MSW Admissions


  • To be admitted to the two year graduate program offered by the School of Social Welfare, applicants must hold a liberal arts bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Applications may be submitted for admission to a program leading to a Master's degree or doctoral degree, or for non-degree study. All applications must be submitted on the official application form. Application forms are available in two formats:

* You may apply online

Information Sessions (click for dates)

Information sessions are available to assist applicants who desire clarification or more detailed information about programs and admission standards. To attend an information session, please call 518-442-5320.

The admissions process considers four areas in reviewing applications:

  1. Undergraduate Curriculum:  Social sciences or liberal arts with courses in sociology and psychology are preferred.  Human biology is required but you can take a course once you are admitted if you did not include this in your undergraduate studies.  A GPA of 3.0+ is preferred but a lower GPA does not preclude you from consideration.  Reviewers take into consideration your total educational, professional, and volunteer experiences.

    If your undergraduate GPA is below a 3.0 it is highly recommended that you take graduate courses as a non-matriculated student in the School of Social Welfare and do extremely well in the courses.  Non-matriculated students can take up to 12 credits in the School of Social Welfare.  If accepted in the MSW program, the non-matriculated courses will transfer into the program.

  2. Work and Volunteer Experience:  What type of work have you done in the human services (current employment is a plus).  In addition, volunteer work during undergraduate years and summer employment is a plus. It is mandatory to include a resume with the application packet.

  3. References: Three (3) references, with at least 1 academic reference, 1 work-related reference and the third can be either academic or professional. It would be good to have a reference from a social worker whom you know professionally.

    Personal friends and friends of the family should not write references for you. Professional or academic references are best. Include a copy of your resume as part of the application packet.

    Advanced Standing Applicants must have at least one (1) of the three (3) references come from either the Director of Field Education at the undergraduate college/university attended or the supervisor from the field placement agency.

  4. Personal statement:  Reviewers look at both content (Why do you want to pursue a career in social work, what do you know about social work other than social workers help people), and writing style (spelling and grammar, sentence structure, organization of ideas and general readability of the essay).

Application Deadlines

*Students applying to the Regular MSW program are admitted only once per year for the Fall semester of the following academic year.

All students, except for Advanced Standing students, begin class in the Fall semester following the admissions cycle.

**Advanced Standing students begin class the Summer semester immediately following the admissions cycle.**

Students applying to the Advanced Standing program must include a reference letter from: his/her field supervisor OR the field director OR the field liaison. One of the three recommendations received with the admissions material MUST be from one of the people mentioned above.

  • Regular Admissions Applications:
    The deadline (all application materials must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions) for Regular Admissions is:
      • Wednesday, January 15, 2014
        The MSW program will start the following fall semester for early and regular admits.

    Application review:

    • Admission to academic programs in the School of Social Welfare is highly competitive.
    • Prior to being reviewed by the School of Social Welfare Admissions Committee, all applications are screened for completeness by the Department of Graduate Admissions on the main campus of the University at Albany, State University of New York.
    • Completed applications are then reviewed by the Admissions Review Committee at the School of Social Welfare

      NOTE: The merit of any one criterion is considered in light of all others when admissions decisions are made. The overall quality of the application will provide the basis for admission.

      NOTE: Applicants should be aware that some states, such as New York State, restrict or deny professional licensure for people with felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions, or actions taken against them by a professional organization.

      If you have such a situation, you would benefit from consulting with your state’s licensing board before you submit your application. Your application will be subject to a more rigorous review by both the Department of Graduate Admissions on the main campus and The School of Social Welfare’s Admission Committee

      All applicants for the MSW degree program must submit:

    • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work attempted.
    • References from three individuals who have known the applicant in academic, human service, or employment capacity.
    • An updated resume.
    • A two to four (2-4) page statement of personal goals and career objectives that includes all of the following:
      • Why the applicant wishes to pursue a career in social work.
      • Discussion of previous experience that led to this decision.
      • The nature and meaning of all paid and volunteer work experience relevant to social work career goals

    View Your Current Application Status

    Thank you for your application to the Graduate Study at the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare. You may check on the status of your application at any time by using our applicant self service page. In order to access your application status, you will first need to log into the system using the following guest credentials:

    UserID:  uaguest
    Password:  uaguest

    Both UserID and Password are lower case. (Note: You may be able to skip this step if you have previously signed in as a guest or as a UAlbany affiliate during the same browser session.) You will then need to enter your email address and the application number that was provided in your application confirmation notification.