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MSW Application Process

Dates and Deadlines

Apply early! Do not wait until the application deadline. You will upload your documents after you submit your application.

Deadlines are firm. You are unable to upload or edit application materials after the deadline.

Our goal is to notify all applicants of the outcome of their application by the end of February. Admission results are sent by email.

Equity, Racial Justice, Diversity, Inclusion & Decolonization

We acknowledge the inequities experienced by visible minorities (racialized persons); Indigenous people; persons with disabilities, which may encompass physical, mobility, perceptual, illness related, mental health, developmental disabilities; people who self-identify as two spirit, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender or queer; as well as people who have experienced other barriers to their education (e.g. socioeconomic, caregiving, religious, cultural). 

Check the Admission Requirements before applying Learn more

Prepare your MSW Application

You can apply to only one specialization (Clinical Social Work or International and Community Development) and program route (Course- or Thesis-based) per admission cycle.

Getting started

Gather References

We will invite your referees to complete an online reference form after you submit your application.

Make sure you enter their email address correctly or your referee will not receive the invite.

Learn more about this requirement below >>

Begin Your Application

Create an eID to log in. If you already have an eID, you can begin your online application. 

Once you begin, remember to click 'Save & Continue' often to ensure your application is saved.


Access the UCalgary Online Application

Submit your application

Pay your application fee:

$125 for Canadian or Permanent residents

$145 for International Students


Your application has to contain information for two referees:

  • one from a person who can speak to your academic performance and ability (e.g., graduate program supervisor, professor, practicum instructor), and
  • one needs to be a professional/work reference (must have directly supervised you).

We do not accept letters from friends, family members, colleagues, people who are currently registered in a graduate degree program, or general letters that are not written in support of your application.

Watch the recording >>

  1. Selecting a Referee

    Choose a referee who can describe your strengths and weaknesses in these general areas:

    • academic background and training;
    • research ability and record;
    • communication and language ability; and
    • reliability and personal aptitude; and
    • provide their overall recommendation.

    Currently registered in a graduate degree program or recently graduated? Your program supervisor must submit a reference.

    Thesis applicants: Ask your referees to read and comment on your thesis proposal in their submission, along with their assessment of your capacity for graduate level research.


  2. Cannot submit an academic reference?

    If you have been out of school for a long time (5+ years) or you are an international student and cannot contact previous instructors, you can submit two professional references. Make sure to provide an explanation in the Program Specific Questions.

  3. Message for your referees:

    Thank you for agreeing to provide a reference for a prospective MSW student. It is helpful for our selection process if you explicitly address those practice skills and abilities possessed by the applicant as well as their potential for being successful in advanced graduate study and conducting social work research (e.g., writing proficiency, critical thinking, creativity, strong work ethic, etc.). These additional instructions are here to help you give the most comprehensive, accurate, and useful picture of the applicant.

You will upload your required documents after you submit your application. How to Upload

Required Documents

Program Specific Supporting Documents

After you submit your online application, you will receive an email with your UCID and instructions on how to access your UCalgary Student Centre, where you will find a 'To Do List' for providing program-specific supporting documents.

Learn more about the these documents below >>

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Test Scores

We follow the Faculty of Graduate Studies policy for English Language Proficiency.

You need to submit ELP test scores. If you have completed a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution that teaches in English you may be exempt. List of eligible countries

Find the mailing address below >>

For ELP waiver requests see below >>

Watch the Recording


You need to upload unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you've attended (except for the University of Calgary) by the application deadline. If those institutions don't indicate the awarded degree on their transcripts, you will need your degree certificates as well.

IMPORTANT: Transcript file(s), including English translations and/or degree certificates (if applicable), must be amalgamated into one PDF file per institution, and clearly outline the following: terms, institution grading scale, course weight (units/credits), and grade.

If your application is successful, final official transcripts will be requested with your offer of admission. These must be sent in a sealed envelope directly from your previous post-secondary institution(s). If you have official transcripts in your possession, they need to remain in the original sealed envelope. Do not submit official transcripts in advance of an offer of admission.

Find the mailing address below >>

Watch the recording

Document translation

If your original documents are not in English, you must request a second set of documents to be given to a translator for a notarized word-for-word English translation. Submit the translated copy in addition to your official documents.

Find the mailing address below >>

CASW Assessment

If you completed an undergraduate degree in Social Work or equivalent in another country (outside Canada/USA), you must have your degree assessed by the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) as equivalent to a Canadian BSW.

This assessment must be received by January 16. You can submit by email or mail.

Find the mailing address below >>

Learn more

Degree Conferral

Your degree must be awarded by March 1. We cannot accept a letter of completion as a replacement for degree award.

In certain circumstances, such as when you have a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution that teaches in English, the graduate program may waive the English Language Proficiency requirement. Eligible institutions must be listed as providing English language instruction in the World Higher Education Database (WHED).

To waive the English Language Proficiency requirement, you need to submit your request in writing (Word or PDF) by November 15. In your statement provide the reasons why you should be exempt from taking an ELP test. Make the subject line "ELP Waiver Request" and include your name and UCID. You'll also need to provide a letter from your institution indicating the medium of instruction is English.

Program Specific Documents

Click on the boxes below for detailed information about each program specific document >>



Your resume is an important part of your application. Make sure you fully capture your work and/or volunteer experience.

Watch the Recording

Program/Thesis Proposal

Your program proposal is a vital part of your application. Make sure you allow enough time to prepare a well written proposal.

If you are applying for the thesis route, in addition to the program proposal, you have to upload a preliminary research proposal.

Watch the Recording

Departmental Information Form

Refers to the WCB form that is required for certain programs to acknowledge you are aware of the regulations in the province where you plan to complete your practicum.

Use three sections to describe your previous experience:

  1. employment experience in or related to social services,
  2. volunteer experience related to social services,
  3. employment and volunteer experience not related to social services. 

Indicate the number of hours for all social service work and include a total number of hours.

Don’t forget to detail your educational history, awards, distinctions, publications, and presentations. 

What is relevant social work and human service experience?

In your program proposal, please answer the following questions: 

  1. Introduce yourself and discuss your decision to apply for graduate education (MSW) in the context of your personal and professional development.
  2. Provide an analysis of your area of interest- drawing on the scholarly literature (references required) and your own practical experience. Discuss how your education in the MSW program will advance your work in this area.
  3. Discuss your experience with and commitment to address equity, racial justice, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in your practice.

The proposal is approximately 5 pages, double-spaced (not including title page and references), and must be written in an academic format (APA or other), properly referenced, and ideas must be grounded in relevant bodies of scholarship. 

The MSW Admissions Committee will follow principles of equity, racial justice, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization in the evaluation of your proposal.

In your thesis proposal:

  • Describe the research problem you hope to investigate, and 
  • Outline the research methodology or methodologies you are considering (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, participatory action research, grounded theory, arts-based, etc.).

It needs to be written in an academic format (APA or other) and cannot exceed 5 double-spaced pages (not including title page or references).

This checklist item refers to the WCB form that is required for certain programs to acknowledge you are aware of the regulations in the province where you plan to complete your practicum. This document is mandatory and must be signed by a witness.

On the page linked above, scroll down to the heading WCB for Distance Education Students (you will need to expand the boxes).

Mailing address

Faculty of Social Work - Graduate Admissions
MacKimmie Tower, Room 301
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4