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Admission Information

Next Start Dates

Program Pathway Start Date
Two Year pathway September 6, 2022
Advanced Standing pathway September 6, 2022
Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended) pathway September 6, 2022
One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) pathway September 6, 2022
Transfer pathway September 6, 2022

Admission Requirements

At a minimum, candidates for the Master of Science in Social Work must meet the criteria below.

  • A 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.
  • A bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited institution of higher education.

The Advanced Standing, One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency), and Transfer pathways have additional requirements:

  • Advanced Standing applicants must have completed a bachelor of social work (BSW) from a CSWE-accredited program within the past five years. (Applicants who are in their final year of their BSW can apply if they will fully complete their bachelor’s degree prior to the start of the Columbia master’s program.)
  • One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) applicants must be currently working in a social services agency and have either (a) two or more years of full-time experience or (b) four or more years of part-time experience.
  • Transfer applicants must have completed a full year of coursework and fieldwork at another CSWE-accredited graduate school of social work in the United States within the last five years.

Start Your Application


Application Materials

All Online Campus MSW Applicants

Applicants must submit the following materials in order to be considered for admission to the Master of Science in Social Work. Please review the following information carefully and in its entirety; the admissions committee will not review your application until all required sections are completed.

Online application

Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended

  • During the initial phase of the application process, you may upload unofficial transcripts for evaluation purposes. If you receive an offer of admission, you must then submit official transcripts.
  • You must submit a transcript from each college or university you’ve attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received.
  • Transcripts should include courses, credits, and grades. They should also include any transfer or study abroad coursework.
  • Please review our transcripts section for expanded information.

Resume

  • Please submit a detailed, current resume that lists paid work and volunteer experience separately, starting with the current or most recent position. Be sure to use month/year to indicate the beginning and end dates for all activities included.
  • Resumes should indicate whether each experience was full-time or part-time, paid or unpaid, and the nature of the client population served, if applicable. Part-time experience should also indicate the weekly hours worked.
  • The resume may be longer than one page but should not exceed three pages.
  • The resume should include:
    • Complete professional, academic, and volunteer history
    • Details about direct research experience and/or published papers or articles, if applicable
    • Descriptions of community and leadership activities
    • Awards, distinctions, honors, or other recognition received
    • Other relevant life experiences
    • All languages read and/or spoken, in addition to English

Three letters of reference

  • Students who have received a degree in the past five years are required to provide at least one academic reference from faculty at that institution. We encourage all students to provide at least two academic references.
  • Students more than five years away from their most recent degree are encouraged to provide at least one academic reference. Appropriate references include professors, the applicant’s most recent employer or volunteer supervisor, or those who know the applicant in a professional context.
  • One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) applicants only: One of the three reference letters must come from a current supervisor.
  • Letters of recommendation may be submitted digitally via the online application system. If a reference is unable to submit their letter of reference using the application system, they may contact the Office of Admissions directly at cssw-admit@columbia.edu.
  • No personal references will be accepted, nor references from professionals with whom you have had a client or patient relationship.
  • Please note that our online application system accommodates only three letters of reference.
  • CSSW adheres to the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in respect to references.

Essay questions

  • Applicants must answer three different essay prompts. These prompts will be available in the online application system. These essays are a chance for applicants to talk about their professional interests and the experiences that have influenced their decision to pursue an MSW at Columbia.
  • Each essay should be no more than 500 words.
  • Advanced Standing, One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) and Transfer applicants must answer specific essay questions. You will find these instructions in the online application, in the admission essay section.

Application fee

  • One-time fee of $75.
  • Application fee waivers are granted to U.S. veterans and alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, Teach for America, McNair Scholars, Higher Education Opportunity Program, and Educational Opportunity Program. To request an application fee waiver, email proof of participation/service to the Office of Admissions at cssw-admit@columbia.edu.

Advanced Standing applicants and Transfer applicants have additional requirements. Please see the relevant sections below.

Advanced Standing Additional Materials

Applicants to the Advanced Standing pathway must submit all materials listed in the “All Online Campus MSW Applicants” section, plus:

  • Fieldwork evaluation form
    • This form must be completed by your field instructor or appropriate person at your BSW program.
    • The form is available in the reference section of the application. The form may be submitted by mail, fax, or as an email attachment to cssw-admit@columbia.edu.
  • List of BSW courses with course names, numbers, descriptions, and grades received.
    • Please list the courses by term.
    • The course descriptions can be taken directly from your school’s course catalog or website. The descriptions should be uploaded in the Admissions Essay section of the application.
    • Applicants in the process of completing their BSW program should include a list of classes you will be taking in your final semester(s).

Transfer Additional Materials

Applicants to the Transfer pathway must submit all materials listed in the “All Online Campus MSW Applicants” section, plus:

  • Fieldwork evaluation form
    • This form must be completed by a field instructor or appropriate person at your previous graduate social work program.
    • The form is available in the reference section of the application. The form may be submitted by mail, fax, or as an email attachment to cssw-admit@columbia.edu.
  • List of MSW courses with course names, numbers, and descriptions
    • Please list the courses by term.
    • The course descriptions can be taken directly from your school’s course catalog or website. The descriptions should be uploaded in the Admissions Essay section of the application.
    • Applicants in the process of completing their MSW courses should include a list of classes you will be taking in your final semester(s).

If you have any questions about these requirements or need help navigating the admissions process, please contact an admissions counselor at onlinemsw@columbia.edu or call (212) 488-1784 or (866) 627-4750 (toll-free).


Transcripts

Applicants must submit a transcript from each university attended for at least one term, regardless of the number of credits received. Transcripts must be submitted electronically. Printouts of web-based course records will not be accepted for admission review.

Uploaded transcripts should include the following information: courses, credits, and grades. This includes transfer and study abroad coursework.

During the initial phase of the application process, applicants may upload unofficial transcripts for evaluation purposes. Once a student has accepted an offer of admission, they must submit an official electronic transcript from each university attended, regardless of the number of credits received.

Graduate students should provide an official transcript indicating bachelor’s degree conferral prior to entering graduate studies. If the student received a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution, that institution must be accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. government.

Submitting Transcripts From U.S. Institutions

All admitted students who have attended a college or university in the United States must submit electronic transcripts directly from their school, delivered directly to the admissions office at cssw-admit@columbia.edu.

If an institution based in the U.S. does not offer electronic delivery, the admitted student must write to the Office of Admissions with the link to their prior institution’s web page concerning transcript orders to confirm that paper is the only option and obtain permission to submit a paper transcript.

If a paper transcript is the only option, it must be sent directly from the other institution to Columbia School of Social Work to the address below. The transcript may not be delivered or forwarded via the student.

Columbia School of Social Work
Office of Admissions
1255 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Submitting Transcripts From International Institutions

If you have attended an international institution, you must submit an electronic transcript from that college or university, if the school offers secure online delivery. (If you attended college in the People’s Republic of China, see specific instructions below.)

If the school cannot send transcripts electronically through a secure online system, you must contact World Education Services (WES) and order a course-by-course evaluation and International Credential Advantage Package to be sent directly to Columbia School of Social Work. Students for whom this imposes a financial burden may contact the Office of Admissions directly at ssw-admit@columbia.edu.

Transcripts From Institutions in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)

Admitted students who attended institutions in the PRC can access a unique resource through CHESICC, the credentials verification service affiliated with the PRC’s Ministry of Education, to arrange for submission of a “Verification Report of 7 China Higher Education Student’s Academic Transcripts” AND a “Verification Report of China Higher Education Qualification Certificate.” These should be delivered electronically to the CSSW Office of Admissions. Please email ssw-admit@columbia.edu with any questions about this service.


Request information

To learn more about the Master of Science in Social Work from the Columbia School of Social Work, please fill out the fields below to download a brochure. You can also contact an admissions counselor directly at (212) 488-1784.

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