M.S.W. Admission

Only full and complete application packages received by the deadline will be reviewed. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Admission deadlines

Regular standing

Complete application due: Jan. 17, 2018

Notification of admission decision: April 11, 2018

Deposit due: May 2, 2018

Field application due: May 23, 2018

Advanced standing

Complete application due: Dec. 1, 2017
Notification of admission decision: March 21, 2018
Deposit due: April 4, 2018

Admission requirements

Regular standing applicants

  • Four-year undergraduate degree (or the equivalent thereof as determined by VCU International Admissions if degree was earned outside of the U.S.)
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • By the time of matriculation in the fall, all applicants must have had 30 liberal arts credits, including one three-credit course in each of the areas below. These may be taken in the summer prior to fall entry. Failure to complete these requirements before the start of fall classes could preclude admission to the program.
    • Math and/or computer science
    • Biology (must include human biology content)
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

Advanced standing applicants

  • B.S.W. degree from an accredited institution, no more than five years old prior to the date of application
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0

All applicants for the advanced standing program who meet minimum admission requirements will have a face-to-face interview with a faculty member at the School of Social Work. Immediately following the interview, applicants will complete a case assessment exercise. This entire process (interview and case assessment) will require about two hours of the applicant’s time.

Application materials

The application form, along with all other additional materials, must be submitted to Graduate Admissions digitally through the online application system.

Additional items include:

  • Three letters of recommendation. Select a cross-section of references, including employers, faculty or other individuals who have evaluated your work and can speak to your academic abilities and/or related paid social work or volunteer experience.
  • Personal statement (900 to 1,500 words). We are looking for your ability to demonstrate your understanding of the social work profession and your suitability for our program. Visit the National Association of Social Workers website to learn more about social work ethics and values. The professional statement should address the following:
    • Describe a social problem that relates to social justice.
      • Indicate potential solutions to the problem and potential challenges that could surface.
      • Incorporate social work ethical values and principles that will guide your approach to addressing this problem.
    • Describe your goals in the social work profession.
      • Indicate the academic, professional and life experiences that prepare you for this program.
      • Indicate your preparedness as it pertains to working with socially and economically disadvantaged populations.
      • Specify the resources and supports available to you to successfully complete the M.S.W. degree program and manage challenges that may include the academic rigor of the program as well as the stress that is common to working with intense life experiences of people and communities served by social workers.
  • Resume detailing education, volunteer and employment experiences, including beginning and ending month and year as well as the average hours worked or volunteered per week.
  • Original and complete transcripts from all institutions attended, including current or past VCU transcripts for applicants who have attended or are attending VCU.

Advanced standing applicants

Applicants to the advanced standing format in the M.S.W. degree program must submit the standard application package including the items listed above. Additionally, they must submit a copy of a field internship evaluation(s). If the applicant has not completed an internship but is currently in the field, an evaluation from the field instructor or liaison must be included with the application.

Transfer students

Transfer students from another accredited M.S.W. program must submit the standard application package including the items listed above. We will accept up to 30 foundation credit hours in transfer.  Transfer for the Summer and Fall must be submitted by the third Wednesday in January of the year in which they want to transfer. Transfer for spring must be submitted by the second Wednesday in October preceding the spring in which they want to transfer. Additionally, they must submit:

  • A letter of good standing from the department chair/head of your current program
  • Course syllabi for all graduate social work courses that you wish to transfer
  • M.S.W. field evaluation

Find information on transfer credits and course waivers on the VCU Bulletins website.

Admissions review consideration

The admission process is complex for both the regular and advanced standing programs, as are the reasons for deciding to admit or not admit an applicant. For the past several years the school has had many more applicants than can be admitted to the program.

The admissions review process involves an evaluation of each application in four broad areas: educational preparation, work experience, personal statement and recommendations.

Accepting offers

Applicants will be notified by email no later than April 11. Advanced standing applicants will be notified by email no later than March 21.

Once an admission offer is made, it must be officially accepted and a $300 tuition deposit must be made by the indicated deadline to secure your place in the cohort.

Accepted students are encouraged to apply for the Child Welfare Stipend Program at VCU.

Learn more about the stipend program and M.S.W. scholarship opportunities online.

Cohort size

The fall 2018 M.S.W. admission maximum cohort size is:

  • Advanced standing: 25 students
  • Distance education: 65 students
  • Regular standing, on-campus (full and part-time): 135 students

Mandatory orientation

Once admitted, students are required to attend a mandatory MSW Program orientation. You will receive information from the program with specific details of your mandatory orientation including date and time. ASP orientations are held in mid-May prior to the start of ASP field. Orientations for regular standing students are typically on the Tuesday or Wednesday before the first day of classes in August. Please view the schedule on the Graduate School website.


Applicants who request a deferral after receiving an offer of admission must reapply for admission the following admission cycle. Applicants will only need to complete the online application and pay the application fee but are not required to resubmit materials such as letters of reference or a personal statement.