Application Requirements

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) program has the same admissions standards as the on-campus MSW program. We seek candidates who are interested in an education in clinical social work, committed to social work values, and possess the academic qualifications and work experience that will lead to success in our rigorous online program.

Application Items

Your SocialWork@Simmons application must include the following items:

  • Online application: Complete the online application in its entirety.
  • Résumé: Show relevant work experience through summer employment, volunteer work during or after college, and/or full-time employment in the human services field. No course credit will be granted for work experience.
  • Transcripts: Provide transcripts from each institution you attended, whether a degree was earned or not. This includes community colleges and study abroad programs. Unofficial transcripts may be submitted in place of official transcripts in order to complete the application for review by the admissions committee, for the priority deadline only. Unofficial transcripts can be submitted via mail, fax, or scan (including mobile scanning applications) and should include the institution name and student name. Screenshots or faxes of grade reports are not acceptable and will not satisfy the transcript requirement for this purpose. Official transcripts must be submitted three weeks prior to the start of the term.

    Transcript requests can take time to process, so we recommend submitting your requests as soon as possible. Please request that official transcripts be mailed to:

    Application Processing Services
    SocialWork@Simmons
    7900 Harkins Road
    Suite 501
    Lanham, MD 20706

    Many schools also issue transcripts electronically, either through their own web services or vendors. If this option is available, provide the email address applicationservices@socialwork.simmons.edu or select Simmons University — SocialWork@Simmons if listed as an option by the vendor. This will expedite the delivery of the transcript(s) and completion of your application.

  • Recommendation forms: Secure two professional and/or academic letters of recommendation, a third letter of recommendation is optional. If you have recent or current experience working or volunteering as a social worker or in the human services field, it is preferred that one recommendation come from your most recent direct supervisor. Additional letters may be obtained from senior employees. If you are a current student or recent graduate it is preferred that you submit a recommendation from a professor or academic advisor who can speak to your readiness for graduate education. Letters from friends, family members, co-workers, personal counselors or therapists, or clergy will not be accepted. Your recommenders must complete Simmons’ online recommendation form and address your commitment to and readiness for graduate clinical social work education. Additional information on recommendations is provided in the online application.
  • Statement of professional and educational intent: Address the prompts below in three to five double-spaced pages.

    Prompts:

    1. How has your professional, volunteer, and academic experience prepared you for graduate social work education and contributed to your decision to be a professional social worker? Provide specific examples to explain your answer and address what aspects of the field most interest you.
    2. Why does SocialWork@Simmons best suit your educational needs, and what contributions will you make to the school community?
    3. Describe how you will manage the rigorous demands of graduate coursework and field education.
  • Certificate program essay: If you choose to apply to a certificate track with your MSW application, you will need to write an essay describing your interest in the certificate in addition to the statement of professional and educational intent listed above.

    Your certificate program essay should state:
    • which certificate you would like to pursue (Practice With Groups & Families, Mental Health Practice, or Trauma Practice)
    • why you are interested in working in this specific practice area of social work, and highlight any experience you have in this area

    Please note: Simmons School of Social Work prefers American Psychological Association (APA)-style citations. Should you need to cite any sources in your statement of professional and educational intent or certificate program essay, please use the APA format. For more information about properly citing sources in APA style, please visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
  • Interview (by invitation): In some cases, the admissions committee may request a phone interview as part of the admissions process.
  • Test scores: There is no standardized testing requirement for SocialWork@Simmons. However, if English is not your first language, you must submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic score that demonstrates satisfactory proficiency. If you earned a college-level degree in at an English-speaking country, this requirement can be waived.
    • TOEFL: A minimum score of 600 on the paper test, 250 on the computerized test, or 105 on the internet-based test is required. Simmons must receive your scores directly from ETS (Educational Testing Service).
    • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.0 on the Academic test is required. Score reports must be official.
    If you have questions about these requirements, contact an admissions counselor at
    Phone Number: 1-855-523-7779.
  • Application fee: The nonrefundable application fee of $50 can be paid electronically as part of the online application. If you submit your application before the priority application deadline, the application fee is reduced to $30.

Transfer Applicants

If you are enrolled or have been enrolled in another CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program, you may apply to SocialWork@Simmons as a transfer student. If you are applying as a transfer student, you must provide the following materials in addition to the general application requirements listed above:

  • A letter of good standing from the dean or program director of the MSW program in which you are currently enrolled or were most recently enrolled.
  • A statement outlining the reason for leaving your previous MSW program and transferring to SocialWork@Simmons.

If admitted to the SocialWork@Simmons program, you may petition to transfer credits from your previous institution. Faculty will review previously completed courses to determine which, if any, are eligible for transfer.

Admissions FAQ

  1. I’m not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; can I apply?

    International students are not eligible for the online program at this time. Please refer to our Field Education page for more information.

  2. I am a U.S. citizen living abroad. Can I apply?

    Yes, U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. Please note, however, that students must complete their field placements in the continental United States or Hawaii.

    There are no circumstances under which a student can complete an international field placement.

  3. Are there any prerequisite course requirements?

    There are no prerequisite courses required. However, a writing course may be recommended to some students to complete within their first term in order to optimize student success. This course teaches some of the basic skills necessary for written work at Simmons, such as writing a literature review, organizational skills in writing, using APA format, and other skills useful for entry into the program.