Admission Requirements

All applicants must satisfy the admissions requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Dalhousie University as stated in this calendar.

English is the language of study at Dalhousie; therefore all applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate their capacity to pursue a graduate-level program in English before admission. The standard test is the TOEFL. The Faculty of Graduate Studies sets a minimum acceptable score of 92 for the internet-based test. The following ESL tests will also be accepted with the stated minimum scores: IELTS, 7; PTE Academic, overall score of 65 and nothing below 54. All applicants must satisfy the admissions requirements as set out by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Please visit  for a complete listing of MSW admission requirements and application instructions

Canadian Residency Requirement for Distance Study

The on-line (distance delivery) option is only available to residents of Canada (citizens and permanent residents) who currently reside in Candada.

MSW Program

There are two entry points to the MSW program:

1.  BSW Entry (one year MSW program) - A baccalaureate degree in social work (BSW) is required.  This option is available on campus or online.

2.  Non BSW Entry (two year MSW program) - A four year undergraduate degree (120 credit hours) in a related field is required.  This option is on campus on a full time basis.

All MSW applicants are required to have:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.3 scale) or an equivalent cumulative average of at least B in the last 60 undergraduate credit hours completed.  Graduate level credits are not used in the admission average.
  • Suitability for the study and practice of social work

NOTEThere is no transfer credit or advanced standing awarded in the MSW program.


Special Student Status

Special student status is not available for enrolment in graduate courses in Social Work. Courses are normally restricted to students who have applied and been accepted to the MSW degree programs, however, non-social work students may be permitted to register for a MSW elective with permission of the Graduate Coordinator.

Selection Criteria

The number of seats offered each year to graduate students is limited. There are no deferrals granted in MSW Admissions. Applicants who do not register in the fall semester following acceptance, must re-apply. Candidates are selected according to their qualifications. The MSW Admissions Committee makes its selection on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Academic performance (last 60 undergraduate credit hours).
  • Clearly defined field of practice related to Social Work or paid work experience (One year MSW); interest in a field of practice related to Social Work and volunteer and/or paid experience in practice related to Social Work (Two year MSW).
  • Intellectual capacity demonstrated in a thoughtful and reflective Statement of Scholarly Interest
  • Strength of references;
  • Appropriateness of educational/professional goals to the School's course offerings;
  • Personal suitability for social work.

Statement of Scholarly Interest

The Statement of Scholarly Interest is an important component of the MSW application. This statement explores a student's decision to pursue a graduate level degree in Social Work.

Personal Suitability

Aptitude and fitness for the profession of Social Work, as determined by the MSW Admissions Committee, is a requirement for admission as well as for continuation in the program. (See Section V: Required Withdrawal on Grounds of Unsuitability section.)

Affirmative Action Policy

The School of Social Work has an affirmative action policy for applicants who are Acadian, Aboriginal, African Canadian, members of other racially visible groups, persons with (dis)Abilities, and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,  Transgender, Two-Spirited, Queer and Intersex (LGBTTQI) people . The School is committed to admitting and graduating the highest possible number of students who qualify under this policy.

The admissions prerequisites described in the above section are the same for all applicants. Each candidate who applies under the affirmative action policy is, however, considered on the basis of their qualifications for graduate study in Social Work rather than in relation to other candidates.

Application Procedure

Applications for admission are reviewed once a year following the application deadline date of November 15.

MSW application packages include instructions, application, application fee, reference forms, work/volunteer experience summary sheets, and guidelines for the Statement of Scholarly Interest. The cover sheet for the latter includes a place for eligible candidates to indicate whether they wish to apply under the Affirmative Action policy. MSW application packages may be found on the School's website

Incomplete or late applications cannot be considered. Each applicant is notified by mail of the MSW Admission Committee's final recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Acceptances are conditional on the approval of the Dean followed by official notification from the University Registrar.

Scholarships, Bursaries, Teaching Assistantships and Financial Aid

For information on prizes, bursaries, scholarships and loans available to graduate students, consult the relevant section of this graduate calendar, or go to