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MSW Application Process

We are committed to offering advanced education, research and practices that embrace and celebrate diversity, facilitate inclusion, and work towards equity and social transformation. We are committed to graduating qualified and skilled practitioners, community leaders, social advocates and change agents who will challenge oppression and facilitate the transformation of our society through their practice.

Equity, Racial Justice, Diversity, Inclusion & Decolonization

We acknowledge the inequities experienced by visible minorities (racialized persons); Indigenous people; persons with disabilities, which may encompass physical, mobility, perceptual, illness related, mental health, developmental disabilities; people who self-identify as two spirit, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender or queer; as well as people who have experienced other barriers to their education (e.g. socioeconomic, caregiving, religious, cultural). 

How do I get in?

  1. A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree* or a four-year bachelor degree from an accredited/recognized institution. Your degree must be awarded by March 1. We cannot accept a letter of completion as a replacement for degree award.
    If you completed your degree outside Canada, look up the grade equivalency for your country.
    *We recognize BSW and BISW degrees accredited by the CASWE, CSWE and international credentials deemed equivalent to a Canadian BSW degree by the CASW.
  2. A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.
  3. The equivalent of two years of full-time paid work or a minimum of 3,000 hours of paid and/or volunteer work in the human services field by the application deadline.
    What is relevant social work and human service experience? 
  4. English Language Proficiency

Dates and Deadlines

Apply early! Do not wait until the application deadline. You'll upload your documents after you submit your application.

Deadlines are firm. You are unable to upload or edit application materials after the deadline.

Our goal is to notify all applicants of the outcome of their application by the end of February. Admission results are sent by email.

Prepare your MSW Application

You can apply to only one specialization (Clinical Social Work or International and Community Development) and program route (Course- or Thesis-based) per admission cycle.

Watch the recording

Getting started

Gather References

We will invite your referees to complete an online reference form after you submit your application.

Make sure you enter their email address correctly or your referee will not receive the invite.

Learn more about this requirement below >>

Begin Your Application

Create an eID to log in. If you already have an eID, you can begin your online application. 

Once you begin, remember to click 'Save & Continue' often to ensure your application is saved.


Access the UCalgary Online Application

Submit your application

Pay your non-refundable application fee:

$125 for Canadian or Permanent residents

$145 for International Students


To access the online application, an eID is required.

New applicants: you must create an eID before starting your application.

Current and former UCalgary students/applicants: You must use your previous eID to access the online application, which is typically firstname.lastname. Your eID is different from your IT username.
Confirm your eID  |  Reset your password

Clearing your cache often resolves many issues with accessing the online application.

Still experiencing issues? Contact the UCalgary IT Support Centre.


Your application has to contain information for two referees:

  • one from a person who can speak to your academic performance and ability (e.g., graduate program supervisor, professor, practicum instructor), and
  • one needs to be a professional/work reference (must have directly supervised you).

Watch the recording

We do not accept letters from friends, family members, colleagues, people who are currently registered in a graduate degree program, or general letters that are not written in support of your application.

Choose a referee who can describe your strengths and weaknesses in these general areas:

  • academic background and training;
  • research ability and record;
  • communication and language ability; and
  • reliability and personal aptitude; and
  • provide their overall recommendation.

Currently registered in a graduate degree program or recently graduated? Your program supervisor must submit a reference.

Thesis applicants: Ask your referees to read and comment on your thesis proposal in their submission, along with their assessment of your capacity for graduate level research.

If you have been out of school for a long time (5+ years) or you are an international student and cannot contact previous instructors, you can submit two professional references. Make sure to provide an explanation in the Program Specific Questions.

Thank you for agreeing to provide a reference for a prospective MSW student. It is helpful for our selection process if you explicitly address those practice skills and abilities possessed by the applicant as well as their potential for being successful in advanced graduate study and conducting social work research (e.g., writing proficiency, critical thinking, creativity, strong work ethic, etc.). These additional instructions are here to help you give the most comprehensive, accurate, and useful picture of the applicant.

Submit Required Documents

You will upload your required documents through your Student Centre after you submit your application.

Your resume is an important part of your application. Make sure you fully capture your work and/or volunteer experience.

Use three sections to describe your previous experience:

  1. employment experience in or related to social services,
  2. volunteer experience related to social services,
  3. employment and volunteer experience not related to social services. 

Indicate the number of hours for all social service work and include a total number of hours.

Don’t forget to detail your educational history, awards, distinctions, publications, and presentations. 

What is relevant social work and human service experience?

Watch the recording

Your program proposal is a vital part of your application. Make sure you allow enough time to prepare a well written proposal.

In your program proposal, please answer the following questions: 

  1. Introduce yourself and discuss your decision to apply for graduate education (MSW) in the context of your personal and professional development.
  2. Provide an analysis of your area of interest- drawing on the scholarly literature (references required) and your own practical experience. Discuss how your education in the MSW program will advance your work in this area.
  3. Discuss your experience with and commitment to address equity, racial justice, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in your practice.

The proposal is approximately 5 pages, double-spaced (not including title page and references), and must be written in an academic format (APA or other), properly referenced, and ideas must be grounded in relevant bodies of scholarship. 

The MSW Admissions Committee will follow principles of equity, racial justice, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in the evaluation of your proposal.

Watch the recording

If you are applying for the thesis route, in addition to the program proposal, you have to upload a preliminary research proposal.

In your thesis proposal:

  • Describe the research problem you hope to investigate, and 
  • Outline the research methodology or methodologies you are considering (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, participatory action research, grounded theory, arts-based, etc.).

It needs to be written in an academic format (APA or other) and cannot exceed 5 double-spaced pages (not including title page or references).

You need to upload unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you've attended (except for the University of Calgary) by the application deadline. If those institutions don't indicate the awarded degree on their transcripts, you will need your degree certificates as well.

IMPORTANT: Transcript file(s), including English translations and/or degree certificates (if applicable), must be amalgamated into one PDF file per institution, and clearly outline the following: terms, institution grading scale, course weight (units/credits), and grade.

If your application is successful, final official transcripts will be requested with your offer of admission. These must be sent in a sealed envelope directly from your previous post-secondary institution(s). If you have official transcripts in your possession, they need to remain in the original sealed envelope. 

Do not submit official transcripts in advance of an offer of admission.

Watch the recording

This checklist item refers to the WCB form that is required for certain programs to acknowledge you are aware of the regulations in the province where you plan to complete your practicum. This document is mandatory and must be signed by a witness.

On the page linked above, scroll down to the heading WCB for Distance Education Students (you will need to expand the boxes).

English is the official language of instruction at the University of Calgary. We follow the Faculty of Graduate Studies policy for English Language Proficiency, and we are a Level 1 program.

You need to submit ELP test scores. If you have completed a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution that teaches in English you may be exempt. List of eligible countries

In certain circumstances, you may request to waive the English Language Proficiency requirement.

Watch the Recording

Globe Hands

Earned your BSW abroad?

If you completed an undergraduate degree in Social Work or equivalent in another country (outside Canada/USA), you must have your degree assessed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) as equivalent to a Canadian BSW, prior to applying to the MSW program. 

This assessment must be received by January 16. You can submit by email or mail.

After you apply

Apply early! Do not wait until the application deadline. You'll upload your documents after you submit your application.

Within a few days of submitting your application, you'll receive a confirmation email with your student identification number (UCID). This email will go to your UCalgary email address if you already have one. If you don’t see your email within a couple days, check your spam folder, in case your email account filtered the auto-generated email.

Check in with your referees - they should have received an automated email allowing them to complete the reference form. Your referees must submit their reference using the unique link in this email. It is your responsibility to ensure your references are received by the deadline. If they don’t see our email, ask them to check the spam folder, in case the email account filtered the auto-generated email.

Changes to your application

Once you have submitted the online application, it cannot be updated.

Reach out to Student Services to inquire further. 

Upload your supporting documents

Review the list of required supporting documents, and upload your required documents by the deadline. 

Check your status

To check the status of documents or your application, log in to your Student Centre, and refer to your 'To Do List'.

My application is complete - what happens next?

You’ve completed the application form, paid your application deposit, and submitted all your required documents. What happens next?

At this point your application is considered complete. It will be reviewed by the admission committee for a decision on your admission to the program.

Applications will start to be assessed following the application deadline. 

Due to the nature of the assessment process, you'll be notified of the outcome of your application by the end of February - but you may receive a decision earlier.

All applicants will receive either an offer, regrets, or waitlist notification by email.

I've been admitted!

Congratulations on receiving an offer.

Review your offer of admission carefully. It outlines how to accept your offer and pay your non-refundable admission deposit, conditions of your admission (if applicable), critical deadlines, and required official transcripts. 

Your deposit must be received to confirm your spot in the program. We'll send you detailed registration information after your deposit has been paid  and posted to your account.  

Official transcripts are required from all post-secondary institutions you've attended outlined in your offer of admission.

Plan ahead. Transcripts can take two months or more to be received. International applicants may need even longer.

Note: transcripts from UCalgary do not need to be submitted as they are on file.

  1. Official Paper Transcripts

    Transcripts must be sent directly from the Registrar’s Office of your institution/s to the Faculty of Social Work. Official transcripts must be sealed in an envelope with the institution’s official seal.

    If the transcripts are in a language other than English, official translated copies are also required.

    Address to:

    Faculty of Social Work - Graduate Admissions
    MacKimmie Tower, Room 301
    University of Calgary
    2500 University Drive NW
    Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

  2. Official eTranscripts

    The Registrar’s Office of your post-secondary institution/s can email transcripts to UCalgary’s Faculty of Graduate Studies at gradtranscripts@ucalgary.ca.

    Email transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing institution's transcript office. Transcripts received from individuals (e.g., students, faculty members) will not be accepted as official. The name of the transcript office varies between institutions. Common examples: Registrar’s Office, Controller of Examinations, Student Records, or Admissions Office. 

Mailing address

Faculty of Social Work - Graduate Admissions
MacKimmie Tower, Room 301
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4


You are not given a number on the waitlist. The admission committee will consider everyone on the waitlist to determine who will receive an offer at the time a spot becomes available.

This means that we cannot estimate how long it will take for each waitlisted applicant to receive a final decision; waitlisted applicants may receive their final decision as late as orientation week.


Admission decisions are final and non-appealable. We do not provide the scoring or ranking of individual applications, nor, do we provide individualized feedback.

The Faculty of Social Work and the Faculty of Graduate Studies follow specific admission procedures by judging the following criteria: 

  • GPA,
  • external references,
  • life, work and volunteer experience, and
  • a thorough review of the program proposal (well-conceived, technically coherent and well-written). 

Reviews are completed with the utmost respect for the time, effort and unique qualifications of each applicant.

Other options to consider are provided below.

  1. I have a BSW

    Apply to a Graduate Certificate in Social Work.

    A Graduate Certificate may be taken as a stand-alone credential or a step in a pathway to the MSW program. Learn more

    Application deadline is April 16, 2025 for Fall 2025 admission.

  2. I have a non-BSW degree

    Apply to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW).

    Benefits of completing a BSW are: 

    • face-to-face or online delivery; 
    • ability to register with Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW) upon completion of the degree; 
    • eligibility to apply to the MSW program (without the Foundation Year) or our Graduate Certificates in Social Work.

    Application deadline is March 1, 2025 for Fall 2025 admission. 

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