Applying to CSSW

Thank you for your interest in applying to join the Columbia School of Social Work’s community.

Our MSW students represent a rich diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. What draws them together is their common aspiration to a high educational standard and their shared passion for developing an agenda that forwards human rights, social justice, and respect for human diversity, in alignment with the School’s mission (see mission statement). Our students are committed to improving lives and strengthening communities locally and globally in their roles as clinicians, advocates, planners, policy analysts, researchers, and managers. They aspire to assume leadership roles in social work practice and research.

Please note: We waive application fees for veterans of the U.S. armed forces as well as alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Teach for America, McNair Scholars, the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).

Eligibility Requirements

At a minimum, candidates for the MSW program must meet the following criteria:
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Academic record suggesting the ability to excel at graduate-level study.
  • Serious commitment to the profession of social work and the capacity to meet the demands of professional training, often demonstrated by internships and life experiences.
  • For non-native English speaking applicants only: a combined TOEFL score of 100 or higher; IELTS Band of 7.0 or higher; Duolingo English Test score of 130 or higher.
Note: Our MSW program does not require GRE scores.


For spring term (January) admission:
  • October 15 of the preceding year

Available program options: 16-month Program (on-campus only); Part-Time (online only); Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended) and One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Programs (on-campus & online).

For fall term (September) admission:
  • FINAL DEADLINE: February 15

Available program options: Two-Year, Advanced Standing, Part-Time (online only), Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended), Transfer, and One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Programs (on-campus & online) and the International Program (on-campus only).

For specific deadline information, please see the Application Portal.

Visit Us

Studying for an MSW is rewarding; it is also a big commitment. As you contemplate which school is the best fit for you and your requirements as a budding social work professional, we encourage you to learn as much as you can about us and the wider university community.
  • Attend an information session to meet with members of our Admissions team and the wider CSSW community. Click here for the latest information session schedule. The team also visits cities around the country.
  • Visit an admissions counselor during our scheduled drop-in office hours.
  • Meet one of our admissions representatives when they are in a city near you.
  • Take a tour of the Columbia University campus and our Social Work Building.
  • Attend events taking place right now at the School, in person or via Livestream. Fill in our Request for Information to receive invitations. Participating in events convened by the School is an effective way to engage with our community.
  • Learn more about our faculty, research centers, and the student experience.

Further Questions?

If you have any further questions about the application process, please contact our Admissions team at or by phone at 1-212-851-2400 (toll free: 1-855-532-5200)