Because the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) is a professional degree, you must successfully complete a formal application process to advance from UAB's core curriculum to the BSSW professional curriculum. Be sure to work with your academic advisor at UAB every semester to ensure that you fulfill the program's application requirements.

Eligibility Criteria

If you wish to declare social work as a major, you may formally apply for admission to the professional program upon meeting the following criteria:
  • Substantial completion of the core curriculum requirements with a grade of C or better in each course;
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.25 or higher; and
  • Completion of SW: 100, SW: 200, SW: 203, and SW: 222 with a cumulative average of 2.5 or better (students may apply while enrolled in these courses but will not be fully accepted into the program until final grades have been posted and verified).

How to Apply

Applications for admission to Spring semester are accepted in September. Applications for admission to Fall semester are accepted in February. You are expected to initiate the application process and are required to meet with your academic advisor before applying. Note that the entire application process will be completed online in TaskStream.

To be considered for admission to the program, you must:
  • Sign up with TaskStream with a specific key-code obtained from your academic advisor.
  • Complete the application form in TaskStream. Applications will be accepted between September 6th and October 1st.
  • After you successfully submit your application, you will be “enrolled” to another template so that you can submit your application essays. This “enrollment” process may take a couple of business days. Your essays will be due by October 8th in TaskStream.

Note that your academic advisor will submit Academic Check Sheet (PDF) and Academic Advisor’s Review Sheet (PDF) directly to TaskStream.

Review Process

The process for evaluating applications to the professional social work program involves assessment of intellectual ability of students as demonstrated by check sheet, academic advisor’s review form, the faculty assessment of applicants’ classroom comportment as demonstrated by the Faculty Observation forms and writing skills and level of pre-professional self-awareness as demonstrated by a student’s written essays.

  • Writing Skills
  • Self-Awareness
  • Classroom Comportment
A satisfactory level of writing skills includes the overall ability to use correct grammar, construct complete sentences, spell correctly and demonstrate proficiency with basic technical aspects in writing.

*Please note: Students are not being asked to reveal any information regarding past or present treatment related to any disability. Also note that students are not being asked to reveal any past traumatic experience (see www.uab.edu/titleix/). All faculty members are responsible reporters of incidents related to Title IX. Title IX states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX was created in 1972 with a focus on equal funding for men’s and women’s athletics. Broadened in 2011 to include Interpersonal Violence (stalking, dating/domestic violence, etc.) and Sexual Misconduct (sexual assault, unwanted sexual contact, pregnancy discrimination, and sexual harassment).

*Please note: All procedures governing reasonable accommodations for students who have disabilities follow those prescribed by UAB's Disability Support Services Office for classroom participation and test taking. Any student who requests a reasonable accommodation needs to notify the program director so that arrangements can be made.
Self-awareness is a skill that enables the social worker to reflect upon his or her professional “use of self" in the process of helping others. It is a skill which develops over time. At this stage in students’ academic careers, social work faculty members expect that students should be able to demonstrate abilities to reflect on their strengths and limitations, to examine their own feelings, personal values and personal histories and to recognize when these feelings and values may interfere with their effectiveness in the helping process.

*Please note: Students are not being asked to reveal any information regarding past or present treatment for psychological, emotional, or physical disorders. The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits requests for such information. Instead, students are expected to consider their own personal and medical histories as it relates to their ability to meet generally accepted standards of professional conduct, adherence to professional values and ethics, and interpersonal skills necessary to form and maintain effective professional helping relationships.


A minimally satisfactory level of self-awareness requires that the student expresses his or her thoughtful consideration of aspects involved in examining one's own personal values, feelings, and history to assess personal/professional value conflicts, potential to do harm to self and others, and personal congruence with the NASW Code of Ethics.
Social work faculty who teach foundation courses will complete a Faculty Observation forms. The form consists of faculty’s observations of the students’ attendance patterns, punctuality, timely completion of assignments, and ability to grasp course material. Faculty will also identify any other performance-related concerns as part of the process. Students are expected to progressively, steadily, and continually develop and exhibit behaviors indicative of good work habits. The goal of these forms is provide the Department of Social Work with a record of a student’s ability to demonstrate professional behavior in the classroom.

Decision-Making for Applications to the Professional Social Work Program

  1. The Program Director reviews application forms, checklists, and Academic Advisor’s Review forms to make sure that they are complete.
  2. Faculty members individually review the materials in each applicant’s essays while they do not know who wrote the essays (i.e., blind review). Two faculty members independently review the same essays. If two reviews are not congruent, the Program Director will assign a third reviewer. The disposition of the third reviewer will be accepted.
  3. The Program Director compiles the results from the Faculty Observation Forms and reviews of essays (assessed in writing skills and self-awareness).
  4. The BSW Program Committee members, including the Program Director, meet and discuss applications, if there is an inconsistent review among faculty members. At this time, all application materials (e.g., Faculty Observation Forms, essays, etc.) will be reviewed by the BSW Program Committee members, and they will make final decisions.
  5. The Program Director will notify the students regarding their acceptance status.
In accordance with the social work profession’s value for social justice and its value for inclusiveness and in concert with UAB’s Academic Equal Opportunity Policy, applicants to the professional program are considered.

“Regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability unrelated to program performance, disabled veteran status, or Vietnam-era status” (UAB Undergraduate Catalog).

Additionally, applicants are not discriminated against due to sexual orientation, political orientation, or creed.

Admission Status

There are three options available for admission status:
  • Fully Accepted
  • Conditionally Accepted
  • Deferred
“Fully accepted” status means that a student met all criteria successfully and fully. There is no cap on enrollment; therefore, no student is denied acceptance if he or she meets all criteria successfully. In order to be “fully accepted,” all of the following must be fulfilled:
  • Both overall GPA and social work GPA meet the criteria;
  • All foundation courses (SW 100, SW 200, SW 203, and SW 222) have been completed with a C or better;
  • A positive pattern of professional behavior as demonstrated by classroom comportment;
  • Reviews on written assessment are unanimous and positive.
Students who are currently enrolled in the required SW foundation courses (SW 100, SW 200, SW 203, and/or SW 222) automatically receive this status until course grades are posted. Applicants waiting for grades to be posted may be cleared to register for SW 300 level courses. However, applicants’ grades will be checked at the end of the semester, and if they did not pass any of these courses listed above with a C or better, they will be deferred and removed from SW 300 level courses.

This status may also indicate the BSW Program Committee's need for clarifying information to make an accurate determination. The student will be contacted and informed that an interview with the Chair and/or Program Director is required prior to final status determination. In this situation, the outcome of the interview is expected to result in either "fully accepted" or "deferred" status.
One or more of the specified criteria (as delineated and explicated above) have not been met sufficiently to get accepted to the program. To move beyond the deferred status, the student must re-apply and be found to satisfactorily meet the standards for "Fully Accepted." A student may apply for major only twice.

An applicant notified of deferred status is strongly encouraged to meet with the Chair and/or Program Director and academic advisor to devise a plan that will address students’ preparedness. For instance, a student may need to take additional courses to prepare academically for satisfactory completion of the social work curriculum (e.g. English composition courses may be helpful to improve a student’s writing skills). In another case, a student may need to ameliorate life circumstances or resolve emotional/psychological issues that may interfere with learning and professional use-of-self. In that case, a student may elect to work on personal issues and then reapply for acceptance into the professional program. Another scenario is that a student may have insufficient life experience to assess accurately his or her own aptitude for practice and therefore may benefit from volunteering in a social work setting to make an informed choice about social work as a vocation. In some instances, the faculty-student collaboration may determine that the student can best realize a career goal by choosing a major that more closely aligns with his or her strengths. A deferred student should also meet with his/her academic advisor to plan and register for appropriate courses.

Notification Procedure

The students will receive an email indicating the status of their application at the end of October for the Fall semester and at the end of March for the Spring semester. The academic advisor will also be notified of the students’ application status.

The Student Handbook

A detailed description of the application process can be found in the Student Handbook.