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PhD Admissions

Program Admission Deadlines

Annual: December 15th, 2024 (Fall 2025 admission)


* PhD applicants/prospective students: It is highly recommended that interested students attend a PhD info session or meet with the Program Coordinator  prior to scheduling an individual appointment with the PhD Program Director.

* We strongly encourage all interested students to meet with the Program Coordinator and/or the Program Director prior to submitting  an application, to learn more about the program and requirements, discuss research interests, faculty match, and potential fit with the program.

Completed applications may be considered on a rolling basis throughout the spring. 

The Fall 2024 application for admission deadline: December 15, 2023. 

Application Procedures                              Talk with us



Admission Requirements

  • A Master of Social Work degree from an accredited school of social work. In exceptional circumstances, a student with a Master’s degree in a related field may be admitted, however, compensatory MSW level work may be required.

  • At least a 3.0 GPA as evidence of superior academic achievement in undergraduate and graduate education.

  • Priority will be given to students who have completed an introductory statistics course (graduate or undergraduate) in the last two years with a final grade of B or better. At a minimum, the statistics course should have covered probability, descriptive statistics, and an introduction to t-tests and the general linear model.

  • A minimum of two years post-MSW social work or related practice experience is recommended, as certification for most institutions requires instructors teaching practice courses to have some practice experience. This experience should demonstrate the applicant’s professional competence, ability to undertake advanced study, and potential for leadership.

  • The University of Utah requires a minimum TOEFL score of 80 IBT or 550 PBT or a minimum IELTS score of 6.50. The College of Social Work, due to the intensive need for excellent communication skills, requires a minimum score of 100 IBT or 600 PBT, or an IELTS score of 7.0 to 7.5.

  • The Statement of Purpose offers you the opportunity to articulate your self-assessment as a strong candidate for admission to the College of Social Work PhD Program. The doctoral program focuses on developing your scholarly skills in research and teaching in higher education and thus, your views about social work scholarship as well as your future role as a scholar educator are central to assessing your fit with the program. Please be as specific as possible in answering the questions below. Maximum length: 6 (six) double-spaced pages, font size 12.
    [NOTE: Place your last name and first initial on every page of all documents.]

    1. Discuss your qualifications and readiness for pursuing doctoral studies in social work. In doing so, provide examples of your ability in the following areas:
              a) academic and prior intellectual and scholarly accomplishments
              b) analytical thinking and clear communication
              c) working with colleagues of many backgrounds and perspectives,
              d) self-direction and initiative

    2. Describe the development of your research goals (while in the doctoral program and long-term) and the questions you hope to address in your research.
              a) How does your work experience inform your research priorities and how will your research inform practice and/or
              b) How do your research objectives demonstrate your commitment to social justice and/or enhancing social
              c) In what ways do you see our doctoral program and the University of Utah as a good fit for your research goals?
                  Identify any research projects and social work PhD faculty - or faculty in other departments on our campus – with
                  whom you might be interested in working.

    3. Articulate how your cultural and educational opportunities; structural or systemic issues you have grappled with; and your personal and/or professional experiences with different communities inform your research interests and commitment to social justice .

    4. What are your career plans after you complete your PhD.  How do you expect to use the research and scholarly skills developed in the doctoral program?

  • Three (or more) academic and/or professional letters of reference from people who can attest to your personal qualifications, character, and dependability. These letters should be submitted directly by the writers, through the online Application for Admission.

  • A sample of writing in the form of a published article, a manuscript that is being submitted for publication, a report that has been completed in connection with a research interest, or a paper that has been prepared specifically for admission to the College of Social Work PhD Program. Some applicants submit a paper that was completed during their MSW studies.

  • A personal Skype interview, if recommended by the PhD Admissions Committee.

  • Completion of the Graduate School Application for Admission, including the upload of all documents requested during the application process. Please note that your application will not be processed without receipt of the non-refundable application fee.

  • *NOTE:  The GRE is no longer a required component of the application for admission.




Last Updated: 6/13/24