The Relevant Experience Requirement
To be eligible for admission to the Berkeley Social Welfare MSW degree program, applicants must have the equivalent of at least one full year (2,100 hours) of paid employment or volunteer experience related to social welfare or human services, or in a position requiring skills relevant to work with underserved or marginalized populations, completed by the time of application.
All applicants to a Berkeley Social Welfare master's degree program are required to upload to their online admissions application a current résumé highlighting all relevant social work experience, including both paid employment and volunteer experience. All experience to be counted towards satisfying the minimum requirement for admission eligibility must be included in the required format (see below for guidelines).
Documentation of experience submitted with an admissions application may be verified by departmental admissions staff. UC Berkeley reserves the right to withdraw or rescind an offer of admission if any part of an application, including documentation of relevant professional experience, contains misrepresentations.
Since successful experience in the human services field provides a good test of commitment and aptitude, we seek to admit students who have begun social work or related careers, and demonstrate both professional promise and leadership potential.
We are looking for experience working directly with and on behalf of people and communities in need, including those experiencing social and emotional distress, vulnerable or marginalized populations, and those who are historically under-served. The following lists give some common examples of experience considered relevant or not, although it's important to know that these lists are not exhaustive.
Examples of Relevant Experience
Some examples of paid or volunteer social work experiences that our admitted students had prior to applying to the MSW program include:
- AmeriCorps Service Coordinator at home for the aging
- Arts and Life Group Leader for older adults
- Behavioral Intervention Aide
- Behavioral Therapist for children with disabilities
- Bilingual Case Manager in homeless shelter
- Bilingual Prenatal Health Family Advocate with public health department
- Board Director for Latino community violence agency
- CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Volunteer
- Case Manager with arts program for youth with mental health concerns
- Child Development Specialist with children who have experienced trauma
- Clinical Intern with outpatient mental health program serving Spanish-speaking clients
- Communication Coordinator at emergency room of community hospital
- Employment Transition Counselor for youth
- Foster Care Caseworker
- Home Visitor for underserved pregnant women
- Hospice Volunteer
- Intern with County Office for Homelessness Studies
- Intern with middle school sex education program
- Legal Advocate for those suffering from discrimination
- Night Shelter Coordinator at homeless shelter
- Peace Corps volunteer
- Peer Educator with sexual assault prevention program
- Program Associate for community philanthropy organization
- Reproductive Health Assistant with community health agency
- Research Associate for public schools
- Research Project Coordinator for smoking prevention program
- Senior Nutrition Program Coordinator at a county Meals on Wheels program
- Social Service Program Manager
- Spanish Outreach Coordinator with Alzheimer's and dementia organization
- Special Education Aide
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- Summer in the City Intern at a social support agency for senior citizens
- Support Group Volunteer for families facing life threatening illnesses
- Teacher (all levels, special needs populations, Teach for America, etc.)
- Tutor with at-risk, foster, and probation youth
Examples of Experience NOT Considered Relevant
Some examples of experience that would NOT be considered relevant for meeting the admission eligibility requirement include:
- Administrative Assistant or Office Clerk
- Animal Shelter Volunteer
- Babysitter or nanny
- Data entry
- Fundraising volunteer
- Packing food pantry boxes
- Research experience that does not include interviews or interactions with subjects
- Retail or restaurant service work
- Working only with other college students in a peer capacity
The résumé you prepare for your graduate admission application should include all professional work or volunteer experience (full and part-time) specifically related to the field of social work. Your admissions résumé should:
- Describe your experience as it relates to the field of social welfare and the professional practice of social work.
- Demonstrate how skills gained, tasks completed, or clientele involved have prepared you for professional social work.
- Not exceed three pages.
You may format your résumé however you choose based on your personal preference; however, you must include ALL of the following information for all entries you wish to count toward meeting the experience requirement, including the total hours worked at each position:
- Name and Location of Organization
- Position Title
- Start Date to End Date
- Hours per Week and Total Hours Worked.
You may include any other information that you believe is relevant, such as leadership experience, publications, multilingual capacity, or additional skills.
Successful applicants will be able to document all required, relevant information in one to three pages.