Frequently Asked Questions


General

What does the “joint” in “Joint Master of Social Work” mean?
The JMSW program is a joint effort between NCA&TSU and UNCG. This means that both schools contribute resources to the success of the program. Students are students of both universities. Classes are held on both campuses; faculty from both schools teach; students have library and parking privileges on both campuses; and the degree is granted jointly by both universities. (The diplomas even have the seals of both schools.)
Can I work while I’m in the program?
It’s been done. That said, it’s not recommended. Two-year and advanced standing students take 15 credit hours per semester (except in summer, when advanced standing students take 6 credit hours during each summer session). In addition to classes, first year students are in field placement two days a week 8 a.m.-5 p.m. In the second year, students are in field placement 8 a.m.-5 p.m. three days a week. A choice to work does not excuse you from responsibilities in class or field placement.

Admissions

Do I have to apply to both universities’ graduate schools?
No, just one. Admissions rotates between the two universities every four years. Currently, the UNCG Graduate School is handling admissions paperwork.

Once all successful applicants have been accepted through the UNCG Graduate School, students will be randomly assigned to either UNCG or NCA&TSU for purposes of tuition and fees, registration, financial aid, and access to all fee-based services, including student health services.  This will be considered the student’s “home” campus. The “home campus” has no bearing on class location or faculty.

How do I get an application?
Applications are available online through the UNCG Graduate School.
When is the application deadline?
Applications must be submitted online by January 15.

UNCG is currently handling admissions.

Do I have to have a BSW?
We do not require an undergraduate degree in social work for 2 and 3-year students. Past students have had undergraduate majors ranging from art to zoology. The only requirement is that the undergraduate degree be from an accredited college or university. However, advanced standing students must have a BSW from an accredited social work program.
What are the items you look at?
GRE scores, undergraduate GPA (or graduate GPA if the applicant has a graduate degree or 9 hours of graduate level coursework), experience in the field of human services (paid, internship, or volunteer), personal statement, case analysis and recommendations. All six elements are considered in the admission decision making process.  Instructions for the personal statement, case analysis, and volunteer/work experience form are located within the UNCG online application under the “Social Work Applicants” link in the left panel.  Recommendations are also submitted online.
What GRE score do you require?
We do not require that you attain a minimum GRE score. Part of the reason is because of our admissions rating process, in which GRE scores are only one of the items rated. A low GRE score, in and of itself, should not dissuade you from applying. Your GRE must have been taken within five years of applying to our program. The GRE must have been taken by the application deadline.
Where do I send my GRE scores? Which test do I take?
Submit your scores only to the admitting institution (currently UNCG Graduate School).
My GPA is lower than your requirement. Is there anything I can do about this?
Yes. Our policy is here.
I didn’t take statistics/biology. Can I still apply?
Yes, if you are applying for the 2 or 3-year program. You may be admitted conditionally, and you will have until the end of your first fall semester to take the class and earn a minimum grade of C. Prerequisite courses may be taken at any accredited institutions, including community colleges in a state system. We strongly suggest that students take prerequisite courses before beginning their JMSW coursework due to the heavy course load of the JMSW program. You can contact the JMSW Admissions Coordinator to ensure the courses meet requirements before enrolling. Advanced standing applicants must have completed all prerequisites before beginning the program.
I’m not sure I meet the prerequisites. Can someone review my transcripts?
The JMSW Administrative Assistants may be able to look over your transcripts to see if you meet GPA and course requirements for admission.
Can I transfer credits from other programs?
Under certain circumstances. The details of our transfer policy are here.
Do you have an advanced standing program?
Yes, the JMSW Program admits every year for the Advanced Standing Program.
How can I make my application more attractive?
Most applicants no longer have control over their undergraduate GPA. If you do not have the minimum GPA of 3.0, you may wish to use the GPA Replacement Policy. This leaves five areas: experience, recommendations, personal statement, case analysis and GRE scores.

  • Experience: If you feel you need a little more experience, try volunteering in a social service agency.
  • Recommendations: Choose professional or academic recommendations over personal ones. Remind them that they will need to complete the recommendation form even if they choose to write a personal letter. The recommendation form must be completed! Be sure to check the online application site to verify your recommendations have come in.
  • Personal statement: Follow the guidelines provided exactly. Thoroughly proofread, including the use of spell- and grammar-checking programs. If writing is not your forte, enlist the aid of a friend to give your statement a once-over.
  • Case Analysis: Answer the question(s) clearly and concisely.  Provide a rationale for your responses. Thoroughly proofread as for personal statement.

Do not include materials that were not requested in the application packet, such as papers, portfolios, or news clippings.

How can I schedule an admissions interview?
Interviews are not required in the JMSW admissions process. If you feel there are specific issues that the admissions committee needs to know about, you may include a brief statement (1-2 pages) in your application.
Can I visit campus and talk to some faculty?
Due to the busy schedules of our faculty, individual appointments with all applicants cannot be scheduled. Prospective applicants are welcome to visit either or both campuses on their own.  Formal campus tours can be arranged through the Graduate Schools on either campus.

You are welcome to email questions to the JMSW Admissions Coordinator, Dr. Betsy Lindsey at betsy_lindsey@uncg.edu.

We have two information sessions in the fall. Check the main JMSW Admissions webpage for dates and to RSVP.  JMSW faculty members are available at those sessions to answer your questions and provide an overview of the program.

Financial Matters

Where do I pay?
Tuition and fees payments are made to the home campus to which students are randomly assigned after they have been accepted to the program.  If you are admitted to the JMSW Program, you will receive that information in March or April.
Which campus do I go to for financial aid?
You will apply for financial aid through your home campus. However, you will need to list both UNCG and NCA&TSU on your FAFSA because you will not receive your home campus assignment until March or April.  The federal school code for UNCG is 002976, and for NCA&TSU is 002905.
Is there financial assistance for JMSW students?
Yes. However, you must be admitted to the program before you can apply for such assistance. Incoming students should always plan to cover their expenses in case they do not receive any of these financial awards. If you are admitted, we will send you information about program-specific assistance that may be available to you.
When do I apply for financial aid?
For financial aid that is not handled through the JMSW Program, such as federal loans, consult the individual programs for their deadlines. You can find the FAFSA deadlines on that web page.

For advanced standing applicants: if you are currently in your senior year and will need federal loans or other financial assistance for the two summer sessions, be aware that you will have to revise your current year FAFSA and complete a new FAFSA for the upcoming year.

How much is tuition?
Regardless of which university is your home campus, your tuition will be the same.  However, tuition does change from year to year, and usually is not posted until late spring or early summer.  You can look up current tuition and fees at both UNCG and NCA&TSU websites.

Field

Who chooses field assignments?
Field placements are arranged and assigned by the Co-Directors of Field Instruction. Foundation placements are generic and may not necessarily coincide with student interests. If possible, we try to ensure that the foundation placement will also not be in an area of practice in which students may already have prior work experience. (Exception: Child Welfare Collaborative students).

For advanced placements, students have some input as to specific agencies, and placements must agree with students’ selected area of practice.  However, placements are still arranged and assigned by the Co-Directors of Field.

I don’t live in Greensboro. Can my internship be in my city of residence?
Yes. All effort is used to arrange placement assignments in or close to the student’s home when possible. Students should be aware, however, that placements are arranged within a 150-mile radius of Greensboro.
Can I do a field placement in my workplace?
Yes, students may use their place of employment as an internship site provided certain conditions are met. The Request for Evaluation of Work Site for MSW Placement should be completed and returned to co-directors of field prior to placement assignments being made.

Rarely, students will be able to have both internships in the same agency, working with the same clientele, or receiving supervision for the same agency-based supervisor.

Do I need a car to do my internship?
No. However, students without cars will be limited in placement opportunities. Most agencies expect students to go on home visits, attend meetings, and provide transportation for agency clientele, all of which require students to be mobile and not dependent on public transportation.
Are paid internships available?
Yes; however, paid internships for the foundation year placement are uncommon. The paid internship options will be discussed by the co-directors of field education during students’ field interview and application process.

Social Work

Is social work the right field for me?
If you are still in college, you might want to consult your local office of career planning or advising. Local social workers will also be able to give you a good overview of the career and what it entails.

These links might also be helpful: