About the School Academic Programs Grant-Funded Programs Faculty and Staff

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application deadline?

  • The deadline for all applications for the Advanced Standing program is January 31. 
  • The suggested deadline for all applications for the Standard Programs is March 1.
  • All applicants wishing to apply for a graduate assistantship position are strongly encouraged to apply well before the March 1 deadline.  Applicants for either program are eligible to apply.
  • Applications are accepted at any time and until programs are full.  We will begin reviewing applications at the end of January.

Will you review my application if most, but not all, of my materials are in?

No. We review only applications that are complete.

How will I know if my application is complete?

Each applicant assembles her/his own application file, including all required forms, transcripts, letters of reference, personal essay, and resume. The applicant submits the application materials to the Graduate College.  Because you put the materials together yourself, you will know if all the materials are in.

It is a good idea to give your references adequate time to write letters– usually 2 to 3 weeks so that you will receive the letters and be able to include them with your application materials. Be sure that your references know that letters of recommendation are returned to you, and not to the University.

It often takes colleges and universities considerable time to process transcript requests. Make sure to request transcripts well in advance of the deadline.

If I’m missing something from my application, can I just FAX it to your office?

No, we don't accept applications or supporting documents, incl. recommendations and transcripts by FAX.

Do I need to take an entrance exam?


What are the minimum requirements to apply?

  • An undergraduate degree with a 2.75 overall GPA. (A=4.0)
  • A liberal arts background, with course content in social sciences, life sciences, and humanities.
  • Experience in the field of human services, as an employee, student, and/or volunteer is strongly recommended.

What  are my options for completing the MSW degree at Radford University?

There are several ways to complete the MSW degree at Radford University, including full or part-time study (part-time study available in Roanoke). Radford campus offers an Advanced Standing option, (full- and part-time) and Roanoke campus offers a part-time Advanced Standing option for students who have earned a BSW from an accredited institution within 7 years of application (see next question).  The total number of semesters that are required for completion of the degree (according to the various options) are listed in the table below. Total credit hours for the degree are also listed.

  Standard Program (61 hours) Advanced Standing (40 hours)
Full Time 5 semesters 4 semesters
Part Time 11 semesters 6 semesters

What is Advanced Standing?  Am I eligible?

Advanced Standing is available only to students whose undergraduate degree in social work or social welfare was from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education at the time the degree was awarded, and received in the within 7 years of application. If your undergraduate degree was in a field other than social work you are not eligible for Advanced Standing.

Eligible applicants may apply to the Advanced Standing program and, if not accepted, will automatically be considered for the Standard Program.

Students who are accepted into the Advanced Standing program will be required to register for the Bridge Courses (summer for Radford campus, spring for Roanoke campus). Classes will be offered on Saturdays (June and July in Radford or spring semester in Roanoke) with additional work done online. Students who plan on attending through the Advanced Standing program should be aware that these courses are mandatory and attendance will be required on Saturdays.

Are there any prerequisites?

Yes, for both the Standard Program and Advanced Standing you must complete course work in social sciences (15 hours) and humanities (9 hours) before you enroll. In addition, you must show evidence of acquiring content in human biology (3 hours) and 1 hour of lab, in your undergraduate education. These courses are typically required for the liberal arts undergraduate degree or the social work degree.

How will I show evidence of biology content?

Biology content is found in biology courses and can sometimes be found in human ecology, environmental studies, developmental psychology, and some human behavior in the social environment. In order for any course(s) to be considered for biology content (except biology) a syllabus must be provided for review.

Do I need to submit transcripts?

Yes, you need to submit official, sealed transcripts (two copies of each) to the Graduate College. Transcripts must be submitted from all prior and/or current colleges and universities which you attended. You should request that transcripts be sent to you, rather than Radford University. You then include them in your application packet to the Graduate College. These must be official transcripts, marked with the seal of the institution.

Is there an application fee?

There is a non-refundable application fee collected by the Graduate College. There is no separate fee collected by the School of Social Work. Please read the Graduate College’s Application for Graduate Admission instructions carefully and then submit the fee with that portion of the application.

Where do I send my application?

The application for the graduate program is submitted online.

  • Application form and application fee
  • Transcripts
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum Option/Degree Path form
  • Personal essay
  • Experience in Human Services form
  • Field Practicum Application
  • Two copies of your resume
  • Legal/Military History form

All transcripts should still be sent to:

The Graduate College
P. O. Box 6928
Radford University
Radford, VA 24142

Is there any financial aid available?

Financial aid in the forms of research, teaching and support assistantships are offered, as well as financial assistance through student loans.  Assistantships are provided through the School of Social Work whereas student loans are administered through the Financial Aid Office. Students are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid office at (540)831-5408 while applying for graduate admission.

How does the School arrive at a decision to admit or not admit an applicant?

Each application is read independently by at least two different faculty members and assigned a score. Then the Graduate Admissions Committee reviews the applications and makes admission recommendations to the Graduate Studies Committee. This Committee makes recommendations to the Director of the School of Social Work. The School Director makes the final admissions recommendations to the Graduate College. When reviewing applications, faculty readers consider the following:

  • Academic potential based on undergraduate GPA
  • Academic preparation of the applicant, as demonstrated in prior or concurrent courses and areas of study
  • Effectiveness of the applicant’s written work, as demonstrated in the personal essay
  • Applicant’s commitment to the field of social work, as demonstrated through prior work in human services and the personal essay
  • Potential for the applicant to contribute to the profession of social work, as demonstrated in the personal essay and letters of recommendation.
  • Applicant’s ability to bring diversity to the school. This includes many factors the applicant brings which will broaden his or her experience and perspective on the human condition, as demonstrated in the personal essay and other materials submitted.
  • Suitability for the profession, including, but not limited to: ability to interact effectively with others, empathy, demonstration of appropriate boundaries and judgment, and the ability to interact appropriately with diverse populations.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

We require three letters of recommendation.  We strongly encourage applicants to solicit one letter from a professional practicing in the field of human services, one letter from an academic reference, and one from an additional source of your own choosing. Additionally, it is recommended that applicants to the Advanced Standing program ask their senior year field instructor to serve as one of the three required references.

Give your references plenty of time to write letters, and ask them to return the letters to you so that you can submit them with your materials to the Graduate College.

What if I have more questions?