Admissions Overview

Syracuse University’s online Master of Social Work program seeks students who embody the characteristics and drive that it takes to meet our definition of a social work leader. These are students who embrace change, recognize the dignity of all people and are ready to join us in shaping the future of social work.

There are different application requirements for the Traditional and Advanced Standing online MSW tracks. Both tracks follow a 15-week structure that includes 14 weeks of instruction and 1 week of exams.

Traditional MSW

Designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree in an area other than social work. The first online Traditional MSW cohort will begin classes in May 2021.

Advanced Standing MSW

Designed for those who have graduated within the past 10 years from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The first online Advanced Standing MSW cohort will begin classes in August 2021.

Application Deadlines

We offer three program start dates per year in January, May and August. Applications are now being accepted for the start dates listed below, and admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis.

Application Deadlines
Program Start Date Early Priority Deadline Priority Deadline Application Deadline
May 2021 January 18, 2021 February 15, 2021 March 15, 2021
August 2021 May 10, 2021 June 7, 2021 July 6, 2021
January 2022 September 20, 2021 October 18, 2021 November 15, 2021

We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. If you submit by the priority application deadline, you will receive an admissions decision sooner and will have earlier access to Syracuse University faculty and resources. Additionally, if you submit your application by the priority deadline, the application fee of $75 is reduced to $45.

To learn more about the online MSW program and the application process, visit our events page to discover upcoming virtual events hosted by our admissions team and faculty members.

Application Requirements

The online application can be completed here.


Academic Experience

We accept applicants from a wide range of academic fields, but all students are required to have a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university. Generally, a minimum 3.0 GPA is preferred, as a 3.0 GPA is required to be considered in good academic standing throughout the program.

Advanced Standing MSW
Additionally, a minimum 3.0 GPA in all social work courses is preferred for admission to the online Advanced Standing MSW program.

Transcripts are required from all postsecondary institutions from which you have earned or will earn a degree and any other institutions where you earned prerequisite course credits specific to the program.

Transcripts are not required from other institutions if the prerequisite courses and grades are listed on the degree-bearing transcripts.

You may submit unofficial transcripts for application review. However, official transcripts are required if you are admitted and enroll.

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Resume or CV

A resume describing employment history, academic honors, scholastic recognition, publications, leadership roles and/or other academic, professional and community activities is required.


Essays

You will submit a personal essay of 600–800 words with your application that describes your professional goals, future professional plans and academic interests. The essay should also describe what personal or professional experiences you have working in and/or collaborating in diverse, multicultural and inclusive settings.

Advanced Standing MSW
Additionally, you should explain why you selected the Advanced Standing online MSW program.


Prerequisite Coursework

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, applicants are required to have completed a minimum of 30 credits of liberal arts coursework.

Prerequisite courses include:

  • Physical or Natural Science (3 credits) — Courses that address biological processes that influence human function are strongly recommended. These can include biopsychology, genetics, human biology or human nutrition.
  • Computational Skills (6 credits) — Courses should draw from mathematics, statistics or research methods.
  • Humanities (6 credits) — Courses should draw from philosophy, religion, literature or art/music history.
  • Social Sciences (12 credits) — Courses should draw from two or more of the following areas: sociology, history, anthropology, political science, psychology, economics, social welfare or social work. Applicants may also list human services-based courses.

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Letters of Recommendation

Traditional MSW
Three letters of recommendation are required. Recommendations should be professional or academic. If you have graduated within the last five years, an academic reference is strongly encouraged.

Advanced Standing MSW
Three letters of recommendations are required. One letter should come from a practice instructor, one letter should come from either a field supervisor or field placement coordinator, and one letter should come from any academic or professional source.


International Applicants

Our programs require students to engage in group discussions, class participation and oral presentations. Because of this, students must possess a high proficiency in written and oral English and provide a number of international materials in addition to the application requirements. To learn more about applying as an international student, please visit our international applicants page.

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