What are the basic requirements for admission into the Master of social work program?
- Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a cumulative grade average of B or better.
- Submission of a professional statement that discusses significant factors influencing your decision to pursue a Master in Social Work degree. Your essay should include information regarding career goals and leadership experiences that will contribute to your success as a graduate student and in the social work profession. Please include why the Brown School is a good fit for your educational goals. Essay should be two pages long, single spacing and 12-point font.
- Completion of an essay that analyzes a social problem of great concern to you. Include key factors contributing to the issue, plausible solution(s), possible steps for implementation and challenges likely to surface in seeking a solution. Essay should be two pages long, single spacing and 12-point font.
- Three letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic colleagues.
- A non-refundable application fee of $60, or $40 if you apply online.
Do I have to submit a transcript from a school I attended in the past if the classes are listed on my current school transcript?
We will require a student to submit transcripts for any institution that you completed 6 or more credits.
Should I submit academic or professional recommendations?
Yes, you are required to submit three recommendation forms (required) and letters (optional, but strongly recommended). You should attempt to provide at least two recommendations from professional (supervisors or managers for a human service-related paid, volunteer, research or internship position the applicant performed) or academic recommenders (faculty members who taught a class you completed or your academic advisor on the college or university level). The third recommendation can be from anyone in a good position to evaluate your potential for a successful educational or professional social work career.
Can recommendations be completed online?
Yes. We strongly encourage you to submit your recommendations online. There is a section of the online application that will allow you to add the names of your three recommenders. They will be emailed a link to the form and you will be notified when they complete it. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted through the mail.
Is the GRE required?
The Brown School does not use the GRE in its MSW admissions process. The GRE is required for our master of public health program and our doctoral degree program.
Is an interview required for acceptance?
We do not require an interview. In some cases, the admissions committee may request to interview an applicant before making their final decision.
Is the TOEFL required for International applicants?
Only for those students that English is not their first language. Exceptions are made for students whose primary language is English, or students who have studied in the United States.
International students must meet the following criteria:
- Paper Based Test (pBT): 600
- Computer Based Test (cBT): 250
- Internet Based Test (iBT): 100
In lieu of the TOEFL, we also accept the IELTS with a minimum score of 7.0.
When is the application deadline?
The Brown School has a rolling admission process. Apply now to be considered for admission and scholarship opportunities. We look forward to receiving your application soon.
Can I apply to start the program in the summer?
The MSW program does not offer beginning enrollment in the summer. We offer only Fall (August) enrollment.
Do you offer scholarships? How do I apply for this?
Yes. Every year we award more than 200 scholarships to top students who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and commitment to social justice and social work practice. To be considered for scholarship, please check the corresponding box on the application to indicate your interest on scholarship awards. We must receive all required admissions materials prior to reviewing any applications. We award scholarships on the merit of your application. Scholarship requirements are the same for U.S. and International Students.
What type of financial assistance can I receive? How do I apply for this?
A complete financial assistance form and government FAFSA form determine your need. We mail these forms to you upon your acceptance into the program. The FAFSA is submitted to the federal government and has no filing fee. If you are admitted, you will need to file as soon as possible. Based on your needs (tuition, housing and other expenses), financial assistance is awarded to you as a package. Depending on your financial forms evaluation, this may include work-study, tuition remission, and loans. For specific questions on Financial Assistance, please call 314-935-6655.
What criteria does the admissions committee utilize in making admission decisions?
Admissions decisions are based primarily on a review of the following:
- Your commitment to the mission of the Brown School.
- Your undergraduate GPA over the last 60 – 75 semester credit hours (90 - 105 quarter credit hours) on transcripts provided at the time of application.
- Additional academic work you may have undertaken following completion of an undergraduate degree, if applicable.
- Specialized training(s) relevant to the degree program completed by applicant.
- Your human service-related experience (paid, volunteer, research and internship)
- Your analysis of social problem or issue.
- Recommendation letters and/forms submitted.
How important is my GPA?
Different masters programs have different GPA requirements; however, all will look to your GPA as an indicator of academic preparedness for graduate school. The Brown School requires that students have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in a scale of 4.0. We also consider a number of other factors including demonstrated critical and analytical thought, commitment in social services, and demonstrated leadership and judgment.
What type of undergraduate degree do I need to be admitted to the MSW program?
Our students come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds. You do not need a BSW to be admitted into the MSW program.
What other classes should I take outside of my major?
Look for courses that focus on communication (written and verbal), and train you to think analytically. Most importantly, select a Statistics course. The Brown School's MSW program requires a statistics course with a grade of “B” or better. The Statistics prerequisite requires that you complete an undergraduate campus based statistics course with a grade of "B" or better. If you have not completed this requirement, you may enroll in a Statistics course this summer at area community college. We expect students to complete the statistics prerequisite before the first day of class.
Should I do an internship or participate in community service?
We highly value internships and other community service activities. The more experience you have working with people, particularly in social service settings, the better off you will be. In addition, the internship provides you with an opportunity to learn what type of social work environment motivates you. Consider getting involved in the Campus Y, a service fraternity, Habitat for Humanity or some of the other opportunities on campus. These experiences will be particularly helpful if you are planning to attend graduate school immediately following your undergraduate studies.
When will I know if I have been admitted?
We will review your application once we receive your complete application, including all letters of recommendation and transcripts. Generally, our review takes six to eight weeks. If you are an international student, transfer student, or Washington University undergraduate, contact our office for further information.
If admission is granted, is an enrollment deposit required?
Yes, a $200 non-refundable enrollment deposit is required to secure your place in the incoming class. The enrollment deposit will be applied to your student account.
If I am admitted but cannot begin the program in the fall can I defer admission?
Admitted students may request a one-year deferment. However, your admission to the Brown School stands for up to 2 years if you participate in Teach for America or the Peace Corps. Your scholarship award will not follow and you must be reconsidered for scholarship for the semester in which you plan to attend. We will require that you submit a letter requesting scholarship reconsideration as well as an updated resume, in order for you to be reconsidered for scholarship.
What is the ratio of faculty to students?
The student-faculty ratio averages at 11:1.
Can I visit the School before I apply?
Yes, we encourage prospective students to visit us. We believe that in choosing a social work program, there is no substitute for a campus visit. Plan to visit our campus on your own or with your family and experience firsthand what makes us the #1 ranked school of social work.
Schedule your campus visit today, or contact our office at (314) 935-6676. We will contact you to coordinate your visit. Brown School Visits are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. only.
In addition, we invite you to attend one of our information sessions, which we hold once a month throughout the year.
What does the MSW program at Brown School consist of?
The MSW Program consists of six concentration areas and three specialization areas. Concentrations include Mental Health, Health, Children, Youth & Families, Gerontology, Social and Economic Development, and an Individualized program of study. Specializations include Research, Social Entrepreneurship, and Management. The school also offers dual degrees with Architecture, Business, Divinity, Pastoral Studies, Jewish Studies, Law, and Public Health.
How many credit hours?
The MSW program is a sixty credit hour program; nine of the credit hours are practicum hours. Advanced standing students complete forty-four credit hours.
How long does it take to earn the MSW degree?
Two years full-time. You may complete the MSW degree in less time if you have a BSW from an accredited school, or have transferable credits. Although you can take classes on a part-time basis, we do not offer a formalized part-time MSW program. Students taking classes on a part-time basis will eventually need to enroll as a full-time student in order to earn the MSW degree.
What undergraduate courses are required for the program?
We require Statistics for the MSW program. To meet the requirement, you must receive a grade of a B or better in an undergraduate Statistics course. We expect students to complete the statistics prerequisite before the first day of class.
I have a BSW, does the Brown School offer advanced standing for the MSW program?
Yes, we award up to 19 hours of advanced standing credit for students who graduate with a BSW from a CSWE accredited school within the past six years. BSW graduates must complete the required courses with grades of “B” or better. Students designated as "advanced standing" start at the same time, and have the same length of time to finish the program as students with no advanced standing. Advanced standing will allow you to complete the MSW program as short as one year.
Can I transfer credits from other programs? How can I find out which credits will transfer to the Brown School?
Yes. We may accept up to 12 hours of Master's level work from other disciplines, for which you received a grade of "B" or better. The master's level courses are evaluated on a course-by-course basis. Credits from other accredited Master's of Social Work programs are evaluated on a course-by-course basis also. In the case of other MSW programs, your transferable credit may be up to 30 credit hours. You may not receive credit for undergraduate coursework for non-BSW degrees. Course credit is not awarded for life or previous work experiences.
What MSW courses may I take Proficiency Exams for?
Each student is offered the opportunity to test out of Research Methods, Social Economic, and Political Environment, Human Behavior, and Social Welfare Policies and Services. However, this does not reduce the number of total credit hours required to graduate. With each exam you pass, you will fulfill the credit hours with additional electives. You will not be penalized for failing a proficiency exam. Proficiency exams must be taken in the semester you enter the program.
Does the school offer evening or weekend classes?
Yes, the MSW program offers some classes in the evening and weekend courses.
Does the School of Social Work offer online courses/distance learning?
No, we do not offer online courses. However, the Brown School does encourage transdisplinary courses and some students do take electives on different campuses.
Do you offer a part-time program?
We do not offer a formalized part-time program. You may, however, take classes on a part-time basis, which we define as six credit hours per semester or less.
Do you offer a degree in Counseling?
We offer only the MSW and Ph.D. in Social Work. If you are interested in counseling, we encourage you to take family therapy courses or any courses involving mental health.
Is the program research or clinically oriented?
Washington University in St. Louis is a research-focused institution. The Brown School places emphasis on research, policy, and direct practice (including clinical) as part of its MSW program. Our focus is on teaching students the process of evidence-base practice, which can be applied in a number of settings and situations. If you are interested in management, we also have a management specialization, which not all schools of social work offer.
What is practicum?
A practicum is a graduate level course that is designed to give students supervised practical application in the Social Work field. It is comparative to a clinical internship where you will receive applicable skills that contributes to professional identity, provides a comprehensive base of theory, knowledge, and skills, and builds on personal short and long-term career objectives.
Does the curriculum include practicum?
Yes, the MSW program includes practicum experiences. Practicum is part of your program requirements and its purpose is to provide a challenging, innovative, and experiential practicum learning experience; to prepare you to assume responsibilities as social work professionals exhibiting ethical and professional behavior; and to ensure skilled supervision by experienced field instructors who have been affiliated with our School based on demonstrated knowledge in the field.
Do you start practicum your first semester?
No. Most students in the MSW program begin their practicum during the second semester; however, advanced standing students may begin practicum during the first semester.
How is practicum assigned?
You can choose your practicum experiences from a list of affiliated practicum sites. Prior to entering the field, you are required to attend a mandatory Field Preparation session. In these sessions, Field Education staff will explain the process for identifying practicum opportunities in detail and can assist in identifying various placement options.
Our practicum program allows you to exercise options regarding the location and timing of your field work. We require 960 hours of practicum that are divided between foundation and concentration practica. You must complete a minimum of 360 hours in the foundation practicum and 600 hours in the concentration practicum. A one-credit integrative seminar is taken concurrently with your foundation practicum.
You can complete your concentration practica outside of St. Louis. Our Office of Field Education maintains a list of more than 400 approved sites locally, nationally, and internationally.
Our Field Education staff, along with your academic advisor and other faculty members, will help you identify and locate sites that meet your professional interests and personal needs. The Office of Field Education also sponsors a Practicum Fair to help you find the right field placement.
Can I complete my practicum where I work?
You can complete you practicum where you work as long as it is not within your usual department or under the direction of your current supervisor.
Does the Brown School offer a dual degree program?
Yes, official dual degree programs offered include:
- MSW/MArch (Social Work and Architecture)
- MSW/MDiv (Social Work and Master of Divinity)
- MSW/MAPs (Social Work and Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies)
- MSW/MAJS (Social Work and Jewish Studies)
- MSW/MBA (Social Work and Business Administration)
- MSW/JD (Social Work and Law)
- MSW/MPH (Social Work and Public Health)
- MPH/MBA (Public Health and Business Administration)
Separate application materials are required by each school/college and are reviewed independently according to their criteria.
Is the MSW program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)?
Yes, the MSW program has been accredited by the CSWE.
How much does the program cost?
Tuition cost at the Brown School is based on the number of credit hours of enrollment during a semester. The tuition rate for the current 2013-2014 academic year is $1,184 per credit hour. The average student registers for 12 credit hours per semester, which equates to a semester tuition charge of $14,208. If students register for the maximum course load of 15 credit hours, the semester tuition charge would be $17,760.
How many of the students are awarded scholarships or financial assistance?
At the Brown School, we award more than 200 scholarships to top students who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, and commitment to social justice and social work practice. About 95% of the MSW class apply for and receive some form of grant and/or scholarship assistance.
How does the Financial Aid application process work?
The process for requesting financial aid for graduate studies is much the same as for undergraduate studies. The primary form is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Once you arrive at this website, request a personal identification number (PIN). This electronic access code number allows you to apply online for federal student aid, “sign” your application electronically, make online corrections to your FAFSA, access your Student Aid Report (SAR), “sign” a master promissory note for a federal student loan and access your federal student loan history on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.nslds.edu.
Next, you will complete the FAFSA. As a graduate student, you are considered independent and do not use your parent’s financial information to complete this. You will need the school code (002520), your Federal Income Tax Return for the applicable year, and your PIN to complete the FAFSA electronically. Upon completion, your information will be electronically sent to the Brown School and you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) containing all the information reported on the FAFSA and the calculated results. Once the school receives the FAFSA and the Financial Assistance Form distributed with the Admissions Registration Packet, you will receive a financial aid award letter and detailed instructions on how to complete your aid.
Will I qualify for Financial Aid?
There are basic eligibility requirements that must be met in order to qualify for federal assistance. In general, students must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen,
- Not be in default on a federal student loan,
- Be registered with the Selective Service, if required to register,
- Be enrolled in an eligible program at an eligible institution,
- Be enrolled at least half-time, and
- Complete the FAFSA
If you meet these basic requirements, then financial aid options are available to graduate and professional students. Although some funding sources, such as the Federal Pell Grant, are available only for undergraduate study, there is a wide variety of funds available for graduate study. While some forms of funding are based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA, not all funding is subject to these restrictions. In general, financial aid is available to assist with tuition, books, fees and other expenses such as room and board up to the cost of attendance.
How much money can I get? What loans are available?
Other than scholarship funds awarded during the admissions process, there are two basic forms of aid available for graduate study.
- Federal Work-Study (FWS) allows you to obtain part-time employment while you are enrolled in school to help pay your educational expenses. These funds are need-based and will be available for all students who qualify and wish to participate. These funds are paid directly to the student throughout the school year as they are earned.
- Student loans are the primary source of financial aid for many graduate students and require half-time enrollment. There are several different loan programs available to students.
- Federal Perkins Loan is a subsidized loan available to graduate and professional students on an institutional basis. Eligibility for the Perkins Loan is need-based. The graduate annual maximum is $8,000.
- Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan programs require half-time enrollment. Annual loan limits are tied to the cost of attendance and individual eligibility, with a maximum of $20,500. For unsubsidized loans, interest accumulates and may be paid during these periods or capitalized (added to the principal) at a specified time.
- Grad PLUS Loans may be available to students enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional program.
- Grad PLUS borrowers may borrow up to the cost of attendance for the period of enrollment, minus other estimated financial assistance received for that period. Grad PLUS loans are subject to credit review.
- Private educational loans (also called alternative loans) may be available when the federal loans are insufficient to cover the student’s cost of attendance. These loans are non need-based unsubsidized funds provided by lenders for educational purposes and may also have annual and aggregate limits.
Can I have a job while I am at school full time?
Most students work part time (10-20 hours per week) when enrolled in the full-time program. Many students apply for and receive work-study funds.
How do I apply for work-study?
To apply for a work-study award, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The University Office of Financial Aid will provide you a work-study award if you meet the eligibility requirements and if funds are available at the time that you apply.
I have a work-study award, how do I find a job?
To review a list of work-study positions visit our career services website and click on “Symplicity.” Symplicity is our new career management system that offers a wide range of tools to help you connect with prospective employers. When you see a position of interest, contact the hiring department to inquire about hiring procedures.
For further information on financial aid, please see the Financial Aid Guide.
What is the cost of living in St. Louis?
The St. Louis area living costs vary according to neighborhoods and apartment complexes. Your expenses per month and year will depend on living costs and the amount of personal debt you carry (car, charge cards, etc.). The average cost of living near the University is $600 per month for rent and utilities. Washington University offers a resourceful "Apartment Referral Service" to all incoming and current students. There is information on this service in the Brown School Bulletin.
Is housing available at the Brown School?
No. Most students live off campus within walking distance of the Brown School.
I live out-of-state, how can I easily find a place to live?
Washington University provides an apartment listing services called Quadrangle Housing. Through QH, you can obtain computer listings of apartments by rental rate, location, number of bedrooms, rooms to rent, etc. You may use this service simply by going to their office and presenting a copy of your acceptance letter.
If you would like Quadrangle Housing to send you general information on housing in the St. Louis area, please request it by calling QH at (314)935-9511/1-800-874-4330
We provide a list of apartments for lease in the surrounding areas of Washington University, including:
How can I find a roommate?
After you are accepted into the program and pay your deposit, you will be invited to join a private Facebook group that will allow you to meet other admitted students.
Do I need a car in St. Louis?
It is possible to get around St. Louis City and the university area by means of public transportation. However, if you arrange for a practicum site that is a considerable distance away you will need a car. Full time students are able to use bus and light rail system free of charge.