MSW Admissions & Application Requirements

Application Deadlines

  • MSW Advanced Standing Program Priority Deadline: September 30, Final Deadline: November 1
  • MSW Advanced Standing Program (St. George) Priority Deadline: September 30, Final Deadline: November 1 (every 3 years, beginning in 2019)
  • MSW Program Two Year Full-Time Program Priority Deadline: November 1, Final Deadline: December 15
  • MSW Program Three Year Evening Program (SLC & St. George): Every 3 years; next admissions cycle will be 2019
  • MSW DCFS Employee Program: January 15, 2017 (every 3 years)
  • MSW DCFS Distance Program: January 15, 2018 (every 3 years)


Minimum GPA:
In order to be accepted into any graduate program, the University of Utah requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from a regionally accredited institution. If the applicant has attended more than one institution, the GPA is a weighted cumulative GPA of all institutions. Applicants with a weighted cumulative GPA below 3.0, must also calculate the last two years’ GPA (60 graded semester hours of undergraduate work or 90 quarter hours). If both are significantly below 3.0 applicants should consider earning a second undergraduate degree or completing a minimum of 30 hours of post-graduate study in order to strengthen their applications.

However, applicants with lower GPAs may still be considered for admission and should consult with the MSW Admissions Coordinator, Lena Al-Rayess, at Lena.Al-Rayess@utah.edu prior to applying. Please note that the University of Utah’s Graduate Admissions Committee is unlikely to approve admission for an applicant with a cumulative GPA under 2.8.

Prerequisite Classes:
Admitted students must complete the following prerequisite classes before beginning the MSW Program:

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Political Science (U.S. National Government) or U.S. History
  • Human Development Across the Lifespan (birth through end of life)
  • Research or Statistics – must be a social and behavioral sciences class

Click here to see a list of commonly accepted courses from Utah universities.

Prerequisite classes must be taken at a post-secondary, regionally-accredited educational institution on a for-credit basis, with a letter grade assigned. AP credit or CLEP waivers will not be accepted. Prerequisite classes must have been taken within the last 10 years. Applicants can address their prerequisite questions with the MSW admissions coordinator and should scan and email a copy of their transcripts or electronic student report to Lena.Al-Rayess@utah.edu as early in their application process as possible.

These courses do not need to be complete at time of the application deadline, but must be complete with proof of grade submitted no later than 14 calendar days before beginning the MSW program, if admitted. If an applicant’s bachelor’s degree has not been awarded or prerequisite classes are not completed, the applicant will not be allowed to attend classes, even if admitted.

Please note that a final official transcript must be submitted to the University’s Office of Admissions by the first day of class to verify receipt of an academic degree and/or any prerequisites in progress at the time of application. These must also be sent to the MSW Program office at least 14 days prior to the first day of classes.

International Students
International students should review the University of Utah International Graduate Admissions Office requirements for information regarding English language proficiency, financial documentation, and other pertinent information needed. Please note that the University of Utah does not accept 3-year Bachelor degrees from all countries. Please contact International Admissions for details on acceptable international degrees. The University of Utah requires a minimum TOEFL score of 80 IBT or 550 PBT or a minimum IELTS score of 6.50. The College of Social Work, due to the intensive need for excellent communication skills, requires a minimum score of 100 IBT or 600 PBT, or an IELTS score of 7.0 to 7.5.

There is no specific financial aid to support international students at the College of Social Work MSW Program. Students may pursue scholarship opportunities through the College of Social Work and the University of Utah Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.

 

Transfer Students and Life Experience
The MSW Program does not grant social work credit for life experience, previous work experience or another master’s degree program. The College of Social Work cannot accept transfer students from any other MSW program into any of its MSW Program options.

 

Application Instructions
The University of Utah/MSW AY application and MSW application instructions undergo yearly changes and updates. Applicants should wait to begin an application until after August 1 each year. Please do not submit an application before August 1. There is no benefit to submitting an application before the deadline.

The University of Utah Graduate Admissions office and the College of Social Work use a combined online application, “Apply Yourself” (AY). A review of the MSW Apply Yourself Instructions to assist applicants with information required for Social Work MSW application is mandatory, as it contains critical information found nowhere else. Please follow all instructions in this document as well as in the actual Apply Yourself application.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to upload all required documentation prior to submission by the deadline, and to ensure submission of a minimum of four recommendations. Documents or recommendations received late will significantly delay the application process, and may make candidates ineligible for admission. NO LATE APPLICATIONS will be accepted. Applications cannot be processed or evaluated until the applicant has submitted his/her application and paid the Office of Admissions fee. This is the final step in the Apply Yourself program and must be done by 11:59 pm MST on the application deadline date.

The College of Social Work and the University of Utah seek to provide equal access to their programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in the application process, you will need to provide reasonable prior notice to the Center for Disability Services (CDS). The Center’s contact info is: 162 Union Building, 801-581-5020, disability.utah.edu. The Center for Disability Services will work with you and the MSW program to make arrangements for accommodations.

Click here for the Apply Yourself Instructions and Application.

 

Admissions Criteria
The Admissions Committee engages in a holistic review process, drawing information from the following sources:

  1. Official transcripts from all universities/colleges attended
  2. Four professional recommendations (see below)
  3. Autobiographical Essay (see below)
  4. Clinical & Ethical Case Study Analysis (see below)
  5. Timed Social Issues Essay (see below)
  6. Resume (see below)

Occasionally, the Admissions Committee will request an interview with an applicant. Applicants may not request interviews.

Four Professional Recommendations:
Formal letters of recommendation are not needed. Recommendations must be requested through the ApplyYourself application system. Recommendations must be professional in nature and be from an individual who has supervised applicant in some capacity. Supervisors and anyone who has been directly responsible for assessing the applicant’s human service-related work/volunteer experience are suggested, particularly licensed mental health professionals. Personal references from friends, family members, personal therapists, and acquaintances will not be scored.

Autobiographical Essay:
The MSW Admission Committee wants to know (a) why the applicant wants to be a social worker, (b) if the applicant has a sound understanding of the social work profession, and how it differs from other mental health disciplines, and (c) how the applicant’s life experiences have prepared him/her for graduate studies in social work. Formatting: length should be between three and four double-spaced pages.Please do not exceed four pages. Use Times New Roman 12 point font with one inch margins. If the work of others is used or referenced, APA format must be followed. (Please reference the American Psychological Association Publication Manual, 6th edition for information on how to format work appropriately.) Please do not use headers. The autobiographical essay should consider the following elements:

  • What led the applicant to choose social work as a profession and what his/her career goals are
  • Life experiences, family background, and educational experiences as they relate to the applicant’s choice to become a social worker
  • Work and volunteer activities (provide details on social work or human services-related experiences)
  • Leadership abilities and notable achievements
  • Social welfare areas of interest, including how obtaining an MSW would enable the applicant to professionally address these.

Clinical & Ethical Case Study Analysis:
Social Work practice is unique in that person-in-environment is the focus, taking into account the complexity of human experience at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels that either support well-being or provide barriers to individuals’ or families’ abilities to function at optimal levels. The NASW Code of Ethics addresses these complex issues and provides guidance for practice and a framework for resolving ethical dilemmas. There is rarely only one answer or one course of action in the dilemmas social workers face.

Choose one of the four case study options and write an essay identifying factors that should be considered if the applicant were the social worker in the case, including how the NASW Code of Ethics would bear on the case.

Consider the following in writing the essay:

  • Which factors of the client’s case should be considered and why.
  • How would the applicant prioritize competing demands or resolve ethical dilemmas?
  • If there is missing information, how would the applicant go about gathering this information?
  • Focus on the Preamble and Purpose of the Code of Ethics, and then under “Ethical Standards,” reference and cite specific codes from “Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibilities to Clients” section. Reapplicants must choose a different case study in their new applications.

Click here for Case Study options (choose one).

Formatting: the essay should be between four to five double-spaced pages, created in Microsoft Word using Times New Roman 12 point font, with one-inch margins. If the work of others is used or referenced, APA format must be followed.

Timed Social Issues Essay
As part of your application materials, you will be required to complete a timed 60-minute essay on a current social topic. You will be randomized given a list of three topics to choose from and will be asked to argue both for and against the topic. The timed social issues essay is a mandatory part of the MSW application, but has a different completion deadline than the ApplyYourself application. This essay must be completed after submission and independent of the ApplyYourself application.

Within approximately one week after submission of your Apply Yourself application, you will receive an email from Instructure Canvas with a link to the timed essay website. Please add Instructure Canvas to your list of safe senders and also check your spam folder periodically. If you still cannot find the email after about a week of submission of your application, it is your responsibility to contact the MSW office (Lena.Al-Rayess@utah.edu). Do not call the Canvas Help Desk for assistance.

The email sender and subject line will show as follows:

Note that the Instructure Canvas email will be sent to the email address you used to create your ApplyYourself application. Use the Guest Log In to register and log in with this same email address, unless you created the application using your University of Utah uNID email address. If you did not use your U of U UMail address to create the application, do NOT log into Canvas with your uNID or password. Do not try to access the essay through CIS. The timed essay can only be accessed using your application email address.

You may register for the essay in Canvas first, and return to complete the essay another time to avoid last minute issues. Please note that the initial invite link only works once. Future logins must be done from the Canvas Guest login page

You will have 14 days from the date of the Instructure Canvas email to access the site, read the instructions there, and complete the timed essay. If you have not completed the timed essay within the 14-day period after the Instructure Canvas email was sent to you, your application materials will be considered incomplete. Late essay submissions are not accepted. Having an incomplete application will negatively impact your chances for admittance into the MSW program. Please notify us of any potential scheduling conflicts once you have submitted your application in AY.

Your essay will be graded by our Admissions Committee members on the quality of writing, the clarity of arguments, and the presence of well-written arguments both for and against the proposal.

If you are requesting accommodations on the timed social issues essay, you will need to contact the Center for Disability Services (CDS) prior to submitting application materials. The Center’s contact info is: 162 Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD), disability.utah.edu. The Center for Disability Services will work with you and the MSW program to make arrangements for accommodations.

Resume:
Applicants exhibit their understanding of, preparation for, and commitment to social work through their application materials, including a resume. The MSW Admission Committee is particularly interested in the applicant’s paid work and volunteer experience in human services. Click here to see What Counts As Related Experience.

Click here for MSW Resume Instructions & Template.

 

ADMISSION DECISION NOTIFICATION:
MSW application decisions are sent via email and are followed by a separate University of Utah decision, which is posted in the applicant’s AY application after final application review by the Office of Admissions. The university will then send an official acceptance letter containing the applicant’s university ID number in the mail.

Admitted MSW applicants who do not satisfactorily complete the following requirements for admission to the MSW Program will be removed from the program and not allowed to begin or continue the MSW studies, and will need to reapply the following year: Bachelor’s graduation, completion of prerequisite courses, and for Advanced Standing MSW Students, successful completion of all BSW program requirements, including practicum.

 

Decisions
Admission decisions are based on the professional judgment of the MSW Admission Committee. Applicants with questions or those interested in reapplying and wanting guidance may contact the coordinator for MSW Admissions, Lena Al-Rayess at Lena.Al-Rayess@utah.edu. All admissions decisions are final.

 

Background Check Information
Applicants should be aware that the College of Social Work does not conduct criminal background checks; however, many human service organizations and agencies require individuals to pass criminal background checks before entering field placements (practicum). Practicum is required for completion of both the BSW and MSW programs. In addition, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL) may ask about criminal history in the application for licensure and may request an explanation. In some instances, candidates with extensive criminal backgrounds may be unable to secure a license. Questions regarding licensing should be directed to DOPL: www.dopl.utah.gov.

 

Seating Fee
If admitted, a $150 non-refundable deposit is required by the College of Social Work to confirm acceptance of admission and to hold the student’s place in the MSW Program.

 

Financial Aid
Applicants should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to the University of Utah by the priority deadline for the year they are seeking admission, even if they have not been notified of admission status by that date. The link can be found on the College’s Financial Aid and Scholarships page. Please contact the University of Utah Financial Aid Office if you have questions relating to the FAFSA form. The form is available October 1.

 

Scholarship Opportunities
Applicants are encouraged to apply for scholarships through the College of Social Work between February 1 and April 30 of the year for which they are seeking admission, even if they have not been notified of admission status by that date. Students interested in need-based scholarships must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1 to be considered for such funding awards. The scholarship committee will ensure that all students selected as scholarship recipients have been admitted to MSW Program prior to the awarding scholarships. Scholarship decisions are usually made in July. Please see the College’s Financial Aid and Scholarships page for additional information.


Reapplication Process
Reapplicants must submit a new Apply Yourself application, using a different email address than was used for the previous application. Prior applications cannot be resubmitted. Submit all materials as described above, with the following modifications:

  • The autobiographical essay should be updated with what has been done to prepare for reapplication.
  • Submit a new case study analysis essay about a different case.
  • Recommendations can be the same individuals from the original application, but they cannot resubmit their previous recommendation forms.
  • An updated resume, which clearly outlines the number of hours per month and duties for both work and volunteer experiences, is required.
  • At the time of reapplication, applicants should have completed all the prerequisite classes listed in their initial application as needing completion, and any new current year application requirements, such as the timed social issues essay, must also be completed.

 

Admissions FAQ

  1. Is the GRE/MAT required for admissions? No standardized test is required
  2. Do prerequisites need to completed before I apply? No, they just need to be completed before beginning the program.
  3. Is it necessary to have related experience in order to apply? Lack of related experience is a significant disadvantage. Related experience strengthens applications in many ways and it gives applicants the opportunity to become more familiar with the social work field and to learn how it is different from other mental health professions. Click here to see What Counts As Related Experience.
  4. I have already started an MSW program. Can I transfer? A request to transfer from another MSW program into the Advanced Standing MSW program may, under very specific circumstances, be approved. For details, please contact Lena Al-Rayess, Admissions Coordinator at Lena.Al-Rayess@utah.edu.
  5. Can I transfer credit from courses I have already completed? Regardless of how many related credits have been taken at another institution, the university will only accept up to 6 transfer credit hours. Transferred courses must have a grade of “B” or higher.
  6. I have an unrelated bachelors degree. Would getting a BSW increase my chances of getting admitted to the MSW program? Gaining relevant experience, whether it be paid or volunteer, is more likely to strengthen an application than returning to school for another bachelors. However, in some cases (such as a low undergraduate GPA) completing a BSW may be helpful. If you are interested in discussing the BSW program, please contact Elizabeth.Perez@utah.edu, the BSW Advisor.
  7. How much does the program cost? Please see the Tuition Schedules found on the MSW Tuition page. Tuition schedules show cost per credit hour. Students in the Advanced Standing and Two-Year Program can expect to take approximately 15 credit hours a semester. Students in the Three-Year Program will between 6 and 10 credit hours a semester.
  8. Can I start taking MSW courses before officially beginning the program? No, only students currently enrolled in the program can take MSW courses.
  9. Can I start the program in the spring? Because of the sequence of courses the program can only be started in the fall.
  10. Are MSW courses offered online? At this time, all of our courses are offered on campus only.
  11. How can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss the MSW program? MSW Admissions Coordinator Lena Al-Rayess can be contacted at Lena.Al-Rayess@utah.edu or 801-581-4428. An appointment can also be scheduled by clicking the “Book Now” button below.