DSW Application Process

Our application process is completely electronic. All documents should be submitted through the application portal.

Before you get started

Application Prerequisites

  • Master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a CSWE accredited program or international equivalent
  • Strong undergraduate and graduate academic history (preferred 3.0 GPA from undergraduate and required 3.0 GPA from graduate program).
  • A minimum of two years post-MSW direct client-based practice in a social work setting
  • Valid and active social work licensure, certification, or registration in the state (or country) in which you are practicing (if applicable)
  • Must have access to and be involved with a “practice population.” This experience does not have to be paid.

Application Process

All application components (including recommendations and GRE scores) must be received by the deadline in order to be considered.

1. Complete the online GrAdMIT application

It's easy to apply to the University at Buffalo using GrAdMIT, our electronic graduate application system.

Be sure to read the drop-down list of application options thoroughly, since each program has a different application form. If you are unsure of which application you need to select, contact us.

2. Identify three recommenders

On the application form, you will be asked to provide contact information for three professional references. Appropriate individuals to ask would include:

  • Faculty from your MSW program (at least one from a faculty member is preferred)
  • Professional social work supervisors or colleagues

Do not use personal friends, relatives, friends of the family or other personal relationship sources. In addition, do not use clients or individuals you provide services to, or therapists or other individuals you receive services from, or anyone that directly reports to you.

Your recommenders will be asked to comment on attributes such as: 

  • Understanding and use of evidence-based and best practice interventions
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Professional and ethical conduct
  • Critical thinking and critical assessment
  • Diligent and self-directed pursuit of goals

GrAdMIT will send emails to recommenders providing them instructions on how to electronically submit their letter of recommendation ONLY AFTER you officially submit the application. Plan ahead to give your references enough time to submit their recommendations before the deadline.

3. Upload unofficial academic transcripts

Copies of transcripts should be uploaded to the GrAdMIT application portal. You must provide transcripts for all previous schools attended at the undergraduate and graduate levels, regardless of whether a degree was received.

If accepted to the degree program, you will be required to submit final official transcripts from all educational institutions you have attended (except from the University at Buffalo). Official transcripts can be mailed to:
University at Buffalo 
School of Social Work- Admissions
685 Baldy Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1050

4. Upload your résumé or curriculum vitae

Submit an up-to-date résumé or curriculum vitae. This should contain information such as (but not limited to): relevant education, work experience, presentations, publications, and other professional involvements.

5. Upload your personal statement essay

Please write a personal statement responding to ALL the following questions:

  1. Describe the population you are currently serving and problem of interest.
  2. Explain your current theoretical approach to practice as it relates to the identified population and problem of interest.
  3. Discuss why you are pursuing a DSW degree and how you plan to apply the knowledge gained from the UB School of Social Work (UBSSW) DSW program.
  4. Discuss your strengths and limitations relative to completing the UBSSW's online DSW program.

Essays should be 12-point font, double spaced, four pages maximum. 

6. Upload proof of social work licensure

Scan and upload a document that shows you currently hold valid and active social work licensure, certification, or registration in the state (or country) in which you are practicing. This could be a copy of a certificate, letter, or other official document. If you have more than one current license, please upload all of them.

7. Upload your academic writing sample

This must be a sole-authored paper written in English; the paper may be from a previous class or a new composition regarding an issue relevant to social work or social justice. The paper should be academic in tone and include citations per APA style. Research-based papers are preferable.  

8. Upload letter of support for access to "practice population"

Please upload a letter on agency letterhead from a supervisor, program director, or the board of directors, that attests that you are involved with and have their support to use the client population at said agency as your "practice population" for the program.   

9. Send official GRE scores

Official GRE scores are required for all applicants. Scores typically take 3 weeks to arrive in our office after the exam is taken and they must be received by the deadline in order for your application to be complete. 

When sending your official scores, use these reporting codes: 2925 (UB); 5001 (social work).

There is no minimum score, but scores at the 50th percentile or higher in each of the quantitative and verbal reasoning sections is preferred.

The GRE is administered by ETS. Learn more about the test and view test dates and locations on the ETS website.

10. Pay the application fee

Once you submit your application, you will receive an email containing a secure e-pay link, allowing you to pay the non-refundable application fee by credit card or e-check.

The DSW application fee is $100.


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