Ph.D. Admissions Requirements

Early application is strongly encouraged as the number of new students admitted each year is limited, and the admissions process is competitive. Applications must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $100.00. Incomplete applications, including those without the required fee, will not be reviewed.

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. Program applicants must:

  1. Hold a master’s degree in social work (M.S.W.) from a CSWE-accredited program. 
    Applicants holding graduate degrees in related fields may be considered, but if admitted, non-MSWs must complete (with grades of B or above) six (6) credit hours of a M.S.W. independent study which will include the 7-week M.S.W. foundation modules of HBSE, Policy, and Practice. This can be done prior to (or concurrent with) doctoral course enrollment.
  2. Have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or better (4.0 scale) in all previous graduate study. Applicants whose GPA is below 3.5, but who have demonstrated excellence in other areas of the application, may be considered. We will calculate your GPA based on your transcripts.
  3. 3. Submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE). You must have official test scores sent directly to the university. Test scores should not be more than five (5) years old. The University of Houston's institutional code for the GRE is 6870, and the social work code is 5001. For information about the GRE, call the University Testing Service at (713) 743-5444 or check with UH Learning and Assessment Services. Website address:
  4. Submit a minimum of three, but not more than five, letters of recommendation from persons who are familiar with your competencies and your potential for doctoral education. At least two (2) letters must be from tenure track faculty with a doctorate degree (i.e., current and/or former graduate level professors).
  5. Submit a current vita and a written research statement to define and articulate your primary research interest you plan to pursue during your doctoral education.  Applicants with at least two years full-time post M.S.W. practice experience should highlight their area of expertise. Non-M.S.W. applicants are expected to have at least two years paid social service experience under the supervision of an L.M.S.W. (or equivalent).
  6. Submit samples of publications, papers, or other materials reflecting your academic and research excellence.

An admissions interview (in-person or by phone) may be requested at the discretion of the Ph.D. Program Committee.

Note: Proficiency in English. Any student, prior to admission or during their course of study, may be required to demonstrate English proficiency through submission of a satisfactory score on a test designated by the Associate Dean of the college. Students whose written or spoken English skills appear to be marginal (i.e., they may impede academic success and/or reflect communication problems) may be required to seek instruction outside the college.