Due to the sequential nature of graduate professional education in social work, full program students may begin their studies only in the fall semester. Applicants holding a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) degree can be considered in the Fall or Spring.
Spring admissions: For Advanced Standing only, materials must be postmarked no later than November 1st.
Admission Information Sessions For Prospective Applicants
Recognizing that many prospective applicants have questions about the M.S.W. program, its requirements, and curriculum, as well as about the social work profession, the GCSW offers a series of admissions information sessions during the year. Interested persons should telephone at 713.743.8075 for information about dates and times, or check our GCSW website.
Admissions Mailing Address
|Graduate College of Social Work
|110 HA Social Work Building
|ATTN.: M.S.W. Admissions
|University of Houston
|Houston, Texas 77204-4013
All correspondence and admissions materials should be sent to this address.
A nonrefundable $40.00 application fee, payable by check, or money order, must accompany your application. Any application received after March 31st is a late application; a non-refundable additional late fee of $50.00 will be charged.
Admission Requirements and Documentation
To be considered for admission to the M.S.W. Program, applicants must:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The undergraduate education must reflect a sound liberal arts foundation, including courses in the humanities, as well as in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences. You must submit official academic transcripts showing the date the degree was awarded.
- Have achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or better (4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of academic course work. We will calculate your GPA based on your transcripts.
- Submit a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score. You must have official test scores sent directly to the school. Test scores should not be more than five years old. The University of Houston’s institutional code for GRE is 6870, and the social work code is 5001. For information about the GRE, call 1.866.473.4373 or go to the GRE website.
- Submit three letters of recommendation from persons who can address your ability and potential for graduate education and professional social work practice (i.e., former professors, employment supervisors, professional colleagues). Applicants must use the form provided by the Office of Admissions.
- Submit a personal narrative statement that describes your academic and employment histories, your interest in the social work profession, and your commitment to social and economic justice. Guidelines for the narrative statement.
Note: Proficiency in English. Any student, prior to admission or during their course of study, may be required to demonstrate English proficiency through submission of a satisfactory score on a test designated by the dean of the college. Students whose written or spoken English skills appear to be marginal (i.e., they may impede academic success and/or reflect communication problems as a social work practitioner) may be required to seek instruction outside the college.
Additional Requirements for International Applicants
Persons who hold a nonimmigrant type visa (F1 or J1) are classified as international applicants/students by the University of Houston. Because the application process is more time consuming for persons from other countries or persons whose degrees were earned abroad, international applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.
International applicants must submit additional materials to the University of Houston. To find out about current requirements: call UH Office of International Admissions at 713.743.1010 or see their Web site at http://www.uh.edu/admissions/international/.
Special Admission Categories
An applicant whose grade point average is below 3.0 for the last 60 hours of academic work may be admitted conditionally. In addition to the requirements described previously, applicants for conditional admission must:
- have at least a 2.6 grade point average for the last 60 hours (or 90 quarter hours) of academic work. This is a university requirement.
- submit a written request for conditional admission review. Your request must include documentation (i.e., an official transcript) showing that you have met one of the following conditions for conditional admission:
- completed six hours of graduate course work (outside the GCSW) and earned grades of B (3.0) or above; or
- have 2 years continuous paid employment in the same social service agency, working in a social work capacity, documented by a letter from a direct supervisor, and have completed 3 SCHs of graduate coursework (ouside of GCSW) and earned a grade of B or above.
Coursework taken to meet the above criteria for conditional admission may not be applied to the M.S.W. degree.
Notes: 1) Students holding visas (F1 or J1) are not eligible for conditional admission at the graduate level at this university. 2) Conditional admission may negatively affect your eligibility for financial aid. 3) According to UH policy, students admitted conditionally must earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 on their first 12 semester credit hours of graduate work. Failure to achieve a 3.0 GPA will result in termination from the M.S.W. program.
Advanced Standing for B.S.W. Graduates
Applicants holding a Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited undergraduate program may request review for Advanced Standing admission.
The Advanced Standing program allows B.S.W. students to waive the foundation course work at the GCSW, which is the equivalent of 15 semester credit hours of the 63 semester credit hour M.S.W. program. Students can attend on a full-time or part-time basis. Forty-eight credit hours are required to complete the program. Full-time students complete the program in four semesters, or 16 months.
Applicants for Advanced Standing admission must meet all regular admissions requirements described previously, plus:
- At least one of your three references for your application must be from your faculty advisor or the chairperson of the Social Work Department where you completed your B.S.W. degree.
- You must have achieved a grade point average of 3.0 or better (4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of academic course work AND a 3.0 for your social work major. We will calculate your GPA based on your transcripts.
Not everyone who applies for Advanced Standing will be admitted with the advanced status; the admissions committee may deny Advanced Standing but still approve admission to the regular program.
Social Work Transfer Students
Students who transfer to the GCSW from another CSWE accredited M.S.W. program must meet all regular admissions requirements, AND submit:
- a Statement of Good Standing from the dean or director of your program
- written evaluation of any previous field performance
- syllabi for courses completed
A maximum of 30 semester credit hours, earned within five years of the student’s enrollment at the GCSW, with grades of B or above, can be transferred for credit toward the M.S.W. degree at UH.
Admission Review and Decisions
Each application is reviewed by at least two GCSW faculty. Reviewers take into account the “whole applicant” and no single criterion automatically determines whether an applicant is or is not admitted into the program. Reviews are done on a rolling basis - i.e., applications are reviewed as they are completed rather than waiting for the application deadline to occur. Therefore, early application is encouraged since all openings may be filled prior to the application deadline. Admissions decisions are communicated by letter only; no decisions are given over the telephone.
General requirements for the Master of Social Work degree include:
- Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 63 semester credit hours in class and field instruction in social work;
- At least a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average for all classroom courses, plus grades of Satisfactory (S) in all field practicum courses;
- Faculty recommendation for award of the Master of Social Work degree;
- A nonrefundable fee is required when the student applies for graduation through the university’s Graduation Office.
The GSCW Curriculum
The GCSW offers an intensive first semester organized around content on the foundation of professional social work, human behavior, policy, practice and research. A practice skills lab and a foundation field practicum (120 clock hours) are also required. The foundation semester totals 15 credit hours and each component is graded as satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Students must satisfactorily complete 15 credit hours in the foundation before enrolling in any advanced courses.
How the foundation is structured:
All incoming students meet together for two days of the first week of the semester, from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For the first week only, students with employment and/or family obligations must make arrangements to attend the two days of daytime classes
- no exceptions.
Foundation Purpose and Learning Objectives:
The M.S.W. program is rooted in the liberal arts and includes an integrated, professional foundation upon which the advanced curriculum is built. Upon completion of the foundation curriculum, students will be able to:
- Apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional social work practice;
- Understand the value base of the profession and its ethical standards and principles, and practice accordingly;
- Practice without discrimination with respect and with knowledge and skills related to age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation;
- Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination and delineate strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice;
- Understand and interpret the history of the social work profession and its contemporary structures and issues;
- Apply the knowledge and skills of an integrated and contextualized social work perspective to practice with systems of all sizes;
- Use theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to understand individual development and behavior across the life span and the interactions among individuals and between individuals and families, groups, organizations, and communities;
- Analyze and influence social policies;
- Use critical thinking to evaluate research studies, apply research findings to practice, and evaluate their own practice interventions;
- Use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and communities;
- Use supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice;
- Function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems.
Advanced Curriculum: Clinical Practice or MACRO Practice
*Students who have successfully completed the foundation semester select an advanced track in either Clinical Social Work Practice or MACRO Practice. There are nine credit hours of required courses for each track.
Clinical Practice is the application of theories, methods, skills, values and ethics needed to enhance the cognitive, mental, emotional, behavioral, physical and social well-being of individuals, couples, families, groups and communities.
Clinical practice requires leadership in promoting social, economic and political justice. Its methods are relationship-centered, contextualized, culturally sensitive and strengths focused. It includes knowledge about biopsychosocial functioning - and - evidence based interventions. Clinical practice includes, but is not limited to: assessment and intervention, diagnosis and treatment, education and prevention, advocacy, counseling and psychotherapy, and supervision and consultation.
Students in the Clinical track are required to take these three courses:
- Contextualized Strengths Based Practice (a combination human behavior and practice course)
- Transtheoretical Clinical Practice (theory & practice course)
- Clinical Applications of DSM (practice).
MACRO Practice prepares students for practice in urban settings where the needs of diverse, vulnerable populations require highly skilled professional leaders. Work in communities, in public and private organizations is designed to promote progressive social change that contributes to the growth and empowerment of individuals, agencies and communities.
Core concepts and practice skills are developed for work at the community, organizational, societal, and global levels. Students are prepared to assume leadership positions as advocates, managers, program planners, researchers, policy analysts, and agency and community capacity builders.
Students in this track are required to take these four courses:
- Administrative Practice (practice course)
- Dynamics of Leadership (a combination human behavior & practice course)
- Strategies of Advocacy and Community Development (theory/practice)
- Social Policy Advocacy
*All students complete an advanced course in Social Welfare Policy Analysis, Multilevel Assessment, Evaluation of Practice (three credit hours each).
*All students complete at least one “crossover elective course.” That is, Clinical students - will take at least one MACRO Practice course and MACRO Practice students - will take at least one elective Clinical course.
*All students complete 720 clock hours in advanced field practica; this is in addition to the 180 clock hours of foundation field (total clock hours=900, 10 credit hours).
Course of Study and Enrollment Models
A minimum of 63 semester credit hours is required for the M.S.W. degree. All students are required to complete the 15 credit hour foundation semester plus 48 credit hours in the student’s chosen concentration and electives.
Students are admitted into full-time, flex option, or weekend college enrollment status. After the foundation semester in the Fall, GCSW students choose either Clinical Practice (CP), or MACRO Practice for their concentration. Specializations are available in Gerontological Social Work, Political Social Work, Trabajo Social, and Health Disparities. Specializations do not require additional hours, but are earned by completing 9 credit hours in the chosen area.
The degree program is flexible after the first semester and can be completed in a variety of ways within a four year time frame. Examples of enrollment models are shown below.