Admission to the Social Work program is restricted to the fall term only. Each fall, roughly 120 new students enter the MSW program and approximately 6-8 enter into our Ph.D. program. Admission to the Luskin School of Social Work is competitive. The selection process includes a holistic evaluation of each applicant’s demonstrated and potential abilities as a student, practitioner and leader in the social work field.


Topics of focus in the program include:

  • Adolescent issues
  • Aging
  • Child welfare
  • Immigration
  • Mental health
  • Poverty

Admissions Requirements – MSW

Applicants must meet the following requirements for admission:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in all upper division courses.
  • GRE score: MSW Applicants who hold an up- per division GPA of less than 3.3 are strongly encouraged to take the GRE general test. It is optional for all other MSW applicants. Use department code 5001 for “social work” to send scores.
  • Eligibility for admission to graduate standing in the University of California.
  • Completion of one course in elementary statistics with a grade of B or better.
  • Completion of at least one course with human biology content (e.g., Anatomy, Physiology, Kinesiology, Anthropology, Psychology).
  • Completion of a total of seven courses in the Humanities and Socio-Behavioral Sciences combined. Of those seven, a minimum of three socio-behavioral courses are required (e.g., anthropology, economics, ethnic studies, education, gerontology, political science, public health, psychology, social ecology, social welfare, sociology, women’s studies).

Important notes:

GRE scores are sent separately by the testing center.

Applications must be completed by the deadline. Incomplete or late applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed.

While the department can recommend whether a student should be offered admission, the Graduate Division has final authority in all admission decisions.

Application Process – MSW

Begin your application to the Master of Social Welfare.


The application process begins with the UCLA Graduate Division Online Application. Here you will submit basic information including your academic history and the degree program to which you wish to apply, as well as the payment of an application fee ($90 for domestic applicants and $110 for international applicants).

Application fee must be submitted online by credit or debit card before the application can be processed. Note: Fees are subject to change.

Please see the MSW Application Checklist for details.

For all students applying for merit-based fellowships, the final application deadline is December 15.

For MSW applicants, the final deadline for submitting your application is January 15.

MSW Checklist

Students applying to the Combined MSW/PhD program should use the PhD application checklist.

The MSW Program at UCLA seeks to educate:

  • skilled practitioners with a solid foundation in theory, research and social policy
  • future leaders of the field of social welfare
  • change agents in the profession of social work and the communities they serve

The program also seeks applicants experienced in working with diverse groups around issues of social justice.

Send official transcripts to:

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Department of Social Welfare Admissions
3250 Public Affairs Building, Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656.

1.   Complete the UCLA Graduate Online Application

2.   Send one official copy of undergraduate transcripts and graduate academic records if applicable to the address above. Upload one copy of unofficial or official transcripts to the UCLA Graduate online application. All transcript uploads are considered unofficial.

3.   Complete the GPA Worksheet for Calculating Jr/Sr GPA (Grade Point Average). Upload on the UCLA Graduate Online Application with transcripts or in the additional document section. Do not include P/NP grades.

4.   GRE: MSW Applicants who hold an upper division GPA of less than 3.3 are strongly recommended to take the GRE general test. It is optional for all other MSW applicants. Use department code 5001 for “social work” to send scores.

5.   Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR International English Language Testing Sys- tem (IELTS) scores, if the applicant is a student whose native language is not English. (The TOEFL or IELTS) is required of all non-native speakers unless they have completed two years of uni- versity-level coursework in an English-language institution).

6.   Resume or chronological list (starting with the most recent) of all relevant employment, including summer jobs and internships you consider significant. Please also include all relevant volunteer or other experience with service-oriented groups. For each job or volunteer experience, please include your title, the number of months and/or years you held the position, and the number of hours worked each week. Upload on the UCLA Graduate Online Application.

7.  Three letters of recommendation submitted directly by individuals who have supervised your work (academic, scholarly, and/or professional). Unless you have been out of school for more than 5 years, at least one of the references must be from a professor. Letters from colleagues, peers, and general character recommendations are not suitable. Enter your recommender’s name and email address on the UCLA Online Application. Do not provide more than three recommenders. Upload instructions will be sent to them by the online system.    

8. Personal Statement is submitted on the Graduate Application “Statement of Purpose” section and should respond to the following and not exceed three double spaced pages:

  • Explain why you seek an MSW, at UCLA, and at this time.
  • Describe any experiences that shaped your understanding of social work/social welfare as a profession, and what this understanding is.
  • Describe your abilities, experiences and accomplishments that demonstrate your fit with the MSW at UCLA.
  • Describe your specific career and/or educational goals, including any desired field(s) of practice.
  • Feel free to provide any other information to help the Admissions Committee better understand your motivations, strengths, and limitations to undertake an MSW at UCLA.

*NOTE* Prospective students applying to a concurrent degree must complete and upload the following to the application:

UCLA MSW Supplemental Application (excel) or UCLA MSW Supplemental Application (pdf) upload one version only.


Required courses can be taken at any community college.

Courses may be in progress during the application process. However, all courses must be completed by the end of spring quarter to be considered for admission.

In some cases, proof of enrollment may be required and/or a letter from the instructor stating that the applicant is on track to complete the course with a grade B or better.

Application Process – PHD

Begin your application to the Ph.D. in Social Welfare.

Deadline for completed applications: January 10.

Our doctoral program receives numerous applications from highly qualified applicants around the world. The majority of our admitted students have an MSW degree but we also accept students with a master’s degree in a related field (such as public policy or psychology). The doctoral committee seeks applicants who have a commitment to a research career in social welfare and who show great scholarly promise. Applications are assessed individually based on all components of the portfolio. Contact with potential faculty mentors is invited, but not required for admission to our program.

For applicants to the MSW/PhD program, please note that space in this program is often limited to 1-2 students per year. The admissions committee may refer some very well qualified combined applicants to the MSW program, with an option to reapply to the PhD program in the future.

For technical information regarding admissions to the doctoral program, please contact Tiffany Bonner For more information about the program as a whole, please contact Aurora Jackson, doctoral program chair at

1.   UCLA Graduate Online Application (if you are applying for the combined MSW/PHD, complete the Social Welfare section on the UCLA Graduate Online Application).

2.   ONE official copy of transcripts from each college or university attended in the United States or abroad. Unofficial transcripts are uploaded on the UCLA Graduate Online Application. Mail your official copies to:

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
Department of Social Welfare Admissions
3250 Public Policy Building, Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656

3.   GPA Worksheet. This worksheet calculates Grade Point Average for the end of your undergraduate education and graduate school. Use separate worksheets for each. Upload this form with transcripts or in the supporting documents section of the online application.

4.   Official copy of scores from the Graduate Record Examination earned within the last five years.

5.   Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores, if your native language is not English. (The TOEFL or IELTS is required of all non-native speakers unless they have completed two years of university-level coursework in an English-language institution).

6.   Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic and scholarly work. At least one of the references must be from a professor who has taught you. Letters of recommendation can be sent directly to the department. Enter your recommenders name and email address on the UCLA Online Application. Upload instructions will be sent to them by the online system.

7.   A two- or three-page typed personal statement describing:

  1. Your reasons for pursuing doctoral education at UCLA Luskin at this time;
  2. Specific academic and work experiences that have prepared you for doctoral education;
  3. Your educational objectives while in the doctoral program; and
  4. Your future professional objectives.

8.   Curriculum vitae.

9.   Evidence of ability to think creatively and to write clearly. Published articles, a master’s thesis, unpublished papers, or term papers may be submitted as evidence.


Although a personal interview is not normally required as part of the application procedure, it may be arranged at the request of the doctoral committee. Applicants will be notified in writing as soon as possible regarding decisions on admission.

The department should be notified immediately of any change of plans or address after the application is submitted.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Application CodesCode Numbers
UC Major Code for Social Welfare864
GRE Institution Code for UCLAR4837
GRE Department Code for Social Welfare5001
TOEFL Institution Code4837
TOEFL Department Code95

When are applicants notified of their admissions status?

PhD applicants are generally notified of their admission status in February. MSW applicants can expect to be notified of their admission status mid-late March.

Where do I have my transcripts sent? What is the deadline to submit transcripts?

If you or your university will be mailing hard copies of the official transcripts, please have them sent to:

UCLA Department of Social Welfare

3250 Public Affairs Building

Box 951656

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656

Having your transcripts sent electronically?

Please have them sent to:

Official transcripts must be requested to be sent to the MSW department prior to submission of your application.

What are the application deadlines?

The departmental deadline for international, Ph.D., and Masters in Social Welfare (M.S.W.) applicants who want fellowship consideration is December 15th.

The  deadline for M.S.W. program consideration only is January 15th.

The deadline for the Ph.D program is January 10th.

Please note that incomplete or late applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed.

What time does the electronic application close on the deadline?

All applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on deadline date.

When is the application for the Department of Social Welfare available?

You may apply to the MSW and Ph.D programs as early as September each year.

What are the requirements for admission to the MSW program?

Please review the MSW requirements here.

Do I need to complete the Personal History Statement for the MSW application?


Please indicate “N/A”.

Do I need to upload a Writing Sample to apply for the MSW program?


To bypass the writing sample, please do the following:

  • Upload a research, term paper or publication (if applicable)


  • Upload a word document that states “ not applicable”

Does the Department admit students mid-year?

No. Students are admitted for the Fall Quarter only.

What is the application fee?

We understand that applying to graduate school is an expensive process.

The nonrefundable application fees are as follows:

Domestic applicants (U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents) is $105.

International applicants is $125.

Application fee must be submitted online by credit or debit card before the application can be processed.

Note: Fees are subject to change.

How do I apply for a fee waiver?

Waivers will only be granted to those who fall under one of the categories listed on the UCLA Graduate Division application and on the Admissions FAQ’s. Alternatively, the university will grant fee waivers for students currently enrolled in school who can submit a letter from their financial aid officer indicating that payment would be a hardship. This should be uploaded directly to the website.

How much does it cost to attend UCLA Graduate School?

Annual fees for UCLA graduate students for academic year 2016-2017 are $22,600.37 for California residents (including mandatory medical insurance), and $35,301.37 for nonresidents (same fees as above plus nonresident tuition fee). For more UCLA fee information, visit the UCLA Registrar’s Office Web site.

May I contact the Department by e-mail?

We welcome your inquiry at

Does the Department offer a part-time MSW program?

No. At the moment the department offers only a full time program.

Does the Department accept transfer students into the MSW program?


Does the MSW program have advanced standing?

Yes. For details see page 8 of the MSW Handbook.

What does the MSW program entail?

The program is a full-time, two (2) academic year program (21 calendar months), with field placements both years. Classes are taught mostly during the day, with some early evening instruction. The first year curriculum includes both Social Welfare with Individuals, Families, and Groups (SWIFG), and Social Welfare with Organizations, Communities, and Policy Settings (SWOCPS). In the 2nd Year, a concentration in either SWIFG or SWOCPS is selected. A specialization in Gerontological Services, Health Services, Mental Health Services, Children and Youth Services, and Non-Profit Services may also be selected by 2nd Year MSW students.

How much work experience is required for MSW admissions?

While there is no set number, the majority of our students have at least 1-2 years of social work related experience.

How many students are admitted to the MSW program annually? What percentage of applicants are admitted?

The Department admits approximately 100 students to the MSW program each year. This is about 20-25% of the applicant pool.

What about financial aid?

Although very limited, there is a variety of financial aid available. If you are applying for Fellowships through the Graduate Online Application, the  deadline to submit your application is December 15th. The Luskin School also provides a number of Schoolwide Fellowships to current students in the MSW program. In addition, the Department has stipends for MSW students through the CALSWEC and UCCF Child Welfare programs, CALSWEC Mental Health, Geriatric Social Work Education Center and through a few of the agencies it uses for field placements. The application for stipends are sent to all admitted MSW students. For doctoral students, there are various sources of financial aid including fellowships, tuition waivers, and research and teaching assistantships.

What sort of career will the MSW prepare me for?

MSW graduates work in variety of settings along the social welfare continuum. MSW alumni from UCLA have worked in the public and private sectors, and have held jobs as child and adult therapists, children’s social workers in protective services, psychiatric and medical social workers, probation officers, community organizers, program planners, researchers, and executive directors.

Does the Department have certificate programs?

We offer four interdisciplinary Certificates in Global Public Affairs, which can be obtained in addition to the MSW degree from the Luskin School.  The academic clusters that the certificates encompass are: Global Processes and Institutions, Global Urbanization and Regional Development, Global Environment and Resources, and Global Health and Social Services.

How do I apply to one of the concurrent degree programs?

For concurrent degrees, you need to submit a complete application to each school separately. If you are admitted to both programs, the graduate advisor in each program will tell you which courses you need to take for the concurrent degree program. 

Where can I obtain more information on registration fees and tuition?

For information on university fees and tuition for graduate students visit the Registrar’s website at

Where can I find information on establishing California residency for tuition purposes?

Please visit our Registrar’s Residency page for more information.

Are there reasearch opportunities?

Research opportunities are typically available. Please review our list of faculty for their specialization/interests.

Admission Information Events

MSW Information Sessions (On-Campus)

Are you thinking about an MSW program? Join us at a session below.

An information session will help answer these questions and more, and let you meet the people behind the UCLA Luskin MSW program. This is an informal, relaxing setting that is ideal for asking questions and gaining information about our department.

Information Sessions for Fall 2017 Applications:

Location: TBD
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Thursday, September 15
Thursday, October 6
Tuesday, October 25
Thursday, November 10

Online Registration: Please visit this site.

Ph.D. Information Session (On-Campus)

Are you thinking about a Ph.D. in Social Welfare? Join us at a session below.

An information session will help answer these questions and more, and let you meet the people behind the UCLA Luskin Ph.D. program. This is an informal, relaxing setting that is ideal for asking questions and gaining information about our department.

Information Sessions for Fall 2017 Applications:

Date: Thursday, October 27
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: TBD
Online Registration: Please visit this site.

International Admission Webinar (On-Line)

Date: November 18, 2016

Time: 8am-9am PST

Venue: Online

Click link below for more information!

Webinar for International Admissions

Recruitment Fairs (Off-Campus)

Not able to attend an on-campus information session?  Please stop by our table at one of the recruitment fairs listed below:

Recruitment Fair
CSU Dominguez HillsWednesday, September 21, 201610:00-2:00Loker Student Union Vendor Walkway
CSU Long Beach GradThursday, September 22, 201611:00-3:00Speakers Platform
CSU Northridge GradTuesday, September  27, 201610:00-1:00USU & Grand Salon
Mount Saint Mary’s Univ.Thursday, October 6, 201612:00-3:00MSMU
UC San DiegoWednesday, October 12, 201610:30-2:30Library Walk
San Diego State Univ.Thursday, October 13, 201610:00-2:30Montezuma Hall
Univ of Southern CaliforniaThursday, October 13, 201611:00-2:00Trousdale Parkway (main campus)
LA Idealist FairMonday, October 17, 20165:00-8:00Los Angeles Convention Center (South Hall K)
SF Idealist FairWednesday, October 19, 20165:00-8:00San Francisco County Fair Building
UC DavisThursday, October 20, 201612:00-4:00The Quad
UCLAMonday, October 24, 201611:003:00Ackerman Grand Ballroom
Loyola Marymount UnivTuesday, October 25th12:00-3:00Alumni Mall
UC RiversideWednesday, October 26, 201610:00-1:30Rivera Library Mall
CSU Los AngelesThursday, October 27, 201610:00-2:00Main Walkway (between JFK Library & Biological Sciences)
UC IrvineTuesday, November 1, 201610:00-2:00Aldrich Ring
CSU BakersfieldWednesday, November 2, 201611:00-1:00Student Recreation Center, Solario
CSU Channel IslandsThursday, November 3, 201610:00-2:00Broome Library Plaza
UC Santa BarbaraThursday, November 3, 201610:00-2:00Outside Career Services Building
LMU Diversity ForumSaturday, November 5, 201612:00-3:00LMU
Cal Poly PomonaTuesday, November 8, 201610:30-2:30University Quad
California Lutheran UnivWednesday, November 9, 201610:00-2:00Quad Flagpoles

Luskin School Diversity Recruitment Fair

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is hosting its annual Diversity Recruitment Fair! Aimed at ensuring equitable recruitment practices across the school’s three departments, the fair will host speakers and workshops focusing on the intersections of Public Policy, Social Welfare, and Urban Planning with social justice missions. Participants will spend the day hearing from department chairs, guest speakers, alumni, current students, and staff as they speak about diversity at Luskin and how our graduate programs lead to careers in public service and social justice. The event is free and will also include application and fellowship workshops, a campus tour, and general program information.

More information and registration details can be found here!

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