The PhD Program considers students for fall semester admission only. The application deadline is listed below.
|Program Application||Application Opens||Application Deadline||Start Term|
Items listed in the Application Checklist below must be submitted by 11:59pm (CST) of the deadline date.
The University of Wisconsin Graduate School sets the minimum admission requirements for all prospective graduate students; however, program admission requirements are often more rigorous.
School of Social Work PhD Admissions Committee requires:
- An undergraduate grade-point average of at least 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours. Those entering with a master's degree should have a strong graduate record.
- All students are required to have completed a statistics course and 30 semester credits of social science courses.
- Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores taken within 5 years of application date. Official scores are submitted to the University of Wisconsin - Madison (institution code 1846).
- Evidence of research interest and potential for scholarship in a relevant social problem area. This is demonstrated in a carefully thought-out Statement of Reasons for Graduate Study, and other application materials.
- TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS scores, if applicable, taken within two years of application date. Official scores are submitted to the University of Wisconsin - Madison (institution code 1846). Minimum acceptable scores are:
In addition, the PhD Admission Committee prefers, but does not require, that applicants have an MSW from a U.S., CSWE-accredited program upon entry to the doctoral program.
Apply online to the UW-Madison Graduate School. The School of Social Work's PhD Program in Social Welfare application is a supplementary section found within the online Graduate School application. Admission to the doctoral program requires admittance to both the School of Social Work and the Graduate School. For more detailed information, refer to the Graduate School's Application Process At A Glance.
Click on the application sections below to expand the section and review the details.
Social Welfare PHD Supplemental Application
Part of the supplemental application requires you to report your last 60 semester credits based on your undergraduate GPA. Do not report your overall GPA. For help with this calculation, follow these steps:
- Add the number of earned credits (including credits for failed courses) for your most recently completed undergraduate semester to the number of earned credits in the preceding semesters until you reach a total of at least 60 undergraduate credits. If you reach 60 credits in the middle of a semester, count all credits from the whole semester.
- Add up the grade points for all of the semesters included in Step 1.
- Divide the total grade points from Step 2 by the total credits from Step 1. This number of your GPA for the undergraduate semesters in which you earned at least 60 credits.
Submit first-author journal articles, chapters, theses, term papers, or research reports that represent your writing ability. All materials must be written in English and be an equivalent of at least 5 pages double-spaced, 12pt font. The writing sample is submitted as part of the supplemental application.
Your statement should discuss the reasons for pursuing graduate study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Social Work PhD Program. Clearly specify research interests so the PhD Admissions Committee can determine the fit between your research interests and those of social work faculty members. Also, describe educational and career achievements and goals that support the pursuit of a doctoral degree. Length should be 3-4 pages double-spaced, 12pt font.
Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Submit your resume or CV. CV preferred.
Three Letters of Recommendation
The application fee must be paid online before you can submit your application. If the fee is a financial hardship, you may be eligible for assistance. Visit the Graduate School FAQs for more information.
Official GRE Scores
English Proficiency Test Scores (if required)
A complete application to the PhD Program in Social Welfare includes the following:
- Social Welfare PHD Supplemental Application
- Writing Sample
- Official Transcript(s)
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- Application Fee
- Official GRE Scores
- English Proficiency Test Scores (if required)
If you are interested in applying for the Joint MSW/PhD Program, you must select “Social Welfare PHD” as your program as you fill out the Graduate School Application. You will be able to indicate you are interested in the Joint MSW/PhD option within the Social Welfare PHD Supplemental Application. Do not select "Social Work MSW" unless you are interested in applying for the MSW Program separately in addition to the Joint Program. Read more about the Joint option.
Contact the PhD Admissions Office at email@example.com if you have any questions about the application process.
For information on additional requirements, please see the International Applicant Requirements.