To The Top

Social Work, Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: January 15

  • GRE is optional.
  • An MSW or related master’s is required. Applicants without the MSW must take a minimum of 12 credit hours of MSW course work. This requirement may be waived for applicants with additional graduate work.
  • Minimum of two years post-master’s practice experience encouraged
  • TOEFL or IELTS required for applicants who’s second language is English

These criteria are used flexibly to assess the applicant’s potential for study and research in this program.

Minimum English Proficiency Requirements

Test Type Total Score Reading Listening Speaking Writing
TOEFL Internet-based8017171717
TOEFL Paper-based5505252N/A52
IELTS Academic6.56666

Required Application Materials

For the Office of Graduate Studies

  • Completed Graduate Studies online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the Social Work Program (submitted via the Graduate Studies online application system)

  • Three letters of recommendation: two letters from professors who have known the applicant in an academic capacity. Please do not include personal, pastoral and relative references.
  • Current curriculum vita or resume. A minimum of two years’ postmasters practice experience is preferred.
  • GRE is optional.
  • Writing proficiency sample (e.g., previous publication, book chapter, master’s thesis, unpublished research paper, etc.)
  • Personal statement (see department instructions)
  • A personal interview is required, and if possible, will be arranged at MU. A Skype interview may be utilized in some cases.

Note: This program offers a MSW/PhD joint degree. Information about the MSW/PhD Joint Program is available at