How to Apply to the MSW Program
UC Berkeley Online Application for Graduate Admission
All applicants to the MSW Program 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.
All application supporting materials, including transcripts, written statements, letters of recommendations, and résumé/CV, must be uploaded as PDF files directly into the online application by the application deadline. No paper copies are accepted. The application fee must be paid online with a major credit card.
Application Deadline for Fall 2018 Admission
The application deadline for Fall 2018 admission was December 1, 2017, and the Fall 2018 admissions cycle is now closed. The next cycle, for entry in Fall 2019, will open in early September 2018. Information about the Fall 2019 admissions cycle will be updated on our website in May 2018.
Required Application Materials
ALL of the following items are required for an application to be considered complete:
UC Berkeley Graduate and Professional Application for Admission
Online application fully completed, including uploads of all required supporting materials and payment of application fee, and submitted by the application deadline.
Transcripts from ALL college-level coursework undertaken:
Unofficial copies are acceptable for the graduate admissions application, but they must include the full name of the applicant and the name of the academic institution. Official copies 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.
A current copy of your résumé/CV, highlighting your relevant social work experience (see MSW Admission Requirements), must be uploaded as a PDF file to your online application. Please use the specific format provided by the School of Social Welfare.
Three written statements are required as part of your application to the Berkeley MSW Program:
- Statement of Purpose
- Personal History Statement
- Analytical Question Response
Please see "Preparing your MSW Admissions Application Statements" [pdf] for instructions and guidelines for the required written statements. Statements must be uploaded as PDF files to your online application.
Applicants to Concurrent Degree Programs
The MSW+MPH, MSW+MPP, and Combined MSW/PhD Programs each have a single application. The MSW+MPH and MSW+MPP are listed at the end of the "Select Program" menu and are titled "Social Welfare & Public Health MSW/MPH" and "Social Welfare & Public Policy MSW/MPP", respectively. The Combined MSW/PHD application is listed as "Social Welfare MSW/PhD."
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores:
The GRE revised General Test is not required for the MSW-only program, but applicants to the MSW+MPH, MSW+MPP, or Combined MSW/PhD Program are required to take the GRE. We do not require any GRE Subject Exams. Acceptable GRE scores are from tests taken between December 1, 2012 and November 17, 2017. There is no minimum GRE score required. All test scores should be sent directly to UC Berkeley Graduate Division (Institution Code 4833); they do not need to be sent to the School of Social Welfare. All test scores must be received by the application deadline: December 1, 2017.
Policy Statement of Purpose (MSW/MPP Program only):
In addition to all of the materials listed above, 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.
Evidence of English Language Proficiency:
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 TOEFL exam. For Fall 2018 admission, acceptable TOEFL scores are from tests taken between December 1, 2015 and November 17, 2017. TOEFL tests taken after November 17, 2017, will not be valid for admission into the 2018-19 academic year. For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 90 is required. All test scores should be sent directly to UC Berkeley Graduate Division (Institution Code 4833); they do not need to be sent to the School of Social Welfare. All test scores must be received by the application deadline: December 1, 2017.
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 2014 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1, 2017. 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 stated 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 concentrations.
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 select amount 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 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 concentration pools for the MSW Admission process. Applicants to the Combined MSW/PhD program may note on their application if they wished to be considered for the MSW-only program in the case that they are no longer considered for their selected Concurrent degree program.
Denied admission. Each year we receive many more 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.