At BCSSW, we seek doctoral students from a variety of personal, educational, and professional backgrounds to join our community. Applicants are supported through the application process, with dedicated staff fielding any questions and concerns.
The doctoral program enrolls new students in the fall semester of each academic year. Enrollment is full time only with a three-year residency requirement.
We value the contributions made by a diverse community of scholars. Learn more about Boston College's notice of nondiscrimination.
Application Deadline: December 1
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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. You may check the status of your application online.
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.
We require three letters of recommendation, which must be submitted electronically.
A personal statement must be uploaded before submitting the application form. This should consist of a two or three-page typewritten statement describing:
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.
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.
The $40 application fee should be paid online by credit card at the time of submission of the application form. You may also mail a check or money order payable to "Boston College" to the address below. The application fee is not refundable.
If you are a U.S. military veteran or a full-time volunteer with a recognized non-profit service organization such as the Peace Corps, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, City Year, or AmeriCorps, you are qualified to receive an application fee waiver. Simply submit a form or letter certifying your dates of service, or submit one of your required recommendation letters on organization letterhead, and then call or email the Admissions office to request the fee waiver. Returned volunteers are also eligible for a fee waiver. If you have paid the fee prior to submitting a request for a fee waiver, the fee is not refundable.
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.
Please note that the zip code field does not work if you provide an international address. Please add your zip code or postal code to Address Line 1 or Address Line 2 on the application form. If you do not have a U.S. Social Security Number, DO NOT enter one on the application. You will be assigned an Eagle ID number (Boston College student ID number) to use to identify your other application materials. This Eagle ID number will allow you to access the Application Status website to check the status of your application materials and to submit the online application fee. Please use the same last name or surname on everything you submit to the Boston College School of Social Work.
Students who speak a native language other than English must provide evidence of proficiency. A video essay provided on your application and a minimum score of 100 on the iBT (internet-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. The minimum score for the PhD program is also 100. The BCSSW School Code is 5939 and BCSSW Department Code is 95.
You can obtain application forms and information about testing dates for the TOEFL from many U.S. consulates, USIA Centers, and TOEFL centers overseas by writing to TOEFL Registration CN 6152 Princeton, NJ 08541, USA, or by going to www.toefl.org.
Please note that we now accept the IELTS test as a substitute for the TOEFL with a score of 7.5 or above. Official score reports should be mailed to the address listed on the application instructions page.
You completed a 4-year Bachelors degree (or the equivalent) at an institution where the medium language of instruction is English. The medium language of instruction is indicated on your transcript, or verified in an official letter from the institution.
You completed a 2-year Masters degree at an institution where the medium language of instruction is English. The medium language of instruction is indicated on your transcript, or verified in an official letter from the institution.
All applicants, including international applicants, are considered for the PhD Fellowship. You will be notified of any scholarship award along with your admission decision. Before a certificate of eligibility for the F-1 or J-1 Visa can be issued, a Confidential Declaration and Certification of Finances (DCF) of international applicants must be submitted to certify that you have sufficient funds to cover the rest of your educational and living expenses while attending Boston College. This form will be sent to you by the BCSSW Office of Admissions within a few weeks of receipt of your enrollment response form. Provided this documentation is in order, Boston College will issue a Certificate of Eligibility Form (Form I-20 for an F-1 Student Visa or a Form DS2019 for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa) for the student's use in obtaining a Visa.
Boston College's Office of International Students and Scholars serves over 1,000 international students, faculty, and research scholars from more than 98 countries. The office will advise you regarding your pre- and post-arrival needs and provide valuable orientation and social programs.
All PhD students can explore a variety of aid options on our online scholarship database. Our database includes merit-based funding, federal aid, and other opportunities. We also offer grants to support doctoral student travel for conferences and presentations.
A BC username and password is required to access the database.