Does admission require a master’s degree in social work?

You must have an earned Master’s degree in social work or a closely related discipline. If you plan an academic career in Social Work, be aware that the Council on Social Work Education requires faculty who teach practice courses to have an M.S.W. and a minimum of two years of post-M.S.W. or post-B.S.W. professional practice experience.

What if I am not sure if a Ph.D. is what I really want?

Students who wish to explore doctoral education or test their capacity for Ph.D. level work may enroll in courses as a non-matriculated student. If admitted to the program, up to six credits taken under this status can be applied toward the degree.

Can the program be taken on a part-time basis?

We do not offer a part-time Ph.D. option. You may take a portion of coursework part-time, but completion of the 39 required course credits requires enrollment (at least 9 credits) in each of two consecutive semesters (fall/spring or spring/fall).

Is financial support available?

Full-time students who remain in good academic standing receive financial assistance in the form of a Graduate Research Assistantship which includes full tuition remission and a stipend in each of their first four years of study. The doctoral program director and faculty advisers assist students in identifying sources of support for subsequent years, including support for dissertation research.

Can I transfer credits from another program?

Up to six credit hours may be transferred for courses completed in a Ph.D. program if they were not applied toward another degree and if they meet the content requirements of our curriculum. Requests to transfer more than six credits will be reviewed by the Ph.D. Program director.

Are there opportunities to gain teaching experience while in the doctoral program?

Upon completing required coursework, students will enroll in a 3-credit Social Work teaching practicum. Students work directly with a full-time faculty member in a mentored classroom teaching experience. Students will devote approximately 10 hours per week to the practicum and will also participate in a bi-monthly seminar. Successful completion of the teaching practicum qualifies students to teach independently.

What is the deadline for admissions?

Applications are accepted for admission and financial aid to those individuals whose complete application materials are received by January 15.

Can I complete any of the program online?

The curriculum is on-site. We do not offer any required courses online.

When do I need to take the GRE and what score do I need?

The Graduate Record Examination (General Test including verbal, quantitative and analytic sections) is required. There is no minimum threshold for acceptance. Applicants are strongly advised to take the examination by December to ensure scores are received by the application date of January 15. For more information on the GRE, visit The institution code for Virginia Commonwealth University is 5570.