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Eligibility Requirements for the Ph.D. in Social Welfare

  • An M.S.W. or related Master's degree (i.e., Public Administration, Criminal Justice, Psychology, Education, etc.) from an accredited program
  • A minimum of three years Post-Masters experience working in the human services
  • Demonstrated capacity for doctoral study through an excellent academic record, exemplary professional accomplishment, and evidence of scholarly potential
  • Career ambitions consistent with doctoral study, such as a desire to conduct clinical, organizational, or policy research in human service organizations; design and implement innovative social welfare programs and policies; or career as an academic scholar

Application Requirements

  • Please follow the instructions listed on the Admissions Page as well those listed below:
  • Personal Statement: Focus on how your career led you to want to apply to a doctoral program. If you choose to include personal aspects of your life, please link those experiences to your professional development and current scholarly interests. If you have had post-Master's research experiences, elaborate on them. If you are a relatively recent Master's degree graduate, discuss research you engaged in as a student or areas of inquiry that intrigued you in your Master’s program. If you have secured funding for research projects or innovative programs, please elaborate on these. Write about practice-related issues that might serve as the basis for your work in the program. Finally, you may have had experiences teaching, developing and/or delivering training programs, or working in an academic or policy advocacy environment. Please write about these experiences. Additional advice: Make certain that your spelling and grammar are correct and your written presentation is clear and well organized. If there are any discrepancies in your academic performance, please explain them.
  • Three Scholars Paper:  Identify three scholars established and respected in your academic specialization whose work you consider to be especially relevant to the area you would like to study in the doctoral program. Explain why you consider their work particularly important to your thinking about this issue. Include a list of references with at least one recent publication by each scholar. Your paper should be 10 to 12 pages in length. *If you encounter any issues submitting this piece, please email
  • Writing Sample: Provide one post-Master’s writing sample.  It may be a journal publication, conference presentation, evaluation report, grant submission, academic paper, etc. If the writing sample you provide is co-authored, please describe your contribution to the work. *If you encounter any issues submitting this piece, please email
  • Curriculum Vitae:  Submit your most recent curriculum vitae.  Include all post-secondary schools you attended and your Grade Point Average (GPA) for each institution.  Also include your employment history, publications, conference presentations, awards, grants received, professional licenses, and membership in professional organizations.

All supporting materials need to be uploaded into the online application. All materials must be submitted in English, and any foreign documents must be accompanied by official English translations.


Frequently Asked Questions


• What do I need to include in my application?

   - Fill out the Apply Yourslef online application
   - All post-secondary transcripts; they do not need to be official
      transcripts for the application
   - Personal statement
   - At least one writing sample
   - In addition, the Three Scholars Paper
   - Curriculum Vitae
   - Two recommendations


Do you require an M.S.W. for the Program?

We do not require our students to have a Masters in Social Work. Although most of our doctoral students have an M.S.W., we accept students with Masters degrees in related fields. Besides the M.S.W., current students have Masters degrees in Public Health, Art Therapy, Public Administration, and Criminal Justice to name a few.

Do you require the GRE?


We do not require GRE scores as part of the appplication. You may include scores if you choose. Keep in mind that many colleges and universitites are no longer asking applicants to supply GRE scores for graduate programs or SAT scores for undergraduate programs.

How do I know that my application was submitted?


You must select a payment option, electronically sign the application, and click submit. Only after these three steps are completed and an email acknowledgement has been received, will your application be officially submitted to the Office of Admissions for consideration.


Contact Information for the Graduate Center Admissions Office


Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309
Phone: (212) 817-7470