University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

Apply Now

Our online application process is secure, easy and convenient.

Before you get started

Application Prerequisites

  • A minimum of 24 credits of undergraduate liberal arts coursework
    Of those 24 credits:
    • 6 must be in the social or behavioral sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science)
    • 6 must be in the arts or humanities (e.g., history, English, foreign languages, philosophy, ethnic or gender studies
    • 12 credits may be made up with any combination of the above or with courses from the natural sciences or mathematics
  • A Human Biology 3 cr. undergraduate course must be completed prior to the advanced year MSW curriculum.

MSW/PhD Program: Traditional Track

  • Bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) in any discipline from an accredited institution.
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.5 preferred.

MSW/PhD Program: Advanced Standing

  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited program, with no more than six years between BSW conferral and start date of the MSW/PhD program.
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater.
  • B- or better in ALL undergraduate social work major courses.

International Applicant Information

The University at Buffalo is one of the United States' most international universities and offers a welcoming environment for students from over 100 countries.

Apply to the UB School of Social Work

Your first step will be to apply to the UB School of Social Work’s MSW degree or PhD degree program.

As an international student, there are additional materials you will need to provide with your application:

  • Photocopy of your passport photo page
  • Copy of your current I-20 and Visa (if currently studying in the United States)
  • International applicant financial form
  • Bank documents showing funding for first year of academic study
  • English proficiency test scores (see details below)

English Proficiency

If you are an international applicant you must submit English Proficiency exam scores. Any of the following will be accepted:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL),
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or 
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic score.

Applicants who are native speakers of English and educated in the English medium and citizens of the following countries may be exempt: Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

The minimum accepted scores are:

  • TOEFL iBT®: 90
  • TOEFL CBT: 233
  • TOEFL PBT: 577
  • IELTS: 7.5
  • PTE Academic: 61

The test must be dated no more than two years prior to the semester start date.

Learn more:

Application Process

1. Complete the online GrAdMIT application

This is the University at Buffalo's electronic application for all graduate study.

2. Upload unofficial academic transcripts

Copies of transcripts should be uploaded to the GrAdMIT application. You must provide transcripts for all previous school attended at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

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, 685 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260.

3. Request that your GRE scores are sent to UB

A cumulative score of 300 is preferred (>1100 in the former system).

When requesting your scores, use these reporting codes: UB 2925; Social Work 5001.

4. Upload your résumé or curriculum vitae

Upload an up-to-date version.

5. Identify potential faculty mentors

Individual faculty profiles indicate whether a faculty member is accepting mentees. You will need to identify two to three possible faculty mentors.

6. Upload your personal statement essay

This is a key component of your application. Your essay should be a detailed summary outlining your ability to undertake a graduate program in social work and must answer all of the questions found in the Guidelines for Writing the Personal Statement. Read the guidelines for writing the personal statement.

7. Upload a statement of research interests and professional objectives

This two- to three-page statement should explain:

  • The issue or topic you wish to focus on in your doctoral studies, including any relevant research or practice experience.
  • Your purpose in pursuing a research-focused degree.
  • Your reason for applying to the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

8. Upload an 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.

9. Identify recommendations

Three letters of recommendation are required and are due by the posted deadline. At least two references should be faculty with earned doctorates. Letters must assess your capacities and skills in the following domains:

  • Methodical and creative critical analysis
  • Written and verbal articulation of complex ideas
  • Professional and ethical conduct
  • Diligent and self-directed pursuit of goals

Please note:

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

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 PhD application fee is $75; the MSW/PhD application fee is $100.

Schomburg Fellowship Opportunity

Fellowships are available for academically outstanding students who contribute to the diversity of the student body, especially those who can demonstrate that they have overcome a disadvantage. These awards come with a tuition scholarship and annual stipend. View details on our funding page. 

Questions about applying?

Contact us at

Questions about social work?

Contact: Lauren McGowan, Director of Recruitment and Admission, at 716-645-1254 or