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Admissions Requirements

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MSW Admission Process

The School of Social Work has adopted an online application process. Please carefully read and follow all instructions as outlined.

To apply, go to

Application Deadlines

REGULAR STANDING (Full and Part Time) and ADVANCED STANDING (Part Time) - on campus

  • January 15 is the priority deadline*. Applications submitted by January 15 will be given preference for graduate assistantships and scholarships. 
  • March 1 is the standard deadline*. All applications must be submitted by March 1 for consideration.

ADVANCED STANDING (Full Time) - on campus

  • January 15 is the priority deadline for summer admission*.  Applications submitted by January 15 will be given preference for graduate assistantships and scholarships.
  • March 1 is the standard deadline*.  All applications must be submitted by March 1 for consideration.


  • February 1 is the priority deadline.* Applications submitted by February 1 will be given preference for scholarships.
  • April 15 is the standard deadline. Applications submitted between February 1 and April 15 will be reviewed on a rolling basis. All applications must be submitted by April 15 for consideration.
  • June 14, 2019 is the deadline for Advanced Standing online applicants only.  

*Please remember that all required materials must be received and processed by the deadline dates listed above. Keep in mind transcripts, references, and test scores often take longer than anticipated to arrive. 


Note: Materials marked with an ' * ' must be uploaded/submitted at in the Supplemental Material section.


  • Domestic applicants: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • International applicants: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (*note: international applicants are not eligible to apply to the online MSW program)


  • Domestic applicants who have received a BSW from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program within the last eight years may apply for advanced-standing.
  • International applicants who have received a BSW from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program, recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Services, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors within the last eight years may apply for advanced-standing. (*note: international applicants are not eligible to apply to the online MSW program)
  • Advanced-standing enables the baccalaureate-holding social worker to move directly to the program’s advanced curriculum, waiving foundation-level courses as well as the foundation field experience.

The School of Social Work does not give academic credit for work or life-experience.


  • At least a 2.75 overall GPA required, though a 3.0 GPA is preferred
  • A 3.25 or higher GPA for advanced-standing applicants in their undergraduate social work courses
  • Students with an overall GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 must submit GRE test scores


  • Complete the combined WVU Graduate/School of Social Work application
  • Select "Social Work - On Campus" for the on-campus program and "Social Work - Online" for the online program
  • Students can apply to both the on-campus and online programs, but must submit separate applications and indicate their preference in the Admissions Essay or Addendum section of the applications
  • $60 application fee per application


  • Submit official transcripts to the WVU Office of Graduate Admissions at P.O. Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506


  • Submit a current resume including employment and volunteer experience


Three professional letters of recommendation are required. Contact information for these individuals should be provided within the online Graduate Application. Please submit a recommendation from each of the following categories*** (see note below):

  • Academic**(see note for advanced-standing applicants below)
  • Social Work/Human Service Experience (volunteer or paid)
  • Employer

**It is preferred that advanced-standing applicants submit a supporting recommendation from the director of their undergraduate program.  Use this as the academic reference. A recommendation from a different BSW faculty member is also acceptable.

***The recommendation suggestions above are preferable, however, for applicants that have been out of school for many years or who have been working in the field, a combination of 3 professional recommendations that address your ability to handle the rigors of graduate studies and your experience and skills in the helping field are acceptable. For students right out of undergraduate studies with little work experience; a combination of 3 professional recommendations that include 2 academic references and a social work/human service experience recommendation are appropriate. Questions? Contact us at


Applicants with an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 do not have to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE).

Applicants whose undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 (and above a 2.75) must take the GRE. Official copies of test scores must be sent directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS) to WVU. Our Institution code is 5904.

International Students whose first language is not English must take and submit official test results for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The GRE is also required if GPA is below 3.0 (and above a 2.75). (*note: international applicants are not eligible to apply to the online MSW program)


All applicants must submit an Admission Essay. Please read the detailed description below.

Admission Essay Guidelines

This essay is one essential part of the student's admission application. This is the student's opportunity to communicate with the Graduate Program Committee members about their professional goals. Before submitting, make certain that the essay gives the reader a clear picture of your personal interests, experiences, and professional objectives. Once complete, please upload the Admissions Essay to your online application under the “Personal Statement” tab.

The Admission Essay must address each of the following:


Please discuss any volunteer or paid experiences in human services, community work, and/or other experiences that contributed to your choice of social work as a profession. The Program Committee is looking for evidence of some leadership ability, experience, or interest in working with diverse populations or oppressed groups; commitment to social and economic justice; and other interests congruent with WVU’s School of Social Work mission and social work practice in a rural setting.


The NASW Code of Ethics includes the following statement:

“Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. Social workers promote clients’ socially responsible self-determination. Social workers seek to enhance a client’s capacity and opportunity to change and to address their own needs. Social workers are cognizant of their dual responsibility to clients and to the broader society. They seek to resolve conflicts between client’s interests and the broader society’s interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values, ethical principles, and ethical standards of the profession.”

Using a specific experience you have had with someone/some group different than you (in terms of race, socioeconomic background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, culture, age, etc.), discuss what challenges you had and what lessons you learned from this. How did the interaction affect your personal views about this individual/group? How will you reconcile any conflicts between your personal values and the requirement of the profession?


Please describe an aspect of social work that interests you most and explain how you became interested in this issue. Identify how you think social work, as a profession, should respond to this issue. Feel free to describe a response at the policy, program, or practice levels of social work.


If necessary, applicants should submit an addendum that addresses any gaps or deficiencies in their academic record, including incomplete grades, withdrawals from courses, etc.


Students applying for advanced standing status are required to complete a case study on a hypothetical practice example. Case vignettes for the case study can be downloaded here. 

Choose one of the case examples provided regarding an individual, group, family, or organization and describe it, making sure to cover the elements listed below. 

Your description headings should include the following:

Introduction – A brief summary of the agency and setting. 

Assessment – A summary of the essential case data, including age, ethnicity, race, presenting problem, history of the problem, coping abilities. (If the assessment is based on a group or organization, describe the type of group/organization, membership makeup, and purpose). Be sure to highlight any information that is missing that you may want to know more about.

Case Plan – Describe a hypothetical case plan and how it relates to the assessment evaluation.

Interventions – Describe and analyze some hypothetical practice interventions and how they are related to the case plan or assessment formulation.This section should include a summary of potential micro-level interventions as well as any agency, institutional, or governmental level policies that may need to be addressed. 

Evaluation – Critically analyze the strength and limitations of your proposed interventions. Are there potential barriers or obstacles that you might face if you were to engage with this client system in real life?Are there any ethical issues that you may need to address? 

*Your case study should be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point font and between 500-750 words. Be sure to cite any outside sources in APA format. 

Admission Essay Guidelines have been compiled and adapted from the following institutions: University of Maine, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland at Baltimore, and the University of Michigan .

Dual MSW/M.P.A.

Students interested in the Dual MSW/MPA program need to apply for both programs separately.  This program is only available on-campus.

Learn more about the MSW/MPA degree