Application Process

Thank you for your interest in Ph.D. Program at the University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. 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 materials must still be submitted to the Graduate Admission Application online with the application fee, before their late application will be considered. IF LATE ONLY: all official sealed transcripts must be forwarded directly from you to us at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Ph.D. Program: 669 W. 34th Street, Suite 214; Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411.)

Learn more about USC and the application process 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.
 

  1. GRADUATE ADMISSION APPLICATION

  2. 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 Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Doctoral Committee uses this to help determine which applicants will make the greatest contribution to knowledge-building in the profession.

  3. RESUME
    You must upload your résumé as part of the online Graduate Admission Application.
  4. TRANSCRIPTS
    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.

  5. RECOMMENDATIONS
    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. In rare cases, hardcopies of recommendation letters can also be sent directly to you and forwarded directly to the PhD Program at: 669 W. 34th Street, Suite 214; Los Angeles, CA 90089-0411; however, they must be sealed with signatures across the envelope flap. Please DO NOT have the recommender(s) send hard copy letters directly to the School or Graduate Admission.

  6. 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 Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work department code 5001. This will expedite the processing of your application. Learn more about the GRE.

  7. 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 master'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 Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work department code 95. Learn more about the TOEFL.

  8. DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT
    International applicants must submit documented evidence of financial support as described in the Graduate Admission Application.

  9. PhD INFORMATION FORM
    This information sheet provides the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work with additional information pertinent to the PhD application and must be submitted through the Graduate Admission Application.

  10. 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 through the Graduate Admission Application.

  11. 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.

International Students
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 usci20@usc.edu.
USC Office of Admission GRADUATE
University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915


Follow-Up
Official notification of your admission status will come from both the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck 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.