Ph.D. Admission Information

Application Deadline

The Ph.D. Program considers students for fall semester admission only. The application deadline for fall 2017 is listed below.


Application Opens: September 5, 2017

Application Deadline: December 1, 2017


Items listed in the Application Checklist below must be submitted by 11:59pm (CST) of the deadline date.


Admissions Requirements

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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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.


How to Apply

Apply online to the UW-Madison Graduate School. The School of Social Work's Ph.D. 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.


Application Instructions

For details on how to submit your application materials and what the Admissions Committee is looking for in an applicant, please refer to our Ph.D. Application Information Sheet.


Application Checklist

A complete application to the Ph.D. 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)


Joint MSW/Ph.D. Application

If you are interested in applying for the Joint MSW/Ph.D. 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/Ph.D. option within the Social Welfare PHD Supplemental Application. You will not be automatically considered for the MSW Program. You will only be considered for the Joint MSW/Ph.D. Program. Read more about the Joint option.


If you would like to be considered for the MSW Program in addition to the Joint MSW/Ph.D. Program, you must also select “Social Work MSW” in addition to “Social Welfare PHD” as your programs as you fill out the Graduate School Application. This will prompt you to fill out both the MSW Supplemental Application and the PHD Supplemental Application, in addition to submitting a separate statement for each program. You must follow the MSW Program’s Application Instructions if you would like to be considered.


Contact the Ph.D. Admissions Office at if you have any questions about the application process.


International Applicants

For information on additional requirements, please see the International Applicant Requirements.


Last edited by portier on Thursday, June 08, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version