Ph.D. in Social Work

How to Apply

USF Admissions Application

Applicants need to complete their application via USF Admissions. The link to the USF Admissions application is here

Each PhD cohort begins only in Fall


Priority Deadline for Funding: December 15th 

Final Deadline: February 15th Annually

Educational Requirements

  • Admission is typically limited to individuals who hold a Master in Social Work from programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or international equivalents.
  • However, applicants without a Master's degree in social work, but with a Master's degree in a related discipline are welcome to apply and will be considered on a case by case basis. The admissions committee may review the degree
  • A master's degree GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale


There are no GRE requirements at this time.


Two letters of recommendation addressing applicant's academic and professional capabilities. Please make sure your reference includes the following in their letter:

  • How long they have known the applicant and in what context (educator, supervisor, colleague, etc).
  • Specific experiences that you can share that demonstrate the candidate is prepared for the rigors of a Ph.D. program.
  • Any other information that you think the Admissions Committee should know.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is an important component of your application. Please prepare a statement that addresses each of the following topics. Please use the following outline to guide your statement.

  • A brief overview of who you are and your interest in this Ph.D. program.
  • Area of research interest and what experiences led you to this topic.
  • Prior work or other experiences that have prepared you for a self-directed, rigorous Ph.D. program.
  • Plans for accommodating the rigors and demands of a full-time Ph.D. program in your professional and personal situations.
  • Future plans after completing the Ph.D.
  • Any other information that the Committee should consider with your application.

This personal statement should be typed double-spaced on separate, numbered, 8.5" x 11" pages and should be approximately 5 to 7 pages long.

Professional Writing Sample

Professional writing sample providing evidence of scholarly abilities, such as journal article, book chapter, technical report, thesis, grant application or other comparable work.

Resume / Curriculum Vitae

Applicants are required to upload a recent copy of their Resume / CV in the document upload portion of the USF Application and select Resume/Vitae as the document that is being uploaded. 


The admissions committee may request an in-person or telephone interview with an applicant to clarify materials submitted.

Admission Decisions

All applicants are informed of the admissions decision in writing. No offers are made verbally over the phone or in person. All applicants are encouraged to apply early!