I was excited to find out that there was a program in a smaller setting that catered to my needs for higher education.  As a nontraditional student with a child and full-time job, the class schedules are convenient and the teachers are caring and compassionate.  I appreciate an environment in which I am encouraged to be my best and am receiving the quality education that will prepare me for a career in Social Work in the future.

Jamee Williams Des Moines BA in Social Work student,

The BA application for Fall 2020 enrollment will be available soon.  Thank you for your patience.

Questions about the BA application, please contact:

BA in Social Work Des Moines Application  Applications accepted anytime.

BA in Social Work Iowa City Application  The Iowa City application deadline is February 15th!

The School of Social Work endeavors to maintain a heterogeneous student body be enrolling students who represent diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives.  A limited number of students are admitted to the major each year.  The application deadline is February 15. Admission to the program requires: 1) Completion of SSW:1022 Social Justice and Social Welfare in the United States with a grade of C or higher in the first or sophomore year; 2)a cumulative GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.0 scale) at the time of admission.  Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA but demonstrate strengths/potential in other areas may be granted consideration for admission on an individual basis. 3) Completion of an application form and a comprehensive statement, received by the deadline February 15th, prior to the fall semester for which the student is applying.  The program of required social work courses beings in the junior year, so applicants are encouraged to apply in their sophomore year, even if they have taken the required introductory course in their first year. The experience and growth that occurs in the first two years, along with exposure to the perspectives learned in the introductory class(es) and cognate area classes, strengthen the application.

For transfer students, all of the above is required, except that substitution of SSW:1022 is permitted with a grade of C or above in a course approved by the department, such as Intro to Social Work or Intro to Human Services. Those who have completed the equivalent of Intro to Social Work at another institution must also submit a completed recommendation form and transcripts. Recommendations and letters of reference will otherwise not be accepted.  The School of Social Work Criteria for Selective Admission for BA Social Work is detailed below.

BA Social Work Admissions Policy Statement and Guidelines for Application

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Criteria for Fall Admission:

Applicants to the BA Social Work program must have met the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) requirements and be admitted to CLAS. Students are admitted to the CLAS on the basis of three criteria: completion of a set of high school unit requirements; high school class rank or college transfer grade-point average; and ACT/SAT results or a combination of high school/college records and standardized test scores. These requirements are further explained on the web: and in the current University of Iowa General Catalog: Applicants to the School of Social Work must meet additional criteria detailed below. Due to class size restrictions, not all students who meet the criteria are admitted when the applicant pool is large.

I.        School of Social Work Criteria for Selective Admission for BA in Social Work

A. Academic qualifications

  1. A cumulative GPA of 2.50 (on a 4.0 scale) at the time of admission. Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA but demonstrate strengths/potential in other areas may be granted consideration for admission on an individual basis.
  2. A grade of C or above in of SSW:1022 Social Justice and Social Welfare in the United States, or SSW:2222 Introduction to Social Work or comparable course taken in another college and approved by the School of Social Work.

B. Application deadline is February 15th in Iowa City for enrollment in the next academic year; the Des Moines center, applications for admission will be accepted anytime, and admission will be considered for the next possible semester.

Applicants will complete an application which is in a writable pdf format.  It includes demographic and academic information, a series of essays and a table of volunteer or work experiences.  Students that have taken the introductory level social work course(s) at an institution other than the UI, shall request that instructor to complete the Transfer Reference Form found in the application.

The review committee will be assessing the applicant’s personal qualities and values that are considered essential for the professional practice of social work, including: good intellectual capacity and analytical skills combined with an ability to work constructively with others; good communication skills, judgment, adaptability, sense of responsibility, resourcefulness, caring and compassionate qualities; and a personal commitment to social justice, empowering individuals, and serving underrepresented groups. Applicants’ willingness and interest in addressing social justice issues that affect human beings as a consequence of oppression, poverty, marginalization and alienation because of the intersection of multiple factors, including those identified by CSWE: class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, sex, sexual orientation, and religious, non-religious or spiritual beliefs is fundamental to a successful experience in the School. These qualities are to be evidenced in the application.

The following information provides you a description of each part of the application.  Note:  A link to the BA in Social Work application is a posted above.

Demographic and Academic Information
Complete these sections within the writable pdf application.

These essays are your opportunity to help us understand more about you, who you are, and what you hope to accomplish as part of our School of Social Work and in your career. 

Instructions for writing your essay

There are five required essays for all applicants and one reapplication essay required for students who have previously applied to the School of Social Work..

Each essay identifies a maximum number of words allowed per response.  It is your responsibility to limit your responses to no more than the limit for each question.

The accuracy and quality of writing in this statement will be evaluated as evidence of the Candidate’s potential for professional written communication.

  • Compose your statements in a word-processing program to take advantage of spelling and grammar tools, as well as word count.
  • Once you are satisfied with your essays, save them and paste them into the space provided on the writable pdf. Proofread once more to make sure no odd characters or line breaks have appeared.

If you are reapplying to the School of Social Work, your responses should be different from those previously submitted. The admissions committee will review your prior application and statements. 


Please answer the following in essay format.

Required Essay 1

Under revision.  This webpage will be updated as soon as the admission committee completes the revisions.

Required Essay 2

Under revision.  Be sure to site the NASW Code of Ethics:

Required Essay 3

Under revision.

Required Essay 4

Under revision.

Required Essay 5

Under revision.

Reapplication Essay (Respond to this prompt only if you have applied for admission to the School of Social Work in the past.)

Describe what you have done to strengthen your social work application since your last application. Include relevant academic, volunteer, employment, and personal experiences. There is a 250 word limit to this essay.

Volunteer/Work Experience Table (in writable pdf application)

We are interested in relevant social service experiences you’ve had that have informed your decision to become a social worker.  There are two tables, the first focuses on volunteer and professional experience(s) for positions that have been longer term (lasted over a period of two months or more), the second table focuses on volunteer and professional experiences that have been short term but you feel are important.

C. The accuracy and quality of writing in this statement will be evaluated as evidence of the Candidate’s potential for professional written communication.

D. Materials must be submitted by the application deadline of February 15th in Iowa City for the next academic year.  Please note, in the Des Moines center, applications for admission will be accepted anytime, and admission will be considered for the next possible semester.

II.       Who Can Apply

Applicants for the Social Work major may include Social Work Interest majors, students transferring from other majors such as sociology or psychology, or students transferring from other institutions. All applicants must complete the BA Social Work application (described above) which is reviewed by members of the admissions panel.  Transfer students who have completed Introduction to Social Work or equivalent course at another institution, are required to submit a completed reference form from that course instructor.  No other references will be accepted.  Applicants who are not accepted on their first attempt may apply the following year. There is a maximum of two attempts to apply to the BA program.

Social Work Interest Majors

Students interested in applying to the School of Social Work may declare 42P (Social Work Interest) through the University's Academic Programs Office at any point during the first 3 years in her or his academic program but usually when sufficient time remains to complete the program within the normal four year schedule. Students who have earned more than 72 hours are not permitted to declare 42P. The pre-major declaration qualifies students to participate in the Student Association and other activities of the School, but they are not permitted to register for required social work major courses. (Freshman students are advised by The Academic Counseling Center. Social Work Interest students with more than 24 semester hours and until admitted to the major are advised by CLAS Senior Academic Advisor Tiffany Phillips:, 319-335-2206, in 111-B Phillips Hall. The BA Program Director and/or Program Administrator confer with these advisors upon request and meet annually with the advising staff to provide updates on social work requirements.) The student will remain a Social Work Interest major until formal admission to the BA Social Work major or until they exceed 72 hours when they must declare another major to register for classes. Students are expected to enroll in SSW:1022 Social Justice and Social Welfare in the United States, or SSW:2222 Intro to Social Work, and apply to the major in their sophomore year. Juniors are permitted to apply and if they do so, it is with the expectation that at least one additional summer semester of coursework will be necessary to complete all of the requirements of the major, due, in part, to the sequencing of social work courses.

Transfer students

Transfer students should follow the admissions process delineated above, noting the February 15th deadline for application to the Iowa City center. If the transfer student has taken the introductory level social work course at another institution, the student will obtain a completed reference form from a social work instructor at the previous institution. The completed recommendation form should be sent to Admissions Coordinator: Tomeka Petersen, UI School of Social Work, 308 North Hall, Iowa City IA 52242 prior to the February 15th deadline for Iowa City applicants. The form may be emailed or faxed 319-335-1711 by deadline.  For the Des Moines center, submit completed references by email: or mail/delivery:  Christy Thies, University of Iowa School of Social Work, Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309.

Upon admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, transfer students’ transcripts are evaluated by Undergraduate Admissions and the Registrars’ Office and the student is informed of their remaining general educational requirements by the University's Office of Admissions Degree Evaluation form. Transfer students who have taken an equivalent introductory social work course elsewhere may apply to be reviewed for admission during the annual review period. Previously earned credits which may apply to the major are evaluated by the Undergraduate Program Director on a case-by-case basis for applicability to the Social Work major. Generally, courses earned more than 10 years ago will not be accepted. Transfer students are expected to present a transcript and syllabi of courses for which they are requesting social work course requirement equivalency or waiver. The BA Program Director or Program Administrator meets individually with each student to determine if equivalent course content has been covered. A plan is developed, based upon this review and filed for the student and student’s advisor’s information. In the case of social work courses, only courses earned in a CSWE accredited program are considered equivalent, except for the Intro to Social Work course. If sufficient similar course content has been covered, an individual study may be designed or waiver granted but the hours must be taken in social work.

III.      Admission Decisions             

In Iowa City, the applicant will be notified prior to the early registration period in the spring of his/her acceptance or non-acceptance. Decisions regarding applicants who are currently enrolled in but have not yet completed the introductory social work course, or for applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA, may be delayed until the spring semester’s grades have been submitted. Effort is made to assure representation of persons underrepresented in social work practice and from a diversity of social, cultural, and economic groups. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and socioeconomic class.

IV.     Records

All admission materials will be retained until the student graduates, at which time they will be destroyed. All materials submitted by a non-accepted student will be retained for two years.

V.      Review Procedures

The admission criteria, policies, and procedures are reviewed annually by the Program Administrator. Major changes in policies or procedures are reviewed by the Admissions Committee and reported to the Faculty of the Whole. Questions regarding the Undergraduate Admissions Policy should be directed to the Program Administrator, Kate Kemp, 319-335-1254, or email: