Welcome to the PhD Program at the School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Our highly rated program focuses on preparing students for careers in leading academic institutions and social service organizations, both in the United States and internationally. Located in one of the greatest public university settings in the world, our School features a talented group of faculty members with a wide range of subject area and methodological interests. Our faculty conducts cutting edge research on many types of social issues and programs. In fact, a study of social work research ranked us first in research publications among U.S. social work programs.* We also are home to the nationally renowned Children and Family Research Center, and we are proud to be housed in a state-of-the-art building in the heart of campus.

Each year we accept a small but diverse group of students into our program. Our goal is to select talented students with research interests that fit well with those of our faculty members. This approach provides the best opportunity for students to receive sound mentorship as they develop their research and teaching interests. We provide competitive financial aid packages, and strive to provide all students with both research and teaching experience during their PhD study period. We also work closely with students in pursuing job opportunities once they have completed their study.

Our curriculum blends social work specific courses taught by our faculty exclusively for PhD students, along with a student-developed interdisciplinary focus area involving coursework in one or more allied disciplines. We offer a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods courses, and also have faculty members who specialize in mixed methods approaches to social inquiry.

We pride ourselves on being a diverse and welcoming place for students, both within the University and in the broader Urbana-Champaign community. Usually about one-half of our PhD students come to the University from other countries, and Illinois has the largest number of international students among all U.S. public universities. We are committed to helping all of our students adjust to both academic and community life, and both our faculty and students will work with you to make sure this occurs.

The broader university community likewise provides great infrastructure to support your study and research. Illinois recently was voted the most “wired” university in the U.S., consistent with our unsurpassed computing facilities and information technology capabilities. In addition, our library is largest university library in the U.S.

Please take some time to explore more detailed information on our program structure and requirements, and also to review the profiles of our distinguished faculty members.

I recognize that choosing a graduate school is a difficult and sometimes confusing process, and that students often have a wide range of questions both about our program and PhD study more generally. I welcome any questions you may have about our program and whether it may be well suited to your needs (phone: (217) 244-5242 or e-mail at mzhan@illinois.edu.) We are happy to help you coordinate a campus visit.

I hope you will seriously consider the PhD program at Illinois, and wish you the best as you move forward with your academic careers.

Best Regards,

Min Zhan
PhD Program Director

* Ligon, J., Jackson, D.L., and Thyer, B. (2007). Academic affiliations of social work journal article authors from 1999-2003: A productivity analysis spanning 25 years of social work scholarship. Journal of Social Service Research, vol. 33(3), 13-20.