Admissions Requirements

Applicants for admission to the DSW program are required to:

  • Hold a master’s degree in social work from an accredited social work degree program;
  • Have three years post-MSW practice experience;
  • Provide three letters of reference (one academic and at least one from a supervisor of your clinical work);
  • Submit a sample of written work that reflects the applicant’s abilities as a writer and demonstrates potential for doctoral study; and
  • Complete an application essay, responding to the following questions:
    • What factors have contributed to your decision to pursue a doctoral degree in social work at Penn, and what do you expect to gain through advanced studies?

    • Describe a challenging case or professional situation that you have encountered, where you were in the role of social work practitioner, supervisor, administrator, or teacher. Discuss how you used a conceptual/theoretical framework and how you assessed and intervened in this situation.

    • Discuss an issue that you wish to explore in-depth through your doctoral studies. Include in your discussion how your exploration of this issue may contribute to the social work knowledge base.

Application deadline: February 15th

We do not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

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