Thank you for your interest in the University of Southern California School of Social Work PhD Program. All application materials must be received at the university by December 1 to be considered priority applications. Completed application materials will be accepted until January 1 but will be considered late and may not be reviewed for admission. Late application materials AFTER December 1 must submit both Part One and Part Two materials directly to the School of Social Work due to time constraints. Applicants must still complete the Graduate Admission Application online and submit the application fee before their late application will be considered.
Applying for admission to our doctoral program is a two-part process. For your application to be considered, you must accurately complete both Part One and Part Two and submit required documents according to the following instructions.
Read more about the application process, requirements and frequently asked questions on the USC Graduate Admission Office website.
The following documents must be submitted to the USC Graduate Admission Office, using our online application system that allows you to upload documents and track your application status.
- GRADUATE ADMISSION APPLICATION
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The Statement of Purpose must be submitted as part of the online Graduate Admission Application. Guided by the Statement of Purpose Instructions, you must address seven specific reasons why you want to enroll in our PhD program. The School of Social Work Doctoral Committee uses this to help determine which applicants will make the greatest contribution to knowledge-building in the profession.
You must upload your résumé as part of the online Graduate Admission Application.
The USC Graduate Admission Office requires academic records from all colleges and universities you have attended. Complete the College/University Transcript Cover Page and send it to the registrar's office at each institution you have attended. International applicants must submit one official, original-language copy of academic records with certified English translation from each institution attended.
You are required to submit four letters of recommendation. Preferably, one recommendation letter should originate from your current supervisor or superior and three from academic instructors and/or professionals who can evaluate your academic aptitude and personal attributes for doctoral studies. Because many universities and organizations will not send recommendation letters without the written consent of the applicant, we ask that you write to the persons you list as references and attach the Reference Letter Guide to address specific questions we would like evaluated. When applying online through the Graduate Admission Application, you can use the online recommendation system, but your recommenders must upload a written letter using our Reference Letter Guide. They should not complete the online standardized questionnaire. Recommendation letters can also be sent directly to you; however, they must be sealed with signatures across the envelope flap. All hard copy recommendation letters must be enclosed with the Part Two supplemental application materials and sent directly to the School of Social Work by the applicant. Please do not have the recommender send hard copy letters directly to the School of Social Work or Graduate Admissions.
GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE) SCORES
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for admission to our doctoral program. No exceptions will be granted. Applicants are urged to take the GRE general test by November. If taken any later than December, your scores may not reach us in time to be considered for admission for the next fall. If you have taken the GRE general test within the last five years and are satisfied with your scores, you can have your scores sent to us by Educational Testing Service (ETS). If your GRE scores are more than five years old, you will need to retake the test in order for your application to be considered complete and eligible for review. Only official GRE scores sent directly to USC Graduate Admission Office from ETS will be accepted. Please make sure to indicate the university code number 4852 and the USC School of Social Work department code 5001. This will expedite the processing of your application. Learn more about the GRE.
TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TOEFL) SCORES
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all international applicants to be considered for admission to our doctoral program. TOEFL scores taken within the last 2 years are acceptable. Exceptions to waive the TOEFL test will ONLY be granted for international applicants whose native language is English or if the applicant has received both bachelor's and maste's degrees from a U.S. college or university. Only official TOEFL scores sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the USC Graduate Admission Office will be accepted. Please make sure to indicate the university code number 4852 and the USC School of Social Work department code 95. Learn more about the TOEFL.
DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT
International applicants must submit documented evidence of financial support as described in the Graduate Admission Application.
International applicants should visit the International Applications section of the USC Graduate Admission Office website for additional information on applying to USC. International applicants with specific questions about the student visa process should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
USC Office of Admission GRADUATE
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
The following supplemental information is required by the USC School of Social Work. Please download the PhD Program Application for Admission. Important details are enclosed about fellowship awards and post-MSW work experience requirements.
PhD INFORMATION FORM
This information sheet provides the USC School of Social Work with additional information pertinent to your PhD application.
CAREER PLANS AND GOALS
Please provide us with a one-page summary about what your career plans and goals are after you receive your PhD degree in social work.
SCHOLARLY WRITING SAMPLE
Submit a sample of your best scholarly writing, such as a paper submitted to a journal, term paper, grant paper or research. Please do not exceed 20 pages.
Submit Part Two supplemental information to:
USC School of Social Work
669 W. 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411
Official notification of your admission status will come from both the USC School of Social Work and the USC Graduate Admission Office. Please respond promptly to requests for information from both offices in order to complete the application process. Applicants are responsible for the timely completion of their files. Only complete files will be submitted to the Doctoral Committee for review.
- Master of Social Work