PhD Admissions

Berkeley Social Welfare develops doctoral scholars who challenge conventional wisdom and make significant contributions to the field of social welfare and the profession of social work through excellent research, teaching, and service.

Our doctoral graduates are prepared to tackle the most difficult social problems we face, contributing to new knowledge in areas as wide-ranging as poverty, severe mental health, racial and ethnic inequalities, and health. They form a cadre of researchers who are developing new ideas about service systems that can help children, families, and communities to develop and thrive. With over 300 graduates of our doctoral program, our School produces top-notch professors and researchers for some of the best social work schools and policy centers throughout the country and around the globe.

Application Deadline for Fall 2024 Admission

The next admission cycle, for entry in Fall 2024, is now open. All applications for Fall 2024 admission must be completed and submitted by Monday, December 4, 2023 at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST).

PhD Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Social Welfare PhD Program, all applicants must:

  • Satisfy the minimum requirements for admission to graduate study at Berkeley.
  • Have obtained a master's degree by the time of matriculation into the doctoral program. There is no requirement for the master's degree to be in a specific field.
  • Demonstrate evidence of intellectual and other qualifications essential to successful performance in the doctoral program, including examples of scholarly written work.

International Applicants

For international applicants from a country or political entity where English is not the official language, a satisfactory score on the TOEFL exam or other acceptable equivalent evidence of English language proficiency to do graduate work is required.

Applicants to the Combined MSW/PhD Program

Applicants to the Combined MSW/PhD Program do not need to hold a graduate degree, but must meet all other requirements for admission to doctoral study, AND must also meet all Admission Eligibility Requirements for the MSW Program.