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Admissions Requirements

MSW Admission Process

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

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Deadlines Admission Requirements Letters of Recommendation Essay Requirements Dual JD/MSW

Application Deadlines


Regular Standing (Full and Part Time) and Advanced Standing (Part Time) (Starts in Fall 2024 (August))

  • 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) (Starts in Summer 2024 (May))

  • 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.


Advanced and Regular Standing (Part Time Only) (Starts in Fall 2024 (August))

  • 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.

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.

Learn More About MSW Online

Admissions Requirements


  • Domestic applicants: Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university OR a Graduate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • International applicants: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. You are considered an international applicant if you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. (*note: international applicants living outside of the United States 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 living outside the United States 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 Generalist-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 is preferred
  • Students with an overall GPA below 2.75 may be considered for provisional admission based on a review of the applicant's transcript(s) and the strengths of the other elements on the application. 


  • 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 for all undergraduate and graduate coursework to the WVU Office of Graduate Admissions at P.O. Box 6009, Morgantown, WV 26506 or (*note: official transcripts for applicants who attended West Virginia University will be uploaded by WVU Graduate Admissions upon submission of the graduate application).
  • Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded by applicants in their application for the purposes of review for admission.  However, official transcripts are required before a formal acceptance to the MSW program is offered.


  • Submit a current resume including employment, volunteer experience, including start and end dates.


Three professional letters of recommendation that address your ability to handle the rigors of graduate studies and your experience and skills in the helping field are required. Contact information for these individuals should be entered into the online Graduate Application (do not have recommenders send letters to the School of Social Work directly). Please submit a recommendation from each of the following categories:

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

Advanced Standing Applicants: 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.

For applicants that have been out of school for more than 5 years and/or have been working in the field, a combination of 3 professional social work and employment recommendations 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.

If you use recommenders other than the suggested academic, social work/human service experience, and employer, discuss your reasons why in the Addendum section of the application essay.


International applicants whose first language is not English must take and submit official test results to demonstrate English language proficiency.  WVU accepts the following minimum requirements for admission to the WVU MSW program:

Academic  IELTS: 6.5
TOEFL iBT: 79 (WVU accepts MyBest scores)
PTE Academic: 53
Duolingo English Test: 105


All applicants must submit an Admissions Essay. This essay is one essential part of the applicant's admission application. This is the applicant's opportunity to communicate with the MSW Admission Committee members about their professional goals and why a master's degree in social work from WVU will help them achieve those goals. Before submitting, make certain that the essay gives the reader a clear picture of your personal interests, experiences, and professional objectives. Please use the headers (Human Services and Community Work, Social work Practice Interests, Professional Ethics, Diversity, Field Internship Requirements, Addendum) and write one to two paragraphs per section.  Once complete, upload the Admissions Essay to your online application under the “ Statement of Purpose ” tab.

Applicants should read the National Association of Social Work (NASW) Code of Ethics and reference the Code of Ethics in their essay where relevant.

The Admission Essay must address each of the following:


    In one to two paragraphs, discuss how your volunteer and paid endeavors in human services, community work, and/or other experiences have contributed to your choice of social work as a profession. The MSW Admissions Committee is looking for evidence of 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.

    In one to two paragraphs, (1) describe an aspect of social work that interests you most, (2) explain how you became interested in this issue and (3) identify how you think social work, as a profession, should respond to this issue. Responses may also include solutions at the policy, program, or practice levels of social work.


    Ethics are different from our basic sense of what is right and wrong; they consist of going above our personal values to identifying the difficult choices made that affect the well-being of people, systems, and societies. In ethical decision-making, answers are rarely clear cut and multiple options may be viable, thus requiring careful consideration.

    Social work ethics include the values, principles, and standards that social workers adhere to in their professional practice. There are two important documents that guide ethical social work practice, the NASW Code of Ethics and the NASW, ASWB, CSWE, and CSWA Standards for Technology in Social Work Practice. 

    In one to two paragraphs, write about a time you felt conflicted ethically about a professional, work, or volunteer situation. Reflect on the ethical aspects you considered, how you responded to the conflict, and in hindsight, what you think of your response. Be sure to reference any relevant standards from the NASW Code of Ethics and/or the Technology Standards cited above in your response.


    As professional social workers, we challenge social injustices and value the worth and dignity of all people. We are guided by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics which promotes ethical and anti-racist social work practice for social workers. At the WVU School of Social Work, we are committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and you can learn more about that commitment by reading our full Mission Statement, Land Acknowledgment Statement, and Antiracism Statement.

    In one to two paragraphs, identify a current example of injustice or a form of systemic discrimination, such as racism, ableism, sexism, etc. that is of major concern to you. What are some possible ways that you could respond to this injustice? As a master’s level social worker, what role do you anticipate playing in promoting social justice, particularly for marginalized and vulnerable populations?


    Field internships are an integral part of MSW education that allow you to apply the theories, knowledge and abilities you learn in the classroom in social work practice settings.  The field internship will require anywhere from 12 – 20/hours per week of your time in addition to your other coursework.  In one to two paragraphs, based on the current policy outline in the MSW Field FAQs share your ideas and strategies around completing field requirements, as you envision fitting field experiences into your school/work/life balance.


    If necessary, applicants can submit an addendum section of their application essay that addresses any gaps or deficiencies in their academic record, including incomplete grades, withdrawals from courses, etc. Also, applicants that use recommenders other than the suggested academic, social work/human services, and employer should explain why in this section. 

    Admission Essay Guidelines have been compiled and adapted from the following institutions: University of Maine, University of Maryland at Baltimore, University of Michigan and New York University.


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

Learn more about the JD/MSW degree