School of Social Work

Graduate Transfer Credit


According to the University’s Graduate School, the final two-thirds (67%) of the courses in a master's degree program must be completed in residence at the University (see the 2011-2012 UM-St. Louis Bulletin,, under Residence Requirement.). In view of this policy, the School of Social Work can accept up to 20 hours of graduate credit from another regionally accredited college or university (exceptions to the one-third limit may be granted by the Dean of the Graduate School). However, through an allowable process of combining course/credit transfers and courses waivers, the School may be able to accept a full first year (30 semester credit hours or the equivalent) from another graduate program in social work that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Accepting first year coursework from any other graduate program in social work assumes, of course, that the coursework is comparable to and consistent with coursework in the MSW program’s professional foundation curriculum. Transfer credit may be granted only for regular graduate courses for which a grade of A or B, or the equivalent is achieved. Graduate degree credit may be allowed for graduate institutes and workshops only if they are offered by an accredited public college or university. All graduate institute and workshop credit is considered transfer credit by the Graduate School and only three hours of transfer credit in this category is permitted.

A student who does not possess a baccalaureate degree in social work but who has had previous undergraduate coursework in social work from a CSWE accredited program, may be given a waiver from some of the professional foundation courses i.e., Social Policy and Services (SW 5200), Research Methods and Analysis 1 (SW 4400), Social Work and Human Service Organizations (SW 4250), Diversity and Social Justice (SW 4100), and Foundations of Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SW 4200) and allowed to take elective courses instead. Students must received a grade of B or higher in all prior courses in social work in order to qualify for waiver or exemption credit. 

A student from a non-accredited undergraduate social work program, or a student who has taken comparable (or similar) coursework in other baccalaureate or master's degree programs, may be exempted or waived from some of the courses in the professional foundation curriculum by passing a series of proficiency examinations.  To be eligible to take a particular proficiency examination, a student must have received a grade of B or higher in a similar course.  Receiving satisfactory and/ or passing grades on proficiency examinations does not reduce the total number of semester credit hours needed to complete the Master of Social Work degree program. It does, however, give a student an opportunity to take additional elective course work as part of his or her program of study.

In any event, course waivers i.e., possession of a baccalaureate degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program, passing of proficiency examinations, or transfer of credits are made on a case-by-case basis. Decisions about course waivers are based upon a number of important factors including (a) date(s) when previous academic work was completed [note: courses used as a basis for waiver requests cannot exceed the Graduate School's six-year rule], (b) currency of the course(s) serving as the basis of the waiver, (c) the student's professional experience and/or training since the completion of coursework, and (d) the student's career goals and objectives.

Please note: Academic credit cannot be given for life experiences and previous work experience, in whole or in part, in lieu of field practicum or foundation year courses.