Application Components

Online Application

Online Application


You must submit a resume as part of your online application.

Application Essay

All applicants are required to respond to several questions for their application essay.



Applicants must submit transcripts detailing all undergraduate and postgraduate study via the online application. This includes coursework conducted at an applicant’s degree-granting institution(s) as well as in study abroad programs and at institutions out of which an applicant may have transferred. Applicants should upload copies of their official transcripts (i.e. not screenshots from a student record or student grade system) that clearly display their name, dates of enrollment, the names of all courses in which they enrolled, and the credits and grades awarded for each class. Applicants should not mail hard copies of transcripts to the School for purposes of application review.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation

Full-Time and Part-Time Applicants 

Full-time and Part-time applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, including at least one work-related (internship, job, community service) and at least one academic reference. The third recommendation is the applicant’s choice.

Advanced Standing Applicants

Advanced Standing applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, including at least one work-related (internship, job, community service) and at least one academic reference. The third recommendation is the applicant’s choice, but it is strongly recommended that one of the three letters be from a field placement site instructor and specifically recommend the applicant for the Advanced Standing program. If a letter from a field placement site instructor is unavailable due to field placement timing, a letter from a recommender knowledgeable in field placement and who can specifically recommend Advanced Standing status is preferable.

Transfer Applicants

Transfer applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, including at least one work-related (internship, job, community service) and at least one academic reference. At least one academic reference must be from a professor who has taught the applicant in her/his current MSW program.


Test Scores

Admissions Interview

Admissions Interview

Video Interview

All students will be asked to complete a recorded video interview prior to submitting the application. You will be asked to record your answer to four questions and will have time to both practice recording and prepare for the questions prior to recording your video interview. We would advise planning to spend approximately 20 minutes distraction-free to complete the recorded video interview process.

You will need to complete the interview portion of the application in either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You can complete the interview on any laptop or desktop with a functioning webcam and microphone.

Additional Interviews

On occasion, applicants will be asked to interview after application submission. Although there is little preparation needed for the interview, you may want to consider the following:

  • Review your responses to the video interview prompts;
  • Be on time (sign into Zoom a few minutes early);
  • Dress professionally (wear what you feel is appropriate for a job interview);
  • Relax and be yourself.

Transfer of Credits

Credit may be granted toward the MSW requirements for work completed at any other accredited graduate school of social work in the past five years. Students in our 2-year or 3-year MSW Program, who transfer from an accredited social work program having completed a full year within the last five years, may be granted credit for up to one year’s work, which is a maximum of eight courses. Students entering with a Master’s degree in a related field may be granted up to a maximum of six credits based on the overlap of the courses they have taken with the courses in our curriculum. Students who have completed some graduate work within the past five years but do not have a Master’s degree may be given up to a maximum of four credits for courses that have a high degree of overlap with our courses.

Application for credit for work completed elsewhere than at Penn must be made in writing to the Faculty Director of the MSW program. This should occur after a student has accepted the offer of admission and sent all final official transcripts to the admissions office. Students will be asked to provide the syllabi for all courses they wish to be considered for transfer credit. Transfer credits may only be granted for courses in which a student earned a “B” or higher. Transfer of credits must be granted before the student’s registration can be accepted.

Once enrolled in the School of Social Policy & Practice, credits earned concurrently from other accredited graduate schools outside the University will not be transferred unless approval was granted by the Faculty Director prior to enrolling in these courses.


Upon notification of acceptance for admission to the University, you are required to submit a nonrefundable $300 to reserve your spot in the class. The deposit due date is provided with the offer of admission. The deposit will be credited to your account upon matriculation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes admissions decisions?

Once the application is complete, the Admissions Committee, composed of members of the standing faculty, makes all admissions decisions. The Committee looks at the applicant’s complete file, i.e., transcripts, human service-related experience, uploaded video interview, letters of recommendation, and the application statement.

How many courses do you take each semester?

Full-time students take four courses a semester. Each class meets one day a week for two and a half hours.

Three-year students take two courses a semester, including the summer semester.

What is the structure of the program?

Full-time students are in the classroom two days a week and in field placement three days a week. In the first year of study, students must enroll in required courses. In the second year of study, students choose either a clinical or macro concentration. Students must take at least one of the practice electives in their concentration area.

How many students are in a class?

Our classes are seminar style classes, averaging 25 students. Practice classes are capped at 20 students. This promotes valuable classroom interaction and exchange between faculty and students. In other words, be prepared to participate, raise critical questions, and share your ideas and learning.

What is the size of your MSW class?

In recent years, the incoming class has averaged 150-165 students.

What is the grading system at SP2?

SP2 uses the system of letter grade evaluation that is used by other MA and PhD programs at the University. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above is required for MSW graduation.

How are field placements arranged?

Incoming or first year students are sent a placement form from the Director of Field Education after they accept the School’s offer of admission and have paid the $300 deposit fee. Each student is expected to interview at his or her assigned placement before the placement start date. Phone or Zoom interviews are acceptable if it is not geographically possible to have an in-person meeting.

Second year field placement processes begin in January of your first year. Students meet with their Field Liaisons to discuss their educational needs and objectives for their second year. Together they identify potential placements; this information is forwarded to the Field Education Office. The Field Education Office then works to match students with agencies that meet the students’ advanced year educational interests and needs. Again, each student is expected to interview at his or her assigned placement before the placement start date.

How much time is spent in field placement?

Students spend the equivalent of three days a week (21-24 hours) in the field during each of their two academic years. Part-time students may make arrangements to do a 16 hour per week field placement that is extended over 39 weeks; 8 of the 16 field placement hours must be completed during regular business days (Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm)

Will I need a car for field placement?

No. The Field Education Office takes into consideration whether students have their own car or will require the use of public transportation to their agency. Students who do not have a car are expected to utilize public transportation. We have many field placement sites that are located in close proximity to public transportation. Some placement opportunities do, however, require the use of a car. If you do not have a car it may limit your agency options.