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FAQ: Admissions Criteria

When is the application deadline for Fall Enrollment?

February 1: Early Action (EA)  When you apply for early action, you will receive an admission decision by the end of February. The applicant has the best chance to secure financial support, including Graduate Assistantships, from the School of Social Work. Early action requires an enrollment commitment by March 30.

March 1:  Early Decision (ED)  When you apply early decision, you will receive an admission decision by end of March. The applicant has a good chance of securing some financial support from the School of Social Work.

April 1:  Regular Decision (RD)  Regular decision allows you to apply to the MSW program by April 1, and you will receive an admissions decision by the end of April.  Regular decision applicants are subject to availability in the program space and limited financial support.

Advanced Standing Applications are accepted for both Fall and Spring.

When is the application deadline for spring enrollment?

Spring Enrollment Deadline: November 1
Advanced Standing Applications are accepted for both Fall and Spring

Can you major in Social Work as an undergraduate at Howard University?

Howard University does not offer a Bachelors of Social Work. However, there is an opportunity to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in 3 years by majoring in Human Development from the School of Education using a compressed academic scheme. Then applying to the School of Social Work. 

Is the MSW program accredited through the Counsel on Social Work Education?

Yes. The Master of Social Work Program at Howard University is accredited through Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

What are the admissions requirements?

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. International Students will submit their transcripts through WES.
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours in the liberal arts.
  • The average GPA for our incoming students is 3.0. All applications are reviewed by faculty members and the office of admissions.
  • Evidence of immunizations are required for all students who enroll in the program.

What is the admissions committee looking for in an applicant?

Your application is evaluated for educational information, essay content and strength of recommendations, writing and ability to follow and complete directions. The review process evaluates your potential to success as a graduate student, a social worker and the contribution to the profession. All applications are reviewed, and the applicants selected, by the School of Social Work faculty.

What type of recommendations are you looking for?

Click here for the recommendation guidelines.

I graduate with my Bachelors in December; can I start the MSW program in the Spring?

Yes, students can start the MSW program as a full-time student starting in the Spring Semester and obtain Advanced Standing status; however, your official transcript must show you have matriculated from your intuition prior to enrolling into the program.

Are GMAT or GRE scores required?

No, the GRE/GMAT is not required for the MSW Program. However, if you are a applying for the MSW/MBA dual degree program; the GMAT is required and the scores are then submitted to the School of Business.

If I’m accepted but cannot attend, can I defer?

Yes.  Students can defer for one semester.  After that, a new application must be submitted. In order to defer, students must email their Howard University Identification Number, reason for the deferral before the first day of class. That email should be sent to .  

What if I am not accepted?

Due to the competitive nature of the application review and a limited number of seats, the School of Social Work is unable to admit all of the promising applicants. While admission decisions are final, applicants who are denied admission to the School are encouraged to reapply when they have strengthened their application. All applicants are notified in writing with the decision regarding their applications. Notifications regarding acceptance, denial or contingent conditions will be mailed to the designated mailing address provided by the applicant. "

School of Social Work does not provide specific reasons for the denial of an applicant. Applications are judged based on the quality of the entire application; however, the School provides each applicant with information regarding the decision-making criteria. These guidelines help applicants make a self-assessment of what may have caused their application to be denied.  Applicants who are denied should consider the following:

  • Was a complete application to the Graduate School?
  • Were all the questions on the application thoroughly answered?
  • Did the submitted essays reflect written content, vocabulary and grammar appropriate for graduate level study?
  • Were three qualifying references submitted?
  • Was the applicant’s GPA above a 3.0 for the traditional program or a 3.2 GPA for advanced standing?

How will I be notified of my application outcome?

All applicants are notified in writing with the decision regarding their applications. Notifications regarding acceptance, denial or contingent conditions will be mailed to the designated mailing address provided by the applicant.

Can I change the status of my enrollment once I’ve been accepted (part-time to full-time)?

Students can change their enrollment status from part-time to full-time and vice versa during their advisement sessions during to registering. The MSW Program must be completed within four (4) years.

The MSW/MBA Dual Degree program must be completed with three (3) years. The MSW/MDIV Dual degree program must be completed within four (4) years.

Can I transfer graduate school credits?

Students who are enrolled in an accredited MSW program can transfer up to 30 credits, but must complete the remaining 30 credits at the School of Social Work at Howard University.

Students enrolled in a non-MSW graduate program can transfer up to 9 credits. Transcript review occurs after students have been accepted into the program and requires the submission of course syllabi.  

As an international student, do I need to have my transcript evaluated?

Yes. Applicants who earned their bachelor’s degree from an international college or university must have their transcript evaluated and sent to the Office of Admissions. We accept evaluations from: World Education Services,

Do I need to take an English Proficiency exam if I am an international student?

International students, whose native language is not English, are required to submit a TOEFL score.

Can I visit the school before I apply?

Absolutely.  We have several Information Sessions scheduled throughout the year. Check calendar on our website for more information. If none of these dates fit into your schedule, you can send a visit request to and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Do I need to submit a transcript for classes that I took at another university, if the grades are listed on the transcript from the university I earned my degree?

We require that transcripts be submitted from every college or university you attended.

TIP: Upload your unofficial transcripts within the online application; and follow the instructions to have your official transcript uploaded.

If admitted, is a deposit required?

Yes, a one-time non-refundable $300.00 enrollment fee is required within 10 days of your acceptance notification. The enrollment fee confirms the applicant’s space in the program.

I already have my MSW, but need to take a class in order to get my licensure. What do I have to do?

If you plan to enroll as a non-degree or non-matriculated student for one semester, then you are considered a Graduate Unclassified Student. Complete the on-line MSW online application including uploaded copies of the statement of interest, resume, three letters of recommendation, unofficial transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended. Once your application is complete and you received your Howard University Identification Number, you can contact the School of Social Work to receive information and instructions on registering for a class.

FAQ: Academic/Curriculum Related Questions

Can I do the program part-time?

The MSW program can be done part time, but must be completed within 4 years.  

Can I work full time and still complete the program?

This is a rigorous program and we recommend that students to dedicate at least 3 hours a week of outside classwork (course readings, writing assignments, group work, etc.) for each course. Many of our students work full-time, go to school full-time and graduate on-time.  All students have different circumstances; therefore, please plan accordingly with school and work schedule.

Remember, students are required to be in their field placement for 16 hours a week during their first year and 20 hours during their second year. At the same time, students a full course load. 

How do I connect with my academic advisor?

Faculty members are available during orientation to provide registration support. Your individual Academic Advisor will be assigned within three weeks of enrollment.

Can I complete the program online?

Howard University has an online MSW program. Please select here for more information.

When are classes offered?

Courses are offered Monday through Friday and many sections are offered in the afternoon and evening. Each class meets for three hours once per week. The course schedule is available during registration.

How are disabilities and accommodations treated?

Howard University assures that qualified students with disabilities have equal access to all university programs and reasonable accommodations to services. Students must self-identify to Disability Services and request accommodations (this is separate from the general admissions process). Contact the Office of Student Services for detailed information.

FAQ: Field Placement Related Questions

How do I get to choose and request my field placement site?

The Office of Field Education arranges field placements for all students. The Director of Agency-Based Education and/or designee is responsible for appropriate student and agency matches within the guidelines determined by the School of Social Work.

Once first-time entrants have been admitted officially to the School, they receive a letter from the Office of Field Education. They also receive a profile sheet which they complete and return by a specified date. Based upon student profile sheets and résumés, placement matches are made by the Director of Agency-Based Education or her designee(s). Students are not permitted to select their own agency site, or make arrangements for placement at any agency site.

The Office of Field Education maintains a list of affiliated agencies that have been approved by the School of Social Work as placement sites. If a student is inter­ested in an agency that has not been included on the list, he or she must meet with the Director of Agency-Based Education about it. Under no circumstances should students negotiate placements with agencies without the approval of the Director of Agency-Based Education. The Director of Agency-Based Education approves all agen­cies used as sites. While students identifying agency sites should be commended for their efforts, finding a site does not mean the site will be approved, or that the site will be deemed appropriate for student placements. Site selections are based solely on the educational objectives of the School, not personal preferences or availability or time constraints.

What are the hours for field placement?

All MSW students are required to complete a total of 1,000 clock hours of field education. First year students are expected to spend two days (16 clock hours) per week in their field sites (a total of 208 hour per semester) while second year students are expected to spend 2 1/2 days (20 clock hours) per week in their sites (a total of 260 hours per semester).

Most field education assignments occur on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for first year students and on Wednesdays (1/2 day), Thursdays and Fridays for second year students. Arrangements for other times must be agreed upon by all parties involved with the placement. If a consensus cannot be reached regarding modifying the student’s schedule, the student, and agency must adhere to the regularly assigned days and times.

Howard University School of Social Work provides a limited number of evening and weekend placements.

Does the field placement have a class assigned to it?

Yes.  First year students attend a total of four integrated seminars, second year students attend three seminars. The dates and times associated with these seminars are provided on the calendar for Field Education. The seminars are taught by Faculty Consultants once a month. Faculty Consultants can be full-time faculty members or part-time adjunct faculty members who have been hired to work exclusively with field placement students.

Each seminar extends from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The seminars are planned integrative seminars where placement experiences and educational content is discussed, and where theoretical frameworks are applied and integrated through the learning contract developed by the school’s Field Instructors, and students. Students are encouraged, in these seminars to discuss their professional development, problem solving techniques, and to explore alternative ways of using theories in an applied setting. Field education seminars offer an excellent opportunity for students to enhance and expand the knowledge base they have gained in their field experiences.

Students enrolled in Field Education are required to concurrently register for the Social Work Methods course.

Can I complete my field placement where I work?

Prospective students must provide data from their agency sites to the Office of Field Education indicating interest in Employee Based Field Education (EBFE) placements. Both student and agency representative are required to complete and sign an Employee Based Field Education Intent Form (attached to the Field Education Profile Sheet) acknowledging their understanding of the requirement adhering to NASW Code of Ethics. The Office of Field Education will then contact the agency regarding the application process upon receipt of the EBFE Intent Form.

FAQ: Tuition/Financial Aid Related Questions

How much is tuition?

Howard University is a private institution. Click here tuition and fees.

Please keep in mind that the cost of tuition does NOT include the cost of living, health insurance, student fees, etc. 

How do I apply for financial aid?

Financial aid is the catch-all term that refers to all types of funds available to cover the cost of education. Financial aid comes in many forms and covers the cost of anything related to the way you are paying for school. Loans, scholarships, grants, work awards, work study, graduate assistantships, stipends are different streams of funding used to create, and are all considered part of, your financial aid package.


The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0 for new and 3.2 for continuing students. However, because these awards are merit-based and reviewed competitively, the definition of quality academic performance may vary. Award recipients must enroll for the fall and spring as full-time students defined by a minimum of 9 credit hours, attend a 3 hour orientation, and provide a thank you note to specific donors.

The university also offers Federal Stafford loans as well as GRADplus loans to help cover the cost of attendance.  Please keep in mind that the Financial Aid Office is responsible for disseminating any information regarding loans.

New and continuing graduate students are encouraged to apply early for internal financial support through the HUSSW Office of Student and Academic Services along with external scholarship opportunities.

Limited Merit-based financial support for HUSSW Students that is available through HUSSW includes graduate research and teaching assistantships, fellowships, and tuition scholarships.  Award recipients are expected to perform specific duties for between 10 - 20 hours per week during the academic year, depending upon their award.

FAQ: Campus Life Related Questions

What are my options for housing?

For Housing information visit:

The housing website includes information about on campus graduate housing, as well as off campus apartments available near the university and students looking for roommates.

Once a person is accepted into the program. There are opportunities to connect with other MSW candidates.

Do I need a car?

Washington, DC has a public transportation system, you can choose to walk or even ride your bike to campus.  Whereas, Howard University is located in the heart of NW Washington, DC, the School of Social Work provides field placements throughout the Greater Washington Metropolitan area which are not always accessible by public transportation.

Howard University has off street metered parking and a paid campus parking lot for students.