College of Social Work

Master of Social Work (MSW)


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UK has been the heart of social work education in the Commonwealth


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Amanda Brown

Director of Graduate Studies

Clinical Instructor

College of Social Work

University of Kentucky College of Social Work

643 Patterson Office Tower

Lexington, Kentucky, 40506-0027

Program website

(859) 562-3687

  • MSW
Other programs from the College of Social Work:

THE MSW @ UK:   Students are drawn to the MSW because of the versatility of the degree. The MSW @ UK sets you up to be successful in your chosen area of the profession. Candidates pursue their passion in areas from clinical practice with adolescents to non-profit development in rural communities, or something in between.

Career Opportunities in Social Work

                       YOU can make a difference!


  • Administration
  • Adoption
  • Advocacy
  • Child Welfare
  • Community Outreach
  • Counseling
  • Criminal Justice
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Education and Schools
  • Foster Care
  • Gerontology and Aging
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • International Social Work
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Mental Health Case Worker
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Public Health Outreach
  • School Social Work
  • Substance Abuse
  • Poverty
  • Public Policy
  • Therapy
  • Veterans and Military Families


At UK we believe in helping each student find the right pathway to professional success. Our highly dedicated faculty and staff are here to challenge and inspire, guide and assist you throughout your graduate student career. We are committed to your success, both as students in our Master in Social Work program and as professional social work practitioners in whatever arena you may choose to practice.


MSW graduates are prepared to facilitate social change.
The uniqueness of social work’s commitment to understanding the interface between the individual and his/her/their environment means that your course of study will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and competencies you need to be a change agent in your chosen area of practice.

Application Materials

How to Apply

The admissions process requires the College of Social Work and the Graduate School both review your application and you must be accepted by both. The College’s Admissions Committee reviews your application materials and then forwards a recommendation to the Graduate School. The Graduate School makes an independent determination based largely upon your transcripts. The College of Social Work and the Graduate School will email separate letters after your application has been evaluated.

All applications for graduate study at the University of Kentucky Graduate School must be submitted online through ApplyYourself. You will need to keep your username and password if you wish to return to continue an unfinished application or review a completed one. Access the Graduate School Application here.

In order to complete the application, you will need to upload the following (no GRE is required):


You will be asked to upload copies of transcripts (unofficial is fine) from all higher education institutions attended and, in the case of domestic students, to self-report cumulative GPA’s for each institution. If you are offered admission and decide to enroll you will then be required to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School.

Letters of Recommendation:

The MSW Program at the University of Kentucky requires applicants to provide two references. These references must be obtained from individuals in the following categories:

  • Professor
  • Professional Social Worker/Field Instructor
  • Work or Volunteer Supervisor

Please exclude personal, pastoral and relative references. If you graduated within the past 5 years you must provide at least one academic reference which can include a former instructor, your field supervisor or advisor.

As part of the online application you will be asked to supply email contact information for your two references. Once your application has been submitted, an automated email will be generated for each person identified and their recommendations will be submitted directly to us. You can check back into your application at any time to see who has submitted a recommendation.

Personal Statement

Your statement should be approximately four pages in length, double-spaced, and the following topics must be addressed within the narrative:

  1. Motivation for social service, social work education, and a career in the profession: State your reasons for wanting to pursue an MSW degree. Why are you applying to the University of Kentucky College of Social Work? What are your social service interests and career goals?
  2. Personal life experiences and relevant events: Briefly describe your personal history as it relates to your interest in the profession of social work. What do you consider to be your particular strengths, skills and abilities that will contribute to your success in this field?
  3. Capacities for professional social work education: Breifly describe your professional, volunteer and/or educational history as it relates to your capacity for success in graduate study in the field of social work. What characteristics, circumstances, or challenges could serve to enhance or limit your capacity to pursue graduate level education in the field of social work?

Ethical Dilemma Essay

In 250 words or less, describe an ethical dilemma you encountered in either your professional or personal past. Identify and define the ethical problem, the parties involved, the values you relied upon to make your decisions, and how the dilemma was resolved. Explain how the outcome has affected you and any lessons you learned.

Personal Résumé – include work and volunteer experience.

If you have questions about your ability to begin the program please contact an MSW advisor at  before applying to the Graduate School.

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines: 

     Fall Semester Start:

          Priority Deadline: June 1st

          Deadline: July 15th

     Spring Semester Start:

          Priority Deadline: November 1st

          Deadline: December 1st

     Summer Semester Start:

          Deadline: April 1st

Any advanced standing students intending to start a field practicum in their first fall or spring semester should plan to apply by the priority deadline. Curriculum models can be found here.



Amanda Brown

Director of Graduate Studies

Clinical Instructor

College of Social Work

University of Kentucky College of Social Work

643 Patterson Office Tower

Lexington, Kentucky, 40506-0027

(859) 562-3687

Other programs from the College of Social Work: