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Questions About Admissions

Our School offers a variety of program structures to meet the needs of our students. Our traditional full-time program is two years and begins in August. For students who have already earned a BSW degree from an accredited institution, we offer a 12-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program that typically starts the second week of May and a 20-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program that begins in January. We also offer a 3-Year MSW Program with sites in Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem; this starts in August.

If you have been out of school more than seven years, you must submit a formal request to be considered for either Advanced Standing MSW Program prior to completing your application. If your request for the Advanced Standing MSW Program is denied, you may be considered for either the full-time 2-Year MSW Program or one of the 3-Year MSW programs. Please note that applicants may only apply to one program per year. For more information, contact Sharon Thomas.

No.  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 for MSW applications.

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 your application that these scores may offset.

We do not require a specific GPA for admission into the program. However, the average GPA for newly enrolled students is typically between 3.2 and 3.5. 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 application package and assess admissions decisions on a more holistic basis.

At this time, we do not offer a formal online or weekend MSW program.

UNC School of Social Work does not award academic or field practica credit for life experience or previous employment experience.

We strongly advise students not to work more than 8-10 hours per week while they are full-time students in our program. Students in the 20-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program and the 3-Year MSW programs may be able to continue working full time, depending on their field placement setting and flexibility of their work schedule. Additionally, some students may be able to complete employer-based placements, something that can be discussed when in the 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 an Advanced Standing program, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is required.

Applicants may apply to only one MSW program per year. Students who are applying to the 2-Year MSW programs have the option of indicating if they want to be considered for a 3-Year MSW program (either Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem) if they are not granted admission to their initial program of choice.

Applicants to the 20-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program can expect to be notified of admission decisions in November. All other applicants will be notified between late January and late March. Applicants will be contacted via email regarding their admission decisions. We encourage students to check the status of their application frequently using the online application system.

You can contact our current MSW Student Ambassadors who can offer a student perspective about the program. Student Ambassadors also share a blog that prospective students may enjoy reading.

Questions About Tuition and Financial Aid

UNC-Chapel Hill has been consistently rated as the nation’s best value in public higher education (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, 2019). Our School offers five MSW programs, and the tuition will vary depending on the program for which you apply, as well as your residency status. For specific information regarding your program(s) of interest, please contact us. You may also visit the Office of the University Cashier for graduate school tuition rates and more information.

Our programs offer various merit and need-based scholarships and other financial support. We recommend that students submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to be considered for federal loans. We encourage all admitted MSW students to submit the SSW Scholarship Application — this will be emailed to all admitted applicants after they have received their acceptance letter from UNC Graduate School. Please see the SSW Financial Aid page for more information.

There are a limited number of students who are able to work as Research Assistants with our faculty. Completing the 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 within the School beginning in August. We do not offer Teaching Assistant positions to MSW students.

Yes, full-time program applicants will still be considered for Merit and Weiss funding beyond the priority deadline.

All application fee waivers are processed through UNC Graduate School. You will find eligibility requirements and instructions for applying for a waiver on the UNC Graduate School website.

Students applying to the 20-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program will be notified of funding decisions in November for admission in the following January. Students applying to the 12-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program will be notified in March. Students applying to the 2-Year MSW Program or a 3-Year MSW Program will be notified in April.

Questions About Residency

All applicants to UNC School of Social Work will be asked about their residency status for tuition purposes on the online application. If you consider yourself a resident of North Carolina, you will be directed to complete an online NC Residency application to be considered for in-state tuition. For more information, please visit UNC Graduate School.

UNC 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 to the North Carolina Residency Determination Services (RDS), a government agency that serves the entire state.

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

Questions About Campus Visits and Campus Life

We offer a number of virtual and in-person information sessions throughout the year. Information sessions 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. To see a list of available dates and register for upcoming information sessions, please visit our MSW Info Sessions page.

Our assistant dean or assistant director of Recruitment, Admissions, and Financial Aid are happy to meet with you.  Please contact us at to schedule an appointment and let us know if you would prefer to meet via Zoom, by phone, or on campus. Please note, if you would like to meet on campus, that all visitors are required to comply with UNC-Chapel Hill’s Covid Community Stnadards.

UNC Visitors Center offers tours for prospective graduate students to orient them to the campus and community and to provide information on housing, dining, recreation, and graduate student life. Visit the UNC Visitors Center website for more information. Please note: With COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions, on-campus tours are not available at this time.

UNC School of Social Work offers resources to help admitted students locate housing options in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. For more information, please visit the Housing resource page on our website.