Ph.D. in Social Welfare

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Ph.D. in Social Welfare


The following are admission requirements of the School of Social Work and/or the University Graduate School:

  • A master’s degree in social work (MSW) from an accredited school of social work or a closely related field. Prior social work experience is highly desired. Please note that doctoral graduates who would like to teach (clinical or direct practice) courses in an accredited social work program must have two years post-MSW direct-practice experience.
  • Evidence of superior academic achievement in undergraduate education, including at least a 3.0 (upper division) undergraduate GPA and at least a 3.5 graduate GPA.
  • Quantitative and verbal scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Official GRE scores must be sent directly to the University Graduate School.
  • For students for whom English is a second language, a TOEFL score of 550 or more.
  • Successful completion (with a grade of “B” or better) of one or more graduate-level courses in research methodology or statistics, as documented in the official academic transcripts.
  • Three letters of reference from academic and/or professional sources.
  • Two samples of writing (e.g., published articles, research reports, book reviews, manuscripts submitted for publication, or papers prepared specifically for admission to the Ph.D. program).
  • A personal statement describing applicant’s desire to pursue doctoral studies at this time, their background and experience, their doctoral research and specialization interests, and their career goals following receipt of Ph.D.
  • Applicants who do not meet all admission requirements but demonstrate outstanding abilities or accomplishments may also be considered; however, exemption from particular requirements may need to be requested from the University Graduate School.
  • An admission interview may be requested.

Application Procedures

Students are admitted into the Ph.D. Program only in the Fall semester. Applications for admission should be received at the School of Social Work by February 1. Applications submitted after that date are considered as space permits. Application folders are considered complete when all documents listed below have been received:

  1. FIU Graduate Online Application(NOTE: do not use the reference form provided on graduate admissions application)
  2. Application for Financial Aid (for students seeking Financial Aid
  3. Application to the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  5. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  6. Personal statement (4-6 pages)
  7. Three letters of recommendation (two academic and one professional)
  8. Two examples of scholarly written work
  9. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score (foreign students only)

The GRE Scores (requested from Educational Testing Service and sent directly by ETS), official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work (requested from issuing schools and sent directly by them), and TOEFL Scores, should be sent to:

Office of Graduate Admissions

P.O. Box 659004

Miami, FL 33265-9004

The Application to the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare, the Personal Statement, and the letters of recommendation (sent directly by the person writing the letter) must be sent to:

Doctoral Admissions

School of Social Work

Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work

Florida International University


11200 SW 8th Street

Miami, FL 33199


The application for financial aid should be sent to:

Financial Aid Office

Florida International University

PC 125

11200 SW 8th Street

Miami, FL 33199

For additional information related to the admissions process, please contact Kelly Sydnor at  305-348-5841 or

For the status of your application, please contact Kelly Sydnor at (305) 348-5841 or at .

Evaluation of Applicant

The committee will only review completed applications files. Determination of the applicant’s intellectual capacity and research potential is based mainly on GPA, GRE scores and academic references. Assessment of motivation, knowledge of the field, and personal qualities is based on a review of work experience information, the personal statement, letters of reference, and possibly an admissions interview. Evaluation of writing ability is based on a review of the personal statement and the writing samples.

Transfer of Credits

Students in the Ph.D. program cannot substitute or obtain waivers for required courses. The Ph.D. Coordinator may consider the transfer of doctoral level courses (not part of a previously earned degree) toward the completion of a maximum of six elective (or supervised research or independent study) credit hours. Students must explain in writing how the previous course or courses are directly related to the current area of doctoral study.