Master of Social Work (MSW) Admissions Overview

Group of students at table

Earn your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at the University of Pittsburgh’s nationally-ranked School of Social Work and be a part of transforming your community and the practice of social work. 

Since 1918, Pitt’s School of Social Work has raised the standard of social work education by establishing a strong commitment to community engagement and inclusivity. Built on evidence-informed and culturally responsive practices, our MSW degree program equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to elevate their social work practice, influence social policies and enhance the quality of life for their community.

Pitt’s MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Board of Accreditation, the accrediting association for all undergraduate and graduate schools of social work located in the United States. 

Pursue your Master of Social Work and be a part of the School of Social Work’s long-standing legacy of excellence. 

Top-ranked Master of Social Work program available in-person across rural PA! We are currently accepting Fall 2024 applications for our part-time Master of Social Work (MSW) program at our two regional campuses: the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (UPB) and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ).

Apply to the School of Social Work’s MSW program today.

MSW Admissions Qualifications

To gain admission into the master’s in social work program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

  • A minimum average of a B (3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale) in all undergraduate work.

For more information, review all admission qualifications for Pitt’s MSW program.

Application Requirements

When submitting MSW program applications, students must include:

  • Transcripts from all schools attended

  • Résumé

  • Two letters of recommendation

Additionally, students must submit a personal statement. Prompts will be provided within the GradCAS application. Pitt’s MSW application does not require GRE score submissions or an application fee.
Learn more about the application process, including complete requirements and important deadlines.

Full-Time Enrollment in the MSW Program

For students entering the MSW program without a bachelor’s degree from a CSWE-accredited social work program, the School of Social Work offers a full-time enrollment option. Students enrolled in the full-time degree program can fulfill all coursework and practicum education requirements within two years of matriculation. 

For scholarship assistance, full-time enrollment is defined as registration for 12 to 15 credits in the fall and spring terms of each academic year.

Part-Time MSW Enrollment

Our student body is diverse, filled with individuals who come from a variety of economic, occupational or familial situations. To accommodate those who are unable to enroll in the program full-time, we offer a part-time MSW course of study. 

While most classes are offered during the evening, part-time students should be prepared to take some of their coursework during the day. Additionally, part-time students must make arrangements and be flexible when scheduling their practicum placements. Often, practicum education sites offering night and weekend instructions are limited. 

To maintain part-time enrollment status, students must enroll in a minimum of two classes per term for two of the three academic terms. The following options are acceptable:

  • Two courses (three credits per course) OR

  • One course (three credits) plus a minimum of three field credits OR

  • A minimum of six field credits (equivalent to two courses).

To complete Pitt’s MSW program, students must fulfill their degree requirements in four years. 

Learn more about our part-time MSW requirements.

Advanced Standing Enrollment

For prospective students looking to continue their social work education, Pitt offers advanced standing enrollment, allowing individuals to accelerate their MSW degree.

If a student has earned a social work degree from a CSWE-accredited undergraduate program within the last ten academic years, they may be eligible for advanced standing. Advanced standing enrollment may credit students up to 15 academic credits and six practicum education credits. 

MSW students granted full advanced standing can complete the program with a minimum of 39 credits, with full-time enrollment options for both 12-month (fall, spring, summer) and 16-month (fall, spring, fall) options.

Students with advanced standing can also pursue their MSW degree part-time but must complete all the program requirements in four years.

View a sample course of study plan for the advanced standing MSW program.

Read more about our advanced standing enrollment option.

MSW Specializations

Pitt’s MSW program offers two specializations, allowing students to tailor their degrees to suit their professional interests and elevate their expertise. 

For students looking to develop their skills as practitioners working with individuals, families, and small groups, we offer the Direct Practice specialization. Our Direct Practice specialization equips students to be social work practitioners in child and family service organizations, hospitals, senior services and more.

The Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA) specialization is for students interested in leadership roles in community development, human services and social change. COSA students receive a macro overview of social work practice and are equipped to work as grant officers, executive directors, researchers and more for social work agencies and organizations.

MSW Certificates

The social work field is continually evolving and requires social workers to develop their specialized knowledge and skills to ensure they provide quality care and advance their practice. MSW students are eligible to enroll in graduate-level certification programs covering areas of practice such as gerontology, integrated healthcare, mental healthcare, human services organization management, and more. 
To find out more, review Pitt’s certificate program offerings.

Financial Aid

Financing your graduate education is critical, and the University of Pittsburgh wants to help. Visit our financial aid to learn more about tuition rates, available scholarships, and the financial aid application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about Pitt’s MSW admissions, credentials, community life and more, visit our frequently asked questions page.

MSW Graduate Fairs and Information Sessions

Connect with Pitt’s School of Social Work faculty and administrators at a graduate fair or virtual or in-person information session. You’ll learn about the MSW curriculum, available student services, field education placements and more. 
View the schedule for upcoming graduate fairs and information sessions.

Request More Information About Pitt’s MSW Admissions

To keep learning about Pitt’s MSW program admissions, request more information.