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Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

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Admission Criteria

Criteria used in judging applications include the applicant’s potential for excellence in academic performance, professional practice experience, and potential for contributions to knowledge-building for social work.

Sources of judgment of these criteria include undergraduate and graduate transcripts; publications, presentations, research proposals, and scholarly works; references concerning professional practice and qualifications for doctoral-level study and research; and statement of research and scholarly interests.

To be considered for admission, an applicant must meet these requirements:

  1. Minimum 3.5 graduate grade-point average.
  2. M.S.W. degree preferred. Applicants with master’s degrees related to social work and affiliation with social work activities and values are considered.
  3. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination within the past 5 years. Scores in at least the 50th percentile in 2 of the 3 test areas are preferred.
  4. Basic statistical competence as demonstrated by completion of a basic statistics course at the graduate or undergraduate level with a grade of B or above within the last 2 years, or plan to complete the course.
  5. 2 years of social work or related practice; 2 years of post-master’s professional social work experience preferred.
  6. Ability for doctoral study in social work, demonstrated by a written statement of interests in research relevant to social work, letters of recommendation, and scholarly or other professional achievement as indicated in a curriculum vitae and publications, if available.
  7. Demonstrated ability for and interest in advanced scholarship and revision of existing bodies of knowledge.
  8. For international students, completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language within the past 2 years, demonstrating high proficiency.
  9. Other general KU requirements.
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Application Timeline and Procedure

Applications are not reviewed until all materials are received. The deadline is February 1. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take the Graduate Record Examination well in advance of the February 1 deadline. Late applications are considered only on a space-available basis.

Complete the Application for Admission to Graduate Studies and Supplemental Application form online.

Send 1 official copy of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts to
The University of Kansas
Graduate Application Processing Center
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 313
Lawrence, KS 66045-7518

If not included in the online application, the following materials must be sent to the School of Social Welfare at the address below:

  • Copies of scholarly work, such as journal articles, papers delivered, research reports, monographs, if any.
  • Statement of statistics course taken: title, institution, date of completion, and grade; or plan to complete the course.
  • Statement of scholarly and research interests in social work practice.

For specific admission requirements, see our website or write to the school:

The University of Kansas
School of Social Welfare, Doctoral Program
Twente Hall
1545 Lilac Lane, Room 107
Lawrence, KS 66045-3129

Online graduate application, admissionsw-phd@ku.edu

Telephone: 785-864-8976
Doctoral Director: Chris Petr, 785-864-8963

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International Students

International students from all regions of the world are encouraged to apply. Our program offers free Academic English Writing Skills tutoring to international students for whom English is a second language. Contact the school at admissionsw-phd@ku.edu for more information about international student applications and resources and regulations of International Student and Scholar Services and the Applied English Center.

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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.