Advanced Standing (30 Credit Hours) Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to apply for Advanced Standing, applicants must have received their BASW or BSW from a CSWE accredited program within the last 5 years and present Grade Point Averages (GPA) at or above the following (firm) minimums:

Undergraduate GPA 3.0
Social Work GPA 3.5
Graduate GPA (if applicable) 3.0

Candidates who are not admitted to Advanced Standing usually can be automatically considered for the Regular 60-credit program. Additionally at least 1 year of previous full-time paid social work-related experience is recommended.


Regular (60 Credit Hour) Program Eligibility Criteria:

In order to be eligible for the Regular Program, applicants must have received their Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and present a Grade Point Average (GPA) at or above the following minimums:

Undergraduate GPA 3.0
Social Work GPA (if applicable) 3.0
Graduate GPA (if applicable) 3.0

If your past academic performance does not meet one or more of the GPA standards for admission to the 60-credit hour program, then you must complete the Petition for Exceptional Consideration, in addition to the other application components described below.

How to Apply

Please note that the admission procedures are the same for both 60-Hour MSW degree program and the advanced standing.

The admissions process involves the College of Social Work and the Graduate School; you must be accepted by both. The College’s Admissions Committee reviews your application materials and then forwards a recommendation to the Graduate School. The Graduate School makes an independent determination based largely upon your transcripts. The College of Social Work and the Graduate School will email separate letters after your application has been evaluated.

Please contact the Master of Social Work Advisor if you have any MSW application questions. Email:

All applications for graduate study at the University of Kentucky Graduate School must be submitted on-line. We are now part of the Hobsons ApplyYourself Application Network, a system used by over 700 colleges and universities that provides an opportunity to submit all Graduate School and program requirements in one application including letters of recommendation.

The first portion of the process is to set up a new account and establish a user name and password. Do not lose this information; you will need it if you wish to return to continue an unfinished application or review a completed application.

Access the Graduate School Application here:

Note: The MSW program does not require the GRE for admission.

In order to complete the application you will need to gather several pieces of information including the following:


You will be asked to upload copies of transcripts from all higher education institutions attended and, in the case of domestic students, to self-report cumulative GPA’s for each institution. If you are offered admission and decide to enroll you will then be required to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School.

Letters of Recommendation:

The MSW Program at the University of Kentucky requires applicants to provide three references. These references must be obtained from individuals in the following categories:

• Professor
• Social Work Professor
• Professional Social Worker/Field Instructor
• Work or Volunteer Supervisor

Please exclude personal, pastoral and relative references. If you graduated within the past 5 years you must provide at least one academic reference.

As part of the online application you will be asked to supply email contact information for your three references. Once your application has been submitted, the system will contact each person identified and their recommendations will be submitted directly to us. You can check back into your application at any time to see who has submitted a recommendation. You can also review recommender requirements via the following link:

Writing Sample (uploaded electronic document)

In 250 words or less, describe an ethical dilemma you encountered in either your professional or personal past. Identify and define the ethical problem, the parties involved, the values you relied upon to make your decisions, and how the dilemma was resolved. Explain how the outcome has affected you and any lessons you learned.

Personal Statement Autobiography (uploaded electronic document)

Your autobiography should be approximately four pages in length, double-spaced, and the following topics must be addressed within the narrative:

  1. Motivation for social service, social work education, and a career in the profession: State your reasons for wanting to pursue an MSW degree. Why are you applying to the University of Kentucky College Of Social Work? What are your social service interests and career goals?
  2. Personal life experiences and relevant events: Briefly describe your personal history as it relates to your interest in the profession of social work. What do you consider to be your particular strengths, skills and abilities that will contribute to your success in this field?
  3. Capacities for professional social work education: Briefly describe your professional, volunteer and/or educational history as it relates to your capacity for success in graduate study in the field of social work. What characteristics, circumstances, or challenges could serve to enhance or limit your capacity to pursue graduate level education in the field of social work?


Personal Resume (uploaded electronic document)

Please list in resumé format your work and volunteer experience.


Access the Graduate School Application here:

Application Deadlines:

February 15, 2019 for Fall 2019 Enrollment (Part-Time Advance Standing, Full & Part-time 60-Hour Regular program – Lexington campus applicants only)

March 15, 2019 for Fall 2019 Enrollment (Part-time Advanced Standing & Part-time 60-Hour Regular program – Hazard location)

March 15, 2019 for Fall 2019 Enrollment (Part-time 60-Hour Regular program – Morehead & Ashland locations)


We do not take applications for the spring semester. If you have questions about your ability to begin the program in the Fall semester please contact the MSW Advisor at before applying to the Graduate School.


Criteria Used by the Admissions Committee:

  • Undergraduate GPA
  • Social Work GPA for advanced standing applicants
  • Graduate GPA (if applicable)
  • Course work in Statistics, Psychology, and Sociology
  • Professional Experience/Demonstrated Commitment to Social Work
  • Social Work Values
  • Reasoning and Writing Ability
  • Resume’ Factors/Autobiographical Considerations
  • Alternative Measures for Academic Promise (if applicable).


The College of Social Work MSW program is an academically rigorous program, requiring students to have high intellectual ability and strong motivation. One of the best predictors of success in the program is a record of high accomplishment in previous academic work. For some applicants, circumstances in their lives interfered with their ability to achieve their full potential. In some such instances the Admissions Committee may waive minimum GPA standards, provided there is strong justification. If your past academic performance does not reflect accurately your ability to succeed in an MSW program and falls below one or more of the GPA minimums, provide what evidence you can of your ability to succeed in the MSW program in the Petition for Exceptional Consideration. Admission decisions are made by a faculty Admissions Committee and you will be notified of your status by phone and/or email.

If you have any remaining questions, please direct them to the MSW Advisor, at

Further considerations: In addition to the GPA requirements, applicants must have taken a course in each of the following: statistics, psychology, and sociology or anthropology. If you are missing a required course, you may be admitted provisionally. This means that you will be expected to satisfactorily complete the required course either in the semester before you begin the degree program or in the semester concurrently with your social work courses. You will remain in provisional status until this course is completed.

  • The MSW curriculum as well as admission standards are subject to change as faculty identify a need for revision.
  • The College of Social Work adheres to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. The Code of Ethics can be found at Students and faculty are expected to abide by the provisions of the Code at all times.