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PhD Admissions

Admission Requirements

Attend an Information Session

All applicants must complete a University of Illinois Graduate College Application.

The Graduate College application includes the following items.

  • Personal statement
  • Illustrative writing
  • Resume
  • 3 letters of reference
  • Unofficial transcripts from all educational institutions
  • In order for your application to be complete you will need to have all official transcripts mailed to:
    School of Social Work  |  1010 W. Nevada  |  Urbana, IL 61801 or official e-scripts to
  • International Applicants must provide a TOEFL score.  Minimum TOEFL score is 103.
  • International Applicants must provide Proof of Funding Documentation.

Are you interested in applying to the Joint MSW/PhD program?

The Joint MSW/PhD program is available to students that already possess a master’s degree in another discipline but would now like to obtain both a MSW degree and a PhD degree in Social Work.

  • To apply to this joint program, please use the Graduate College Application and the guidelines above; you will choose the PhD degree as your program of interest.
  • Students applying to Joint MSW/PhD program need to complete the MSW Personal Statement and email to Cheryl Street.


MSW Personal Statement

The Admissions Committee needs to understand as fully as possible the various circumstances in your experiences and education that have particular relevance for your plan for social work education and employment. In order to do that, you will need to provide a personal statement that addresses the questions below.


1. Download these questions and address them in a Word document. The completed Personal Statement should be 4-6 pages in length (double-spaced). You may use headers.

2. The completed Personal Statement must be uploaded to the Graduate College Application under the “program specific questions” section.*

3. This statement will be evaluated by the content as well as quality of writing.

A. Interest in Social Work

1. If you have worked in another profession or field, or if your undergraduate degree is from another discipline, explain why you are choosing social work education at this time.

2. What experiences have contributed to your interest in social work?

3. What area of social work interests you?

4. Discuss your career goals and indicate which personal, vocational, volunteer, or educational experiences have influenced your choice.

5. What do you expect to gain from a professional education?

B. Life Experiences Related to Social Work

1. What are important values in your life? How will these values assist or hinder your work with underrepresented/ vulnerable populations?

2. Discuss your experiences with cultures, groups, or individuals different than your own and share what you learned from these experiences.

3. Describe an experience in which you exercised leadership, responsibility, and/or judgment, and discuss what you learned from that experience.

4. Why do you think you would be a good social worker?

C. Support

Graduate education is an investment of time and resources. Please discuss in detail the support you plan to utilize (social, financial, familial) that will help you succeed in graduate school.

*The MSW Personal Statement should be used for the Graduate College Application Statement. You do not need to do a separate statement for the Graduate College Application.

Connect with Admissions

Email MSW personal statement to:

Cheryl Street

Director of Graduate Enrollment Management, Graduate Recruiter and Advisor

headshot of Cheryl Street
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