Thank you for your interest in the MSW Program at UNC Charlotte. Applications are submitted through the UNC Charlotte Graduate School’s website. Use the “Apply Now” link below:
There are two available pathways to earn the MSW on campus (traditional):
- 1-year Advanced Standing Plan of Study – Advanced standing is awarded only to applicants holding degrees from baccalaureate social work programs accredited by CSWE, those recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors. Students start this plan of study in the first summer session and complete this Plan of Study over a one-year period.
- 2-year Plan of Study – Students start classes in the fall semester and complete the program over a two-year period.
There are two available pathways to earn the MSW online (Distance Education):
Courses are delivered online with most having virtual class meetings weekday evenings or Saturdays. Practicum is completed in person.
- 2-year Advanced Standing Plan of Study – Advanced standing is awarded only to applicants holding degrees from baccalaureate social work programs accredited by CSWE, those recognized through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service, or covered under a memorandum of understanding with international social work accreditors. Students start this plan of study in the first summer session and complete this Plan of Study over a two-year period.
- 3-year Plan of Study – Students start classes in summer and complete the program over a three-year period. Practicum is completed in person.
Minimum Criteria Used for Admission
The criteria used for admission to the MSW program (traditional/campus-based and online/Distance Education) are:
- Earned baccalaureate degree or its U.S. equivalent, from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body. See the Graduate Catalog Glossary for a list of accrediting bodies.
- GPA 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) as indicated by transcripts – If an applicant has earned or attempted a post-baccalaureate degree (i.e. a master’s, doctoral or other), grades in that program will also be taken into consideration. The website includes this note: It is rare that applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 are offered admission and usually those who are have other compelling evidence pointing to success (e.g., – GPAs very close to 3.0, extensive work experience, earned master’s degree or graduate certificate in a related area with a 3.0 or higher).
- Three recommendations
- Statement of Purpose addressing all of the following in no more than four (4) double-spaced pages:
- Describe why you want to become a master’s level social worker.
- Discuss how the MSW program at UNC Charlotte will help you achieve your career goals.
- Describe the population(s) and/or social problems(s) you are interested in.
- Identify a social, economic, or environmental challenge in the NC/Charlotte region and how you, as a master’s level social worker, might intervene.
- Using the principles outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics, describe how you think a social worker can bring about social change.
- For non-native English language speakers: A minimum score of 83 on the Internet-based TOEFL or a minimum overall band score of 6.5 on the IELTS is required for admissions consideration.
Advanced Standing Eligibility
Applicants are eligible to apply for Advanced Standing (traditional/campus-based and online/Distance Education) if they meet the minimum criteria used for admission and one of the following:
- Applicants in their final year of study in a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Applicants who have earned a BSW within the past seven years from a social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Applicants who have earned a BSW recognized by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) through its International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service or who earned a BSW covered under a memorandum of understanding by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) with international social work accreditors are also eligible to apply for Advanced Standing. International applicants should contact the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for more information and visit the Council on Social Work Education International Degree Review website.
Applicants who have earned a BSW within the past seven years and have opted for the full 60-credit MSW program (traditional/campus-based and online/Distance Education) rather than Advanced Standing will not be expected to repeat courses where they have demonstrated mastery. They can substitute courses. See the Course Substitution Policy in the MSW Student Handbook.
Application Priority Deadline: January 15th annually
Decisions will be released via a letter in the Graduate School application portal between mid February to the end of March.
Overview of Application, Selection Process, & Waiting List
The application process for the MSW program (traditional/campus-based and online/Distance Education) is competitive and not all applicants who meet the minimum criteria for admission will be accepted. Applications must be submitted through the Graduate School portal by the School of Social Work priority deadline of January 15th for full consideration. Applications submitted after January 15th will be reviewed by the School of Social Work on a space-available basis. Applications are reviewed by the MSW Admissions Committee which is composed of full-time social work faculty members who regularly teach in or administratively support the MSW program. Additional faculty members and staff may also review components of the application. The following materials are submitted: Application form, transcripts, Statement of Purpose, resume, three recommendations, and any additional materials required by the Graduate School. Standardized test scores are not required. Application elements (academic preparation, experience, recommendations, and Statement of Purpose prompts) are scored using a MSW Application Rating Rubric which is based on a point system. Competitive applicants (those with highest scores) are selected until all seats are filled. The committee’s recommendation is submitted to the Graduate School for a final decision. Applicants are notified of the decision of admission, denial, or waitlist via a letter in the Graduate School portal. The waiting list is rank-ordered by the committee and offers of admission are made on a space-available basis. Applicants for summer admission are notified of final decisions no later than May 1st and applicants for fall admission are notified of final decisions no later than August 1st.
Additional Information for Applicants
- Academic credit is not given for life experience, nor is life experience part of the admission rating rubric. This is communicated to applicants via the School of SocialWork website and student handbooks.
- Applicants with past convictions who are offered admission and opt to enroll would be doing so with the understanding that this background could be a potential barrier to graduation or future employment. The MSW Program does make every effort to assist students with a positive criminal background check in finding practicum placements.
- Persons with disabilities who need assistance in the admission process must contact the School of Social Work to request such assistance a minimum of fifteen days prior to the application deadline. The applicant will be connected with the Office of Disability Services to request that a staff member assist the applicant with completing the application.
- Students who leave the MSW program (in good standing, due to suspension, or due to termination) and wish to return can contact the MSW Program Director or the Graduate School for guidance related to readmission or reinstatement.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any additional questions about the MSW Program at UNC Charlotte or want to view some tips for applying, please view our Frequently Asked Questions page. If you still have further questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Distance Education (online) MSW program is generally targeted toward those who live in the North Carolina region, but UNC Charlotte is authorized to offer online programs and courses in all US states and territories (Practicum Education availability may be impacted based on individual state, contact the School of Social Work Practicum Office for more information). UNC Charlotte is not currently authorized to offer any of its online programs outside of the United States, according to the School of Professional Studies. If a student listed in their application that they live in the North Carolina region and they are admitted, then it is with the understanding they plan to live in the North Carolina region throughout the duration of the program. If a student plans to move out of the North Carolina region during the program, they should consult with the MSW Program Director, Practicum Director, and Office of Distance Education to further discuss the program as this may impact the ability to complete the program. Please review the State Authorization from the UNC Charlotte School of Professional Studies for more information.