MSW Admission Qualifications

Dean Farmer with students

The University of Pittsburgh’s Master of Social Work (MSW) degree provides students with a thorough and rigorous graduate education that prepares them to transform social work practice, policy, and research.

Those seeking admission to the MSW program must exhibit potential and professional capabilities essential to function effectively in a graduate school environment and complete their degree.

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).

MSW Prerequisites

Applicants must fulfill the following requirements for admission into Pitt’s MSW degree program: 

  • 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

All MSW applicants are reviewed holistically. Prospective students with a grade point average less than 3.0 may be admitted provisionally to the degree program; however, they may be required to interview with the School of Social Work’s admissions office. GRE scores are not required for admission to the MSW program. 

Prospective students must earn a minimum of 60 undergraduate credits. It is recommended that a student’s undergraduate credits are divided into 30 credits in liberal arts and 30 credits in the social sciences.

Liberal arts classes include: 

  • Humanities—English, languages, literature, philosophy, religion and communication

  • Fine arts—art, photography, dance and theater

  • Natural sciences—biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics

Social science classes include: 

  • Psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, social work, history and criminal justice

Advanced Standing Admission Qualifications

Students qualify for advanced standing if they have earned a social work bachelor’s degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Board of Accreditation-accredited undergraduate program within ten academic years. Advanced standing students can complete their MSW degree with a minimum of 39 credits with full-time enrollment for both 12-month and 16-month options. 

Those eligible for advanced standing can receive up to 15 academic credits based on how their undergraduate coursework compares with the MSW program’s generalist curriculum and the grades earned in their undergraduate courses. Grades must be “B” or higher to qualify for academic credit.

In addition to coursework credit, advanced-standing students can receive six field education credits based on their completed hours of field experience during their undergraduate program. To qualify, students must have received a “B” or higher and earned 400 practicum hours.

View a sample course of study plan for advanced-standing MSW students

Admissions to Bradford & Johnstown Campuses

In addition to the Oakland campus, students can enroll in the master’s degree program at the Bradford and Johnstown campuses. Both campuses offer a part-time MSW program and a discounted tuition rate for qualifying students. 

Unlike Pitt’s main campus, the Bradford and Johnstown campuses only admit students every other year. The next available application cycle is for Fall 2024-2025.

Transfer Applications

Applicants looking to transfer into Pitt’s MSW program must meet specific criteria before receiving transfer credit. Those looking to transfer graduate-level credits from another CSWE-accredited school of social work should have completed their degree within the past seven academic years. If so, they can receive a maximum of 30 transfer credits.

Applicants requesting transfer credits from non-social work graduate degree programs can transfer up to 12 credits. 

Consistent with the CSWE’s Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards, the School of Social Work does not grant course or field credit, transfer credit or exemptions for prior life, volunteer or employment experience.

International Students

For admission into the University of Pittsburgh, international applicants must receive a minimum score of 100 (with a minimum of 21 on verbal) on the TOEFL test and 7.0 on the IELTS test. International applicants who earned a degree from a college or university where English is the first language are not required to take an English language test for admission. 

Prospective students who have earned a social work degree from a higher education institution outside of the United States and are interested in qualifying for advanced standing enrollment can have their transcripts evaluated by the Council on Social Work Education’s Foreign Equivalency Determination Service. 

Due to the financial cost of transcript evaluation, Pitt’s School of Social Work does not require credential evaluation for international applicants.

Readmissions Requirements

The path to your MSW degree isn’t always straightforward. If a student was previously enrolled in Pitt’s MSW program and withdrew for more than one year, readmission is an option. 

To be eligible for readmission, students should reapply to the program. They will also be required to submit a personal statement stating their reason for readmission and why they will be successful this time. Additionally, students should submit one new letter of recommendation from a reference not previously submitted during initial enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about Pitt’s School of Social Work accreditation, MSW curriculum or post-graduate career opportunities? Read through our frequently asked questions to gather additional information

MSW Information Sessions and Events

If you are interested in earning your Master of Social Work degree from Pitt but want to learn more from our faculty, administrators, and field placement representatives, join us for MSW information sessions and events.

Apply to the University of Pittsburgh’s Master of Social Work Program

Jumpstart your Master of Social Work by reviewing our application material requirements and important deadlines. Or, start your application today!
Need help submitting your application? View our step-by-step guide to help you through the process.