FAQs for MSW Program

Application Tips for Recommendations
  • Three electronic recommendation forms must be submitted.
  • Applicants are encouraged to select recommenders who can attest to your potential for success as a graduate student and as a master level social worker.  This might include faculty members, social workers, internship/volunteer supervisors and other human service professionals.  Applicants are discouraged from asking family and friends to serve as recommenders.
  • When submitting the recommendation forms, space will be provided for recommenders to upload a letter of support.  Letters of support are helpful in the review process but optional.
  • An application is not able to be reviewed until all materials are submitted, including recommendations. Be sure to log into your portal to check the status of submission on your recommendations and reach back out to your references to submit in a timely manner, if needed.
  • Graduate School Recommendations Process
Application Tips for Relevant Volunteer and/or Paid Experience
  • Applicants are required to upload their resumes to the application system.
  • The School of Social Work gives consideration to the applicant's familiarity with the social work field, leadership contributions, community engagement, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as described in the both the applicant's resume and Statement of Purpose.

Application Tips for Statement of Purpose

  • Applicants are required to upload their resumes to the application system.
  • The School of Social Work gives consideration to the applicant's familiarity with the social work field, leadership contributions, community engagement, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as described in the both the applicant's resume and Statement of Purpose.

General Note: Academic credit is not given in the program for life experience, nor is life experience part of the admission decision making process.

Yes. Our Distance Education programs are geared toward those who wish to complete an MSW, but cannot attend graduate school full-time or on campus. 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. Field practicum is completed in person.

    We offer a 2-Year Advanced Standing Distance Education plan of study.

    The 2-Year Advanced Standing Distance Education (DE) plan of study is designed for students who have earned a BSW from an accredited social work program within the past seven years and wish to pursue the MSW through a Distance Education (online) format.  Advanced Standing students are not required to complete the Foundation curriculum for the MSW.  Under the 2-Year Advanced Standing DE plan of study, the MSW can be completed over the course of two academic years (summer/fall/spring semester for two years).  Students complete 39 graduate credit hours, which includes 33 credit hours in the classroom and 6 credits in an approved field placement.  

    The 2-Year Advanced Standing DE plan of study is offered with fully online classes. All courses in the program are offered in synchronous “live” and asynchronous “not live” learning experiences.  Synchronous means students and instructors will log in at the same time for live virtual classes. Asynchronous means  students do not have to log in at the same time as other students and instructors. They can complete assignments when it is convenient for them as long as they are completed by their weekly due dates.   

    During the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters, students continue to take courses through online classes, and during the second year they also complete the Advanced field placement during other days of the week.  The field placement requires a total of 16 hours per week on site at a social work services agency under the supervision of someone with an MSW. 

    We offer a 3-Year Distance Education plan of study.

    The 3-Year Distance Education (DE) MSW plan of study is designed for students who wish to complete an MSW but cannot attend graduate school full time. The 3-year DE MSW can be completed over the course of three academic years. Students take the same courses as students in the 2-Year plan of study, but at a slower progression. They complete 60 graduate credit hours, which includes 48 credit hours in the classroom and 12 credits in an approved field placement.   

    The 3-Year DE plan of study is offered with fully online classes. All courses in the program are offered in synchronous “live” and asynchronous “not live” learning experiences.  Synchronous means students and instructors will log in at the same time for live virtual classes. Asynchronous means  students do not have to log in at the same time as other students and instructors. They can complete assignments when it is convenient for them as long as they are completed by their weekly due dates.   

    During the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters, students continue to take courses through online classes, and during the last two years they also complete the Foundation field placement during other days of the week.  The field placement requires a total of 16 hours per week on site at a social work services agency under the supervision of someone with an MSW. 

    View Distance Education MSW curriculums here

    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).

    Students frequently wish to know how high their grades need to be for admission in the MSW Program.  In admissions, we talk in terms of general, rather than specific figures.  The School of Social Work uses a holistic review process, taking into account the applicant's life journey.  The Admissions Committee is looking for students who will be successful in graduate school. The program also values diversity, an applicant's commitment to social justice and a range of life experiences that will enrich the class.  While earning a particular GPA is not a guarantee of admission, a competitive application is generally one where the applicant meets the minimum of a 3.0 GPA for entrance into graduate programs. The applicant's Statement of Purpose (essay), recommendations, and related experience is important as well.  If an applicant has a low overall GPA, the Admissions Committee will look for other evidence of the applicant's potential for success in the MSW Program.  Examples include high undergraduate grades in courses related to writing, research, and statistics.  Some applicants have been out of school a lot time and are concerned their GPA may not be competitive.  It is recommended that if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement, you comment on this in the Statement of Purpose.  You also might consider taking up to two post-baccalaureate courses before applying to the program.  Keep in mind that, even with a holistic review, the program receives many applications so it is a competitive process and the School of Social Work is only making a recommendation to the Graduate School regarding admission.  The Graduate School makes the final decision.

    No, the standardized test scores are not required for MSW applicants. Applicants can still opt to submit standardized test scores, but this is not required.  

    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. Applicants are encouraged to their submit their documents (i.e. - application, resume, transcripts, etc.) at least 30-45 days before priority deadline for the particular plan of interest.  It takes time for the Graduate School to process an application and the School. The Graduate Schools verifies that the applicant has submitted transcripts for all colleges and universities attended and also completes a background check on applicants.  Often, the Graduate School finds applications to be incomplete due to missing transcripts or recommendations and this delays the application from being sent to the School of Social Work for review.  Building in time for the application to make its way to the School of Social Work before the priority deadline is highly recommended for full consideration.  Applications submitted after the priority deadline will be reviewed only on a space-available basis.

    An applicant can request to transfer a maximum of 12 credits into the MSW Program, If the applicant did not already apply the credits toward an earned degree.  The applicant should contact mswprogram@uncc.edu for additional information and assistance with this process.  Transfer credits are evaluated for consistency with the UNC Charlotte MSW curriculum. Field hours from another MSW Program are not transferable.  Applicants who have already completed more than 6 credit hours in another MSW Program, may not find it in their best interest to apply to our program.

    Applicants who have earned a BSW more than seven years ago may submit a written request for consideration. Submit a one-page detailed statement of your social work experience and continuing education activities along with a standard resume to the MSW Director, Dr. Travis Hales (thales@uncc.edu). Dr. Hales will review your request and pending approval, you may apply for the MSW advanced standing program.

    If an applicant is considering more than one plan of study, they may apply to more than one plan of study as long as the plans of study begin in different semesters. For example, an applicant may apply to the 1 Year Advanced Standing plan of study that begins each summer (May) and the 2 Year plan of study that begins each fall (August), or they may apply to the 2 Year plan of study that begins each fall (August) and the 3 Year plan of study that begins each summer (May). However, an applicant may not apply to both the 1 Year Advanced Standing and the 3 Year plan of study, since they both begin in summer (May). 

    If an applicant is considering more than one plan of study, they may contact our Admissions Team (sswadmissions@uncc.edu). While our team cannot decide for an applicant which plan of study to apply to, our Admissions team may be able to give insight into which program may be best suited for an applicant.

    Applicants to our 2-Year traditional and 3-Year Distance Education plans of study do not need to have an undergraduate social work degree to apply, but should have a degree in a liberal arts field (i.e. - psychology, sociology, business, criminal justice, political science, human services, etc.).

    Applicants must have a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree in order to apply to the 1-year traditional Advanced Standing or the 2-year Distance Education Advanced Standing plans of study.

    We advise applicants to know something about the practice of social work before they apply to a rigorous graduate program, but we do accept applicants with diverse educational backgrounds. It is looked upon favorably if the applicant has been exposed to the human service field, such as through volunteer work, because it may mean the applicant has an basic understanding of the social work profession.  You do not need to have an undergraduate degree in social work or employment in the field in order to apply.

    Please visit the Financial Services website - http://finance.uncc.edu/student-accounts/tuition-and-fees - for up-to-date tuition and fee information. Students in our traditional on campus prorgrams (1-Year Advanced Standing and 2-Year) are charged at the general graduate rate. 

    Students in our Distance Education programs (2-year Advanced Standing and 3-year) are charged at the Distance Education rate. Please see the https://ninercentral.uncc.edu/billing-payments-refunds/tuition-and-fees/distance-ed-tuition-fees for information on Distance Education tuition rates. Tuition may vary depending on residency status. 

    Applicants are encouraged to complete FASFA forms because many scholarships are need-based and you cannot be considered if you have not completed a FASFA. Financial Aid information here: https://ninercentral.charlotte.edu/financial-aid-loans/four-steps-financial-aid

    General Scholarships:  There are some scholarships available through the University, College of Health and Human Services, and School of Social Work.  For more information, visit the UNC Scholarship portal at: http://scholarships.charlotte.edu/ 

    Stipends related to Internships: There are very few agencies that offer stipends for field placements, but there are some.  Contact Dr. Ticola Ross, the Director of Field Education, to learn more about field related stipends.  

    Graduate Assistants: The School of Social Work employs a limited number of Graduate Assistants for approximately 10 hours per week at an hourly rate.  Contact Dr. Travis Hales, MSW Program Director, for more information.  There also may be other assistantships available on campus.  For more information on those, see the Graduate School's webpage at: http://graduateschool.charlotte.edu/funding

    Primarily, loans are available to help fund your graduate education. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information. 

    UNC Charlotte has had tremendous response to the MSW program and each year is typically very competitive.  Our suggestion is to apply by the listed priority deadline.  If you are not accepted, you will need to submit a new application and processing fee to the Office of Graduate Admissions, which will put your application in the next year’s pool.

    There are no required pre-requisite courses that applicants need to complete prior to the start of the program. We advise applicants to know something about the practice of social work before they apply to a rigorous graduate program, but we do accept applicants with diverse educational backgrounds. The School of Social Work does consider the applicant’s familiarity with the social work field, leadership contributions, commitment to social justice/advocacy efforts, and the extent of community engagement (i.e. - length of commitment, types of activities, populations served) as described in the applicant's resume and Statement of Purpose. 

    Post-baccalaureate students may enroll in up to two courses, but availability is limited.  If offered admission to the MSW Program, students can transfer up to 6 credits for courses taken as a post-baccalaureate student.  Please contact sswadmissions@uncc.edu for more information.

    For more information on taking Post-Baccalaureate classes

    The UNC Charlotte Office of Graduate Admissions will receive your online application and hold it until all of the components are in.  If you are wondering if a transcript, for instance, has been received track your application status in the application portal.  If you have questions after checking the application system, please contact the Graduate School at gradcounselor@uncc.edu

    Students in the online 3-year MSW program will take fully online courses as is laid out in the curriculum. Students do have the option of enrolling in hybrid or face to face elective courses for those who prefer additional learning opportunities. Please note that regular main campus tuition rates will be charged for optional hybrid or face to face courses and these are not eligible for the distance education rate.

    See Graduate Tuition & Fee rates

    See Distance Education Tuition & Fee rates

    The School of Social Work has a positive reputation in the Charlotte community.  Alumni can be found all over the region engaging in direct practice and in supervisory roles. Our graduates have gone to be social workers in schools, hospitals/MD offices, Department of Social Services, hospice and home health care agencies, health departments, trauma centers, shelters, domestic violence centers, as counselors and much more. Graduates of the MSW Program may also pursue state licensure or certification. View our 'About the Program' page about halfway down to view some spotlights of our alumni.

    Students interested in graduate certificates should contact the program of interest for details. Students should keep in mind that they may or not be able to complete the certificate before graduating with the MSW as it depends on the timing of course offerings and each student’s schedule while in the MSW Program.  Some of the graduate certificates available at UNC Charlotte include: Certificates in Substance Abuse Counseling, Gerontology, Non-Profit Management, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Play Therapy.  The School of Social Work and the College of Educaton have partnered to offer a Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health. See a complete list of certificate programs.

    Traditional MSW Program Options: 1-Year Advanced Standing and 2-Year 

    International applicants can apply to on-campus programs at UNC Charlotte. The UNC Charlotte Graduate School requires additional materials be submitted by international applicants such as TOEFL or IELTS scores.  Please read more about these requirements at: https://gradadmissions.charlotte.edu/admissions/international-applicants.
    International Student and Scholar Office: https://isso.charlotte.edu/
    Distance Education MSW Program Options: 2-Year Advanced Standing and 3-Year 
    Students enrolled in either Distance Education MSW program must live within the United States. The Graduate School is not able to accept any applicants living outside of the United States into either Distance Education MSW program at UNC Charlotte. Because of this, those who intend to live outside of the United States throughout the duration of the online MSW program are not eligible to apply. Applicants living outside of the United States on an American military base will still be able to apply.  https://distanceed.charlotte.edu/programs/msw
     

    Note to International Applicants:

    The UNC Charlotte Graduate School requires additional materials be submitted by international applicants such as TOEFL or IELTS scores.  Please read more about these requirements at: https://gradadmissions.charlotte.edu/admissions/international-applicants.
    Once a graduate student expresses an interest in a pathway that may lead to licensure (MSW Program for social workers), students will be included in a personalized email that expalins the state-by-state nature of the licensure and everything the student will need about a program's status in the state where the student plans to practice. In addition, if the University ever discovers that a program’s status in the state where the student plans to practice has changed (e.g., changes in a state’s licensure requirements means the program no longer fulfills the educational requirements for licensure), the student will automatically be notified.  These system and process changes were also mandated by the new federal regulations (34 CFR 668.43(a)(5)(v)).
     
    Those interested can view the Inventory  and  Inventory of Pathways to Licensure  in advance here.