MSW Admissions

student in baseball cap and mask gestures while speaking; other students in background

Each year Berkeley Social Welfare endeavors to admit the most promising master's students who combine scholarly ability with demonstrated commitment and aptitude for a career in social work.

All applicants to graduate study at Berkeley (regardless of degree program) apply for graduate admission through the online UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission. A separate application to the School of Social Welfare is not required. Berkeley Social Welfare does not participate in the Social Work Centralized Application Service (SocialWorkCAS).

Applicants may apply to only one single degree program or one established concurrent degree program per admission term. The online application becomes available in early September each year. For both the Berkeley Full-time MSW and Flex MSW, Berkeley Social Welfare only admits for the fall semester each academic year; no spring or summer admissions are offered.

Application Deadline for Fall 2023 Admission

The next admission cycle, for entry in Fall 2023, will open on September 15, 2022. All applications for Fall 2023 admission must be completed and submitted by Thursday, December 1, 2022, at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST).

PLEASE NOTE: Berkeley Social Welfare will not be accepting applications for Fall 2023 admission to either FlexMSW Program track.

Admissions Eligibility Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission to a Berkeley Social Welfare master's degree program include a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution; a satisfactory academic record, including grade-point average (GPA); and sufficient undergraduate training and post-baccalaureate experience related to social welfare or human services in order to succeed with graduate study in social work at Berkeley. Satisfying minimal standards, however, does not guarantee your admission, since the number of qualified applicants typically far exceeds the number of places available each academic year.

For complete details please see MSW Admission Eligibility Requirements.

Graduate Application Requirements

Applications for admission to the Berkeley Full-time MSW program must include all of the following items:

  1. A completed UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission.
  2. Transcripts from ALL college-level coursework undertaken.
  3. Three Letters of Recommendation.
  4. A written Statement of Purpose.
  5. A written Personal History Statement.
  6. A current résumé/CV highlighting all relevant social work experience.
  7. Applicants to the Concurrent MSW/MPH or Concurrent MSW/MPP, will want to review application requirements for the MPH or MPP programs, respectively.
  8. For international applicants, a TOEFL exam score report.
  9. Completion of an introductory statistics course taken at an accredited college or University by the start of the Fall semester. For more information on the statistics requirement, please visit our FAQ page

For complete details and instructions for each of these application elements, please see MSW Admissions Application Instructions and the MSW Admissions Checklist.

Admissions Decisions and Notifications

All applicants will be notified of decisions the week of March 15. Timing of notifications may vary between degree programs and specialization areas.

  • Admitted with departmental fellowship. Each year we are able to offer fellowships to a small number of admitted students. Fellowships are awarded based on merit, need, and contributions to educational diversity. Fellowships are meant to subsidize the cost of graduate school and do not typically cover the entire cost of attendance. For more information, see Financing Your Graduate Degree.
  • Admitted without departmental fellowship. The majority of admitted MSW applicants are accepted without departmental fellowship. However, the opportunity for fellowship support increases significantly for second-year MSWs. For more information, see Financing Your Graduate Degree.
  • Waitlisted for admission. Each year we receive many more applications from qualified applicants than space available. A small percentage of applicants are selected for the waitlist. For those applicants who have been admitted to the waitlist, the School of Social Welfare Admissions Office will admit applicants from the waitlist as space becomes available. Please note that the waitlist is not ranked but is grouped together by specialization area, and we unfortunately cannot foresee how likely it is that an applicant will be admitted off the waitlist. After May 15th, applicants will no longer be removed from the waitlist regardless of any vacancies that may follow. Those applicants still on the waitlist at that time and who wish to be considered for admission to our program must reapply for the following admissions cycle.
  • Denied admission. Each year we receive many more applications from qualified applicants than we have space available. Unfortunately, we must deny admission to many candidates who would likely be very successful in a social work graduate program. We encourage applicants to explore multiple graduate school options. For those who are denied admission, we offer the opportunity for reapplying in subsequent years.