If you have recently received a bachelor’s degree in sociology, social work or a related field and plan on pursing a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree, you may be speculating on how to pay for it. Federal and state grants may help a bit, but the bulk of the expense must be paid through loans or out of your own pocket without one or more scholarships. The only problem with scholarships is that they can be difficult to obtain at the graduate level.

Fewer scholarships are available for master’s degree programs than for undergraduate degrees, and many of those that are available are either sponsored by particular schools or offered only to specific groups. In addition, some scholarships are only awarded to students pursuing a certain specializations or career tracks. This makes it rather difficult to apply for scholarships until the very last minute. However, several full and partial M.S.W. scholarships can be obtained if you know where to look, and the following list will get you off to a good start.

National Association of Social Workers
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has two scholarships available for M.S.W. students who are minorities or seeking specialization. The first is the Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial M.S.W. Scholarship, which is awarded to African-American students specializing in mental health. The other scholarship is the Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial M.S.W. Scholarship, which is awarded to students who plan on working closely with Latinos or Native Americans.

Council on Social Work Education
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) sponsors two scholarships available to M.S.W students through the Carl A. Scott Memorial Fund. These $500 scholarships are deemed book awards and are given each year to students who demonstrate exceptional commitment to furthering justice and equality in social work.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans
The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships help to ensure that quality educational programs are within the reach of new immigrants. Each year, up to 30 fellows who are undergraduate seniors or beginning master’s degree programs are awarded scholarships that pay up to $90,000 for tuition and expenses. Fellows are chosen based on merit. The fund was established by Mr. and Mrs. Soros in 1997 with $50 million, but the couple added another $25 million in 2010.

California Society for Clinical Social Work
The California Society for Clinical Social Work offers scholarships through the Jannette Alexander Foundation for Clinical Social Work Education (JAF), which is one of its subsidiaries. Several $500 JAF scholarships are awarded each year to outstanding graduate students who have shown excellence in clinical studies at any accredited California educational institutions.

Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work
The Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work awards several $1,000 scholarships each year to clinical social workers enrolled in the M.S.W. program at the University of Denver. Selection for the awards is conducted directly by the university’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

University of Washington
The University of Washington’s School of Social Work offers a scholarship to M.S.W. students who wish to complete a specialization in multigenerational care. The Hooyman Intergenerational Fellowship awards annual scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to $2,000 per student.