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Multicultural Scholars Program

The Multicultural Scholars Program in Social Work (MSP-SW) increases retention and academic performance of social work students of color, students with severe financial need and first generation college students on the Lawrence campus, with a special interest in transfer students from Haskell Indian Nations University and community colleges throughout Kansas. MSP-SW student scholars receive scholarships, skill development opportunities, leadership training, mentoring by social work faculty, field trip opportunities, shadowing experiences with social work professionals and related professional and social activities. Student scholars also meet as a group and provide peer support for one another as they progress in their academic studies.

Students admitted to the social work MSP receive:

  1. Scholarships
    • Renewal based on academic performance and student activity
  2. Monthly Student-Faculty Mentor Meetings
    • Academic feedback and planning
    • Academic advising
    • Time and crisis management
    • Financial aid, internship and job opportunities
    • Career exploration
    • Other events
  3. Mandatory Group Meetings
    • All MSP students gather during the semester to discuss and plan the following:
      • Networking with students and faculty
      • Feedback about academic progress of the group
      • Financial aid assistance
      • Learning about and appreciating others' cultural backgrounds
    • These meetings can be offered in conjunction with social work events and social work student meetings.
  4. Special Events
    • Guest speakers from and tours of various social work and social welfare agency settings MSP students are expected to attend presentations by guest speakers from the social work profession and are invited to visit social welfare agencies in Lawrence and other locations in Kansas and Missouri. Students are encouraged to attend local, state and national social work conferences.
  5. Cultural Events and Meetings
    • In addition to its focus on academics, the Multicultural Scholars Program features mandatory extracurricular activities that offer students diverse cultural experiences. These include theatre, opera, ballet, concerts and other performances; meals with the group; family, faculty and donor involvement in activities.

Social Work Multicultural Scholars agree to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Full class attendance
  • Full attendance at group meetings
  • Preparation for and attendance at all meetings with faculty directors
  • Commitment to academic discipline
  • Maintenance of a minimum 2.5 GPA


Students apply for social work MSP as pre-social work students or incoming transfer students. Students should have completed at least 30 credit hours and applied to the social work program. All students in the program must be first generation college students, students with high financial need and/or African-, Asian-, Hispanic-American and Indigenous students. 

Application Process:

Applications are reviewed on the basis of academic performance at the high school and college levels, with a minimum 2.5 GPA; standardized test scores; evidence of community involvement; commitment to the social work profession; and quality of a written essay. Materials should be sent to the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare MSP Director, 1545 Lilac Lane, Lawrence, KS 66045-3129.

Multicultural Scholars Program Application >>

Recruitment for MSP will begin in May. Application deadline is June 30. Decisions will be made by July 15. Email mpaceley@ku.edu or njkepple@ku.edu for more information. Learn more about the Multicultural Scholars Program at KU.

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