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Earn your Master of Social Work

Help improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and communities. The Master of Social Work prepares students to be innovative leaders who bring superior interpersonal, behavioral, research and communication skills to the social work system.

Advance your career and be a voice for those who need it. Our students develop solutions.

This program is  accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, and students who have received a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program may apply for Advanced Standing. 

Mason's MSW Program offers two Specializations: one in Social Change and one in Clinical Practice. The program's historical focus on social change is one of the things that makes it unique.

I chose to pursue my MSW at Mason because I was interested in the social change concentration, and the proximity to DC made it the ideal location to study this area. My first field placement was crucial and helped me learn how to organize. I was also able to develop my expertise in workers’ rights and wage theft through an independent learning class and my thesis. The flexibility in Mason’s learning environment allowed me to develop the expertise that landed me my first job.


Hannah Kane, MSW '12

Worker Justice Organizer, Many Languages One Voice

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program is competitive, and meeting the minimum application criteria does not guarantee admission. Selection criteria differ by program and are established by the faculty of that program. Applicants are evaluated on the strength of their academic background, results of standardized exams (if required by the program), work experience, and any additional evidence of potential success in the program. The faculty determines the number of admission offers to extend based on the resources available to the program. Late applications will be considered on a space-available basis.

The general university graduate admission standards include the following:

  • An earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education or international equivalent. Applicants with a degree from an international institution must submit a transcript evaluation showing that the degree is equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree in the United States.
  • A 3.00 GPA on a 4.00 scale or better in baccalaureate study. The GPA requirement may be higher for some graduate programs. For applicants with postbaccalaureate credits, a separate GPA is calculated for each institution. The difficulty of the baccalaureate degree and professional work experience may be considered in assessing the application for admission.
  • In addition to holding an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, applicants must have a minimum of 30 undergraduate credits in the liberal arts to include at least 3 credits in each of the following: English composition, history or government, social sciences, and statistics.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete the program?

Students have the option of either a two-year, three-year, four-year plan. Under the two-year plan, students complete the 60-credit hour master's degree by attending classes for two consecutive academic years. Under the three-year plan, students take an average of 15 credit hours per year in the first two years and 15 credit hours per semester in the final year. Under the four-year plan, students take an average of 15 credit hours per academic year for each of the four years.

Do I need an undergraduate degree in social work in order to apply?

No. We accept students from any undergraduate major. In order to be positioned to begin the program, there are certain undergraduate liberal arts courses that applicants must complete. Details are available on the Social Work Department website (socialwork.gmu.edu) under "Admissions Criteria" and are included in the application packet.

What kind of hands-on experience can I expect to get?

Our program features 1,050 hours of supervised practicum experience. During the first year, students are placed in an agency for 16 hours per week (students in the three-year or four-year program have this practicum in the second year). These field placements may involve working with children, adolescents, adults, or older adults; they may involve working with individuals, families, small groups, organizations, or whole communities.

Jump Start Your Career

Accredited Programs

Specialized Studies

Tim Nanof, MSW '04

Director of Health Care Policy & Advocacy, American Speech Language Hearing Association

As a child protective social worker and as a case manager for older adults, I had always seen my social work career as a way to provide direct services to individuals and groups who needed support. My experience at George Mason opened up my eyes to the full range of opportunities available to me to effect change on a much larger scale. I still view my advocacy role as helping individuals but now, the reality is, that I can help create positive changes for thousands and thousands of individuals at a time.

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