PhD in Social Work

Admission Contact Information

Program Contact: Shannon Mezzanotte (
724 Clark Hall; Columbia, MO 65211

PhD Program Director: Dr. Mansoo Yu (
720 Clark Hall; Columbia, MO 65211

PhD Program Website:

About the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in social work focuses on research that informs social welfare policy and practice. It is designed to prepare scholars for research, teaching and program development positions in academic and professional social work practice and policy settings.

Financial Aid from the Program

Scholarship opportunities are available for full-time program applicants who meet the application deadline. Graduate teaching and research assistantships are also often available. Some forms of support require additional forms from those who wish to be considered for internal assistantships, fellowships or other funding packages. Check the program Web site or ask the program contact for details.

Admission Criteria

Admission deadline: Midnight January 15

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0; 3.5 in graduate study
  • Minimum TOEFL scores:
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
80 550
  • An MSW or related master’s is required. Applicants without the MSW must take a minimum of 12 credit hours of MSW course work. This requirement may be waived for applicants with additional graduate work.
  • Minimum of two years post-master’s practice experience encouraged.

Note: These criteria are used flexibly to assess the applicant’s potential for study and research in this program.

Required Application Materials

To the Office of Graduate Studies:

  • All required Office of Graduate Studies documents

To the Director of the Doctoral Program in Social Work (via the office of graduate studies online application system):

  • Cover letter
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • CV
  • Writing proficiency sample
  • Personal statement
  • A personal interview is required, and if possible, will be arranged at MU. A Skype interview may be utilized in some cases.

Plan of Study

The PhD program is available to both persons with a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree and those with other master’s degrees. The curriculum consists of a minimum of 55 post MSW semester credit hours or, for applicants without an MSW, 67 hours. The curriculum is divided among three distinct but highly interrelated elements designed to complement one another in assisting students to achieve the competencies expected of a graduate of this program. A core of social work courses provides the foundation in the traditions and knowledge in the profession and exposure to state-of-the-art research and techniques for the 21st century. Electives from the broad spectrum of social and behavioral sciences offering available through MU departments provide students with the opportunity to design an individualized plan of study that capitalizes on their unique interests and talents. A strong regimen of research methodology, theory, and policy analysis are designed to prepare students for use of both current and emerging methods of scientific inquiry.

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