Apply to the MSW Program

If you are looking for information about applying to the MSW/PhD Joint degree program, please visit this page.

To apply, you will submit one application through the Graduate School. That application will serve as your application for both the Graduate School and the SSW. The application process is the same for on-campus and online program options.

First, create an account on the Graduate School application system. There, you will select “Social Work Master of Social Work (MSW)” as your program of interest.

Application Materials

Once you create an application through the application system, upload the following materials:

  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts
    • Upload unofficial transcripts to your application. If you can’t obtain an unofficial transcript, a scanned copy of your official transcripts is also acceptable.
  • Three letters of reference:
    • During the online application process, you will enter the contact information for three references. Your references will receive an email with a secure link to fill out your recommendation online. Chosen references must complete the reference request by the application deadline in order for your application to be complete.
    • Your references should be professionals (e.g. professors or other academic sources, practicing social workers, employers, supervisors, or volunteer coordinators) who can speak to your intellectual ability, interpersonal skills, potential for graduate education, and potential for professional social work practice.
    • References should come from more than one source type, but no more than two references should be from a similar source type. For example, one letter from a former employer, and two from former professors is acceptable (or vice versa), but three letters from only former employers or three letter from former professors is strongly discouraged.
    • References may not be friends or relatives.
  • Personal Statement
    • Answer all areas listed on the Personal Statement. Upload your answers in one document. Do not submit a different document for each question.
  • Field Practicum Information – ADVANCED STANDING STUDENTS ONLY:
    • Upload the most recent copy of your field evaluation. If you are applying before you’ve received a mid-term or final field evaluation, please have your field supervisor/instructor complete one of your three professional references or wait to apply until you have, a least, a mid-term evaluation to submit.

  • Summer and Fall semester (on-campus and online, regular & advanced standing) – early priority January 15, rolling admission March 1
  • Spring semester (on-campus advanced standing only) – early priority September 15, rolling admission November 15
  • MSW/PhD (on-campus) – November 15

There is a non-refundable application processing fee of $65 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $90 for non-resident international students.

MSW/MPH Dual Degree students must be accepted to both the MSW and MPH programs. Visit the MSW/MPH Dual Degree Program page for more information.

MSW/PhD Joint Degree program students must be accepted to both the MSW and PhD programs. Visit the MSW/PhD Joint Degree Program page for more information.

Submission of an English Proficiency Exam is required for international students. Exams accepted and minimum sub-scores required to apply are:

  • Minimum TOEFL sub-scores are reading, 21; listening, 22; speaking, 26; and writing, 23
  • Minimum IELTS sub-scores are reading, 6.5; listening, 6.5; speaking, 8; and writing, 6
  • Minimum PTE sub-scores are reading, 58; listening, 58; speaking, 79; and writing, 50
  • Minimum C1 sub-scores are reading, 176; listening, 176; speaking, 197; and writing, 169
  • Minimum Duolingo sub-scores are literacy, 105; comprehension, 105; conversation, 125; production, 125

Visit the Graduate School website for more information on applying as an international student.

If you have completed coursework or credit from another institution, check the transfer credit criteria.

Please note that having a history of certain misdemeanor or felony charges may affect your options for practicum placement and employment following graduation. It may be helpful to explore how your criminal history may affect your career in social work following graduation to learn if this will be a barrier. It is also important to explore how having a criminal history may impact your ability to become licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state. For additional information regarding licensure in Missouri, you can contact the Missouri Division of Professional Registration at or contact them by phone at (573) 751-0885.

Graduate school can be an exciting time, and a big step toward a rewarding professional career. Often during these times it can be difficult to find balance between academic work, personal life, employment, and other areas of life. To ensure success, students can prepare for challenges and find a comfortable balance between work and personal life that may arise during practicum.

Below are tips and resources that may be beneficial in helping students remain proactive in their work, and avoid becoming overwhelmed or exceedingly stressed.

  • Be proactive with your schedule. Devising a schedule for assignments and due dates can help to ensure you are staying on top of your course work during this busy time. Attached are templates that may be helpful in creating your plan.
  • Regular self-care. As social work students, we talk a lot about self-care, but it is important to really take the time to do something rejuvenating. Some examples of self-care include exercise, reading, meditation or mindfulness practice, and more.
  • Use any available resource. The School of Social Work works hard to ensure that students have a variety of tools and resources available to them. It is important to familiarize yourself with these tools, and review them thoroughly. Orientation packets and the student handbook are great places to start!
  • Know when to ask for help. Advisors, faculty, and professors are available for students to reach out. Keeping an open dialogue with professors and advisors helps to stave off unnecessary stress, and build academic support during your studies.