Master of Social Work (MSW) Admissions

The University of New England’s School of Social Work offers several options for the completion of the Master of Social Work degree:

  • Campus-based program options
    • Traditional face-to-face
    • Hybrid/Flipped blend of online and on campus
  • Online program

Applicants are encouraged to complete and submit applications early in the cycle; applications are reviewed and admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis.  Scholarship and grant funds are awarded on a rolling basis as students are accepted.

Important Dates

  • November 1, 2016: Application decisions as well as scholarship and stipend awards begin and are made on a rolling basis throughout the cycle
  • April 1, 2017: Priority application deadline for the on-campus MSW programs

Final deadlines

To be considered for admissions for Fall 2017 all applications and supporting materials must be received by:

Please note: Deadline for application for full-time enrollment has been extended to July 15.

  • June 15, 2017: All applications for full-time enrollment
  • July 31, 2017: All applications for part-time enrollment

All applications for admissions must be electronically submitted through UNE’s online application portal

For specific academic dates, please view the UNE Academic Calendar.



To be considered for admission, you must have

  • Completed a Bachelor’s degree from a US regionally accredited college or university or international equivalent. (If degree is in progress at time of acceptance, degree must be completed prior to matriculation.)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better is preferred.  (If your GPA is lower, you must address this in your professional statement.)
  • Evidence of work or volunteer experience working with people in a human service environment is required.
  • Demonstration of graduate-level writing skills as evidenced by the required professional essay.
  • While interviews are not required, the Admissions Committee may request an interview with follow-up questions after reviewing your application.

Note: Before matriculation, accepted/deposited students will be expected to meet all health immunization requirements and; to obtain a physical examination with proof of up-to-date immunization status. Please visit Student Health Care for details. 

As required by field placement sites, students may be subject to criminal background checks and drug screens prior to entering field placement sites, and periodically throughout their field placement.


  • Applications for admission are submitted through UNE’s online application. (Applicants must certify that all information submitted in the admission process, - including the application, the professional essay, and any other supporting materials, is their own work, factually true and honestly presented).  A completed application includes:
    • A professional essay written using APA standards (no more than 6 pages, 12 point font, double spaced with 1-inch margins) specifically addressing  all of the following:
      • With reference to UNE’s Mission Statement and the definition of “social inclusion” provided therein, please share your views on how you understand social inclusion and its connection to social justice, cultural diversity, and human dignity.
      • Please share two examples that you have observed in society where social inclusion was absent.  What are your recommendations for how to address these issues?
      • Your own assessment of your personal strengths and areas in need of development relative to becoming a professional social worker.
      • Please refer to a time you were working in a professional social service setting (employment or volunteer) and you made a mistake or were not able to meet expectations associated with the tasks assigned to you and provide the following:
        • Briefly describe this situation and share what, if anything you would do differently.
        • Describe how this experience has impacted you as a professional.·         
    • The names and emails of two (2) education/professional reference letter writers as part of the application. Reference letters from friends and family members are not acceptable.
    • Submission of a current resume.
    • Submission of official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions, 716 Stevens Avenue, Portland, ME, 04103.
  • Advanced Standing applicants please see section on Advanced Standing below
  • Applications are reviewed as they are completed. Only those applications completed by the application deadline will be considered for admission. Decisions are made on a rolling basis. Once an applicant is accepted, a deposit will be required to hold a seat in our class. 
  • Since field planning is an important part of our program, applicants are encouraged to apply early to give us time to help you find the field placement just right for you.
  • Scholarship and grant funds are limited and are awarded on a rolling basis after acceptance. Funds are currently available for our campus-based program only. Scholarship awards are both merit and need based. Students interested in being considered for a scholarship or grant award must submit a letter of request at the same time of application to the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions.  If you are accepted your letter will be forwarded to the SSW for consideration.  
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees must have transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited US institution. . See International Admissions.
  • All applicants to UNE must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university.  UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency, (see International Admissions). If an applicant cannot prove English Proficiency in another way, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are required and must be submitted as a part of the completed application.

For additional information on the admissions process and requirements, please access the School of Social Work website.

Policy exceptions

The Master of Social Work program and the SSW Admissions Committee in collaboration with the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions reserve the right to make exceptions to the admissions criteria and to make changes or exceptions to policies and procedures, on a case by case basis, when it deems such a decision is necessary and appropriate.

Transfer Credit


Transfer of credit for MSW graduate courses taken at another institution may be possible under the following conditions

  • Students with one full year of graduate social work education from another CSWE accredited graduate school of social work, who desire admission to the second year of the UNE’s School of Social Work:
    • Must have completed a full year of graduate study in courses equivalent to the foundation courses at UNE’s SSW and have earned a minimum grade of “B” in all courses.
    • Credit will not be given for graduate work that was completed more than seven years prior to admissions to UNE.
    • A transfer student that transfers in thirty-two (32) credits equivalent to the UNE’s School of Social Work foundation year must satisfactorily complete a minimum of thirty-five (35) credit hours at UNE’s SSW in order to earn a degree from UNE.  This includes enrolling in SSW 526 Integrating Clinical/Community Frameworks.
    • Transfer students are required to adhere to the degree requirements in effect at the time of their admission.  Individualized provisions may, at times, increase the total credit hours required beyond the above-mentioned minimum. 
  • Transfer students with less than one full year of MSW graduate education
    • The request for transfer of credit should be initiated at the time of application to the School, but in no event later than the beginning of their attendance as degree seeking students.
    • The transferred credit must be for courses that are equivalent to the UNE SSW foundation required courses.
    • A student cannot complete a portion of the Field Placement requirement while at UNE; only the full two-semester (8 credits; 560 hours) of Field Practicum/Seminar with be transferred in.
    • Electives courses will not be considered for transfer credits.
    • All transferred credits must carry a minimum grade of B.  
    • The UNE SSW reserves the right to require transfer students who do not transfer in the full foundation year to complete SSW 526 Integrating Clinical\Community Frameworks as a way to orient them to the curriculum and support their success.
  • Transfer credit earned from a graduate program of study in another discipline will not be accepted.

Students applying for transfer credits must provide the SSW with the following:

  • Name of the course(s) for which transfer credit is being requested and the name of the UNE SSW equivalent foundation course.
  • An official transcript showing that the courses were taken and the grade received.  
  • Course descriptions and syllabi.
  • The request for transfer of credit should be initiated at the time of application to the School, but no later than the beginning of the student’s enrollment in the program.
  • Additional information could be requested by the admissions committee.


  • Qualified graduates of BSW programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may be considered for Advanced Standing under the following conditions:
    • Graduation from a CSWE accredited BSW program within seven (7) years of enrollment in the School of Social Work, Masters degree program, is preferred. Exceptions to this time frame may be made on a case-by-case basis depending on work experience and the quality of the application materials.
    • It is strongly preferred that Advanced Standing applicants have received a “B” or better in all BSW courses. If you do not meet this expectation you must address this in your professional statement.
    • Evidence of work or volunteer experience working with people in a human service environment.
    • Three letters of reference including:
      • A letter from a  faculty member within the BSW program who can speak to your academic abilities;
      • A letter from a supervisor/instructor from the BSW internship/field site or social service employment position;
      • A third letter from someone of your choice who speaks to your professional qualifications for an MSW program.
  • Field Evaluations must be submitted, documenting the grade and hours completed in the BSW field placement. If the applicant’s BSW program is not able to supply the original Field Evaluations, a letter must be provided confirming that the student received a passing grade and the number of field hours documented.
  • Students admitted into advanced standing for the campus-based option must enroll in the required SSW 526 – Integrating Clinical/Community Practice Frameworks 3-credit course to be completed during the first 2 weeks of August prior to starting the fall semester. (Advanced Standing online students will take SSW 526 during their first semester in the program not prior to the start of the program.)


Applicants may not receive academic credit for work experience in the field or for life experience.