Graduate School

How to Apply

All applications for the MSW must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services ( Applications can be made online. The course code is L508.

Application forms are accepted year from mid September for entry in September of the following year. Applications from home/EU candidates should be submitted to UCAS by 15 February; please see the UCAS website for further details of application deadlines. Completed applications from international/overseas students are accepted until 15 July each year.

The admissions process

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the MSW are as follows:

  • An undergraduate degree at Honours level or equivalent, preferably 2.1 classification or above.
  • A minimum of one year's direct experience in the field of social work or social care. This experience can be either voluntary or paid employment, full-time or part-time (full time equivalent) 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; students whose first language is not English must meet the Graduate School's minimum requirements.
  • 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, we may be able to provide extra Maths tuition once you are here.
  • 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. Our normal intake is around 40 students, and around 250 applications are received each year. Because of this, we are unable to make offers for deferred entry, and not all those who meet our entry requirements will be successful. Please note that we operate a mainly paper-based selection process; interviews are not normally held, except in exceptional circumstances. There are two stages to the admissions process.

Stage 1: Initial screening of the UCAS form

UCAS forms are screened to ensure that they meet our minimum entry requirements. Applications that don't will be ruled out now; those that do will be invited to provide further information so that a more thorough review of the application can take place. This includes:

  1. A more detailed personal statement (written advice will be given as to the expectations for this).
  2. More detailed information about your relevant practice/work experience.
  3. Two references, academic and work-related.

Please note that if English is not your first language you must provide qulifying evidence of your English language skills. More details about our language requirements can be found at: 

Stage 2: Full review of the application

Once all your documentation has been received by the Admissions Secretary, the MSW Programme Director or academic selector will read and grade your application, awarding points for evidence of academic ability, experience, knowledge and understanding of social work and readiness to engage in PG study now. Those who score most highly will be offered places immediately. Those with border-line scores will be kept on a waiting list until (and if) a place becomes available. The cut-off point at which offers are made may change from year to year, depending on the number of quality applications we receive in a given year.

Successful candidates will be invited to come to a MSW Information Session; details 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.

Grad School