Online MSW Program

Thank you for applying to the Online MSW Program at UNC Charlotte which is offered in a 3-year program format. Applications are submitted through the UNC Charlotte Graduate School’s website. Use the "Apply Now" link below:

Apply Now


  • 2021 Admission - The School of Social Work has filled its seats for 2021 and has a waitlist for the 3-year program option.  We do not encourage further applications for 2021. 
  • 2022 Admission - While the Graduate School application for 2022 admissions is now open, we recommend MSW applicants wait until June 2021 to start to apply for 2022 admission.  This will ensure that the application system and all related website information has been updated.  

Online PROGRAM description:

Our 3-year Online MSW program begins Summer/May 2022.  This program is geared toward students who wish to complete an MSW, but cannot attend graduate school full-time. The 3-year Online program is completed over the course of nine semesters (summer, fall, spring, for three years). Students will take the same courses as students in the 2-Year program format, but at a slower progression. They will complete 60 graduate credit hours, which includes 48 credit hours in the classroom and 12 credits in an approved field placement. 

The online program consists of synchronous and asynchronous course offerings.  Most courses are synchronous which means they include live class sessions via an online platform like Zoom.  Synchronous courses are scheduled evenings (Wednesdays or Thursdays) and Saturdays.  Asynchronous courses do not include live meeting times.  Students in the online program are also invited to participate in periodic on campus and virtual engagement experiences which provide enhanced learning through professional development and opportunities to network with other students within the online program. In addition to online classes, a 16 hour per week internship is completed during the fall and spring semesters of years two and three of the program.  Our Field Office will coordinate with those who are not in the local area and/or out-of-state for placements. Visit our Field Education page for more information.  All students in the program are assigned an Academic Advisor who is a faculty member in the School of Social Work.​


The priority deadline for the Online MSW program is January 15, 2022.  Applicants with strong interest in our program are encouraged to submit the application and all related application materials (e.g., - recommendations, transcripts) by the priority deadline.  Applications will continue to be accepted after the priority deadline, but will only be reviewed on a space-available basis. ​ 


1. Undergraduate Preparation including GPA

3-year applicants are eligible if they meet both of the following:

  • Academics - Applicants who have an undergraduate or graduate degree in a liberal arts or sciences area are eligble to apply.  Examples of liberal arts or sciences backgrounds include, but are not limited to: psychology, sociology, political science, human services, business, criminal justice, communications, and health systems management.
  • GPA - The Graduate School sets a 3.0 as the minimum GPA for admission to master's programs at UNC Charlotte and requires students to provide copies of unofficial transcripts for all institutions the applicant has attended.  Applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 can still be considered for admission.  Applicants should keep in mind that the process is a competitive one.  It is rare that applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 are offered admission and usually those who are have other compelling evidence pointing to success (e.g., - GPAs very close to 3.0, extensive work experience, earned masters degree or graduate certificate in a related area with a 3.0 or higher).

2. Recommendations

  • Three electronic recommendation forms must be submitted.
  • Applicants are encouraged to select recommenders who can attest to your potential for success as a graduate student and as a master level social worker.  This might include faculty members, social workers, internship/volunteer supervisors and other human service professionals.  Applicants are discouraged from asking family and friends to serve as recommenders.
  • When submitting the recommendation forms, space will be provided for recommenders to upload a letter of support.  Letters of support are helpful in the review process but optional.

3. Relevant Volunteer and/or Paid Experience

  • Applicants are required to upload their resumes to the application system.
  • The School of Social Work gives consideration to the applicant's familiarity with the social work field, leadership contributions, community engagement, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as described in the both the applicant's resume and Statement of Purpose.

4. Statement of Purpose - 2022 applicants

The Statement of Purpose should be double-spaced and no more than six pages. Please respond to each prompt below in your essay.
  • Discuss (a) why you are interested in obtaining an MSW, (b) what population(s) or social problems you are interested in, (c) your reasons for seeking admission to the UNC Charlotte MSW Program specifically, and (d) what you specifically hope to learn about in the program that you don’t know now.  
  • Describe a social, economic, or environmental challenge in the NC/Charlotte region in which you have interest or a passionate commitment to make a difference.   Also, discuss how a social worker might intervene with this challenge.
  • Discuss (a) a challenging educational or professional situation you have experienced, (b) steps you took to navigate this situation, and (c) how your actions affected you and others in the situation.
  • Tell us about an educational or professional situation in the last 2 years when you received corrective feedback from a professor or supervisor that you were not expecting.  Discuss how you personally processed this feedback and also how you specifically responded.
  • The MSW program is committed to dismantling oppression in order to increase equity, access, and inclusion for all people. Describe your own journey and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Describe your current schedule of work and home life family commitments.  Describe how you anticipate this schedule changing in order to accommodate 16 hours per week (typically Monday-Fridays from 8am-5pm) of field placement during years 2 and 3 of the program. 
  • Optional - Describe any extenuating circumstances that may have affected past academic performance and/or anything else you think it is important for the application reviewers to know when reviewing your application.

General Note: Academic credit is not given in the program for life experience, nor is life experience part of the admission decision making process.

Note to International Applicants:

The UNC Charlotte Graduate School requires additional materials be submitted by international applicants such as TOEFL or IELTS scores.  Please read more about these requirements at:


The School of Social Work welcomes applications and is excited to complete a holistic review process to select our next class.  

Applications and supporting documents are referred to the School of Social Work for review once the Graduate School has determined that all documents have been received.  The School of Social Work makes a recommendation to the UNC Charlotte Graduate as to whether or not to offer the applicant admission, but the Graduate School makes the final decision.  If you have questions related to your application system or graduate student life (e.g., - Housing, residency determination), please contact Graduate School Admissions at  If you have questions about the MSW program, Personal Statement, or recommendations, please contact our School of Social Work Admissions team at  UNC Charlotte charges an application processing fee for every application submitted.  Applicants may use a credit card to pay the fee which is required before the online application can be submitted. Once you have submitted your application for admission, you will see a confirmation display.  The application processing fee is not refundable or transferable for any reason.  

Applications may be offered admission, denied admission, or offered to be placed on the waitlist.  Meeting or exceeding the conditions below does NOT guarantee admission. All applications for a given entry term will be considered based upon the number of seats available and the quality of the complete application packages.  Unfortunately, we have many more applicants than we have seats available.  


Applicants who have all related application materials submitted by the priority deadline of January 15, 2022 should receive a decision of admit, deny, or waitlist between approximately February 15, 2022 - April 1, 2022.  Applicants who have been placed on the waitlist will be notified of a final decision by around May 1st or sooner.

Due to limited capacity, applicaants who submit some or all application materials after the  January 15, 2022 are not guaranteed to have their applications reviewed.  Applications submitted after the deadline will be reviewed with decisions rendered on a space-available basis.  


Some applicants are not sure at the time of application which of our program formats they prefer.  Prospectives students may apply to more than one program option as long as they begin in different semesters.  For example, an applicant may apply to the 1-year Advanced Standing plan of study that begins each summer (May) and the 2-year plan of study that begins each fall (August). However, an applicant may not apply to both the 1-year Advanced Standing and the 3-year online program, since they both begin in summer (May). If the School of Social Work receives multiple applications from the same applicant, each application will be decisioned separately.

Additional Distance Education Information:

The Online MSW program is classified as a Distance Education program. Students in this 3-year program format receive Distance Education tuition & fees rates. Please see the links below for additional information on tuition rates and residency for tuition purposes.

Distance Education - Online MSW Program website

Distance Education Tuition Rates

North Carolina Residency Determination Services