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Boston College School of Social Work
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PhD Information Session Webinar

To learn more about the PhD program at BCSSW please watch the PhD Information Session Webinar. The program director and current Boston College PhD students give an overview about the program.

PhD Application Process & Checklist

NOTE: Before beginning your online application, please make sure you have one of the recommended browsers installed. It is recommended to use either Chrome or Firefox when completing your application. Other browsers may cause errors in the application.

It is the applicant's responsibility to complete and submit:

  1. Application Form: Submit the electronic application form. Please note that the application system requires you to upload your personal statement, writing sample and resume prior to submission.
  2. Three References: We require three letters of recommendation, which must be submitted electronically. 
    • When you register your recommenders in the application system, they will immediately receive an email with the link to the electronic reference form, so you should contact your references before registering them.
    • References will have the option to upload a supporting letter in Word or PDF format or type or copy and paste comments into a text box.
    • If you would like your references to receive the electronic form before you have completed the online application, you may go directly to the “Recommendations” button or link of the application and register your references before filling out the rest of the form.
    • You can log back in to your application to check which recommendations have been received and send reminder emails.
    • References should know you well enough to evaluate your potential in the field of social work as a researcher.
    • At least one of the references must be from one of your past professors. All references should be familiar with your academic and scholarly work.
  3. Note: It is your responsibility to notify your references that they will be receiving an email with an electronic recommendation form and follow up with them to make sure they are submitted. If for some reason any of your references are unable to complete an electronic reference form, please contact the PhD Admissions Office for instructions.
  4. Personal Statement: A personal statement must be uploaded before submitting the application form. This should consist of a two or three-page typewritten statement describing:
    • Your reasons for pursuing doctoral education at Boston College at this time; specific academic and work experiences that have prepared you for doctoral education.
    • Your educational objectives while in the doctoral program.
    • The names of Boston College School of Social Work professors with whom you would like to work and why you want to work with them.
    • Why you think you would be a good fit with our program.
    • Your future professional objectives.
  5. Transcripts: You will have the ability to upload copies of unofficial transcript(s) of all previous college and graduate courses taken. Please note that if you are accepted, you will be required to submit official sealed copies of transcripts at that time.
  6. GRE Score: An official score report from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) earned within the last five years. BCSSW School Code is 3219 and BCSSW Department Code is 5199.
    * Note: GRE scores are required at the time of the application deadline of December 1.  You must plan to take the GRE prior to November to ensure the test results arrive on time to Boston College. Please refer to the ETS website for information on test dates and return report delays. This requirement cannot be waived, regardless of your academic or professional background.
  7. TOEFL Score: If your native language is not English, submit an official score report from the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum score for the PhD program is 100. BCSSW School Code is 5939 and BCSSW Department Code is 95. The IELTS test may be substituted for the TOEFL with a score of 7.5 or higher. Official score reports should be mailed to the address below.  For exceptions and more information for international applicants, visit the International Applicants page.
  8. Resume/CV: Include your resume/CV or a chronological list (starting with the most recent) of all relevant employment since high school, including summer jobs and internships you consider significant. Please also include all relevant volunteer or other experience with service-oriented groups. For each job or volunteer experience, please include your title, the number of months and/or years you held the position, and the number of hours worked each week.
  9. Writing Sample: Submit a piece of writing that shows evidence of ability to think creatively and to write clearly. Published articles, a master's thesis, unpublished papers, or term papers may be submitted as evidence.
  10. Application Fee: The $40 application fee should be paid online by credit card at the time of submission of the application form.  If you have trouble making the payment, you can log back in after submitting through the Application Status website. You may also mail a check or money order payable to "Boston College" to the address below. The application fee is not refundable.
  11. Application Status: After you have submitted the electronic application, you should receive a confirmation email immediately, and a second email containing your BC Eagle ID number and username withing 1-2 business days (not including weekends). You may use this number to check the status of your application materials on the Application Status website.
  12. Decisions will be sent electronically to the email listed on your application. Please inform the PhD Admissions Office of any changes to your address, phone number, or email address.

NOTE: The BCSSW application is self-managed, and you will not be contacted if your application is missing materials.

If you are mailing documents, please send to:

Boston College School of Social Work
Admissions Processing Center
P.O. Box 67405
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

For all checks, money orders and deliveries via courier (e.g. FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.):

Boston College School of Social Work
McGuinn Hall, Room 221
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Financial Aid

Please review PhD Financial Aid. All accepted doctoral students receive merit-based financial support. For a majority of students, this multi-year financial aid package includes full tuition and a substantial stipend.

Students may also apply for need-based financial aid through the university. In order to receive consideration for need-based aid, applicants must file several forms with the Boston College Financial Aid Office.

Interviews & Admissions Decisions

The doctoral admissions committee may request a personal interview as part of the application process, but interviews are not required. Applicants will be notified by email around the second or third week of February regarding their admissions decision. BC Social Work should be notified immediately of any change of plans or address after the application is submitted.

Contact Us

BCSSW PhD Admissions