PhD Admission Criteria

We consider your career goals and how well they match our program and your personal statement and research interests to make sure there is a good match between you and our faculty members’ research interests.

  • To be admitted to the Mandel School doctoral program, candidates should have a master’s degree from an accredited school of social work or a master’s degree in a related field and demonstrate a superior record in undergraduate and graduate studies.

  • Admission considerations include practical experience in social welfare; scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the past five years; letters of reference; and competency in written and spoken English.

  • Identify and upload an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution directly onto the application. ONLY if you are admitted, then you will be required to submit official transcripts. In order to alleviate the cost and logistics of applying, please do not send transcripts in with your application; they will not be reviewed. International Students: Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by certified scanned translations in English.

  • In order to alleviate application costs and logistics, it is not necessary to send official score reports during the admissions process; please upload unofficial score reports onto the application for review. ONLY if you are admitted, then you will be required to submit official score reports.

    • GRE - The GRE is valid for five years after the test date. There is no minimum GRE score, applications are evaluated holistically. Scores can be sent officially through ETS using CWRU's school code 1105.

  • Students from non-English speaking countries must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), taken within the past two years.

    • International applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Minimum language scores to gain admission are below; we do not offer conditional admission to applicants who do not meet the minimum language scores.

    • You only need to upload your unofficial score report; you do not need to send official test scores unless you are formally admitted. The TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE are all valid for two years after the test date.

      • TOEFL - 90 minimum if internet-based or 577 if paper-based. (minimum of 80 TOEFL if applying to a Course Focused Engineering program) Scores can be sent officially through ETS using CWRU's school code 1105. * The School of Graduate Studies does not accept the TOEFL MyBest Scores. Applicants must achieve a minimum of 90 on one exam date; exams will not be superscored.

      • IELTS - 7.0 minimum. Please do not send scores officially, simply include your TRF number on your application and we can verify your score online.

      • PTE Academic - 61 minimum. Scores can be sent officially through the Pearson website to be verified online.

  • One writing example (not exceeding 25 pages) of a recent, single or co-authored work of scholarly writing that provides evidence of your capacity to think analytically and critically about a social welfare issue. The following are examples of appropriate submissions: published article, book chapter or book, unpublished research report, term paper written in a graduate-level course or a grant application.

  • Written personal statement (3 to 5 pages) that describes and evaluates your professional development, including your career goals and how doctoral education is relevant to them and your area of research interest within the social work profession.

  • Three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a faculty member.

  • $50 nonrefundable application fee.

  • Highly recommended:

    • A phone or in-person interview with the chair of the program or a faculty member.

    • Site visit, sitting in on a doctoral class, meeting with faculty and current doctoral students. Please contact the program chair Sonia Minnes or 216.368.2309 to arrange an in-person visit or get more information about the program.

  • The Doctoral Program Admissions Committee meets and makes the decision on each application.