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What our graduates are saying...

Jeffrey YarvisCOL Jeffrey Yarvis, PhD, '04

"Choosing the right doctoral program is a very important and often difficult decision. I had been accepted to three other outstanding programs to include one in the Ivy League. However, UGA distinguished itself from the other outstanding institutions in less tangible ways that the other programs could not. The two most striking features of UGA School of Social work were the love the doctoral students had for the program and number of distinguished faculty on the UGA staff. Nearly all the students I met not only felt supported, but truly enjoyed being a UGA doctoral student. I was similarly impressed with the number of faculty I recognized prior to my attendance whose research had impacted my experience as a scientist-practitioner. Simply put UGA has no rival in terms of the caliber of staff and students.

Since graduating I have been offered too many opportunities to excel to count. I regularly have research opportunities made available to me that did not exist prior to my doctoral studies. The breadth of my work has widened to international audiences and affected medical policies at the state department level."

COL Jeffrey S. Yarvis
PhD '04
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Southern California; Chief, Social Work Department
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Austin, TX



Miriam SabinMiriam Sabin, PhD '02

"Attending the University of Georgia School of Social Work doctoral program (Class of 2002) was the best decision I ever made for my studies and career path.  From the first day I arrived as a hopeful applicant to the day I received my PhD, my experience was imbued with rigorous, cutting edge academics and full support for my academic goals.

After returning from completing an epidemiologic survey in United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee camps in Chiapas, Mexico, I had the great fortune to be selected for an interim faculty position and shortly after an Assistant Professor, tenure track position at UGA SSW.  These experiences enabled me to obtain a position in the highly coveted Epidemic Intelligence Service at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and shortly thereafter a Senior Research Scientist position.  In every role since, my academic training at UGA provided me with the foundation to excel and tackle new challenges at the global level.  Currently, I work at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria  (a US 4 billion dollar a year international public health institution based on Geneva, Switzerland) where my primary area of work is monitoring and measuring impact of Global Fund programs to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women who are disproportionately affected by HIV in Eastern and Southern sub-Saharan Africa."

Dr. Miriam Sabin, PhD '02
Specialist, Epidemiology and Country Analysis
Strategic Investment and Impact Division
The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria


Ph.D. Admissions

Overview | Mission | Curriculum & Courses | Forms & Resources | Financial Aid |
PhD Student Profiles | PhD Graduates & Dissertations | Dissertation Abstracts


How to Apply
SSW Admissons Deadline
MSW Degree Requirement
Testing and GPA Requirements
Supplemental Information for International Applicants
SSW Departmental Requirements for Admission


The Graduate School will begin accepting applications for Fall 2018 in August 2017.

How to Apply
Persons seeking admision to the University of Georgia School of Social Work Ph.D. Program must submit their application online through the University of Georgia Graduate School website.

Graduate Admission to the University of Georgia is a collaborative process involving the Graduate School and the graduate faculty of the University. Each department has a designated graduate coordinator who serves as a liaison between the department and the Graduate School and who provides detailed information about program entry requirements, resources and special opportunities.

School of Social Work Admissions Deadline
The deadline for Fall 2018 admission is January 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm.
All Graduate School and departmental requirements, including test scores, must be submitted by this date.

MSW Degree Requirement
Admission to the Ph.D. program is limited to persons who have or will have earned an MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program by the time they enroll in doctoral studies. Although preference is given to social workers with at least two years of post-MSW professional work experience, newly-graduated MSWs are also welcome to apply, particularly if they possess strong academic qualifications or a B.S.W. with experience.

Testing and GPA Requirements
All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). There is no equivalent test or waiver. The School of Social Work recommends a total verbal and quantitative GRE score of no less than 300 (1000 on tests taken before 2013). GRE scores may not be more than 5 years old. This policy does not apply to students who received the MSW degree from UGA. Applicants should also have an overall undergraduate grade point average of no less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. An overall graduate (MSW) GPA of no less than 3.5 is also recommended. Exceptionally qualified social workers not meeting these academic standards are also welcome to apply and are occasionally admitted.

Supplemental Information for International Applicants
International applicants must supply supplemental information to the Graduate School when applying. Guidelines may be viewed on the Graduate School website.

SSW Departmental Requirements for Admission

1. Vita/Resume
2. Professional Goals Statement
3. Scholarly Writing Sample
4. Three Letters of Recommendation

The vita/resume, professional goals statement, and scholarly writing sample should be emailed directly to the Ph.D. Program Office at The three letters of recommendation may be submitted one of three ways (see below).

1. Vita/Resume
A copy of your vita/resume is required.

2. Professional Goals Statement
The PhD Admissions Committee considers your personal statement to be a significant part of your application. The Admissions Committee will use this statement to assess your writing skills, research interests, career goals, and overall fit with our PhD program. Your essay should be no more than 5 pages. Your statement should address the following questions:

  1. How have your values and intellectual experiences, as well as your personal history influenced your decision to pursue a PhD in social work?
  2. How have your prior academic and practice experiences prepared you for a PhD in social work?
  3. What specifically attracts you to the University of Georgia social work Ph.D. Program?
  4.  What are your major research interests and why are these issues important for the profession of social work to address?
  5. Please identify any faculty within the School of Social Work or at the University of Georgia who might be useful to you in exploring your research interests. Note any faculty projects within the SSW or at the University that you consider potentially useful resources. If your research interests are inter- or trans-disciplinary, please articulate linkages with those other fields. 
  6. What are your career goals and how would a PhD in social work help you achieve those goals?
  7. Are there any other factors you feel are important in our evaluation of your application?

Please organize your personal statement as a cohesive essay, rather than a list of discrete answers to the questions posed.

3. Scholarly Writing Sample
All applicants must submit one example of a recent, single-authored, scholarly writing that provides evidence of the individual's capacity to think analytically and critically. This should be the best example available that highlights the applicant's readiness to undertake doctoral level work. The submission should be a "clean" copy, that is, free of editorial markings.

The following are examples of appropriate submissions of scholarly writing:

If an appropriate example of a recent writing sample is not available, the applicant should prepare a paper utilizing the following guidelines:

The paper should be between 6-10 pages in length, excluding references; word-processed; and double-spaced. Scholarly literature should be cited and referenced appropriately. APA-style is preferred, but other accepted academic styles are allowed.


4. Letters of Recommendation
The program requires three letters of recommendation. These letters may be submitted in one of three ways.

  1. PREFERRED. Via email to They must be formal recommendation letters on letterhead and submitted as an attachment to the initial email. Letters in the body of the email will not be accepted. We will only accept emails sent directly from the recommender.
  2. Via mail directly to the Ph.D. Program Office at the following address:

    The University of Georgia
    School of Social Work
    Ph.D. Program Office
    School of Social Work Building, Room 133
    279 Williams Street
    Athens, GA 30602

  3. Submitted online via the Graduate School admissions web site. In addition to the online form, an accompanying formal recommendation letter is required. These letters should be sent directly to the Ph.D. Program Office at the above email or snail mail address.

Please follow the above instructions and suggestions carefully to ensure that your application materials are submitted correctly and in a timely manner for review.

If you have any questions about our PhD program or would like to visit us on the UGA campus, please email or call 706-542-5461.