Boston University School of Social Work

FAQs about the BU MSW Program

The pursuit of a master’s degree in social work is a significant undertaking with tremendous rewards. Prospective students often have many questions, and below are a few of the most commonly asked questions. Please do not hesitate to call 877-308-9945 to speak with an admissions representative, or to request additional information.

What is required for admission into the program?

  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably in the liberal arts, from an accredited college or university, and an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) is required. Candidates with at least two years of supervised, direct human or social service experience may apply to be considered for the Human Service Experience Track (a single 1,000 hour field internship).
  • Graduates of an undergraduate Bachelor of Social Work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may apply to the Advanced Standing for admission if the following requirements are met:
    • A minimum undergraduate academic average of 3.0 (B)
    • 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.)

Other applicants may be eligible to apply to the traditional program track (2 field internships, a total of 1,200 hours). Applications for the Online MSW Program are accepted each semester and applicants can apply to enter the online program in September, January, or May. 

Does that mean I have to be a social worker already?

No. Human service experience can come from a variety of roles: direct care in residential settings, case management, group leadership, referral services, counseling, advocacy, assessment and care planning, and more. Each applicant’s work experience will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Do I need references?

Yes. Three reference letters are required with your application. For applications into the human services track, one reference will need to be from a human services job supervisor. This supervisor will need to be available for a telephone interview.

How long will it take to earn the Master of Social Work?

If you keep to the recommended course schedule, the online program will be completed in nine semesters, or approximately three years. Advanced Standing students complete the program in 6 semesters.

How does the field internship work?

Faculty advisors will work with you to find a field internship opportunity in your community that fits within your areas of interest, future practice goals and current work responsibilities. At the end of the internship, students with supervised human service experience will also complete a two-credit, field-related capstone course.

Can I complete my internship where I work?

Students who are working in the social work field may be able to complete one of their two internships at their place of employment.  If your organization offers the opportunity to intern in a different role, under a different qualified supervisor, then this may be an option for you.  The BUSSW field education team evaluates and considers each placement once a student is enrolled in the MSW program.

How do I attend online classes? Do I have to be at my computer at a certain time each day?

As an online student at Boston University School of Social Work, you will be given access to an online learning system. Students log on to each virtual class and complete assignments and exams, the same as in a traditional college course. Students interact frequently with faculty and fellow students through lively discussion forums. Coursework can be accessed online anytime, day or night, but assignments must be completed by the due dates set up by each professor. Live Classroom online sessions are held on Sunday and Monday evenings. Students register for these sessions in advance. You can view an online course demo here.

As an online student, what types of support are available to me?

A variety of academic, field, and program supports is available to students including technical support which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each student is assigned a First Semester Advisor upon entering the program. In the second semester, students are assigned to an advisor in their geographic region and students keep that same advisor throughout the program. You can view the supports offered for online students by visiting the following webpages:

Is this program accredited?

Yes. All Boston University School of Social Work programs are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The Master of Social Work degree you earn online is identical to the degree offered on campus. Please note: 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.

Are there course waiver options?

Advanced standing students who enter the MSW program with a research background are eligible to take a proficiency examination to waive the Research I (SSW SR 743) 3-credit course requirement. Advanced standing students who pass the Research I waiver examination (as part of their advanced standing research requirement) are not required to take substitute credits. All students may request additional information about the proficiency examination from the Research Department.

How much does it cost? Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Click here for more information about qualification, the application process, and potential employer tuition reimbursement. To discuss tuition rates and various payment options, please Request More Information or call 877-308-9945 to speak with an admissions representative right away.

Do I need to reside in the United States to complete this program?

Yes. Students must be U.S. Permanent Residents or Citizens, and they must live in the United States to be active in the online program.

How do I get started?

To begin your journey to greater service and social advocacy, call 877-308-9945 to speak with an admissions representative or Request More Information.

learn more
learn more