School of Social Work

Master of Social Work


Admission Requirements

    1. Applicants must have a liberal arts based baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, with substantial content or coursework in traditional liberal arts areas including content in humanities (e.g., art history and art appreciation, literature, philosophy and logic, music, theater), social and behavioral sciences (e.g., anthropology, history, communication, political science, psychology, sociology) physical and natural sciences (e.g., astronomy, atmospheric science, biology, chemistry, physics, geology), and mathematics [e.g., mathematics, statistics, computer science). In addition, an applicant is to have successfully completed a college level course in introductory statistics. An applicant who does not have adequate liberal arts content or a statistics course must acquire such prior to matriculating in the program.

    2. Applicants must meet all the general admission requirements of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Graduate School and the School of Social Work. Any student who receives graduate credit for a course at UM-St. Louis must have been admitted to the Graduate School in one of the categories specified for admission: "Regular", "Restricted", or "Provisional."  The Graduate School requires that a student admitted to a graduate program as a "Regular" student (unconditional admission status) have both a cumulative undergraduate grade point average and a major field grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. The School of Social Work requires a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average for regular or unconditional admission to the Master of Social Work program. Transcripts must be sent from the institutions directly to Graduate Admissions, UM-St. Louis, One University Boulevard, St. Louis MO 63121-4499.

    3. International students whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language [TOEFL] examination and score 550 or above.

    4. Applicants must submit three letters of reference from persons who can address the applicant's academic ability and potential for graduate education and professional social work practice.

    5. Applicants are required to sign a statement regarding mental health and past criminal activity. These are not reasons to preclude an applicant from admission; however, they do allow the program to be sensitive to the unique needs and barriers some applicants may encounter as they progress through the program, particularly in the field placement experience.

    6. Completion of the Graduate School Application

    7. Completion of the MSW Application.

Choosing Academic and Professional Recommenders

Please submit three recommendations from the following sources:

We strongly suggest that you submit recommendations from professional social workers or human service professionals who have knowledge of your aptitude for graduate-level studies, and your commitment to social work values. The recommendation forms are required, accompanying letters are encouraged.  Recommendations from family and friends will NOT be accepted under any circumstances.  

MSW Recommendation Form

MSW Applicant Recommendation Form Instructions

Complete the top portion of the form (type or print), sign and date before giving the form to a recommender.  An electronic signature is acceptable. Your student ID number is required. It is located at the top right of the application receipt email you received from the Graduate School.

Recommenders accustomed to using pdf forms may complete and submit the form via email to  An electronic signature in any form is acceptable, provided the recommendation is sent from the professional email address of the recommender.  Please note: electronic submissions sent from the applicant will not be accepted.

If your recommender is likely to prefer a hard copy form, please complete the top portion of the form, sign and date before printing. Please provide your recommender with a return envelope stamped and addressed to: 

School of Social Work, MSW Program Office
University of Missouri – St. Louis
121 Bellerive Hall (MC 93)
One University Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63121-4400

Note*It is your responsibility to ensure that your completed recommendation forms are received by the School of Social Work, MSW Program office prior to the application deadline: Fall - February 15 (priority) or April 15 (secondary).  Spring - November 15 (BSW graduates with advanced standing only).

Please contact the MSW Program office at 314-516-7665 with questions.

MSW Program Application Essays

Applicants must submit written statements responding to three specific essays that focus on:

(1) their career goals,
(2) life experiences which have contributed to a commitment to the profession of social work, and
(3) thoughts on the issues of oppression and discrimination in society. 

Focus should reflect both strong content and good writing mechanics.

Essential Abilities for Social Workers

The National Association of Social Workers' Code of Ethics


The application deadline is February 15 for all students (full or part‑time) seeking admission for the Fall semester.  A second priority deadline of April 15 may be used to fill any remaining slots. All materials, including transcripts and recommendations, must be received in the Graduate Admissions office at UM‑ St. Louis by the deadline. Applicants that hold a BSW degree and qualify for advanced standing may also be considered for the Spring deadline, November 15th. 

Thank you for your interest in the MSW Program.  For further information or questions, please contact the MSW Program Office at 314.516.7665 or