Admission Requirements

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Fall 2022 Application Deadline: January 15, 2022
[We require an MSW degree for admission to the social work PhD program]

PhD Program Specific Requirements

Personal Statement**
Please write a 3-5 page personal statement that describes your career goals and how the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) PhD Program will help you achieve these goals. Detail your research and teaching interests and how your previous professional and personal experiences inform them. Identify any SSW faculty members whose work would be particularly influential on your doctoral education and career. Finally, describe your strengths in terms of critical thinking, communication, tenacity, maturity, and other personal qualities that prepared you for PhD-level work and that would contribute to the culture and climate of a PhD program. (Although the Graduate School Application asks for a 300-500 word statement of goals and objectives, please provide this personal statement instead.) 

Writing Sample**
Please provide a recent paper, report, or publication on which your role was primary or sole author. The writing sample should demonstrate how you formulate and communicate ideas or findings and how you build a logical argument or support a thesis. If using a co-authored product as your writing sample, include an introductory comment describing your contributions to the work. 

Include a copy of your vita showing your educational background, your work experience, and any research projects and publications. Include at the end of the vita the names and qualifications of your three references.

(** = these documents can be emailed in pdf form to the PhD Program Academic Services Specialist


An official transcript from each college or university that you are currently attending or that you previously attended must be provided to the Graduate School. Official, stamped transcripts must be provided in sealed envelopes by the issuing institution. Encrypted, electronic transcripts are accepted in lieu of sealed, paper transcripts. You may include an unofficial, scanned copy of your college transcripts with your online application for early review purposes if you’d like, but official versions are still required for the review process. Send encrypted, electronic transcripts from your issuing institution to: Send official, sealed and stamped transcripts to:

ATTN: Admissions
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Graduate School
620 West Lexington Street, Suite 5110
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1508

Transcripts (US only) may also be provided through one of the following transcript clearinghouse services:

GRE scores
We do not currently require the GRE. GRE scores will not be considered in admission decisions.

English Language Proficiency (International Applicants Only) The Graduate School accepts the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) as a measure of English proficiency. Minimum, required scores are 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL, and 7.0 on the IELTS. Scores must be sent directly from ETS (for TOEFL, use institution code #5848) or the IELTS agency to the Graduate School.

The PhD Program in Social Work maintains a strict language requirement for non-native speakers of English. All applicants to the PhD program whose native language and/or language of the home is not English are required to submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This guideline includes international students/non-native speakers of English who have completed a master of social work or similar degree from a US college or university.

Application Fee
When completing the online application you can pay the application fee($75) by credit card or debit card. The application fee is non-refundable.

Letters of Recommendation(3)/Recommender Forms
Recommenders should describe their relationship with you (how long they have known you and in what capacity) and your potential as a social work scholar and teacher. Select references that are able to assess your conceptual, analytic, and research skills as well as your ability to apply theoretical and abstract knowledge to social work problems. They should clearly describe their relationship with you and the duration of that relationship. Ideally, recommenders will possess a PhD or other doctoral degree. Please provide this guidance to each recommender and request that they upload or email a letter of recommendation on letterhead directly to the program.  

PhD Graduate Assistantship Application (optional)
If you desire to be considered for a graduate assistantship, complete the GRA application form. Several of our faculty members have grants and contracts that support PhD students through Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs). A 10- month, 20-hour per week GRA provides a student with a stipend of over $21,000, health insurance, and up to 10 credits of tuition remission for the fall and spring semesters. Completing the application does not guarantee assignment to an assistantship. Assistantships are assigned on a competitive basis.

If you have any questions about the PhD Program in Social Work program specific requirements please contact the PhD Program directly or 410-706-7960.

Application Checklist

In addition to the online application form (and fee), make sure that you have submitted all of your supplemental items and have checked all of your desired program’s admissions requirements. Here’s a summary of the requirements:
Online Application & Fee
International applicants need to submit results of the TOEFL or IELTS
CV or Resume
Personal Statement
Writing Sample
Letters of Recommendation (3)/Recommender Forms

If you have problems with or questions about the online application process, please contact us at 410.706.7131 or