How to Apply

States from which we accept applications can be found HERE

Admission to the PhD program is a highly selective process. The admissions committee selects up to seven students every other year that have:

  • Clear interest in developing theory, policy and research skills in a substantive area relevant to the field of social work
  • A superior academic record in all previous work
  • The maturity, intellectual ability and readiness for doctoral study

The application for the 2021 PhD cohort is now open.


The application deadline is February 1st. To be considered for admission a complete application must be submitted by February 1st. A complete list of application requirements is found below. A completed application includes submission of the application and all supplemental application materials. Please allow up to 72 hours of processing time for all documents.

A completed application includes:

1) Personal statement of 7 to 10 pages that:

  • explains your motivation for and expectations of doctoral education in social work
  • includes particular assets that you would bring to the school and to the profession, as well as areas in which you would most like to grow academically and professionally
  • specifies your areas of academic and research interest
  • briefly describes your understanding of integration of faith and ethical social work practice, supported by existing literature

2) Sample of Scholarly Writing - (not exceeding 25 pages) of a recent, single or co-authored work of scholarly writing that provides evidence of your capacity to think analytically and critically about a social welfare issue. The following are examples of appropriate submissions:

  • published article
  • book chapter
  • other excerpt
  • unpublished research report
  • a paper written in a graduate level course
  • grant application

3) Resume or Curriculum Vitae - include a list of publications and professional presentations.

4) $50 Application Fee

5) Garland School of Social Work (GSSW) Required Statistics Exam

  • Applicants must complete the exam with an earned grade of B or better. There are modules that can be used as a refresher for students prior to taking the exam. The modules and exam are free for students. 
  • The statistics exam is required in order for an application to be considered complete.
  • Click here to access the required statistics exam.

6) Three letters of recommendation
At least two recommendations should come from faculty who can attest to the applicant’s superior ability and potential. A third recommendation should come from a supervisor, director or someone that can provide insight into the applicant's ability and achievement in social work.

7) Degree Bearing Transcripts from Previously Attended Universities
A Master of Social Work from a CSWE accredited program is preferred but not required. Applicants without an MSW will be considered if they have exceptionally strong credentials, a master's degree in a related field, and experience working in social service settings. Exceptions may also be made for applicants from countries without university accreditation but with exceptionally strong credentials.

The Graduate School requires applicants to submit transcripts from every institution which has granted a bachelor's degree and higher. Transcripts should indicate the degree granted. If the transcript does not list the degree and date conferred, applicants must also submit a proof of degree (certificate, diploma, etc.).

8) Foreign national and permanent resident applicants:
English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Scores are valid for two years from the time the test is taken.

Apply TODAY! The application is open.