Admission Overview

Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work maintains the same admissions standards for our Master of Social Work (MSW) online program as we do for our residential program. The MSW online program is designed for recent graduates or working professionals who want to serve and empower vulnerable populations worldwide and take a holistic approach to helping clients.

We offer two online graduate-level program tracks: standard MSW and advanced standing MSW:

  • Standard MSW applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Advanced standing MSW applicants must hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education-accredited program at a regionally accredited college or university within the past five years.

Applicants are also required to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in a program that includes coursework that provides a strong liberal arts background.

GRE scores are not required for admission.

The MSW online program starts three times per year — in January, May, and August. Our admissions team accepts and reviews applications year-round on a rolling basis.

Upcoming Cohorts

Upcoming Cohorts
Early Priority Deadline Accelerated 4-Term Deadline Priority Application Deadline Final Application Deadline Classes Start
Closed Closed Closed March 9, 2020 May 2020
May 4, 2020 May 4, 2020 June 1, 2020 June 29, 2020 August 2020

Application Requirements

All applicants must submit:

  • the online application
  • transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • three recommendation forms
  • essays — one for Standard applicants, two for Advanced Standing
  • field evaluation form - Advanced Standing applicants only
  • a $45 application fee


You do not need to upload a transcript to submit your application, but you will need to provide unofficial or official transcripts to be considered for an admissions decision.

Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded through the online application or submitted directly to your admissions counselor.

We request that applicants send all official transcripts to:

Application Processing Services
MSW@Baylor University Online
7900 Harkins Road, Suite 501
Lanham, MD 20706

To submit official transcripts electronically, applicants may send them to

Admitted applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions they have attended before they can matriculate to MSW@Baylor.

Recommendation Forms

Applicants must provide three recommendations from people who can speak to some of the following areas: intellectual competence; potential for success; the ability to work with people about sensitive issues, including people from diverse backgrounds; critical thinking and communication skills; and a sense of values and ethics. Professional, social work related references (professors, employers, etc.) are encouraged.

Based on the applicant’s program track, recommendations should come from the following references:

  • Standard MSW
    • One from an academic reference
    • Two from professional references
  • Advanced Standing MSW
    • Two from academic references (one of which must be from the BSW program director, the director of field education, or the field instructor)
    • One from a professional reference


As part of the MSW application, Standard and Advanced Standing applicants are required to submit a four- to five-page essay.

The essay should include the four headings below and address all questions within each heading. Responses for each heading should be no more than 500 words.

This essay is an opportunity for applicants to highlight their strengths and motivation for pursuing social work.

Heading 1: Social Work Profession

  • In your own words, explain your understanding of the social work profession.
  • Describe the personal characteristics that equip you for this field.
  • Thoroughly outline the professional and personal experiences that have inspired you to pursue social work.

Heading 2: Advocating for Others

The field of social work is about recognizing social injustices and working to eliminate barriers often faced by underrepresented populations.

  • Describe your experiences with recognizing social injustice.
  • Describe how a graduate degree in social work can help equip you to eliminate these barriers.

Heading 3: Mission Statement

The Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is dedicated to producing alumni who are influencing the social welfare of people, families, and communities through service and leadership by integrating faith with practice.

  • Describe what this statement means to you. • Describe how Baylor’s program will influence you as a practitioner.

Heading 4: Societal Issue

  • Describe a societal issue.

Address the following questions in your response:

  • Why does this issue deserve public action and resources?
  • How has society contributed to this issue?
  • Describe how social workers can take action to address the issue and how you might take an active leadership role.
  • Include any personal experiences that have contributed to your understanding of this issue.
  • Provide at least one source supporting this issue.

Field Internship Experience Essay

Students applying to the Advanced Standing MSW program are also required to provide a one- to two-page essay that demonstrates your understanding of social work practice by providing an in-depth description of your field tasks and/or roles at the Micro, Mezzo, and Macro level. Your essay should exhibit a foundational knowledge and tasks associated with each.

Heading 1: Micro Field Experience

Heading 2: Mezzo Field Experience

Heading 3: Macro Field Experience