MSW: Master of Social Work

West Chester University

West Chester Campus

Reynolds Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2664

PASSHE Center City

701 Market Street, Concourse Level
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 267-386-3015

Admission FAQs

Why should I get my Master’s degree in social work from West Chester University?


The West Chester University MSW Program is a leader in social work, offering the highest quality education for the best value in the greater Philadelphia area. With small class sizes, students receive individual attention from experienced faculty members whose passions for social justice and issues of diversity are nationally recognized.

Students receiving their MSWs from West Chester are trained in direct practice with individuals and families. The MSW Program is designed to provide students with a highly versatile set of advanced skills to pursue a wide range of career opportunities and meet the 21st century's growing demands for social work services. Through individualized attention from experienced faculty members, students are immersed in the study and practice of cutting-edge areas including social work with veterans, older adults, substance abuse disorders, child welfare, traumatic brain injury, community practice, multicultural resources, and adolescent trauma.


How long will it take to receive an admissions decision?


Students typically receive admissions decisions within six to eight weeks of submitting a completed application. This includes receipt of all transcripts and recommendations.


How long will it take to get my degree?


Full-time students typically complete the program in two years.

Part-time students usually complete their coursework in three to four years. To graduate in three years, most students need to take electives during the winter or summer terms. Many of these electives are one-week condensed courses.


Can I transfer credits from another graduate program?


West Chester University welcomes transfer students. Transfer requests should be put in writing with supportive documents and submitted to the MSW Program Director, Dr. Page Buck.

Students who have attended other CSWE-accredited MSW programs should make an appointment with the program director to review transcripts and syllabi. Students who have taken courses in other graduate degree programs can transfer in up to nine elective credits.


I am a career-changer and don't have any social work experience. Will my application still be considered?


Absolutely. Career changers often find that social work is exactly what they have been looking for in a professional experience.

As a career changer you have three admissions options:

  • You can apply to the program and clearly articulate in your personal statement why a switch to social work is right for you at this point in your career, noting how your personal and work experience informs this decision.
  • You can enroll in one or two of our electives as a non-matriculated student and get a sense of social work before applying. Should you apply and be accepted into the program, these credits would count towards your degree.
  • You can wait to apply while you gain volunteer or work experience in social/human services.

Because we review each application on an individual basis, we cannot tell you which of these options would be best. However, if you have questions, feel free to contact MSW Recruiter Kyle Murray at


I have been out of school for a while and am not able to get academic references. Will my application still be considered?


We understand that people returning to graduate school after many years may not be able to obtain academic references. If this is the case, you must be sure to include references from professional or volunteer colleagues who are in a position to reflect on your potential ability as a graduate student of social work. This is even more pertinent for individuals whose GPA does not meet our requirements.


Can I take classes even though I am not matriculated into the program?


Yes. Students may take up to six credits (two courses) as a non-matriculated student with approval from the department. Contact Dr. Page Buck, the director of the program, for more information.


If I am not accepted into the Advanced Standing program, can I be considered for the regular two-year program?


Yes, there are times when applicants to the Advanced Standing program are referred for consideration for the regular program. Applicants should make it clear in their Personal Statements that they wish for this consideration.


Can I begin my coursework in January or over the summer?


Given the structure of the program, all coursework begins in the fall semester. The exception is for Advanced Standing students, who start their classes in late May.


Do I need to take the GRE?


No. Standardized testing is not a required part of the application process.


If I am applying to complete my degree in Philadelphia, where should I have my transcripts sent?


Applications for the MSW in West Chester and the MSW at PASSHE Center City are processed at the West Chester campus. In addition to completing the online application to the program, have your transcripts sent to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education. The address for that office is:

McKelvie Hall

102 West Rosedale Avenue

West Chester, PA 19383


Is an interview required?


In some cases, students are invited to campus for an interview. If needed, the interview can occur over the phone or via Web-based video.


Is housing available for graduate students?



West Chester provides housing facilities for its graduate students on a space-available basis. After being accepted into the MSW Program, students may contact University Student Housing for additional information and applications. The office of Off Campus and Commuter Services can help you locate off-campus housing.


I am an international student. What do I need to do to apply to your program?


Students from foreign countries must submit their applications and supporting documents to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education no later than January 15 for admission the following fall semester. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit evidence of satisfactory performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education before application forms can be processed. A score of 550 is the minimum acceptable score. Information about this exam may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service. Registration forms must reach ETS at least five weeks before the test is to be taken.

The following documents are also required:

  • Completed application form
  • Official copy of school certificates
  • Official record of the TOEFL score, sent directly by ETS to the Office of Graduate Studies and Extended Education
  • Proof of Financial Support Form
  • Medical History Form

If a student is admitted to a degree program, US Immigration (I-20) Form will be supplied by the University

Additional questions may be directed to the office of International Student Programs and Services.


If I enroll in the Philadelphia MSW program, can I take classes at main campus?


Students who are enrolled in the MSW program in Philadelphia must take required courses (51 credits) at the Philadelphia campus. Students may take their electives (9 credits) at either the Philadelphia or the West Chester campus.