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Please see MSW Field Education FAQs for questions regarding field placements.


Are there information sessions to learn more about the SSW?

We usually hold information sessions from September - December. Dates for the 2018 sessions will be posted when they are available. 

What are the basic requirements for admission to the MSW Program?

Admission to the MSW Program requires a 3.0 GPA (3.25 for the Advanced Standing track) and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. For those with a 2.75 - 2.99 GPA, we also offer the Pathways Program for conditional admission. For more information, please visit the MSW Admission Requirements.

I am a UC graduate. Do I still need to send my transcripts?

Students who graduated from any UC campus do not need to send their transcripts. However, the application requires students to submit a document in order to be deemed complete, so a notice stating that you are a current UC student or that you graduated from UC should be uploaded. Students who graduated more than 20 years ago should email to ensure that their transcripts are still available from the Registrar’s Office.

Are there additional requirements for international students?

Yes. International students must also take the TOEFL. The minimum University of Cincinnati requirement for the internet-based TOEFL is ​95. For more information, please see UC International Services.

Do you accept transfer students?

Yes, however you will need to apply to ​our MSW program. Some credits may be able to be transferred over if accepted. If you are interested in transferring to the MSW Program, please contact the program director Dr. Cathy Kerr.

Will I have to take the GRE?

No. The GRE is not required for admission to the UC School of Social Work.

What is the application deadline? Is there a fee?

The Fast Track application deadline is November 30th. Students will be notified by December 31st. The final application deadline tends to fall in mid-January. We will open applications once more in mid-September. All supporting documents (i.e., transcripts and references) must be received by that date. The fee is $65.

Is there an application fee waiver?

The Graduate School offers application waivers in some instances. Please visit the Graduate School FAQs for more details.

Do I have to complete the application in one sitting?

No. You may save your progress and return at a later time.

What information is required for an application to be complete?

You application is considered complete when the SSW receives the following items:

  • Résumé
  • Personal statement (instructions are included in the online application)
  • At least three references (submitted electronically. If applying for Advanced Standing, one must be your field instructor.) 
  • Unofficial transcripts from all universities or colleges attended.

What should I include in my personal statement?

The personal statement is your opportunity to explain to the admissions committee why you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in social work, the reasons you believe you will excel in graduate school, and why UC is a good fit for you. The School of Social Work requires all applicants to write 5-7 double-spaced pages and answer the following questions:

  • What led you to choose social work as your profession? For example, describe events of significance in your growth and development, and experiences in your home, school, work and community that have been influential in your decision to be a social worker.
  • Describe your career goals - what areas of social work are you planning to pursue?
  • Describe a challenging life experience you have faced and how it was successfully resolved.
  • What do you see as personal strengths that will enhance your ability as a social worker? What limitations do you think you have to address?

What types of references should I use? I attended college many years ago and my professors are unavailable; who should I ask?

For Advanced Standing applicants, we require one of your references to be your field instructor. Your references should be individuals who can attest to your dedication and ability to excel in the profession and/or your ability to excel in graduate school. This may include professors, field supervisors, or employers. We ​prefer to have applicants submit one academic, one personal, and one work reference, but this is not required. If it has been several years since you attended school or you are switching professions, you may find references from co-workers or social workers with whom you have worked or supervisors from organizations with which you have served as a volunteer. If you have more questions about references, please contact the SSW.

My GPA is below a 3.0; should I still apply to the MSW Program?

If your cumulative GPA is between 2.75 and 3.0, you may qualify for our Pathways Program. We would review your application and if you qualify for the program, you would take 2 graduate level Social Work courses as a non-matriculating student during the Summer term. Upon earning a grade of B+ or better in both classes you may continue forward with the MSW program. The steps to sign up as a non-matriculating student are as follows:

  • Complete a “Basic Data Form” and submit to the UC Registrar, either by fax, mail, or in person.
  • The form will be processed within 2 business days of receipt, at which point you are able to sign up for email, register for classes, and obtain a new UC Identification (ID) card.
  • An ID card is only provided once registered for classes.
  • Health insurance is required if enrolling for 6 or more credit hours.
  • For more information about the process, please follow this link to UC Admissions.

If you have specific concerns about your GPA and application, please email the program director, Cathy Kerr.

I do not have a background or education in social work; can I still be admitted to the MSW Program?

Yes. The SSW has students from many backgrounds – psychology, sociology, women’s studies, communications, criminal justice, archaeology, architecture, and engineering to name just a few. Individuals who have worked in allied fields or who have volunteered in fields similar to social work increase their chances of acceptance because of their ability to demonstrate that they possess some of the basic skills necessary to excel in social work.

When can I expect a decision on my application?

If applying for Fast Track, offer letters will be mailed by December 31st. For the January deadline, offer letters are typically mailed out no later than the end of ​February.

Is there a deposit fee?

Yes. The deposit fee is $100. After completing one semester your student account will be credited.


When do admitted students begin classes?

  • Students on the advanced standing track begin classes in the second half of the summer term, typically in mid-June.
  • Students attending on a full or part-time basis begin classes in the fall term, typically in late August.

The SSW does not offer admittance beginning in the spring term.

What types of specializations does the SSW offer?

The SSW offers a total of three specializations under the Direct Practice concentration:

  • Children & Families
  • Health & Aging
  • Mental Health

For more information on the concentrations, please review the MSW Curriculum.

How many credits does it take to complete the MSW Program?

  • Advanced Standing students complete 34 credits.
  • Full and part-time students complete 60 credits.

When are classes held?

  • Advanced Standing students have summer classes that occur during the day.
  • In fall and spring terms, advanced standing and full-time students have classes in the afternoon and evening.
  • Part-time students’ courses are offered in the evening. However, students must still be able to schedule daytime hours Monday through Friday for field education.

Can I work full-time and go to school full-time?

Concurrent full-time employment is strongly discouraged for students in the Advanced Standing and full-time programs because of the time commitment and scheduling for classes and field education.

How many students are in a class?

Class sizes vary from about 15-30 students, depending on the class.

What certificates are offered?

Students interested in the MSW Program may also pursue a School Social Worker Certificate.

Does the SSW provide academic advising?

Yes. Each student is assigned a full-time faculty member for advising. Advisors help students plan their educational program, monitor overall progress, and assist students with problems and concerns.

Does the SSW have online classes?

Yes. The SSW offers several courses online; however, most classes occur on the main campus. It is not possible to complete the MSW degree at UC completely online.

What are field placements like?

Students spend between 16 and 17 hours at their field placement each week. Field placements are assigned to students based on their interests. Our students have placements in a variety of places: community mental health agencies, hospitals, foster care agencies, schools, etc. Each student works with their field supervisor to create a learning contract that lays out what the student will do during their time at their placement and it ensures that the student is getting the necessary education during their time there. It should be noted that students, including those in the part-time program, need to plan to complete their field placement requirements during weekday business hours, and placements at specific programs change from year to year and cannot be guaranteed.

Tuition & Financial Aid

What is the current tuition for the MSW Program?

Please visit the UC Financial Aid UC Costs webpage for the current tuition rates for part- and full-time graduate students who are in or out of state. For the purpose of tuition, full-time status at UC for graduate students is 10 credit hours.

What types of financial aid are available?

85% students received full or partial scholarships in 2017

Student can pursue student loans by completing the FAFSA, scholarships and graduate assistantships through the School of Social Work, scholarships through the University of Cincinnati, or scholarships and grants from outside sources.

How can I apply for SSW graduate assistantships?

Students currently attending the SSW will be notified of assistantships as they are available. New students will be notified of graduate assistantship openings when they receive their offer letter.

How do I apply for financial aid?

You need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( (FAFSA) for any federal loans. ​The SSW has a limited number of scholarships available as well. 

Is there financial aid for international students?

Yes. International students are eligible for University Graduate Scholarships and may be eligible for other scholarships. Contact the SSW or visit UC International Services for more information.

Campus/Community Life

What is the size of your MSW student body?

There are approximately 140 MSW students enrolled in the UC School of Social Work.

How does the SSW communicate with its students?

Per university policy the SSW utilizes students’ UC email addresses to send communications about courses and department and university events and announcements.

Is there on campus housing for graduate students?

Please see the options available on the ​Graduate School's housing page.

What is there to do socially/culturally in Cincinnati?

Cincinnati has a vibrant arts and music scene, in addition to many art and history museums. The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County have beautiful parks throughout the area for you to bike, hike, and picnic. Delicious food is around every corner, with downtown growing with new restaurants, bakeries, and nightlife. Learn more about the area around campus (called Uptown) and the city of Cincinnati.

What types of student organizations exist on campus?

There are more than 400 student organizations at UC. Within the SSW, students engage in the Social Work Graduate Student Association and the UC Chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers. Review the list of SSW student organizations or search for others through UC CampusLink.

Can I talk to a current student?

Absolutely. Please call the School of Social Work at 513-556-4615 or email at to be connected to a current student.

Career Opportunities

What types of jobs area available for graduates of the MSW Program?

Our alums work in a variety of settings: hospital social work, school social work, community mental health, case management, working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, private practice, higher education, child welfare, public policy and elected office, and more.

Does the SSW assist with licensure preparation?

Yes. Each February the SSW hosts Dr. Sophia Dziegielewski who has developed a licensure preparation course and has helped more than 17,000 students successfully pass licensing exams.

I am a UC SSW alum and need a letter verifying my degree and/or field education. How can I obtain that verification?

Please send an email to for degree & field education verification.

For how long do you keep records of my academic career?

As per university policy all student records are maintained for a maximum of 7 years. Please keep copies of any relevant documents you may need as the program is not responsible for maintaining records older than 7 years.

The School of Social Work is located in French West Hall.

Visit Us 

Need more information about this program? 

Contact Us

School of Social Work
1515 French Hall
PO Box 210108
Cincinnati OH 45221-0108
Phone: 513-556-4615
Fax: 513-556-2077

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