Social Work

Programs Degrees Major Codes Admissions
Term Deadline
Doctoral PHD SOWO Fall December 12, 2023
Online MSW Program MSW MSW1 Spring November 14, 2023
Online MSW Program MSW MSW1 Summer I February 13, 2024
Online MSW Program MSW MSW1 Fall May 7, 2024
Master’s Advanced Standing – Traditional MSW SOWA Summer I February 13, 2024
Master’s Full-Time MSW SOWO Fall February 13, 2024
Master’s Extended (3- year Chapel Hill) MSW SWEX Fall March 12, 2024
Fall Graduate School Fellowships December 12, 2023 (Recommended)
Director of Graduate Admissions Doctoral:  Mimi Chapman (


Graduate Coordinator Doctoral: Brenda Vawter (


Address School of Social Work
CB# 3550, Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building
325 Pittsboro St.
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
Phone Master’s:919-962-4367
PhD:  919-962-6477
Test Requirements PHD: The GRE is not required for PhD applicants.
MSW: The GRE is not required for MSW applicants.
Letters of Recommendation Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. Please refer to our website for recommendation guidelines.
International Applicants Only TOEFL or IELTS score (no more than two years old)
Other Requirements

In addition to the University’s required application materials, applicants should review the information below for additional expectations or application requirements.

Master’s Students:

In addition to the requirements listed above, all applicants must complete the following:

  • UNC Graduate School Online Application
  • Statement of Purpose – The statement of purpose is a critically important part of your application because it reflects who you are and why you are seeking admission to the Master of Social Work program.  Your essay should be 4-5 double-spaced pages, using 12-point Times New Roman font. For the complete Statement of Purpose guidelines and writing prompts, please visit .
  • Current Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts from each university, college, and/or any post-secondary education experience (including community colleges, summer sessions and extension programs).
  • Letters of Recommendation should speak to the applicant’s academic achievement and potential, commitment to social work practice, and their engagement with social work or related work. For more information, and a copy of the letter of recommendation guidelines, please visit
  • Interviews are required for all competitive international applicants.

PhD Students:

IMPORTANT: The Doctoral Program has only one deadline which is December 12, 2023. The Doctoral Program Committee will begin the application review process at that time.

  • MSW from an accredited social work program is highly preferred.

Curriculum Vitae:  See guidelines here

Areas of Interest:  Select up to four interests via the Area of Interest/Specialization drop-down box within the application

Letters of Recommendation: Letters should attest to academic ability, writing and communication style, nature and quality of past work performance, commitment to social work values, and capacity for scholarly contribution.  PLEASE INFORM THOSE WRITING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THEY REACH US BY JAN. 1, OR EARLIER (preferably by December 12).

For doctoral students at least two of the three letters of recommendation should be about your past academic work; the other letter of recommendation may be from someone with whom you have worked, either in social work, human services, or a related field.  All should use the appropriate form.  If you have been a paid social worker in the last two years, at least one of the three letters should come from your supervisor or director where you are currently working.

Statement of Purpose:  Students can best achieve their goals for doctoral education when there is a fit between their interests and the resources of the School of Social Work and the wider University community.  Therefore, students are asked to prepare a personal narrative that focuses in some detail on all the questions below.

Understanding how your research interests developed will be useful information for those making admission decisions.  Because our primary objective is preparing researchers, you should describe in detail whatever experience you have had with research.  If you have participated in research projects, taken courses or studied and/or used statistics, you should describe these in your application.

This narrative is one of the most important parts of your admissions folder.  Consider it your opportunity to communicate with admissions committee members about yourself.  Please limit your response to no more than 12 double-spaced pages.

Please restate the question below before each answer:

  1. What experiences have led you to seek a research career?
  2. What specialized area(s) of study within social work are you most interested in pursuing in your doctoral education (i.e., a social problem or issue, a field of practice, a practice method, or some combination of any of these)?  What experiences have led you to believe this area is important to pursue?
  3. What research problems or questions might you wish to pursue within your specialized area of study?  (PLEASE DISCUSS FULLY AND TRY TO BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE)
  4. What do you envision as your long-range contribution to the development of the social work knowledge base?
  5. What are your career goals and plans after receiving your Ph.D. in social work, and how will this degree contribute to your ability to realize these goals and plans?
  6. There are more than 50 universities in the United States that offer a doctoral degree in social work.  What do you consider the most important criteria in selecting a doctoral program in social work, and why have you chosen to apply for the Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?
  7. We expect students to enroll full time (9 or more hours) and to hold half-time assistantships.  Priority in admissions is given to students who are able to enroll full time for the first two years of study.  Only full-time students will be eligible for financial support.  If your intention is not to enroll full time, please provide rationale for this choice.
  8. Leadership, initiative, and persistence are important for doctoral education. Talk about a time when you encountered a challenging situation and how you addressed it.
  9. Feel free to share any additional, relevant information that you would like to communicate to the admissions committee that will help us to better understand your interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in social work at UNC-CH.


  1. On what are you basing your choice of social work as the field in which to pursue the doctorate?  What experiences have you had with the social work profession?
  2. Explain how any experiences in paid or volunteer work (such as in undergraduate practica, summer camps, extracurricular activities, church groups, and social work jobs) relate to your choice of social work as a profession. Describe relationships and/or other experiences that led you to an interest in entering social work rather than another profession.  What are your experiences in giving and receiving help?
  3. How will your social work doctoral study relate to and build on your past masters work?

*Only in unusual circumstances and after consultation with the program are other admission terms considered.