BASW Admission Requirements

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The Social Welfare program is dedicated to preparing competent, ethical, and culturally sensitive social workers with specialized knowledge and skills who are committed to evidence-based practice and to planned social change.

A deep commitment to equity and cultural diversity is brought to the development of the Social Welfare program. The program's mission gives special attention to the poor and underserved populations, and fosters an appreciation for differences based on gender, ethnicity, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, class and physical and developmental disabilities. 

The BASW program is designed for students in the South Puget Sound region who are committed to providing more effective social services to populations experiencing social and economic difficulties.

Prospective BASW students must complete all admission requirements for UW Tacoma and the Social Welfare program prior to application (or have a plan in place to complete required courses prior to beginning classes). Please refer to the prerequisite grid to find college-level courses that have been approved to meet the admission and prerequisite requirements for the Social Welfare program.

Please note, the UW Tacoma Social Welfare program admits a cohort of students in autumn quarter ONLY. 

Transfer applicants are encouraged to meet with an admissions advisor prior to applying! To schedule an appointment, please call the Office of Admissions at 253-692-4742.

Priority Application Deadline

► Autumn 2019: March 15, 2019

2019 applications are still being accepted. Apply today!

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission applicants must:

  • Be a current UW Tacoma student or be in the process of admission to the UW Tacoma campus (including completion of intermediate algebra requirement). Transfer students must first complete the Application for Transfer Admission.
  • Have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA
    • Transfer applicants must have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA in all transfer coursework.
    • Current UW students who seek to either declare or change their major to Social Welfare must have a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA in all UW coursework and be in good standing with the university.
  • Have completed at least 75 UW or transferable college-level credits by the time of enrollment in the program
  • Have completed the following prerequisite courses with at least a 2.0 grade in each course:
    • 5 credits of English composition
    • Introductory course in psychology
    • Introductory or survey course in sociology

Admission is competitive. Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Completion of all prerequisite requirements
  • Previous academic history
  • Admissions essay describing your interest in social welfare
  • Experiences related to social services (paid or volunteer)

Course Distribution

  Admission requirements Graduation requirements
World Language Two years in high school of the same world language or 10 credits of one language at the college level. *If deficient at the time of admission, world language must be complete prior to graduation.
Mathematics (1) Three years of high school math through intermediate (second year) algebra or a course in intermediate algebra at the college level.  
Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning [Q]   5 credits
E.g., symbolic logic, college-level algebra, statistics, pre-calculus, microeconomics or macroeconomics. Other courses may apply.
Writing 5 credits of English composition (2)
(effective Autumn 2014)

5 credits of English composition (2)
10 additional credits of writing-intensive course work (3)
Visual, Literary and Performing Arts (Humanities) [V]

20 credits
Individuals and Societies (Social Science) [I] 10 credits (includes prerequisite coursework in psychology and sociology) (2) 20 credits (includes prerequisite coursework in economics, psychology and sociology) (2)
The Natural World (Natural Science) [N]   20 credits (includes prerequisite coursework in a required course in statistics) (2)

Completion of a minimum of 75 college level credits.


Completion of 180 credits

(1) Intermediate algebra requirement must be fulfilled before admission to the major.

(2) Minimum 2.0 grade required in each of the prerequisite courses.

(3) Writing-intensive coursework may also count toward the Humanities, Social Science or Natural Science requirements.

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 Social Work program, you will come into contact with members of the above-mentioned populations. Therefore, a comprehensive background check is a required part of the admission process. All applicants are asked to disclose conviction/criminal history information during the admission screening process.

In addition to the criminal history forms submitted as part of the application process the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice requires that all students obtain a comprehensive background check. If you are offered admission, you must 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 School of Social Work and Criminal Justice for more information. NOTE: When considering individuals for admission to the Social Welfare major, 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 for admission.

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.

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 BASW 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 BASW program.

The following immunizations and verifications are REQUIRED for all BASW 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 for further information.