MSW Admissions

Centrally located in New York's Capital Region, UAlbany's School of Social Welfare prepares students to serve vulnerable populations in areas such as aging, children and families, health care, substance abuse, mental health or homelessness. Graduates from the MSW program are prepared to lead government agencies, administer hospitals, direct nonprofits, shape social welfare policy, or build private practices.

An MSW is also the first step for students who wish to become Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs).

Admissions Process

Admission to academic programs at the School of Social Welfare is highly competitive. Prior to being reviewed by the School of Social Welfare’s Admissions Committee, all applications are screened for completeness by the University at Albany’s Graduate Admissions Office.

Completed applications are then forwarded for review to the School of Social Welfare’s MSW Review Committee. The MSW application review process takes approximately 6-8 weeks from the application deadline date.  Decisions are sent by email from the Office of Graduate Admission.

Students applying to the Regular MSW program are admitted for the fall semester of the academic year following the admissions cycle. Student applying to the Advanced Standing program are admitted for the summer semester of the academic year following the admissions cycle.

Online Application

Master of Social Work Student in the classroom. To be admitted to the two year graduate program offered by the School of Social Welfare, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Applications for admissions to all graduate programs at the University at Albany are handled through the Graduate Admissions Office. Step-by-step instructions for preparing your application are available. You can keep track of specific application requirements and deadlines for admission to the full-time MSW and part-time MSW program on the Graduate Admissions Program Deadlines and Requirements page.

Application Deadline

January 30, 2016
This deadline includes all regular and advanced standing applicants. 

All application materials must be electronically submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions.  Transcripts should be sent directly to:

Office of Graduate Education
University at Albany
UAB, Room 121
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

Required Materials

All applications for the MSW program must include:

  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate work attempted.
  • References from three (3) individuals who have known the applicant in an academic, human service, or employment capacity. (Students applying to the Advanced Standing program must include a reference letter from one (1) of the following: his/her field supervisor, the field director, or the field liaison.)
  • 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

Application Review

Professor in a discussion with several studentsAdmission to academic programs in the School of Social Welfare is highly competitive.

The admissions process considers four areas in reviewing applications:

  • GPA: 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.
  • 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.
  • References: It is important to include references from three (3) individuals who have known the applicant in an academic, human service, or employment capacity. Personal or friends of the family should not write references for you. Professional or academic references are best. Be sure to include a copy of your resume as part of the application packet.
  • Personal statement: Reviewers look at both the content, and writing style (spelling and grammar, sentence structure, organization of ideas) and general readability of the essay.

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

Help is Available

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. (click for dates)