Admission FAQs

What is the application deadline?

Priority consideration is given to Master of Social Work applications received by December 1st. All applications must be submitted by February 15th.

Applications to the Master of Science in Social Policy program must be submitted by December 15th.

The Early Application deadline for the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership program is December 15th. The Regular Application deadline is January 15th.

In order for a PhD in Social Welfare application to be considered, the application and all transcripts must be received by December 15th; letters of recommendation and test scores must be received by January 15th.

The application, all transcripts, official test scores, and letters of recommendation for the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work application must be received by February 15th.

What is the application fee?

If you apply to any master’s-level program by 11:59 PM ET on December 1st, you will be able to avail yourself of a reduced application fee of $25. After December 1st, the application fee for these programs increases to $65. The application fee for the DSW program is $65 and for the PhD in Social Welfare is $80 regardless of the time of application submission. Please note that application fees are not refundable.

When does the application open?

The online application for all master’s and doctoral programs opens in mid to late September of the year prior to your first term at SP2. You can access the online application by clicking here.

The online application won’t let me proceed until I complete a certain page, but I’m not ready to complete the page at this time. What can I do?

There are two application sections that all applicants must complete before the online system will allow them to continue: “Program Information” and “Personal Information,” which are the first and second items in the grey, left-hand sidebar. Once you have completed these two sections, you will be able to access all subsequent sections of the application.

If you reach a section of the application and realize that you do not currently have the information necessary to complete it, you are still able to proceed. Using the links in the grey, left-hand sidebar, simply click on the last section that you were able to complete. Once there, you can use the links in the same sidebar to skip over the section that you can’t currently complete and proceed to subsequent sections of the application.

I can’t find the personal statement prompt in the online application. Where is it?

The personal statement prompt is located in the “Supporting Documents” section of the online application. If you are having difficulty proceeding to the “Supporting Documents” section because you have not yet completed a previous section, please see the question above (“The application won’t let me proceed until I complete a certain page…”).

How do I apply for a dual degree program?

If you are interested in applying for any of our dual degree programs, including the MSW/MSSP or MSW/NPL dual degree programs, please view the Information for Dual Degree Applicants. Please note that two applications cannot be completed concurrently; applicants must submit their first application before they can begin their second application.

How do I submit my transcripts?

Applicants must submit transcripts detailing all undergraduate and postgraduate study via the online application. This includes coursework conducted at an applicant’s degree-granting institution(s) as well as in study abroad programs and at institutions out of which an applicant may have transferred. Applicants should upload copies of their official transcripts (i.e. not screenshots from a student record or student grade system) that clearly display their name, dates of enrollment, the names of all courses in which they enrolled, and the credits and grades awarded for each class. Applicants should not mail hard copies of transcripts to the School for purposes of application review.

Applicants who have taken one year or more of coursework outside of the United States must also submit a third-party, course-by-course evaluation, completed by a NACES-accredited company, of their international transcripts.

Applicants who are admitted to and choose to attend SP2 will be required to send official copies of all academic transcripts prior to matriculation.

Where should I send my official transcripts?

Applicants should request that their previous or current institutions send copies of their official transcripts directly to the applicant.The applicant will then scan and upload these transcripts into the online application. Official transcripts should NOT be sent to us during the application review process.

Enrolled students must have official transcripts sent directly from their institution to our office in order to matriculate.

I took one year or more of coursework outside of the United States. How do I get my transcript evaluated?

Transcripts reflecting more than two semesters of study at institutions based outside of the United States must be evaluated on a course-by-course basis by a third-party evaluation service such as WES or Educational Perspectives, or another NACES accredited member. This applies even if the studies were conducted in English and even if the transcript is printed in English.

Applicants with these international transcripts should upload their university-issued transcripts into the online application and order their official, third-party evaluations sent to the School of Social Policy & Practice. Please note that these international transcripts cannot be considered official until they have been evaluated and that their respective applications cannot be reviewed until the evaluations have arrived in the Admissions Office.

I studied abroad as an undergraduate and completed a semester or a year’s worth of coursework outside of the United States. Do I need to provide a transcript from my study abroad institution? Does it need to be evaluated by a third-party service?

While we require transcripts reflecting the credits and grades earned for all of your prior coursework—including coursework undertaken while abroad—we do not require third-party evaluation of foreign transcripts covering one academic year or less of study. As long as it includes the course names, credits, and grades from your time abroad, we will accept either a transcript from your home institution or an unevaluated transcript directly from your study abroad institution.

I am an international applicant, but I attended a degree program in a primarily English-speaking country other than the United States. Do I still need to have my transcript evaluated by a third-party service?

Yes; if your transcript is from an institution based outside of the United States, you will need to have it evaluated on a course-by-course basis by a third-party evaluation service such as WES or Educational Perspectives, or another NACES accredited member. This applies even if your studies were conducted in English and even if your transcript is printed in English. Please note that international transcripts cannot be considered official until they have been evaluated.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

Each of our programs require three letters of recommendation. For information on the requirements for the letters, please see each program’s application requirements page:

MSW Application Requirements
MSSP Application Requirements
NPL Application Requirements
PhD Application Requirements
DSW Application Requirements

Can I submit additional letters of recommendation?

All application submission and review is completed online. The online application system only accepts three letters of recommendation, so we are unable to accept any additional references.

Can I submit letters through Interfolio or another dossier service?

All letters of recommendation must be submitted through our online application, which asks references to respond to a few simple questions regarding their interactions with the applicant as well as upload a written letter. Because of the format of the recommendations, we are NOT able to accept letters of recommendation through Interfolio or another dossier service. The recommendation form must be completed and a letter must be submitted by each of your references.

Do I have to take the GRE?

GRE scores are required for the PhD program. SP2’s Institutional Code is 2926 and Department Code is either 5001 or 0000.

The MSW, MSSP, NPL, and DSW programs do not require GRE scores.

I am an international applicant who spent time working or studying in the United States. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?

Yes; due to the academic rigor of SP2’s degree programs, we require all applicants whose first language is not English to submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores earned within the last two years. Our minimum on the TOEFL is 100 and our minimum on the IELTS is 7.5. Our TOEFL Institutional Code is 2926 and our Department Code is 95.

Is an admissions interview required?

Yes, all students will be asked to complete a recorded video interview prior to submitting the application. You will be asked to record your answer to four questions and will have time to both practice recording and prepare for the questions prior to recording your video interview. We would advise planning to spend approximately 20 minutes distraction-free to complete the recorded video interview process.

What technology requirements do I need?

You will need to complete the interview portion of the application in either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You can complete the interview on any laptop or desktop with a functioning webcam and microphone.

I was asked to complete an interview after I submitted my application. What can I expect?

On occasion, applicants will be asked to interview after application submission. Since your interviewer is responsible for anticipating questions from the faculty reviewer and/or the Admissions Committee who ultimately makes the final decision on your application, there are various reasons an interview may be requested.

Although there is little preparation needed for the interview, you may want to consider the following:

  • Review your personal statement and writing sample (if applicable) and be prepared to discuss what you wrote;
  • Prepare questions to ask the interviewer;
  • Be on time (sign into Zoom a few minutes early);
  • Dress professionally (wear what you feel is appropriate for a job interview);
  • Consider what you feel you bring to the program;
  • Relax and be yourself.

This interview will be with a member of the admissions or academic program staff and last 25 to 40 minutes. For the 2021-2022 application cycle, all interviews will occur virtually via Zoom.

How do I apply for scholarships and financial aid?

There is no separate application for Penn School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) financial aid, which consists primarily of merit-based scholarships and of need-based grants. Simply indicate in the online application that you would like to be considered for financial aid, and we will evaluate your application for both need-based grants and merit-based scholarships. Should you be offered admission, your acceptance letter will include information about your total award from SP2.

PhD specific tuition and financial information can be accessed here.

Will applying for financial aid impact my admissions decision?

Not at all. Our admissions decisions are made on a “need-blind” basis without regard for an applicant’s request for financial aid consideration. Requesting consideration for school-based scholarships and grants, therefore, has absolutely no impact on an applicant’s chances for admission.

Where can I learn more about financial aid options?

View additional financial aid-related FAQs here.

How do I accept my offer of admission?

You may submit your enrollment decision through the online application system, where you will also be asked to supply your enrollment deposit. The enrollment deposit will be credited towards your tuition. Your enrollment deadline is indicated in your acceptance letter.

May I defer my offer of admission?

You are permitted to defer your offer of admission for one year. In order to defer, you must submit your enrollment form and deposit through the online application system, as well as send the Admissions Office a signed letter indicating your wish to defer. This letter can be sent via email at Please note that the deadlines to defer are as follows:

  • June 1st: Advanced Standing MSW
  • July 1st: Full-time & part-time MSW, MSSP, NPL, DSW

Additional questions about the admissions process? Contact the Admissions Team at or 215.746.1934.

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