Application Requirements

Traditional MSW applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and must have completed a minimum of 60 credits in the liberal arts to be eligible for admission.

Advanced Standing MSW applicants must have earned a Bachelor of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited institution within four years of their term start date. They also must have earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all social work foundation and undergraduate coursework.

All applicants must submit:

  • An online application 
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • College transcripts
  • A personal essay
  • An application essay
  • A resume
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores (international students only)

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must submit three (3) letters of recommendation on official letterhead from people who are able to provide an objective assessment of their skills, experience and qualifications.

Traditional MSW: We encourage at least one (1) academic recommendation from a professor, academic advisor or faculty mentor, and at least one (1) professional recommendation from an internship, volunteering or job supervisor. The final recommendation can come from either an academic or a professional source.

Advanced Standing MSW: We require one (1) recommendation from a professor, academic advisor or faculty mentor; one (1) recommendation from a field director; and one (1) recommendation from a field instructor.

Other Conditions

If you graduated more than four years ago, all three of your recommendations may be professional in nature. If you are transferring from another MSW program or if you earned another degree less than a year before applying, at least two recommendations should come from faculty at your previous institution.

Personal Essay

Your personal essay should be two to three (2-3) pages, double-spaced.

Application Essay

Your application essay should be three to four (3–4) pages, double-spaced. This essay should answer all of the following questions within a single essay format:

  1. Which experiences (employment, community service, social, educational, personal or other) have significantly influenced your interest in social work?

  2. What are your career goals for after graduation? How do you envision your field of practice influencing that outcome?

  3. The profession of social work provides support to the most vulnerable populations, and classroom topics can be emotionally triggering for students. What strategies would you use to manage your own emotions during challenging conversations and to respond to the emotional reactions of others?

  4. Provide a candid discussion of your strengths and weaknesses. Which qualities do you consider essential for the social work profession?

  5. Discuss what you consider to be the most important social justice issue(s) today. What is the role of a social worker within the social justice movement?

  6. First-year students are not guaranteed funding from Howard University. In specific terms, what is your plan for financing your education?

  7. How will your interests and career goals be met at the Howard University School of Social Work? To inform your answer, please review our mission statement to inform your answer: 

The Howard University School of Social Work is committed to educating advanced social work practitioners and future leaders for the purpose of enhancing human, organizational, social and economic conditions which impact the quality of life for African Americans, other people of color and people throughout the world. 

Consistent with the mission of Howard University, the School of Social Work is dedicated to the pursuit and advancement of knowledge through discovery, research, partnership, innovative practices, and other scholarly and educational endeavors of its faculty, students and graduates. 

The School of Social Work places a high priority on advocacy for social justice and commitment to life-long learning through community service, international linkages, public policy and utilization of technology. The School’s mission is an expression of the Black Perspective which evolved from the experiences of African Americans and African people throughout the Diaspora.


Applicants must submit digital or hard-copy versions of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.

We require transcripts of all academic work completed at the baccalaureate/undergraduate and graduate levels (from all colleges and universities attended). Unofficial transcripts may be uploaded to the online application for the purposes of application review, but official transcripts are required upon admission and matriculation.

E-mail all transcripts to Please request mailed transcripts be sent to the address below:

Howard University
Application Processing Center
Howard MSW Online
P.O. Box 30096 031-001
College Station, TX 77842

Note: To be considered an official transcript, the transcript must be sent directly from your institution(s) or through an electronic transcript vendor retained by that institution. Transcripts submitted by enrolled or prospective students are considered unofficial documents, even if they are in a sealed envelope provided by the issuing university.


Applicants must submit a formal resume with all relevant academic and professional experience, including titles, dates and mentions of full- and part-time statuses.


International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Ready to Move Forward?

Start your application to join our next cohort.