MSW Admission Requirements

Main page content

► UW Tacoma's part-time, evening Master of Social Work programs seek to enroll well-qualified students with diverse backgrounds. Admission to the program is based on academic performance and potential, clarity and appropriateness of career objectives, understanding of social issues, knowledge of diverse populations, and relevant experiences. Academic credit toward the MSW is not given for previous employment or life experience.

Selection is based on academic background and potential, match of student interests with faculty expertise, special programs, program resources or priorities, social/human service experience, appropriateness of professional goals and objectives and experience with diverse populations. Admission to the UW Tacoma Master of Social Work program is competitive, and typically there is not enough space available to accommodate all applicants who meet the basic qualifications for admission.

Application Deadlines

Advanced Standing MSW [part-time only]
(BASW/BSW required)

June 30, 2019
(for Winter 2020 admission)

Applications are now open!

3-year MSW [part-time only]

March 1, 2020
(for Autumn 2020 admission) 

​The 2019 application has closed. The 2020 application will open in October 2019.

In addition to the completed MSW application, the following are required:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Advanced Standing Applicants: Must have a BSW or BASW from a U.S. program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and have graduated within 5 years of entry to the program. Additionally, Advanced Standing applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in their BASW major or passed all social work core courses in their BSW or BASW programs with a minimum 3.0 (B) grade in each course. Advanced Standing MSW applicants who fall outside of this minimum grade point average in one class may qualify for an exception through the Course Repeat Policy .
  • 3.0 grade-point average calculated from the applicant's final 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.
  • Undergraduate preparation must include at least five credits in each of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and 60 quarter credits (or 40 semester credits) of liberal arts. Please review the Liberal Arts Policy portion of our Admission Requirements document for more information. 
  • Successful completion (grade of C or 2.0 or better) of a course in statistics within five years prior to matriculation into the MSW program. Review our Admission Requirements document for more information.
    • NOTE: Effective autumn 2016, human biology is no longer a prerequisite for the UW Tacoma MSW Program.
  • Admissions essay.
  • Unofficial transcripts from every college or university attended as part of the UW Graduate School application online submission.*
    • NOTE: We do not accept or retain paper transcripts. If paper transcripts are received, they become the property of the program and inaccessible to the applicant.
  • Resume of relevant work experience in social or health services.
  • Three professional and/or academic references (forms will be emailed to referees)

* Applicants who are offered admission will be required to supply the University of Washington Graduate Admission Office and the University of Washington Tacoma Program with an official transcript from the institution that granted their bachelor's degree.

► How to Apply

Statistics Requirement

Please note that those admitted to the MSW program will be required to have successfully completed an introductory course in statistics within the last five years from the date of matriculation in the program. The statistics requirements does not need to be completed prior to submitting your application for admission.

Special Requirements

Washington state law requires that individuals who have access to children under 16 years of age, persons with developmental disabilities and vulnerable adults such as older people disclose background information. During your education in the Master of Social Work program, you will come into contact with members of the above-mentioned populations. Therefore, a comprehensive background check is required. All applicants are asked to disclose conviction/criminal history information after matriculating into the program.

The Master of Social Work program requires that all admitted students complete a comprehensive background check. If you are offered admission, you will receive instructions to initiate the background check within two weeks of receiving your offer letter. Please be aware that this service is fee-based and subject to price changes. Please contact the Social Work and Criminal Justice Program for more information. NOTE: Conviction/criminal history records are reviewed as they relate to the content and nature of the curriculum and the safety and security of clients and the public. A conviction/criminal history record does not necessarily disqualify an individual from matriculating into the program.

Depending upon your practicum setting, there may be additional requirements such as fingerprinting, providing proof of immunizations, CPR training, and/or completing the agencies required background check procedures. Please be aware that you may responsible for any costs related to these special requirements.You will also be required to provide your own transportation to and from the practicum sites. You may also need to meet certain immunization standards and submit a health history.

MSW student at 2012 MSW capstone fair

UW Health Sciences Immunizations Policy

The University of Washington Health Sciences Center requires that its students show documentation of protection against a number of vaccine-preventable diseases. The University of Washington Seattle School of Social Work falls under the umbrella of UW Health Sciences and therefore all UW Tacoma MSW and BASW students must comply.

New students admitted to the MSW Program must submit appropriate documentation within a specific timeframe. New students will be advised of specific submission deadlines upon admission, but generally all documentation must be supplied prior to entering the MSW program.

The following immunizations and verifications are REQUIRED for all MSW students. No student will be permitted to enter any practicum site until all immunization verification is submitted and verified by the Health Sciences Immunization Program (HSIP). Students must document immunity to Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis, Varicella (chicken pox), and have a current, annual TB screening.

Please review the Immunization FAQs document for further information.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The UW Tacoma MSW Program does not require applicants to submit GRE scores.

What Else Should You Know About UW Tacoma?

Transfer credits

Coursework may only be transferred for master's-level work from other accredited MSW programs after the review of transcripts by the director and after acceptance to the Master of Social Work program. Restrictions apply; contact the Social Work and Criminal Justice Program office for more information.

International students

Since the UW Tacoma Master of Social Work program is a part-time program, international students are not eligible to apply. International students holding an F-1 or J-1 Student Visa may apply to the UW School of Social Work at the Seattle campus as a full-time study option is available there. See the University of Washington Seattle's web site for application information.

Veterans and active duty military

Veterans, as well as the dependents of deceased veterans may contact the Veteran & Military Services at 253-692-5721 for information regarding VA educational benefits.

CWTAP 2012 graduate

Financial aid

The University of Washington Tacoma offers several assistance options: grants, scholarships, student employment opportunities and low-interest student loans. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to find out what types of funding will be available to you.

Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP)

Financial support may be available to you as you pursue your MSW degree, providing you meet specific qualifications and have a strong commitment to pursuing a career in public child welfare. In exchange for the financial support, you agree to be employed within Washington State DSHS-DCYF (Department of Children, Youth, and Families) after receiving your MSW degree.

The CWTAP provides federal Title IV-E stipend money and special training to MSW students desiring to work in public child welfare. Availability of funding for CWTAP varies. For more information, please visit the CWTAP page.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required