If you're considering a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, you might be wondering if your undergraduate major matters. While there's no one-size-fits-all answer, your undergraduate major can impact your decision to pursue an MSW and your application to MSW programs.
In this blog post, we'll explore what major you need to become a social worker — whether your journey starts with an MSW or as an undergraduate — and what you can do to highlight the value of your degree, no matter what major you pursued.
How Your Undergraduate Major Impacts Your MSW Decision
Your undergraduate major can impact your decision to pursue an MSW in a few different ways. For instance, your major might have sparked an interest in social work or social justice issues and helped you hone valuable skills or knowledge that could be applied to social work.
Or maybe your major had nothing to do with social work, but you’re interested in pursuing an MSW for other reasons, like a desire for a career change or a passion for helping others.
Popular Undergraduate Majors for MSW Students
While no one major is required for MSW programs, some undergraduate majors are more popular among MSW students than others. Some of the most popular majors for MSW students are:
- Criminal justice
- Political science
- Social work
If you pursued one of these majors, you might have already gained some foundational knowledge or skills that could be useful in your MSW studies. For example, if you majored in psychology, you might have already learned about mental health issues or human behavior. If you majored in political science, you might have already learned about public policy or advocacy.
Pursuing an MSW Without a BSW
If you didn't major in social work or a related field, you might be wondering if you can still pursue an MSW. The answer is yes! Many MSW programs welcome students from a variety of backgrounds. However, you might need to take some additional coursework or demonstrate your knowledge of social work concepts in other ways, such as through relevant work experience or volunteer work.
Highlighting the Value of Your Undergraduate Degree on Your MSW Application
If you pursued an undergraduate degree in something other than social work, you might be wondering how you can highlight the value of your degree on your MSW application.
Here are a few tips:
- Emphasize how your major has prepared you for a career in social work. For example, if you majored in psychology, you might mention how your knowledge of mental health issues could be applied to your MSW studies.
- Highlight any relevant work or volunteer experience you have. Even if your major wasn't related to social work, you might have gained some relevant experience through internships, jobs, or volunteer work.
- Explain how your unique perspective could contribute to the MSW program. If you pursued a major that's not typically associated with social work, you might have a different perspective or skillset that could be valuable in the field.
Your undergraduate major can impact your decision to pursue an MSW and your application to MSW programs, but it doesn't necessarily determine your success as a social worker. No matter what major you pursued, you can highlight the value of your degree and demonstrate your passion for social justice and helping others through your application materials.
Ready to take the next step?