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Exchange Student Application

Thank you for your interest in the Exchange Student Program at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Arrangements for international student exchanges are limited to students who are enrolled at an institution with which the University of Michigan School of Social Work has a Memorandum of Understanding or Exchange Agreement. Please read the important information below including the requirements and steps for becoming an exchange student.


  • Exchange students must be recommended and approved by their home institution to participate in the exchange program
  • Exchange students must return to their home institution upon completion of the exchange program. Students cannot remain at UM for additional semesters or complete their degree at UM
  • Exchange students must be proficient in English. English proficiency can be met in the following ways 1) native English speaker, 2) enrollment at an institution where English is the official language of instruction, or 3) by providing an official score report from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS), the ECPE - Cambridge Michigan Language Assessment, or the Michigan English Language Battery (MELAB). Note that the last MELAB test administration was June 2018. Official score reports are available and valid two years from the test date.
  • The minimum score for each test is as follows:
    • TOEFL: 600 (PBT); 250 (CBT); 100 (iBT)
    • IELTS: 7.0
    • MELAB: 85
    • ECPE: Certificate of Proficiency

Students that meet the above requirements must complete the following steps in order to become an exchange student at the UM School of Social Work. Please email all forms and requested materials to ssw.oga@umich.edu

Application Process:

Please follow the steps exactly as stated. Failure to do so may result in a delay processing your visa. Materials listed in Step One must be submitted 8 to 12 weeks before the intended placement start date.

Step One

Compile the following and merge into a zip file and save as lastname_ds-2019_documents.zip. Note that you should replace the word "lastname" with your last name (If you don't know how to make a zip file, follow these steps):

  1. International Exchange Student Non-Candidate for Degree Enrollment Form
  2. Statement of Purpose (use the Goal Statement Guidelines)
  3. Affidavit of Financial Support for International Exchange Students
  4. Original bank statement(s) (including applicant's name on all documentation)
  5. If bank statements are in a currency other than USD, convert to USD using the xe currency converter. Take screenshot or save page as PDF.
  6. J-1 Exchange Visitor Information Form
    • Ensure a signature is on Page 2
    • Include a copy of current CV or resume
  7. Copy of passport picture page including expiration date

Compile the following and merge them into a second separate zip file and save as lastname_transcript_documents.zip. Note that you should replace the word "lastname" with your last name:

  1. Unofficial transcripts from each college or university previously attended
  2. Proof of English Proficiency (If required, see requirements above)

Email the two zip files to ssw.oga@umich.edu.

Step Two

Winter 2020 or Spring/Summer 2020 applicants, please review the descriptions of the practice methods and concentrations that U-M uses to organize field placements. Beginning Fall 2020, applicants should review the MSW Program Pathways instead. Once you have read through these descriptions, review the list of available field placements, select three agencies that fit your practice method and practice area or pathway interests, and email your top three agency preferences in order to ssw.oga@umich.edu along with your goal statement and resume. (Though you have already sent your goal statement and resume as a part of Step One you will need to send them again along with the other placement information). An example email is written below:

To Whom It May Concern:

I have read the list of available field placements and I have preference in working for the following:

  • <Field Placement A>
  • <Field Placement B>
  • <Field Placement C>

Attached is my goal statement and resume. Thanks for your assistance.

Step Three

Check out the International Center's Guide to life in Ann Arbor. If interested in housing with current Masters of Social Work (MSW) students, write an email telling the community a little about yourself (see the housing request email example). The Office of Global Activities (ssw.oga@umich.edu) can forward your email to current students.

Step Four

Once posted, please review the Course Catalog for the Spring/Summer term and email ssw.oga@umich.edu if you are interested in taking additional courses. For exchange students beginning in mid-May or later, the only available courses are mini courses (1 credit courses). Mini courses have the course numbers SW 790, SW 796 and SW 799.

Placement Dates & Logistics:

We recommend that exchange students start their field placement on the 1st of the month. This recommendation is based on the fee associated with the required health insurance that exchange students must purchase for the duration of their placement. The required health insurance has a monthly fee and it cannot be prorated for portions of a month. Thus, we recommend that you start your placement at the beginning of a month.

For more information about the required health insurance please visit the International Center's page on health insurance. If you are required to purchase insurance through your home institution you may want to read more about applying for an Insurance Waiver.

Please note: The J-1 visa allow students to arrive in the U.S. 30 days before the visa start date. Thus students who plan to start their placement the 1st of the month will be able to arrive the month prior to get settled into Ann Arbor. (Health insurance does not need to be purchased prior to the visa start date).

If you have specific questions please email ssw.oga@umich.edu.

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