An applicant for admission to the doctoral program must have demonstrated potential to contribute to scholarship in the field of social work and social welfare. Judgments on applicants are based on academic records at undergraduate and graduate levels, prior research and professional experience, writing samples demonstrating analytic ability, and other evidence of superior achievement and of interest in pursuing an academic appointment.
With the exception of applicants seeking admission to the combined PhD/AM program, applicants to the PhD program must have completed a master’s degree in social work or a related field prior to beginning advanced study. Applicants without a master's degree can apply to our combined PhD/AM Program. Applicants who wish to seek faculty positions upon graduation in schools of social work are advised that the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) requires a master’s degree in social work in order to teach practice courses.
Admissions decisions are made in mid-March. Doctoral students enter the program in the Autumn quarter.
SSA faculty and staff recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to major disruptions, hardship and ongoing challenges to daily living and learning. The PhD admissions committee will take the exceptional circumstances of the past year into account when reviewing application materials. We understand and respect decisions on the part of students and universities to adopt Pass/Fail and other grading systems during the pandemic. Our review process will in no way penalize applicants whose transcripts reflect these personal or institutional decisions. In addition, we are not using GRE scores as part of our application process this year. The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2020 application cycle. We will follow our longstanding practice of reviewing applications holistically and aiming to admit an outstanding cohort of PhD students whose applications demonstrate promise, commitment, and demonstrated potential to contribute to scholarship in the field of social work and social welfare.
Application & Procedures
You will need the following materials before applying online:
Application and Application Fee: The application will open September 15. Applicants can pay the $75 fee electronically at the time they submit their online application. The application fee is not refundable and does not apply toward tuition or other charges.
Candidate Statement: Indicate your reasons for applying for doctoral study, covering the following points: a) this program seeks to develop scholars who will assume leadership positions in higher education; reflect on how you will make use of and contribute to scholarship in the field; b) describe your plans for study, including a specific statement of your academic areas of interest; c) given your interests, why do you think this program is a good fit for you? d) briefly describe your career plans; and e) (optional) provide other information useful for the admissions committee, such as explaining inconsistencies in your academic record.
Academic Writing Sample: Doctoral applicants are required to submit an academic writing sample of no more than 25 pages.
Transcripts: Transcripts are required from every institution where an applicant has taken 3 or more courses unless these courses and their grades appear on the home transcript; this includes courses taken Pass/Fail. We accept electronic delivery of official transcripts provided directly by your university; transcripts would be sent to SSA at email@example.com. You may upload scanned or digitized unofficial transcripts in support of your application only if they are accompanied by institutional grading and credit system information (most commonly found on the reverse side of paper transcripts). If you are scanning transcripts make sure to include this information. If work is in progress, you should submit a supplementary transcript at the end of the term.
References: You are responsible for securing 4 letters of reference. We especially value letters from former professors or academic advisors. References should be qualified to speak regarding your ability for graduate study, preferably those familiar with your academic ability or research skills.
Comprehensive Resume or Curriculum Vitae
Financial Aid: If you are applying for federal financial aid, you should submit your FAFSA soon after January 1st. If you are admitted to the doctoral program, you will need to complete the University's financial forms which are available on my.uchicago.edu. This form will not be available until you have received an offer of admission.
International Applicants: Please see the International Admissions page for additional requirements.