Social Work (PhD)

Please visit the program page to learn about curriculum, faculty, careers, and more! You may also be interested in seeing our course descriptions. To request more information about this degree, please fill out our form.

How to Apply

Application Requirements

Eligibility Requirements for the PhD in Social Work

  • An MSW from a program in social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or master’s degree or higher in a related discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • A minimum of 2 years post-master’s experience working in the social work or related field
  • Demonstrated capacity for doctoral study and evidence of scholarly potential
  • Career goals consistent with doctoral study that include a desire to conduct applied research, design and evaluate programs and interventions, engage in knowledge translation, and/or other aspects of scholarship.

Please submit a completed application file that includes the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Nonrefundable $45 application fee
  • Official transcripts of all past or current academic work. Please send official transcripts electronically. You can make your request directly with your undergraduate and graduate institutions. These academic institutions will submit electronic transcripts via Student Clearing House, Scrip-Safe, E-Scrip, Parchment Exchange, or any other certified electronic transcript services. Please use our email [email protected] to send electronic transcripts.
  • Current resume
  • Three letters of professional or academic recommendation— including at least one recommendation from a past professor or academic colleague. References should know you well enough to evaluate your potential success in a doctoral program and as a scholar in the field of social work.
  • A 3-5-page personal statement that includes the following:
    • Educational background
    • Interest in our program
    • Professional experience and approach to social work practice
    • Areas of research interest
    • Career plans and how a Ph.D. in social work supports those plans
  • TOEFL scores, if English is not the first language
  • Writing sample: Provide one writing sample that shows evidence of your ability to think critically and write clearly. Examples include a written clinical case report (de-identified), conference presentation with proceedings, journal publication, grant submission, evaluation report, academic paper, policy analysis, master’s thesis or similar graduate-level work. If you are not the sole author, describe your contribution to the work. We may ask for additional writing samples from applicants.
  • Consistent with the scientific research on standardized tests and admissions, the GRE score is no longer required as part of the application process for the Simmons PhD program.

Application Deadline

February 1st, 2024 for full consideration for admission and scholarships. Admission decisions will be provided by March 15th, 2024.

Applications submitted after February 1st will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis. In general, no student admissions are made after June 15. Scholarships are partial and do not cover the full cost of the tuition.

Simmons welcomes applications from international students. In recent years, the school has enrolled students from countries including Korea, Uganda, Kenya, Italy, Indonesia, Canada, China, and Japan. Students for whom English is not the first language are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score that demonstrates satisfactory proficiency. A minimum score of 600 on the paper test, 250 on the computerized test, or 105 on the Internet-based test is required. Simmons must receive test scores directly from ETS.

TOEFL Institution Code=3761 TOEFL Department Code=95

International students also must submit a Certificate of Finances Form that demonstrates proof of ability to pay tuition and living expenses while enrolled at Simmons. The school cannot issue an I-20 until we have received the required statement. Please arrange with your bank, sponsor, or government to complete our Certificate of Finances Form, which is available online or by request.

We regret that we are not able to provide financial assistance or teaching assistantships to international students. 

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC LRP) offers fully trained and licensed clinical social workers $50,000 to repay student loans in exchange for two years serving in a community based site in a high-need Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) that has applied to, and been approved by, the NHSC as a service site.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a loan forgiveness program targeted at students who pursue public service careers and who have high debt but not high income. Generally this program is available to anyone who works in a non-profit organization. Debt forgiveness is available for Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Plus Loans and Grad Plus Loans. For more information, please visit these web sites:

Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works has a resource page for student debt relief.

Income-Based Repayment Resources has information and tools for students to apply for Income-Based Repayment and update their income online. They also offer an IBR calculator.

Indian Health Services (IHS) Loan Repayment Program

MSW prepared clinical social workers, employed by the IHS, are eligible to apply for the IHS Loan Repayment Program. For more information, visit the IHS website.

The Indian Health Service (IHS) Public Health Professions (PHP) are responsible for addressing the health needs of over 1.8 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in a network of 48 hospitals, more than 230 clinics, and a system of Tribal and Urban programs. As part of the US Department of Health and Human Services Their mission is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of this diverse population to the highest level. To contact the social work recruiter call 301 443 4754

Army National Guard Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Social Workers

The Army National Guard is a part-time service that requires one week-end a month and 15 days of annual training each year from October to October and has a flexible training program that can fit individual's schedules. The Massachusetts Army National Guard's Medical Detachment is located Hanscom Air Force Base in Lexington, MA. For those students who will be leaving Massachusetts, positions exist in other States.

Additionally, the Guard provides Federal Loan Repayments up to $60,000 ($20,000 a year for three years), Special Bonus of $45,000 ($15,000 a year for three years), $400,000 life insurance, Tri-Care Medical Coverage, PX and Commissary Privileges. Upon completion of 20 years service in the Guard, you would receive a Military Pension at age 60 and be entitled to receive all Military Retiree benefits, to include Health Care. Appointees should attend an Officer Basic Course within 18-24 months of joining the Guard at Fort Sam Houston, TX

For more information contact Joseph Guerriero at 571-641-9032 or at [email protected]


Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees at Simmons are updated annually each spring. They are assessed each semester based on the number of credits enrolled, the level of degree, and the particular program of study.

Merit scholarships and funding options

We believe that your exceptional academic preparation and hard work should be rewarded.

Health insurance

All students taking 9 or more credits are required by Massachusetts State law to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan or be covered by a health insurance plan with comparable coverage.

Upcoming Graduate Admission Events

Virtual Info Session: On-Campus MSW Program

  • Apr 18, 2024
  • 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
  • Virtual

SLIS West Campus: Library and Information Science Info Session

  • Apr 20, 2024
  • 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
  • SLIS West Campus - Mt. Holyoke