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PhD Office FAQ

Prospective Students

  1. Do I need to apply separately to the discipline in which I am interested as well as to the Joint PhD Program?

    No. You only need to go through the application process for admission to the Joint PhD Program. If you are accepted into the Joint Program, you are also accepted into the discipline you selected.

  2. Do you offer a part-time or an online PhD?

    No. You must be registered as a full-time student studying on campus to receive our funding package. Students are expected to devote full time to their studies and are supported financially to enable them to do that.

  3. How do I send in my GRE or TOEFL scores for my Joint PhD Application?

    The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test is required for all Joint PhD applicants. For information about GRE registration and preparation, please see Please contact Educational Testing Services (ETS) and have them forward an electronic copy of your scores directly to us. Only official results will be accepted, and scores that are more than five years old will not be considered valid. For the GRE, the school code for University of Michigan is 1839 and the department code is 5001. For the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the school code is 1839 and the department code is 95. TOEFL scores are required from all applicants educated in countries whose native language is not English unless they have earned a degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English exclusively. TOEFL scores that are more than two years old will not be accepted.

    Note: the GRE is not required for MSW only application.

  4. I am an international student. Am I eligible for Joint PhD Program funding?

    Yes, you are eligible for the funding package described here. You are not eligible for certain fellowships and scholarships offered at the University of Michigan, or for training grants supported by the federal government.

  5. May I apply to the Joint PhD Program as a transfer student?

    The Joint PhD program does not accept transfer students or credits to the program unless a student comes directly from one of the five departments aligned with the Social Work and Social Science PhD. Students wishing to join the Joint PhD program from one of the five social sciences must go through the application process just as any other student applying to the program.

  6. May I apply to the Joint PhD Program in Social Work and Social Science without having an MSW degree?

    Yes. If you are accepted into the Joint PhD Program, you will earn your MSW degree in the process of completing your PhD.

  7. What are my chances of securing employment upon graduation from the Joint PhD Program?

    Because of the quality and breadth of their training, graduates of the Joint PhD Program are heavily recruited nationally and internationally. In the past four years, the majority of graduates have secured tenure-track positions in colleges and universities. Recent graduates have also taken post-doctorate fellowships in leading universities, and have gone to work in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

  8. What can I do to improve my chances of admittance to the Joint PhD Program?

    The best thing you can do is begin planning in advance to present a complete and high-quality application. This means doing research to find out who the faculty are in both the School of Social Work and the discipline in which you are interested, and thinking about how their interests line up with yours. Also, prepare well for the GRE and/or TOEFL tests and leave yourself enough time for a retest if you feel you have not done your very best.

    In this same vein, start well in advance contacting current and previous universities and colleges about submitting grade transcripts. We cannot consider your application without them. Finally, think about who you will ask to write letters of recommendation for you. Try to get at least two of the letters from a current or former professor. If possible, talk with the people who will be writing letters for you about your plans to apply to the Joint Program. It is important for them to know what your career goals are and why you are applying to a doctoral program.

    When submitting your application, it is crucial to write a clear, concise personal statement outlining your professional, intellectual, and research interests and career goals and how they connect to the professional and intellectual commitments of social work and your preferred social science. Take time in preparing this statement, and include an assessment of how your interests connect to the interests of the faculty.

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