Graduate school

How to Apply

All applications for the MSW must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS). Applications are made online, using the course code L508.

Applications are accepted from mid September for entry in September of the following year. Applications should be submitted to UCAS by 15 February, though applications may be considered on a rolling basis after this date.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the MSW are as follows:

  • An undergraduate Bachelor Honours degree with an upper second (2.1).
  • A minimum of one year's direct experience in the field of social work or social care.  This experience can be either full-time or part-time (full time equivalent), voluntary or paid employment but should involve direct contact with those who use social work services.
  • Demonstrable understanding of social work's aims and purposes.
  • An ability to convey understanding of the professional and personal challenges of social work.
  • A sound value-base and personal skills and attributes.
  • Overall suitability for social work training.
  • Additionally, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) insists that all social work students in Scotland must have English ability equivalent to Standard Grade 2 in English
  • Proof of academic-level English is required of all applicants from non-majority English speaking countries as defined by the UK Home Office, Visa & Immigration. Please find full details on this requirement here.
  • Maths at Standard Grade level 2 (or equivalent) is an entry requirement set down by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) for all social work programmes. If you do not meet this requirement, please get in touch as we may be able to help.
  • Students must also be competent in use of ICT. Again, further training will be provided once at university.

Competition for places on the programme is high. While each year at least 250 applications are received, we are only able to offer around 40 places. As such, we are unable to deferred entry and not all who meet our entry requirements will be successful.

The Application Process

Most of the information we require from you will be provided on your UCAS form including:

  • details of relevant work experience
  • previous degrees and their classification
  • and a personal statement

Your personal statement should explain your motivation to undertake social work training at a postgraduate level at this time.  We will also require two references.  One of these must be an academic reference and one of these must be an experience reference.  The person providing the experience reference should be someone who has an understanding of your values and communication skills and can comment on your suitability for social work. 

Once all your documentation has been received and application complet, it wil be reviewed and graded, points being awarded for evidence of academic ability, experience, knowledge & understanding of social work and readiness to engage in postgraduate study. Those who score most highly will be offered places immediately. Others will be kept on a waiting list and if a place becomes available will only then be offered.

Successful candidates will be invited to an MSW Information Session, details of which will be made available in due course.

Prospective candidates are strongly encouraged to attend the University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Open Day (, where you will have an opportunity to meet with staff members of the Social Work team and learn more about the University.

Additional information for international students

The International Office provides a wide range of services to international students and there is a network of educational agents to assist you if required.

Grad School