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 two 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 clinical social work at Penn, and what do you expect to gain through advanced studies?
    • What conceptual framework do you use in your clinical work? How, if at all, has it changed since you received your Masters in Social Work?
    • 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 intervened and explain how you used practice knowledge, theory, and/or research to guide your decision-making and interventions.
    • Discuss an issue that you wish to explore in-depth through your doctoral studies. Include in your discussion how your exploration of this issue will contribute to the social work knowledge base.

Application deadline: February 15th

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