Common Searches

MSW Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do MSW-level social workers do?

A: MSW social workers work in a variety of fields including: aging; child welfare; community organization; developmental disabilities; employment/occupational social work; health care; international social work; justice/corrections; management/administration of social agencies; mental health/clinical social work; policy and planning and advocacy; politics; research; public welfare; school social work; and substance misuse and addictions. For more information, visit the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website.

Q:  How do I apply for the MSW program? A:  You must complete both a Graduate School and a School of Social Work supplemental application.  For more information you may contact The Graduate School at (314) 516-5900, or the Social Work MSW/Field Education Office at (314) 516-7665. For information on the MSW Program at the Mineral Area College, please contact the UMSL representative at (573) 518-2265.

Q: What are application deadlines?

A: Applications for the Fall semester are due by March 1st. Spring semester applications are due by October 15th. All application materials, including transcripts and recommendations, must be received in the School of Social Work by the deadline.    

Q: Is the GRE or other graduate exam required for MSW admission?

A: No, an exam is not required.

Q: Are there particular undergraduate courses required for the MSW program?

A: Yes. The undergraduate education must reflect a sound liberal arts foundation. An introductory course in statistics passed with a 'C' or better is also required. Incoming MSW students who have not yet successfully completed a course in statistics must do so by the end of the first semester of the MSW program. The statistics course may be taken at any accredited institution of higher education, online, or at a community college. 

Q: How many credit hours are required for the MSW?

A: The MSW is a 60 credit hour program. Fewer credits are required for students with Advanced Standing (see below).

Q: May I attend the MSW program part time?

A: Yes, you may attend part time or full time. Full time students (non-Advanced Standing) complete the degree in two years. Part time students must complete degree requirements in four years.

Q: Are MSW courses only offered at the St. Louis campus of UMSL?

A: We offer most courses on the St. Louis campus, but the full MSW curriculum is also offered at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, MO in alternating years. For more information please contact the UMSL Admissions office at MAC at (573) 518-2265, or Lori Curtis, at (314) 516-6751 or lcurtis@umsl.edu.

Q: What is the difference between Advanced Standing and a Waiver?

A: Advanced Standing is given to students with an undergraduate degree from an accredited BSW program. Advanced Standing reduces the total hours required for the MSW. A Waiver for a class permits a student who has had similar content in another program (at the undergraduate or graduate level) to skip the corresponding course in the MSW program and replace it with another one. It does not reduce the total hours required for the MSW. See the Advanced Standing section for complete details.

Q: Can I get Advanced Standing in the MSW program?

A: Yes, you may be eligible for up to 24 credit hours of Advanced Standing if you have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited BSW program within the past 5 years, and you have earned at least a “B” in each of the courses. Some courses may be accepted for Advanced Standing for up to 10 years if you have been working for at least 5 years in social work or a closely related field.  See the Advanced Standing section for full details.

Q: May I transfer credits from another MSW program into the MSW program?

A: Yes, you may be eligible to transfer up to 20 hours into the MSW program depending on the grades you earned in those courses.

Q: What about transferring credits from a non-social work master’s program?

A: You may be eligible to transfer up to 12 credit hours for courses in which you earned a “B” or better. These would count toward electives in the MSW program. Occasionally a course taken in a non-social work master’s degree program may substitute for a required course. These decisions will be made at the first advising appointment.

Q: What if my grade point average is below 2.75, the minimum considered for admission into the Graduate School and the MSW program? Can I still apply for the MSW program?

A: If your GPA is lower than 3.0, but above 2.5, you may apply for the program. The Admissions Committee occasionally admits strong applicants with a lower GPA, however you must indicate why your GPA is low and why you think you are now prepared for graduate studies. Current undergraduate students may be able to strengthen their  application by taking additional advanced senior level classes in the social sciences. Returning students might consider taking similar classes for post baccalaureate credit. Note--enrollment in a Masters level social work course is restricted to students already admitted to the MSW or related graduate program. Work experience and/or significant volunteer experience in a human services environment, as well as positive references from former or current instructors may also be helpful.

Q: What about financial aid?

A: There are several opportunities for financial aid for MSW students. See the Graduate School website for more information on scholarships and other sources of funding.

Q: Is there a loan forgiveness program for social workers?

A: There are some loan forgiveness programs for social workers. See the National Association for Social Workers website for more information. (This is not handled through the School of Social Work.)

Q: I've explored the MSW website but I have a few more questions. Is there someone in the School of Social Work that I can contact?

A: For questions regarding the MSW application process, general program questions, or to set up MSW inquiry appointment, you may contact Devin Dixon at (314) 516-7665, or by email to socialwork@umsl.edu. Financial aid questions need to be directed to the Financial Aid office at (314) 516-5526.