Master's Application & Procedures

The application for the Master of Arts Program in Social Work and Social Welfare (SW) opens on September 1 and will be open continually until the April deadline. The application for the new Master of Arts Program in Social Sector Leadership and Nonprofit Management (SSL) opened on October 1, 2019. Only complete applications will be considered. We will process your application once we receive all of the following materials. 


Master of Arts Program in Social Work and Social Welfare (SW) applicants, please submit the following with your application:

  • A $75 Application Fee: The fee is non-refundable and does not apply toward tuition or other charges. The fee is waived for AmeriCorps, McNair Scholars Program, Peace Corps and Teach For America alumni. Please upload verification of your service with your application. If you have received a fee waiver form by attending an admissions event, please complete the fee waiver form on the online application and enter your fee waiver code.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation. A minimum of three recommendations are required, two of which should address your academic ability. References should be qualified to discuss your aptitude for both graduate study and social work. No more than four letters of recommendation may be submitted.
    • Current undergraduates or recent graduates must include at least two academic references.

    • Transfer students and Advanced Standing Program applicants must include two academic references and a reference from a current or recent practice professor or field instructor who can evaluate your performance in field placement or submit a final field evaluation. 

    • Applicants who are or recently have been employed must include one reference from an employment supervisor. Ask your professional references to speak to your analytic and critical thinking skills. 

  • Candidate's Statement. You must write a 4-page, double-spaced statement that addresses all of the following in an essay format. Dedicate approximately a third of your essay (1.3 pages) per prompt:
    • What personal and professional factors have led you to pursue a master’s degree in social work at this time, and what specifically has influenced your decision to pursue a social work degree from The University of Chicago?;

    • What are your professional goals and how will a social work education at SSA provide a way to achieve them? Consider your own strengths and what you would need to learn or develop relative to becoming an effective social worker.;

    • Identify a population or social issue which you feel passionate about working with to challenge social and economic inequalities.  Provide a critique of how current institutions, services, welfare policies, or community practices have failed to advance the overall wellbeing of relevant populations.

EEP applicants should further discuss how they will accommodate the additional demands of course and field responsibilities with their full-time employment.

  • Transcripts:  Transcripts are required from every institution where an applicant has taken three or more courses--unless these courses and grades appear on the home institution transcript; this includes courses taken Pass/Fail. Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts only if they are accompanied by institutional grading and credit system information, which are most commonly found on the reverse side of paper transcripts. If your institution does not provide digitized transcripts, applicants may upload scanned paper transcripts to the online application. Please make sure to include the reverse side with the grading and credit system information. Alternatively, applicants may send paper transcripts to 969 E. 60th St., Chicago, IL 60637. If college work is incomplete at the time of application, a final transcript must be sent when final grades and degree conferral have been recorded. Students who have completed or will be completing their undergraduate education at an institution outside the United States are expected to have a baccalaureate-level degree or its equivalent and to have completed social work training in the home country and/or to have had work experience in a social service agency before applying for admission to the Master's Program.   

  • A Comprehensive Resume.


Master of Arts Program in Social Sector Leadership and Nonprofit Management (SSL), please submit the following with your application:

  • A current resume outlining at least 3-5 years of experience working in a social sector organiza­tion;
  • Transcripts from all previous institutions, including a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution;
  • 2 letters of recommendation;
  • 4-page candidate's statement that addresses the following topics:
    • What personal and professional factors have led you to pursue a master’s degree in Social Sector Leadership & Nonprofit Management at this time? What are your professional goals and how will this master’s degree provide a way to achieve them? What in particular influenced your decision to pursue this degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration?;
    • What, in your view, are the characteristics of an effective leader and manager in the social sector? What existing strengths and prior experience will you bring to this program, and what do you still need to learn or develop in order to become an effective leader and manager?; and
    • Identify a population or social issue which you feel passionate about and would like to affect through your work. Provide a critique of how current institutions, services, policies, or community practices have failed to adequately address this issue or the needs of this population, and suggest how the social sector could respond.

Other Considerations:

  • We do not require GRE scores.
  • We do not require interviews.
  • Financial Aid: SSA offers both merit- and need-based scholarships. To be eligible, you must answer all financial information questions included in the online application. Most applicants also apply for federal student loans or work-study to bridge the gap between their scholarship and the full cost of their tuition and fees. Please see the financial aid section of our site for a complete description of financial aid procedures.
  • Deposit: Applicants who are admitted must confirm their acceptance by submitting a $250 non-refundable deposit to reserve their place in the School. The $250 deposit will be credited towards their Autumn quarter tuition or Summer quarter for Advanced Standing students. 

All inquiries about admission or about the progress of a particular application should be addressed directly to:

admissions@ssa.uchicago.edu
The University of Chicago
The School of Social Service Administration 
969 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637