Academic Regulations & Policies

Academic Year
The School follows the common calendar of the University. This consists of a fall semester, a spring semester and a summer session. http://www.ssw.

Plan of Study
The full-time program is a four-semester (two academic years) plan. Students can also develop a plan of study to complete the program in three or four years. Sample plans of study are available at Academic Advising is available to develop a plan.

Advanced Standing
Since many schools of social work offer field instruction on a pass/fail basis, grades for field instruction, if assigned, are not included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Those who graduated more than one year ago and work in the social work profession must submit a letter of reference (one of the letters of reference required for admission) from an employer or supervisor who is familiar with the applicant’s post-BSW social work practice. A reference letter from a field instructor is required for all applicants.

All Advanced Standing applicants must submit the Advanced Standing recommendation form completed and signed by their undergraduate social work department chairperson. Three references are also needed.

Advanced Standing credit is given only for courses in which the applicants earned a “B” or higher grade. If an applicant has a “C” in a practice class, he or she is ineligible for Advanced Standing status.

The exemption exams offer the opportunity for enrolling students who believe they have already covered foundation content in these courses to place-out of one or more of them. Students who place out of a course by successfully passing the exemption exam must take another elective course in its place. Therefore, those who qualify for exemptions must still complete 60 credits at the School to earn the MSW degree. What is changed by successful exemption is the distribution of credits, enabling students to increase the number of elective credits. Students who are exempted from courses should consult the academic advisor for special assistance in program planning. Exemption exams are given in June-July and December- January each year and may be taken only once. Students who have attended a class at the SSW are not eligible to take an exemption exam. If you have any questions about the exemption exams, please contact Janice Hicks at the Office for Academic Affairs at 410-706-5102,


The letters A through C- are used to evaluate performance in classroom courses; the letter P (Pass) is the passing grade for field courses. The following numeric point system is being used.

A=4.00 A- =3.67
B+=3.33 B =3.00 B- =2.67
C+=2.33 C =2.00 C- =1.67
F = failure/need to repeat class

Grading Scale
93-100 = A
90 - 92.9 = A-
87 - 89.9 = B+
83 - 86.9 = B
80 - 82.9 = B-
77 - 79.9 = C+
73 - 76.9 = C
70 - 72.9 = C-
69.9 and under = F

For final grades, any grade below “C-”is registered as “F.”

A cumulative grade point average of “B” or 3.0 is required for graduation as well as in the Foundation curriculum for progression into the Advanced curriculum. Every credit hour below a 3.0 must be balanced by a credit hour above 3.0, unless it is repeated. When a course is repeated, the new grade, whether higher or lower, replaces the old grade and becomes the grade of record for calculating the grade point average. A course, regardless of the grade, may be repeated one time only.

The grade of “F” indicates failure to achieve a satisfactory level of performance and the course must be repeated. The original “F” grade remains on the student’s permanent record, but it is the subsequent passing grade that is used to compute grade point average. Thus, a 32 grade “F” cannot be balanced. A final course grade lower than a “C-” is automatically converted to an “F.”

A grade of Pass (“P”) is awarded to MSW field education courses to denote satisfactory completion of requirements. Courses assigned the grade of “P” will not be computed in the student’s grade point average. No Mark (N/M) indicates that the Instructor has not yet submitted the final grade.

Auditing Courses
A course may be audited on a space-available basis with priority given to students taking the course for credit. The course will appear on the student’s transcript as Audit (AU) but will not count toward the credit requirement for degree completion. A student taking a credit course may not change their status to audit once the semester has started. Charges for audit courses are the same as credit courses. Students interested in auditing a course should complete the Request for an Academic Audit Course form ( and submit it to the SSW Office of Records and Registration prior to the start of the semester.

Dropping/Adding Courses
Based on availability, a student may add a course to their schedule during the first week of classes. This must be done in person at the school’s Office of Records and Registration. Courses may be dropped until the semester’s drop date. Once the semester has started, there is no refund for students who drop courses or for students who change their status from full-time to part-time (fewer than 9 credits). Students who register for a course and decide not to take it must officially drop it by that semester’s drop date to avoid submission of a failing grade. This may be done in person with the SSW Office of Records and Registration or by submitting the Request to Drop a Course form online: Students should refer to the SSW Registration and Academic Calendar located on the school’s website to obtain the specific dates for drop/add.

Voluntary Withdrawal
Students who wish to withdraw or disengage from the School of Social Work with no intention of returning should complete the Withdrawal from the School of Social Work form located on the School’s website (www. A student can withdraw from the School at any time during the semester, but may be financially liable for the semester tuition and fees as outlined in the UMB “Refund Schedule for Withdrawal” at this link: registrar/academic-calendar/refund-schedule