We require two reference letters for the MSW application. It is strongly recommended that one reference come from a college-level instructor. If one of your references is not a college-level instructor, you should give the rational for this in the education section of your narrative statement. In addition to a college-level instructor, the most meaningful references are drawn from the following individuals:

  • Present or former employment supervisor
  • Field placement or internship supervisor
  • Supervisor or coordinator from volunteer, community engagement, or social justice activity
  • Present or former college-level class instructor, an advisor, student support center staff, or research assistant supervisor
In order for your application to be considered complete, we must receive responses from two references.

Please enter your reference information into the application as early as possible in your application process. This gives individuals sufficient time to receive the email from us and complete their reference by the deadline.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your reference writers complete their references.

Other guidelines:

  • Make sure the reference names you submit have agreed in advance to serving as a reference and know to expect an email from UWM regarding this reference.
  • Do not include friends, relatives, or your own social worker, counselor, therapist, or doctor. Include only those who have been in a position to be able to evaluate you and with whom you have a primarily professional or academic connection.

How to Add References in Panthera

The UW-Milwaukee Graduate School uses an application portal called Panthera. You will submit all references through Panthera.

  1. In the references section of your application, you will enter the full name, email and phone number (optional) of each reference.
  2. After you enter your references’ information, they will receive an email with further instructions and a link to complete and submit the reference on your behalf.
  3. After your references complete your recommendation, you will see a check mark in the box on your application and their names in the references section.
If your reference is having difficulties submitting their recommendation, have them try the following:

Use a different browser. Chrome or Firefox work best; Internet Explorer can cause issues.

Try using a different network. Firewall filters may make it challenging to submit the reference. For example, if your reference is using a computer at work, have them try it at home.