How to Apply to the Berkeley MSW Program
All applicants to graduate study at Berkeley apply for graduate admission online, through the 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).
The online application becomes available in early September each year. Berkeley Social Welfare only admits for the fall semester each academic year; no spring or summer admissions are offered.
Application Deadline for Fall 2019 Admission
The next admission cycle, for entry in Fall 2019, will open September 4, 2018. All applications for Fall 2019 admission must be completed and submitted by December 3, 2018 at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST).
Required Application Materials
To be considered complete, applications for admission to the MSW Program must include all of the following items. Read below for more information and instructions for each of these required items:
- 1. A completed UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission.
- 2. Transcripts from ALL college-level course work undertaken.
- 3. Three Letters of Recommendation.
- 4. A written Statement of Purpose.
- 5. A written Personal History Statement.
- 6. A current résumé/CV.
- 7. For international applicants, a TOEFL exam score report.
Applicants to Concurrent Degree Programs
In addition to all of the materials listed above, applicants to certain concurrent degree programs must also submit the following additional required materials:
- A Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score report is required for all applicants to the Concurrent MSW/MPH, Concurrent MSW/MPP or Combined MSW/PhD programs.
- Applicants to the Concurrent MSW/MPP program are required to submit a Policy Statement of Purpose specific to the Goldman School of Public Policy.
- There are no additional materials required for the Concurrent MSW/MPH program. The SOPHAS application is not required for the Concurrent MSW/MPH program.
UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission
All applicants to Berkeley Social Welfare graduate programs apply for admission by submitting a single online UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission.
All application supporting materials, including transcripts, written statements, letters of recommendation, and résumé/CV, must be uploaded as PDF files directly into the online application by the application deadline. No late or paper copies are accepted, without exception.
The application fee is paid directly to Berkeley Graduate Admissions, and payment must be submitted online with a major credit card at the time you submit your completed application. The application fee is nonrefundable.
For information from Graduate Admissions regarding eligibility for an application fee waiver, please see Requesting an Application Fee Waiver.
Transcripts for ALL college-level coursework undertaken must be uploaded as PDF files directly into the online application. Unofficial copies are acceptable for the graduate admissions application, but they MUST include:
- the legible, full name of the applicant; and
- the legible, full name of the issuing academic institution.
Official copies of transcripts will be requested by the Graduate Division for all applicants who are admitted.
Letters of Recommendation
Three Letters of Recommendation are required, and should include two professional and one academic. Recommendations are submitted directly to your online application by your recommenders, and must be received by the application deadline.
Both your Statement of Purpose and Personal History Statement must be uploaded as PDF files to your online application.
A current copy of your résumé/CV, highlighting your relevant social work experience, must be uploaded as a PDF file to your online application. Please use the specific format provided by the School of Social Welfare. For information on the minimum experience requirement please see MSW Admission Requirements.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores
The GRE Revised General Test is not required for the MSW-only program, but applicants to the Concurrent MSW/MPH, Concurrent MSW/MPP, or Combined MSW/PhD Programs are required to take the GRE. We do not require any GRE Subject Exams. Acceptable GRE scores are from tests taken between December 1, 2013 and November 17, 2018.
There is no minimum GRE score required. All test scores should be sent electronically, directly to UC Berkeley Graduate Division (Institution Code 4833); they do not need to be sent to the School of Social Welfare. All official test score reports must be received by the application deadline: December 3, 2018.
International applicants from countries in which the official language is not English and who do not meet the TOEFL exemption qualifications must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For Fall 2019 admission, acceptable TOEFL scores are from tests taken between December 1, 2016 and November 17, 2018. TOEFL tests taken after November 17, 2018, will not be valid for admission into the 2019-20 academic year.
For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 90 is required. All test scores should be sent electronically, directly to UC Berkeley Graduate Division (Institution Code 4833); they do not need to be sent to the School of Social Welfare. All official test score reports must be received by the application deadline: December 3, 2018.
Special Program Options
Child Welfare Scholars Program
Applicants to the MSW Program who wish to be considered for participation in the Child Welfare Scholars stipend-based training program must upload an Application for the Child Welfare Scholars Program as a PDF file to the online application for admission. For more information and application instructions, please visit the Child Welfare Scholars Program.
Latinx Center of Excellence Training Program
Applicants to the MSW Program who wish to be considered for participation in the Latinx Center of Excellence (LCOE) stipend-based training program must upload an Application for the LCOE Stipend-based Training Program as a PDF file to the online application for admission. For more information and application instructions, please visit the Latinx Center of Excellence.
Re-Applicants to All Programs
Re-applicants are required to re-submit all elements of the application, including a résumé/CV that follows the guidelines provided.
However, you may not need to submit all three letters of recommendation again. At a minimum, one new recommendation letter must be submitted. If you applied for the Fall 2015 admission cycle or later, we may be able to additionally upload your previous letters of recommendation into your current application. In order to utilize this service, we must receive your request in writing by email to email@example.com by November 1, 2018.
Please include your full name as it appeared on your previous application. If your letters are available, we will then upload your previous letters of recommendation to your online application. If we are unable to retrieve your letters, you will be notified in time to request the letters again from your recommender. Requests are handled in the order they are received. If you do not make this request by the November 1 deadline, you will be expected to send in all new letters of recommendation.
Admissions Decisions and Notifications
All applicants will be notified of decisions by March 15th. Timing of notifications may vary between degree programs and specialization areas.
The University of California, Berkeley is a participating institution in the Council of Graduate Schools' (CGS) Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistantships, also known as the “April 15 Resolution.” Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15. For more information please see the CGS April 15 resolution website.
- 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 Student Funding.
- 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 Student Funding.
- 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. If space becomes available before June 1, applicants are removed from the waitlist and offered admission.
- Deferred to MSW program only (for applicants to concurrent degree programs). Applicants to the Concurrent MSW/MPH or the Concurrent MSW/MPP program may note in their online application if they wish to be considered for a preferred program option (EITHER MSW, or MPH or MPP) in the case that they are no longer considered for their selected Concurrent degree program. Those strong applicants who select the School of Social Welfare as their “preferred program option” will be considered within the specialization area pools for the MSW admission process. Applicants to the Combined MSW/PhD program may note on their application if they wish to be considered for the MSW-only program in the case that they are no longer considered for the Combined MSW/PhD Program.
- 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.
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