College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Social Work > Graduate Programs > Social Work (MSW) > Admission Requirements

Admission to the MSW Program

​​​​All applicants are advised to apply as early as possible as admission is limited and selective.  Applications are reviewed for Autumn quarter admission. MSW students may be able to register for classes in earlier quarters but since internships are completed during the regular academic year (starting early Autumn quarter and ending late Spring quarter) courses taken before Autumn quarter will not result in in early graduation.

For admission in the Autumn Quarter, the deadline for full-time (two-year) applicants is April 1, while the part-time (options for three years or four years) applicants should have applications submitted​ by July 15.

The program's admission criteria center on assessing readiness for graduate education and readiness for the profession of social work.  The MSW program's admission eligibility requirements include the following:

  • graduation from an accredited baccalaureate institution
  • overall minimum of 2.7 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
  • potential for professional success as demonstrated by references and/or relevant paid or non-paid professional experience
  • demonstrated commitment to the aims and goals of the profession of social work (as demonstrated by references, select academic study, experience, and/or special insight which can be demonstrated in the narrative portions of the admission application).

International Applicants

International students (those who were educated outside of the U.S. and/or require an F1 visa) must take additional steps to be considered for admission.  Please visit the International Admission page for exact information.

MSW Program Application Process

Applicants to the MSW Program begin by completing the DePaul online application.  Current required materials are:

  • A non-refundable application fee.​
  • Two references (references may be submitted by letter,  email, or the online application's reference tool) from supervisors or instructors who have known you for at least a year. One reference should address your work or professional potential while the second reference should address your academic potential.  If you cannot provide the two types of references, please explain your circumstances in a cover letter attached to the application.
  • Official Transcripts from each educational institution you have attended. While there are no specific course pre-requisites for admission, transcripts are reviewed for completion of baccalaureate-level course work in the areas of:
      • Social and Behavioral Sciences
      • Mathematics and/or Statistics
      • Natural Sciences
      • Arts & Humanities
  • An updated resume or C.V.
  • ​​Personal Statement.  Please address each of the following five areas. The admissions committee will use your responses to assess your readiness for graduate education and your potential for success in the social work profession. Please limit your responses to one single-spaced page per section using one-inch margins.
    • What motivates you to pursue a career in social work? More specifically, why are you choosing to pursue a Masters in Social Work at DePaul University?
    • What personal characteristics and strengths do you possess that will help you be successful in graduate studies and eventually becoming a social worker?
    • Identify and discuss a social issue that you feel passionate about addressing. What role do you imagine playing in addressing this social issue?
    • Reflect and discuss a challenging situation you have had with another person (i.e. supervisor, peer, colleague, or professor). How did you manage it and what did you learn from it that you believe will help you in the MSW program?
    • Describe how you would manage being a graduate student and successfully completing our MSW program. How would you balance the demands of graduate school, including coursework, internship (i.e. 16-20 hrs. per week), work, family, and finances, etc.?
What application reviewer will assess when reviewing your personal statement…

    • Assess your preparedness for graduate studies.
    • Confirm you have adhered to the formatting instructions.
    • Appraise your grammar and spelling.
    • Assess your ability to write clear and well-organized responses.
    • Verify that all questions posed have been answered.
    • Expand beyond the desire to “help people".
    • Demonstrate critical self-reflection.
    • Show knowledge and understanding of the social work profession.

Writing tips:

    • Write a draft of your personal statement​​, take a break, and come back to it later to work on editing and clarifying.
    • Do not rely solely on spelling and grammar checks.
    • Read your personal statement aloud for flow and accuracy.
    • Have others read your personal statement and give you feedback. 

All paper materials should be mailed to:

DePaul University
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Office of Graduate Admission
2400 N. Sheffield Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614.

Application materials can also be emailed to the Office of Graduate Admission at (this includes colleges and universities that issue official electronic transcripts).

Please make sure your name is on all documents.

Learn more about Graduate Admission.

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If you need assistance to complete your application and/or have questions, contact the LAS Graduate Admission office at (773) 325-7315 or