives, and we encourage international students to apply. To be considered for admission as an international student, you must meet at least one of these criteria:

  • TOEFL or IELTS score within the past two (2) years — the required minimum score is 90 for the online TOEFL exam or 7 for the IELTS exam
  • Residency in an country where English is the language of instruction
  • Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution
  • Bachelor’s degree from an institution where the sole language of instruction is English

The UNC Graduate School website provides more information for international students who wish to apply.