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College of Social Work


Admission to the Ph.D. program is highly selective; only a limited number of applicants are admitted for each fall semester. We seek applicants who embrace our mission to advance social change and improve individual lives and communities in South Carolina and beyond.

Admission Criteria

All applicants must fulfill the general admission requirements of both The Graduate School and the College of Social Work. Applicants must be recommended to The Graduate School for acceptance by the Ph.D. Program. Acceptance by The Graduate School and the Ph.D. Program is based on the evaluation of an applicant’s total academic profile. The Ph.D. Program is committed to diversity in its student body. Admission is limited and competitive, and contingent upon admission to The Graduate School.  Classes begin full-time study in the fall.

" Before I even applied, faculty members took the time to respond to my email inquiries with warmth and encouragement, attaching recent journal articles they had written related to my interests and describing opportunities that would be available to me if I were accepted into the program."

Samuel R. Bethel, MSW LCSW LISW-CP

Admission Requirements: 

  • A completed application.
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary schools previously attended, including non-degree courses taken.
  • A Master of Social Work degree from a Council on Social Work Education accredited graduate program (a master's degree in a related field may be considered on a case-by-case basis).
  • A grade point average of 3.5 or above for graduate-level work.
  • Evidence of scholarly potential as indicated by three letters of reference.
  • A detailed personal statement.
  • A sample of the applicant's scholarly writing. 
  • Satisfactory score on TOEFL or IELTS for international applicants for whom English is not their primary language. 

Prospective international students must also meet additional International Application Requirements

Advisers from International Student Services provide guidance regarding immigration compliance, academic concerns, cultural adjustment, and personal development in order to promote student success.  


How to Apply

The Graduate School at the University of South Carolina coordinates online applications to our doctoral program. Supporting materials are required in addition to the application for graduate admission. Applicants are encouraged to review the degree programs and application requirements before applying to the Ph.D. program. Information about official transcripts is available on The Graduate School’s webpage. Only complete applications will be reviewed.


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