Master of Social Work Admissions

Our next admission cycle will be for the Fall of 2024 with an application completion deadline of December 1, 2023 at midnight. All applications are reviewed after December 1, and final admissions decisions are typically entered by the end of February each year.
The MSW application in Carleton 360 is open, and it will close December 1, 2023.
Late applications are not possible or accepted.

MSW Admissions Information Session:

We’re holding an online MSW admissions information session on October 11, 2023 from 4:30-5:30 pm EST. Register at We will send you the web meeting link closer to the date.  For those unable to attend, any available slides will be posted on this page after the session.

Have Questions?
Continue reading the information on this page, our MSW FAQs, and General Application FAQs before sending further questions to

We offer a two year MSW program for those without a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), and a one year MSW for those with a BSW.

It is important that you review the Essential Requirements for the MSW program.

Application Completion Deadline:  December 1 of the year before the program start in September.  Your application must be submitted and all documents uploaded to your online application including Referee Appraisals/Letters of Reference by midnight on December 1.  Ensure you submit and pay your application fee well before the December 1st deadline to give your referees enough time to complete emailed referee form by the deadline. We will not accept late applications and the only intake term is the Fall term.

How to Apply:  The application process to graduate studies at Carleton for all prospective students is the same and must be completed online Complete information regarding the application process is found on Carleton’s Graduate Admissions website.

MSW Application: Required Document Details

Electronic versions of all your post-secondary transcripts or academic histories are required (including Carleton students), and please include the grading scale/legend.   This electronic version does not need to be an official transcript, it can be a screenshot or unofficial transcript, as long as your name, university, course titles, terms and grades are viewable.
Three (3) references are required with your MSW application.
          Two Academic References:  Two are preferred but you must have at least one.  Please try to get a reference from your most recently attended academic program.  Even though it may have been some time since you were last in school, we encourage you to contact previous instructors/professors with a reminder of the class you took, when you took it, any specific assignments or presentations you did, and your final grade. This may help them to write a strong reference for you. If you need to use a TA for an academic reference, that is fine although professors are preferred.
          *** If you are unable to secure an academic reference, include a detailed rationale to the admissions committee with your statement document, and add an additional professional reference.
          One Professional Reference:  At least one referee must be provided who can comment on your social work related experience.

Ensure you give your referees plenty of time to complete the form by the December 1st deadline.
Once your application fee payment is processed, your referees will receive an email from with the subject line “Carleton Referee for Admission”. Referees may need to check their spam or junk mail folders.  The email will have a link to an academic referee form. The referee form asks: how long they have known you; in what capacity; would they recommend the applicant to a grad program at their own university; and aptitude for advanced research.  It asks them to rate the applicant on: academic achievement, research potential, originality, judgement, motivation, ability to work independently, oral communication, written communication, and potential as a research assistant.
Some of the questions would not be relevant to professional references so they would indicate “Not applicable”.
The form follows up with an area where the referee would further describe the applicants abilities, or insert their reference letter.  Once your referee completes and submits the reference, it will take 1-2 business days before you see this reflected in Carleton Central.
MSW Statement of Intent:
One (1) is required. It should be no longer than 1,500 words and answers the specific questions below.
1. How have your life, work and educational experiences contributed to your understanding of yourself and others in relation to the society in which we live? (You may wish to reflect on various aspects of your identity such as gender and sexual                       orientation, economic/class status, life as an Indigenous person, racial or cultural background, or abilities or disabilities.)
2. Identify a social problem that you might want to address as a social worker. Discuss the factors that contribute to or cause this problem. What role would you like to play in resolving this problem?
3. What interests you about structural approaches to social work? How does studying social work at Carleton fit with your career goals?
Applicants are welcome to answer the questions under separate headings, or combine them all into an admission essay.
MSW CV/Resumé:
One (1) is required. Please provide a detailed CV/Resume, organized chronologically beginning with your most recent experience. Please use your CV to describe the work you list in the Portfolio-Work Summary Document (description below).  There is no minimum or maximum limit to the pages in the CV.  Applicants are welcome to submit any style of CV or Resume.
MSW Portfolio (Work Hours Summary Document):
One (1) is required. Prepare a document containing all social work-related hours of experience in 3 separate tables: Paid Work Experience, Volunteer Work Experience, and Placement/Co-op Experience (if applicable).  See sample table below.
Use your CV to describe your experiences, not these tables.
Total the number of hours in each table, and provide a sum of all hours after the last table.
Only use hours completed up to the time of your application.

***These application documents can be uploaded before you submit your application and make fee payment; OR after payment is processed and you receive your Carleton ID # and instructions for accessing Carleton Central. At this point, you will not have access to your application in Carleton 360 – upload the documents in Carleton Central.
***If you feel you have something important to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee that is not addressed in the rest of the application (e.g. reason for low or failed grade/year, absence of academic or work reference etc.), then include a brief letter to the Admissions Committee identifying this. Include it with your CV or Statement of Intent document.
Please refer to the Application FAQs webpage if you have an issue with your application.
General details for required documents is found on Carleton’s Graduate Admissions website under Required Documents.

Financial Support

Consideration for funding and financial support including teaching assistantships is made at the time of admission to a full-time program. A separate application is not required. In order to be considered for funding, you must submit a completed application (including all required documents) before the December 1 deadline. Current and prospective graduate students are encouraged to apply for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) scholarships and Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), which are awarded annually to outstanding students by the federal and provincial governments.
Please note that we are unable to fund International Students. International students must secure prior external funding.
For more information on awards and funding, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Admission Decisions: The School of Social Work will submit admission decisions by the end of February.

We will not be confirming receipt of your completed application. To check on your application, enter Carleton Central to see what documents have been uploaded (yours and your referees). Successful applicants will be notified by email from the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs. You can check your application status in Carleton Central.
If an applicant is Not Recommended for Assessment and therefore not offered admission into the program, there is no appeal process available. Please note that this communication from the School, or from one of its faculty or staff, does not constitute approval for admission.
Upon receiving an Offer of Admission, you will have 21 days to indicate acceptance. An offer of admission may include conditions that must be met before you will be admitted to the graduate program. The conditions must be met before you will be able to register for courses. You will be responsible for meeting the conditions and any late registration fees applied due to delays.