Doctoral Program Admissions

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.

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.  

Financial Supports

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.

IES Pre-Doctoral Training Program in Education Sciences  
The Committee on Education offers a fellowship opportunity for incoming doctoral students in the social sciences, the Harris School of Public Policy or the School of Social Service Administration with an interest in education research, funded by a federal grant from the Institute of Education Sciences.  This program allows fellows to join an interdisciplinary cohort of students who follow a common program of courses, workshops, and a 2-year research apprenticeship while they are earning a PhD in their respective discipline. Accepted fellows receive a five-year package of support that includes a full tuition waiver and a generous stipend of $34,000 annually, as well as access to additional funds to support travel and education-related research. Learn more about this program at: https://voices.uchicago.edu/coed/about-ies-2/ 

Questions?

Email the Office of Admissions.