MSW Admissions Requirements

Admissions information and how to apply

Students may apply for full-time or part-time study. Students who are applying to the MPA-MSW dual-degree program must submit two applications: one for the MSW program and one for the MPA program. Information on admissions, financial aid, housing, program costs and visiting Binghamton University's campus is presented on the Graduate School website. 

Complete instructions for applying to Binghamton University are available on the Graduate School's how to apply webpage. If you have questions regarding application submission, contact the Graduate School at 607–777–2151 or


Application Requirements

To be eligible for graduate study, you must:

  • Provide a complete set of your undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) transcripts showing one of the following:

    • You have earned a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • You are within one academic year of earning a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
    • You are eligible to apply as part of a memorandum of understanding between your current institution and Binghamton University
  • Have earned, at minimum, one of the following:
    • A 3.0 GPA over your entire undergraduate career
    • A 3.0 GPA during your last 60 semester credits or 90 quarter credits of your undergraduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
    • A 3.0 GPA in a graduate degree, with most courses graded regularly (not as "pass/fail")
    • In consideration of the different grading scales used around the world, each academic department evaluates international transcripts to determine on a case-by-case basis whether they demonstrate one of the above requirements.

To apply, you must submit the following materials. For general guidelines for these materials, see the Admission Requirements website.

  • Online graduate degree application with graduate degree application fee
  • Transcripts from each college or university that you have attended
    • A minimum of 24 undergraduate credit hours in the liberal arts and sciences are required.
  • Personal statement following the personal statement guidelines
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae showing paid or volunteer human services experience
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • The letters should come from individuals who can attest to your potential for graduate study, such as those you know in an academic, professional, volunteer, or work-related capacity. If you are a college student or have recently graduated, one letter must be from a college instructor. If you are or have recently been employed, one letter must be from an employment supervisor.
  • A completed copy of the Social Work Contract 
    • Review the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics before signing the contract. By signing this document, you agree, if admitted to the program, to abide by the professional standards of social work as set forth by the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • GRE scores are not required

International students must also submit the following materials. For more information about these materials, see the International Students section of the Admissions Requirements website.

  • International Student Financial Statement (ISFS) form
  • Supporting financial documentation (such as bank statements, scholarship or sponsor letters, etc.)
  • Proof of English proficiency if required (such as official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE Academic/Duolingo scores)

This information is subject to change. While we make every effort to update these program pages, we recommend you contact the department with questions about program-specific requirements.

Note on conduct, convictions and licensure

Applicants should be aware that some states, such as New York State, may restrict or deny professional licensure for people with felony convictions, misdemeanor convictions or actions taken against them by a professional organization. Any student with questions on any of these situations would benefit from consulting with their state's licensing board before submitting an application. The application will be subject to a more rigorous review by both the Graduate School and the Department of Social Work Graduate Admissions Committee.

Applicants should also be aware that students admitted to the program are required to satisfactorily complete one or two field placements in order to graduate. Students must obtain malpractice insurance before they are placed with field agencies. The insurance agency requires disclosure of personal information, including convictions, and may or may not issue insurance coverage. Field agencies also require personal information and conduct background checks. While the Department of Social Work will work diligently to arrange placements for students, agencies have the right to refuse placements.

Therefore, the Department of Social Work cannot guarantee field placements during the program or licensure upon completion of the program.

Life Experience and Prior Work Experience

Please note: academic credit is not given for life experience or previous work experience.

Important Notice:  COVID-19 Vaccine & Field Education

Students entering the Department of Social Work are required to complete an on site field placement as scheduled in the curriculum as part of their degree requirements. At this time, and for the foreseeable future, most of our agencies where students are placed require full vaccination for COVID. Sites may have varying requirements; religious exemptions may not be available and the site may have very narrow guidelines for medical exemptions. Any religious exemption granted by Binghamton University applies only to the University setting; it does not apply to off-campus affiliated activities or locations. Being unable to complete the required field education component will affect a student's ability to progress within and graduate from the Department of Social Work.

Personal statement guidelines for Master of Social Work program

In order for the Admissions Committee to obtain a clearer picture of who you are, why you have chosen to enter the social work profession, your readiness for graduate education, and what motivates you to apply to the Binghamton University Master of Social Work program, we ask you to write a personal statement and submit it with your application.

This statement, which is an important part of your overall application, should not include a detailed description of your entire life; it should briefly cover important experiences, interests and abilities as they relate to your seeking professional training in the Master of Social Work program.

The statement should be between six- and eight- double-spaced, typed pages. The statement should be divided into two subject areas: personal evaluation and career objectives.

Personal evaluation

Describe why you think you would make a good social work student as well as an effective social worker. In writing this description, address the following:

  • The significant life experiences that have led to the development of your personality and your value and belief system.
  • Your readiness for undertaking graduate social work education. Address how you believe you will face the rigorous demands of coursework and field education (in the latter case, especially in terms of being able to handle the emotional and practical strain of dealing with client and community problems).
  • Why you believe that Binghamton University's MSW program is best suited to your needs, bearing in mind that this program has as its mission preparing social workers for generalist practice in public and private not for profit agencies.
  • Given the program's commitment to meeting the needs and advocating for the rights of diverse clients and communities, comment on your personal or professional experience with at least three of the following aspects of diversity: race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, political belief, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression and mental or physical disability.
  • Both your strengths and areas of your life that need strengthening in relation to the profession of social work.

Career objectives

Describe why you want to be a social worker and what you would like to do in the future. Respond to the following questions:

  • What do you hope to gain from graduate education?
  • What has led you to decide to enter the social work profession?
  • What are your future professional goals? How do your career goals fit with the program's mission? 

Upcoming MSW program information sessions