Admissions and Aid

An overview of the admissions process and financial aid offered for the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare can be found below. We also encourage prospective students to visit the Office of Admissions and the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid

Learn more or Apply Online

Admissions Overview

Application Deadline
February 1 for Fall Enrollment

Prospective students must meet the following requirements to be considered for the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare at The Graduate Center: 

  • 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

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
  • All post-secondary transcripts; they do not need to be official transcripts for the application.
  • 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.
  • Two recommendations.

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.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

Every applicant to The Graduate Center’s doctoral programs will automatically be considered for five-year institutional funding packages. The aid we offer — including fellowships, tuition awards, and assistantships — is based on merit. 

Learn more about institutional aid for doctoral students »

Federal aid for doctoral students includes:

New York State also provides the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible graduate students who are New York State residents.


Additional funding may be available to incoming students from underrepresented populations through offerings from the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity, including several fellowships and the CUNY Pipeline Program for undergraduate CUNY students.

Learn more about funding opportunities from OEOD »

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates for doctoral programs at The Graduate Center are based on a student's “level,” which is determined by a combination of the number of graduate credits completed (including, in the case of transfer students, credits accepted by the student's degree program and the Registrar) and specific academic accomplishments. 

The fee structure is also affected by a student’s resident status.

See current doctoral tuition rates »

Each student will be billed for a Graduate School student activities fee, a University student senate fee, a University consolidated services fee and a technology fee. These fees are not refundable.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

We do not require GRE scores as part of the application. 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.

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.

Open Houses

Learn More

Information sessions will resume in September. To inquire about future open house dates, please email Janille Bagcal at

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