The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration has been a leader in social work and social welfare scholarship since we helped establish social work as a field of scholarly inquiry in 1908 and our doctoral program in 1920. The University itself is home to six graduate and professional schools, offering SSA doctoral students extraordinary opportunities for cross-disciplinary study and research.
The Doctoral Program is flexibly structured so that students can pursue a curriculum matched to their individual interests. SSA is at the forefront of schools of social work that emphasize the role of social science theory and rigorous empirical methods in guiding the investigation of social problems and interventions. In consultation with a faculty advisor, each student develops a program of study that includes two years of coursework, a qualifying examination, a publishable pre-dissertation research project, and a dissertation thesis. Doctoral students also have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty in their research and to serve as teaching assistants or instructors.
The Doctoral Program at SSA is a PhD program for people who want to have a career in research and teaching. We do not offer a DSW or provide specific clinical training for practitioners beyond the master's level. We also do not have a part-time doctoral program.
Each year the Admissions Office receives about 100 applications. Of those 100, we expect to enroll approximately 8 students.
All students entering the Doctoral Program are offered a financial aid package that includes a stipend, full tuition, health insurance, and fees. A variety of financial resources are available to doctoral students to support travel to conferences and preparation of manuscripts. Many SSA doctoral students receive additional funding through outside training and fellowship programs.
Doctoral Fellowship Opportunities
SSA students have been very successful in obtaining competitive fellowships such as the Illinois Consortium for Educational Opportunity Program Fellowships, Fahs-Beck dissertation fellowships, and the Center for Gender Studies dissertation awards.
Email the Office of Admissions.