Advocacy in Action

Through the stories we share, the Admissions Team at Baylor University hopes to inspire and educate future leaders in the field of social work.

FAQs: What You Really Want to Know about Applying to Baylor’s MSW Program

Written by Baylor School of Social Work Team on 11.2.20

As a future social worker, we know how hard you work to achieve your goals. You aren’t going to settle for anything less than the best, which is exactly why we, admissions professionals at Baylor University, want to help you get the most out of your graduate school experience. We know that the next generation of social work professionals will bring about the change that our world needs the most, and our Master of Social Work program provides students with the resources and hands-on experiences needed to do so, especially at such a pivotal moment in history.

We’re here to walk with you through every step of your graduate school journey, beginning with the application process. We know that applying to graduate school can feel daunting at first, but our goal is to make it as simple and straightforward as possible. 

To get you started on the right foot, we developed a comprehensive resource to  help you navigate the MSW application process from start to finish. Check out —  How to Apply 101.

We also want to address some of the most frequently asked questions about applying to our Master of Social Work program:

1. How can I apply for financial aid?

Two documents are required as part of the MSW application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Financial Aid Profile (for international students) and our GSSW Financial Aid Form

All of these documents are submitted online. Visit our How to Apply page for links to each of these required forms. The School of Social Work operates on a rolling admissions process. Applications will be reviewed and financial assistance will be dispersed on a first come, first served basis. Submit your application as soon as possible for best financial aid consideration.

2. What kind of financial aid is available?

To help you on your graduate journey, we offer three sources of financial assistance for the residential MSW program.

  • Tuition Remission: These awards are a direct offset of tuition costs charged to you by Baylor. These funds are credited to your student account at the beginning of each semester and not available for personal expenses.
  • Scholarships: These awards are based on need and/or merit and are awarded as funds that do not have to be paid back by the student.
  • Graduate Assistantship Stipend: A stipend is defined as a fixed sum of money paid periodically for work. A graduate assistant is a person who serves in a support role in the School of Social Work. Graduate stipends are considered income.*

*Only available to those who submit a completed application by our priority deadline of February 1st

NOTE: Because we understand that funding a graduate degree is a challenge for many people, 100% of students admitted to the residential MSW program receive a financial aid package. 

Pro-tip: Discover even more financial aid options - here are 6 social work scholarships you’ve probably never heard of.

3. What is the cost of the MSW program?

A full list of tuition and other associated costs can be found by visiting our Graduate Tuition & Fees page

4. Will my GPA make or break my admittance into the MSW program?

Our Admission Committee takes a holistic approach when reviewing applications. Many factors enter into the admission decision for a professional school; there is not one single indicator for admission.

5. Do I have to take the GRE?

No. The GRE is not required.

6. I'm an international student. What do I need to score on the TOEFL?

If you are an international student, you must attain a minimum of 550 on the paper-based, a 213 on the computer-based or an 80 on internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

7. Who should I ask to write reference letters for me?

Three recommendation letters are required from each applicant. At least one of the letters must be an academic recommendation. 

Select people who have knowledge of you in some of the following areas: intellectual competence; potential for success; the ability to work with people about sensitive issues, including people from diverse backgrounds; possession of critical thinking and communication skills; and a sense of values and ethics. References from your faculty and those who have supervised you or know of your work in a social work related paid or volunteer setting are particularly helpful

Advanced Standing applicants will need a reference from the undergraduate program director, the director of field education, or the field instructor.

8. How many students are in the program?

Currently there are about 120 students annually in the residential MSW program. Across all campuses (Waco, Houston, and online) we have approximately 250 students as of Spring 2020. 

Non-practice class size averages about 20 and practice classes average about 12.

9. Do you offer night classes? Can I work while I'm in school?

With campus locations in Houston and Waco, Texas, the Garland School of Social Work is able to offer two different residential experiences for students.

  • Students at our Waco campus are offered a more traditional on-campus experience, with most classes taking place during the day, although part-time options are available.
  • Students at our Houston campus will have more flexibility in their schedule through part-time options and evening classes.

You might still be wondering  — which one is right for me? Learn more about  our Houston and Waco campuses by downloading our digital guide!

Read More: If you are interested in learning about our online MSW program, you can request more information by clicking here! 

10. Is this a religious graduate program?

Our program is based in a Christian worldview, and there are reading assignments that include a Christian perspective. However, our program's chief purpose is to prepare and educate professional social workers, regardless of the student's faith (or non-faith) base. 

The integration of faith and practice relates to these three ideas:

  1. Self-awareness of the values, belief system, and/or faith of the practitioner (recognition of strengths as well as biases)
  2. Ability to approach the helping process holistically, including the client's spiritual needs and strengths
  3. Awareness and respect for the context in which the social worker practices, e.g., secular or faith-based organization.

To gain insight into the regular responsibilities of social workers, be sure  to check out our resource — What Do Social Workers Actually Do? 

Get started today at Baylor University

The community at Baylor University is ready to support you throughout your journey. We are here to equip you with the tools you need to make a smooth transition into a career that will leave a lasting impact on the lives of those you serve. 

For a complete list of FAQs, please visit our website, or if you have specific questions, you can schedule a time to speak with an admissions counselor. If you’re ready to pursue a Master of Social Work, we invite you to begin an application today.

Ready to take the next application steps? Explore our guide — How to Apply 101: A Comprehensive Application Guide to Baylor’s MSW Program.


Posted by Baylor School of Social Work Team

We are the admissions team at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, at Baylor University. We believe social work is about service and justice; it is about the dignity of individuals and the power of relationships; it is about integrity and competence, and our mission here is preparing social workers to do these things well. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a degree in social work!