Apply to MSW

Master of Social Work Application Process

Applying to the University of Montana's Master of Social Work program is a two-step process that involves:

  1. fulfilling the UM Graduate School application requirements; and
  2. fulfilling The School of Social Work MSW Program application requirements.

Carefully review the instructions outlined in areas one and two below before submitting your application materials.

Application Deadline and Requirements

Welcome to the University of Montana (UM) School of Social Work Masters of Social Work Application. Please carefully review the information below before submitting your application. Any application that is incomplete will not be considered for admission. Applicants must be able to fulfill the requirements for both the UM Graduate School and the UM School of Social Work. *Note: the application will close at 11:59pm MST on February 15, 2022.*

Graduate School Application:

To submit your file to the University for review, the following items are required:
(See below for more in-depth information)

  • A completed application
  • Your official transcripts from all prior academic institutions
  • 3 references
  • Statement of purpose (2 essay questions)
  • Professional resume

UM Graduate School Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. (Transcripts are submitted through this system. Do not send physical copies of transcripts directly to the school. Please see transcripts section below)
  • Minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for all undergraduate work, based on a 4.00 scale.
  • Three statements of recommendation which must meet the following specifications:
    • Recommendations must be completed and submitted by persons outside the applicant's extended family who have direct knowledge of the applicant's character and abilities.
    • One recommendation must be academic.
    • For tracking purposes all recommendation letters should be submitted through the Collegenet application. 

School of Social Work Requirements

  • Evidence of a solid foundation in the liberal arts and the sciences, including course work in the social and behavioral sciences. 
  • Responses to the two essay questions listed below. 
  • In the Supporting Information portion on the main Collegenet application, complete the Experiences section. Information in this section must include paid and volunteer experience with specific dates and number of hours per week invested.

Application Details


It is highly recommended that applicants begin the transcript process as soon as possible to allow time for transcripts to arrive and resolve any issues, should they arise.

  • All transcripts must be submitted to the Collegenet application. (Excluding the University of Montana)
  • Applicants must request transcripts from each educational institution attended, even if they did not earn their Bachelor degree through it.
  • The Collegenet system does not request transcripts for applicants


A current resume which includes the following sections specifying the dates of your education, as well as your employement and volunteer experience. Indicate if the employement or volunteer experience were full-time or part-time endeavors; if part-time, please include the number of average weekly hours invested.

  • Education
  • Paid Experience
  • Volunteer Experience and Community Involvement

Personal Statement:

A personal statement is not required. However, if a applicant feels their academic record does not reflect their potential, they may submit a personal statement in this section telling the Admissions Committee why they think they can handle the demands of graduate education. Please upload the personal statement in the document tab in Collegenet.

Essay Questions:

Please upload your two essay responses as two separate files in the document tab on Collegnet. Do NOT upload both essay answers as one document. Both documents must follow APA formatting guidelines and be no more than four double-spaced pages.

  • Essay Question One: Submit an essay that addresss how your personal qualities, life experience, and professional and volunteer work have led you to the field of social work and prepared you to honor the UM MSW Mission Statement (see below). How will these qualities and experiences shape what you bring to the MSW learning community and to the pursuit of social justice in the field of social work? How do these qualities and experiences make you a strong candidate for the specific MSW program offered at the University of Montana?
  • Essay Question Two: Submit an essay that analyzes a comtemporary social issue that you consider relevant to the field of social work. In this essay, demonstrate your skills in professional writing and critical analysis. The essay should include the following:
    • Overview of the issue and its relevance to social work.
    • Brief historical background and context of the issue.
    • Rationale that addresses why this issue matters to social workers in pursuit of social justice.
    • Brief overview of relevant research (3-4 sources) that provides evidence regarding the nature of the issue and strategies for addressing it.
    • Brief description of ways in which social workers and others are working to address the issue.
    • Innovative possibilities for action and change that you would put forth based on your understanding of and experience relating to the issue.
    • Proper citation sources and reference page.

University of Montana School of Social Work Mission Statement

The Master of Social Work program prepares social workers who, guided by a person-in-environment perspective, will promote and support the profession's historic commitment to social and economic justice and equality through direct practice activities and community-based efforts reflecting the needs and dignity of all people. The program educates students to become competent, ethical, and collaborative practitioners, community leaders, and researchers who appreciate diversity, use critical thinking skills, and understand rural and global contexts. Graduates will embrace advances in knowledge and practice promoting the rights and well-being of people and creating a more humane society.

Application Review

  • Applications will not be reviewed until all materials are received. Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission. 
  • If you are presenting an academic record that in your opinion does not reflect your potential, please include a personal statement telling the Admissions Committee why you think you can handle the demands of graduate education. There is a place to submit this statement in the Documents tab of this application. 
  • GRE: The School of Social Work does not require the Graduate Record Exam as part of the application process. However, for applicants with a GPA of less than 3.0, the School recommends submission of GRE scores as an additional source of data regarding readiness for graduate-level education. (If you choose to submit a GRE score, please do so in the Standardized Test section of the main Collegenet application.) 

General Information

For questions specific to the University of Montana School of Social work program and requirements, please contact the MSW Program Director Jen Molloy at or 406-243-4278. 

For questions specific to the Collegenet application, please contact Heidi Holzer at or 406-243-4941.

Dual Degree Options

The University of Montana School of Social Work offers two opportunities for dual degrees. Applicants that are interested in these dual degree options should fill out this application and contact the person listed below in the program the applicant is interested in. 

MSW/JD: The School of Social Work and Alexander Blewett III School of Law have collaborated to offer a MSW/JD Joint Degree program. The MSW/JD Joint Degree allows students to complete curriculum requirements in four years, rather than the five it would take if completing both degrees consecutively.

The Joint Degree offers students an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration while preparing graduates to respond to the unique needs of a rural state like Montana. Students graduating with a MSW/JD will be prepared to address the complex problems that arise at the intersection of both professions. MAny key social issues and concerns of vulnerable populations involve the intersection of social work and law such as criminal justice, child protection, housing, homelessness, and domestic violence. Having both degrees facilitates graduates' granular understanding of these systems, the impact they have for individuals, and how best to advocate for clients. Graduates of the Joint Degree program will be prepared to fill a variety of positions upon graduation, inlcuding leadership roles within government agencies, community human service agencies, and non-profit organizations to name a few. 

Interested students will apply to each program separately using established procedures for each program. Students completing the Joint Degree will complete courses at both The School of Law and The School of Social Work. For more information regarding the application process and course sequence, please contact Ashley Trautman, MSW JD: or 06-243-6935.

MSW/MPH: The School of Social Work and The School of Public Health have collaborated to offer a MSW/MPH Joint Degree program. The MSW/MPH Joint Degree allows students to complete curriculum requirements in three years, rather than the four it would take if completing both degrees consecutively. 

Social work and public health have a intertwined history that dates back to early 20th century efforts including settlement houses, communicable-disease control, and infant and maternal health. The two professions espouse mutual commitments to social justice, enhancing people's wellbeing, and reducing social health problems. As a result, social work and public health frequently borrow from one another and overlap in their approaches (Ruth et al., 2008).

Interested students will apply to each program separately using established procedures for each program. Students completing the Joint Degree will complete courses at both the School of Public Health and the School of Social Work. For more information regarding the application process and course sequence, please contact James Caringi, MSW PhD: or 406-243-5548.

Clery Act

In 1998, Congress passed amendments to the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, which had amended the earlier Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), renaming the law to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, also known as the Clery Act. 

The purpose of the Clery Act is to provide current and prospective students and employees with accurate and important information about crimes and campus safety so they can make informed decisions. The U.S. Department of Education electronically publishes UM data, along with comparable information from other colleges and universities.

Campus Safety - Clery Act