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 baccalaureate degree that includes coursework that demonstrates a strong liberal arts background, including three semester hours of a statistics course, from a regionally accredited college or university. This requirement may also be satisfied by passing the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work Statistics Course online.

For more information regarding the prerequisite requirement or information about the online Statistics Course, contact the School of Social Work via email at

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
Priority Application Deadline Final Application Deadline Classes Start
February 4, 2019 March 4, 2019 May 6, 2019
June 3, 2019 July 1, 2019 August 26, 2019
October 11, 2019 November 8, 2019 January 13, 2020

Application Requirements

All applicants must submit:

  • the online application
  • official transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • three recommendation forms
  • essays
  • a $45 application fee

Official Transcripts

Admitted applicants must submit official transcripts from all institutions they have attended before they can matriculate to MSW@Baylor. Unofficial transcripts can be used to complete an online application for review.

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


Standard and advanced standing applicants must write one 500-word essay for each of the following concepts:

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 and thoroughly outline the professional and personal experiences that have inspired you to pursue social work. 

Advocating for Others: The field of social work is about recognizing social injustice and working to eliminate barriers often faced by underrepresented populations. Describe your experiences with recognizing social injustice and how a graduate degree in social work can help equip you to eliminate these barriers.

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 and practice. Describe what this statement means to you and how Baylor's program will influence you as a practitioner.

Societal Issue: Describe a societal issue of importance to you. 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.

Please note: Applicants have the option of including an additional essay addressing any additional factors they would like the MSW Admissions Committee to consider when reviewing their application.

Additional Advanced Standing Essays

Advanced standing applicants must also summarize their field experience as it relates to each of the following areas of social work:

  • Micro social work
  • Mezzo social work
  • Macro social work

Take the Next Step

MSW@Baylor enables you to pursue your calling to become a licensed social worker in a range of career settings. Learn the skills you need to serve and empower others and help improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.