The Boston University School of Social Work seeks to enroll students for the online Master of Social Work program who are intellectually and emotionally capable of completing graduate education and practicing in the profession of social work. Our thorough application process is designed to help both the School and the candidate determine whether he or she has the essential intellectual and personal attributes necessary for admission. Assessment of this potential is made on the basis of academic training and performance, social work and related work experience, personal qualifications, references, and indications of the applicant’s commitment to the profession.
The BUSSW Online Program offers three options to complete the MSW degree:
- Advanced Standing option (click here for more information)
- Traditional MSW Track (TT)
- Human Service Experience (HSE) Track: Applicants who have a minimum of two years of supervised human services experience may apply to be considered for the Human Service Experience (HSE) track.
The following is required at time of application:
- Completed application
- $95 non-refundable application fee
- Personal statement
- Current Resume or CV
- Three professional and/or academic references
- Official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate academic institutions
- GRE or MAT scores must be submitted (if your cumulative undergraduate GPA where you obtained your degree is below 3.0 on the US 4-point scale)
Applicants from the United States should upload a copy of a student-issued transcript from each college or university attended. (A course list, screen shot of your student link with course grades, or internal grade report will not be accepted in place of a student-issued transcript.)
International Transcripts (International Applicants and Study Abroad
If your transcript is not in English, or if you are an international applicant, please provide an official English transcript by having it evaluated by World Education Services (WES).
- Please upload your transcript to the Academic History section.
- An admissions representative will contact applicants if there are any problems with their uploaded transcript.
- DO NOT mail or electronically send University-issued official transcripts until directed to do so.
Your acceptance to our School, if applicable, will be conditional until we receive University-issued official transcripts in sealed envelopes or electronically from each college or university attended.
If you accept our offer of admission, please mail official transcripts to:
Boston University Online Processing Center
851 Trafalgar Court, Suite 420 W
Maitland, FL 32751
or have them sent electronically to:
If you accept our offer of admission, your official transcripts must be received no later than:
- December 12 for spring admission
- April 17 for summer admission
- August 7 for fall admission
Three professional and/or academic references are required. In the Reference section of the online application, you will be able to submit a form directly to each of your references. They will receive an automated email prompting them to complete the online reference form and to upload a supporting letter.
A reference is required from a faculty member or advisor if you are currently in school and/or from a supervisor if you are working. Other references may include people familiar with your current or past work or volunteer experience, preferably a manager or supervisor. References from family members, personal friends, personal therapists, or employees are not acceptable.
In addition to the three required references, a reference is required from the instructor of any Boston University School of Social Work course in which you have been a non-matriculating student.
**Advanced standing applicants please note: Your field work evaluator should not write you a reference, as it is expected that this person will submit your senior year field evaluation. Having them submit a reference would be redundant.
Standardized Test and English Proficiency Scores
Applicants with a cumulative GPA of under 3.0 must submit scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants whose first language is not English should submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please note that GRE and MAT scores are valid for five years, and TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.
GRE and TOEFL Scores are submitted electronically to BU School of Social Work directly from ETS using the special GRE and TOEFL code 3087. Paper copies will not be accepted. According to ETS, it takes them a maximum of 10-12 business days (not counting weekends and holidays) to release a score to BU School of Social Work once they have been requested. If you have just taken the test, they report a turnaround of 12-15 business days.
For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 577 is required on the paper-based test; a minimum score of 233 is required on the computer-based test; and a minimum score of 100 is required for the internet-based test. A minimum score of 23 is required in each of the four sub-categories of the exam; speaking, listening, reading, and writing. For the IELTS, a minimum score of 7.0 is required.
Your statement should be 3–4 pages, typed and double-spaced. Please save as an MS Word document or PDF and upload it directly to the online application (instructions are included in the application).
We ask that you submit a personal statement as part of your application to the MSW program. The purpose of this statement is to obtain a clear understanding of your background, why you have chosen to enter the social work profession, your readiness for graduate education, and your motivation to apply to the Boston University School of Social Work. Please describe how your academic, professional, personal, and volunteer experiences have prepared you for graduate studies in social work. Please note that this statement is considered a writing sample and is reviewed for content and writing quality.
Please touch on the following areas in your essay (as applicable):
- Discuss why you believe the Boston University School of Social Work is best suited to meet your graduate education needs.
- How do you believe you will manage the rigorous demands of coursework and field education during graduate study?
- If you have low or inconsistent grades in undergraduate (or graduate) study or have attended multiple schools to earn a degree, please discuss any issues you may have faced to help us better understand your academic background.
- Identify your strengths and areas in need of improvement that are relevant to the social work profession. What inspires you to pursue this profession?
- If you have clear career goals, please tell us what type of work you see yourself engaged in after earning the MSW.
Transfer Applicants: Please include a statement about why you are requesting transfer to the Boston University School of Social Work.
Human Service Experience (HSE) Track Applicants
- Applicants who have a minimum of two years of supervised human services experience may apply to be considered for the Human Service Experience (HSE) track.
- This experience must include weekly supervision by a master’s level supervisor. Examples of human service experience can include, but are not limited to: direct client care, case management, group leadership, referral services, counseling, advocacy, and care planning.
- Please note that Admissions may request a phone or Skype interview before a final decision is made on an application.
- Applicants applying to the Human Service Experience track with at least two years of social work or human services experience must complete a verification of their employment and have positive performance evaluations. Contact an admissions representative (877-308-9945) to request this verification form.
Advanced Standing Applicants
- Candidates must be graduates of a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
- A minimum undergraduate academic average of 3.0 (B) is required for admission.
- The Bachelor of Social Work degree must have been received within six years of entry into the program.
- If a graduate of an undergraduate social work program, a copy of your final field evaluation from your senior year is required; if currently enrolled, a copy of your mid-year evaluation from your senior year is required. (The person who completes your field evaluation should not also submit a reference for you.)
Please note: You must be enrolled or have recently enrolled in a graduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
In addition to the required application documents, please submit:
- Field evaluation (for any fieldwork accomplished up to this point)
- Letter of good standing from the dean/director of the program (or their designee)
- A syllabus and course catalog description for each course you wish to transfer for credit
In addition, your personal statement should reflect your reasons for wishing to transfer to the BU School of Social Work.
For applicants who do not complete the application process, application materials are kept in our files for one year. Previously filed material and the following supplemental information will complete your application.
- A new application form. Check reapplication, indicate the campus you are applying to, full- or part-time status, and the new term for which you are applying.
- Transcripts for courses completed since your previous application. List only those courses on the new application.
- Paid and/or volunteer experience. List only experience you have had since your previous application.
- One new reference. Please do not use the same reference that was used on your previous application. If applicable, the reference should be from a current or recent employer.
- Personal biographical update. Please write a brief statement about education, work, and/or volunteer experiences you have had since your previous application. In what way have these experiences affected your interest in and knowledge of social work? Please limit this statement to one double-spaced, typed page.
- $95 non-refundable application fee, submitted online at time of reapplication.
Academic files for previously matriculating students are kept in our files for five years. Individuals who withdrew or took a leave of absence from the Online Program may contact the Online Program Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss readmission if it has been less than one year. Individuals who withdrew or took a leave of absence one to five years ago should email email@example.com and must submit the supplemental material described under “Reapplication.”
In all cases of readmission, you must meet any special requirements prescribed at the time you left the School. If you withdrew or took a leave of absence six or more years ago, you must reapply to the program by completing the full admission process. In all cases, students must complete the MSW degree requirements within six years of the original enrollment date.
Any student who left the School for reasons related to grade point average, incompletes, problem resolution, or status review will be referred to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean will determine whether a status review should be convened to determine if the student should be allowed to re-enroll in the School.
Online Program Readmission Deadlines
Students seeking readmission after a leave of absence must reapply at least one semester in advance of the intended readmission term: May for a fall start; September for a spring start; January for a summer start.
The online program is available for individuals living in the USA except those in US territories. At this time the Online MSW Program is not open to international applicants.
State Board of Education requirements and state licensing requirements for social workers differ from state to state. Please be sure to research your state’s Board of Education and social work licensing requirements.
|Term||Priority Deadline||Final Deadline|
|Spring (January) 2017||October 19, 2016||November 16, 2016|
|Summer (May) 2017||January 11, 2017||March 8, 2017|
|Fall (September) 2017||June 14, 2017||July 12, 2017|
For more information about the admissions procedure or to ask any questions, please call 877-308-9945 to speak with an admissions representative or you can Request More Information.