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. 16, 2019

Notification of admission decision: Apr. 10, 2019

Deposit due: May 1, 2019

Field application due: May 20, 2019

Advanced standing

Complete application due: Dec. 1, 2018

Notification of admission decision: Mar. 20, 2019

Deposit due: Apr. 3, 2019

Field application due: Apr. 10, 2019

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 passed with a ‘C’ or above, a minimum of one three-credit course in each of the areas below. Applicants that do not meet the prerequisite criteria are admitted provisionally with enough time to register for and complete the course requirement at a university or community college of their choice. 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 option who meet minimum admission requirements will have a face-to-face interview 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.

Applicants that are not accepted for the advanced standing option will be considered for the full-time regular standing on-campus option unless the applicant specifies otherwise.

Application materials

The application form, along with all other additional materials, must be submitted to Graduate Admissions digitally through the online application system. When you apply to the M.S.W. program you will have to select your area of specializationeither clinical or social work program, planning and policy practice (SWAPPP). You may change your specialization at any time prior to enrolling in your specialization courses.

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.
  • Professional statement of intent (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 each of the following:
    • Describe a social problem that relates to social justice.
      • Indicate potential solutions to the problem
      • Indicate 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. Work or volunteer experience cannot be considered in your application without this information.
  • 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 option 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 placement evaluation(s). If the applicant has not completed a placement but is currently enrolled in 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 generalist 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
  • Course syllabi for all graduate social work courses that they 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.

The admissions review process involves an evaluation of each application in four broad areas: educational preparation, work experience, professional statement of intent and recommendations. Applicants are also evaluated based on compliance with the Technical Standards and Essential Functions for Social Work Students.

Accepting offers

Applicants will be notified by email no later than April 10. Advanced standing applicants will be notified by email no later than March 20.

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.

Prospective students are encouraged to apply for the Child Welfare Stipend Program at VCU which provides M.S.W. student participants a $10,000 stipend per academic year.

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

Mandatory orientation

Once admitted, students are required to attend a mandatory M.S.W. Program and Office of Field Education orientation. You will receive information from the program with specific details about the mandatory orientations, including date and time. Advanced standing orientation is held in mid-May prior to the start of advanced-standing field. Orientations for regular standing students are typically scheduled the week 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 professional statement of intent. There is no guarantee of admission in the following admission cycle.