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Master of Social Work

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2-Year Full-Time or Part-Time Program

Applicants must have bachelor’s degrees from accredited universities before the start of the M.S.W. course and field work. Applicants’ undergraduate studies must reflect the successful completion of liberal arts courses, including those in the social sciences and humanities which focus on the development of knowledge in communication; social, biological, and behavioral sciences; history; philosophy and the ways in which knowledge is gained and applied; and the value of a multicultural and diverse society.

Advanced-Standing Criteria

The Advanced-Standing Program requires a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program with a grade-point average of at least 3.0. A higher grade-point average is desirable. Applicants who earned their social work bachelor’s degrees within the 2 years before applying to the M.S.W. program must submit a copy of their practicum evaluation as well as a letter of recommendation for graduate studies completed by one of their practice instructors. In addition, all applicants who have been employed in a social work setting should submit a letter of recommendation from at least one supervisor who can address the applicant’s knowledge, skill, and readiness for graduate education.

Admission decisions take into account the applicants’ amount and types of social service experience, letters of recommendation, narrative statement, writing skills, and undergraduate grade-point averages and courses completed.

The Advanced-Standing Program is a full-time, 1-year program. Under special and limited circumstances, a part-time program may be allowed, if the student’s plan for part-time study is consistent with the educational mission of the school and has been approved by the M.S.W. program director. To be considered for advanced standing, current seniors should submit transcripts that document their fall semester grades and their successful practicum experience. All applications to either the the regular M.S.W. or the Advanced-Standing Program become the property of the University of Kansas.

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Application Procedure for All Options

A minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is preferred. The admissions committee takes into account special circumstances such as improvement of grades in upper-division or graduate courses. We look for evidence of an applicant’s commitment to the well-being of people and communities; a well-developed sense of self; emotional maturity and the ability to think clearly, creatively, and independently. Graduate Record Examination scores are not required.

Applicants are evaluated on undergraduate grade-point average, graduate course work (if any), volunteer and work experience especially related to social work, and evidence of potential for a social work career in the application narrative and references.

Applications can be filled out and submitted online beginning October 1 each year. The applicant is responsible for gathering the following supporting materials:

  • 1 copy of student-issued transcripts from all previously attended schools regardless of degree status,
  • 3 letters of reference via the online process, and
  • A nonrefundable application fee.

Please observe the specific instructions provided in the application area of the school's website.

Applications are reviewed beginning in October. Admission decisions are made in the spring of each year. Advanced-Standing M.S.W. students begin in June; all other M.S.W. students (full time and part time) begin in August. A final, official degree-posted transcript in a sealed envelope must be submitted before the start of classes.

Final Deadlines

All applications are reviewed upon receipt. The deadline for the Advanced-Standing Program is January 15. The deadline for applications to the regular M.S.W. program (full time or part time) is February 15. Early application is encouraged.

To ensure your privacy, we are unable to provide admission decisions by telephone. All decision notifications are sent via email.

All application materials become the property of the University of Kansas.

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Planning Your Commitment

Students are admitted on either a full- or a part-time basis. In making decisions about full- or part-time study, students should consider that each class requires several hours of preparation each week. The program is demanding; students can expect reading assignments and paper preparation and should be prepared to fulfill practicum commitments averaging 2½ to 3 days a week.

Students admitted part time take 6 credit hours each semester the first year and the additional 10 hours, including practicum, the second year. Full-time students enroll in 16 credit hours each semester. Currently, the M.S.W. program is a weekday program in Lawrence. Week-day, late-afternoon, evening, and Saturday courses are offered on the KU Edwards Campus.

At the foundation level and in the social work administrative and advocacy practice concentration, all courses offer the blended courses option. In the clinical concentration, blended courses are offered that meet concentration requirements for students interested in Health/Mental Health and Children and Families. The blended courses option combines face-to-face and online learning, with in-class attendance on either the Lawrence or KU Edwards campus occurring 1 day every other week. We offer late afternoon, evening, and Saturday courses on the Edwards campus. Saturday courses on the Edwards campus are offered only in the blended courses option. On the Lawrence campus, classes are offered during the week in both traditional and blended courses formats. An offer of admission does not guarantee a student's choice for classes held at specific days of the week or time of day.

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International Students

All students from abroad, including students from English-speaking countries, must visit KU’s Applied English Center for verification of English language skills. You may be required to take an English Language Proficiency Test and to enroll in English language courses if you do not pass that test.

Note: The need to take English courses may delay your start in or extend the length of the M.S.W. program.

If you are admitted to the M.S.W. program, your admission to the School of Social Welfare is provisional. You must visit the KU International Student and Scholar Services Office, Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 2, Lawrence, KS 66045-7518, isss@ku.edu, for your I-20 documentation.

You must also visit the Applied English Center, Lippincott Hall, 1410 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 204, Lawrence, KS 66045-7537, aec@ku.edu.

The International Conference on Social Welfare recommends that before seeking professional education for social work in the United States, a student should complete comparable study available in his or her own country and acquire a minimum of 2 years of social work experience there.

International students also must submit

  1. Original bank statements showing evidence of your and/or your sponsor’s financial ability to pay for your educational and living expenses. Adequate health insurance coverage also is required.
  2. Evidence of having taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination within the past 2 years. Minimum scores are subject to change. Please visit the application area of our website for the latest minimum scores.
  3. 1 official, original-language copy of your academic records with a certified English translation.
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