Campus Advisory Access the latest updates, FAQs, and resources for the Adelphi community on the global coronavirus pandemic. » COVID-19 Updates

Coronavirus Updates on Operations: Department or campus operations may be modified during this time. Please call or email the department for more information or visit

Admissions Requirements for the PhD in Social Work

The deadline to apply is May 15.

This program offers fall admission only. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

We require an MSW or an equivalent degree, 3.3 GPA and preferably 2-3 years post-Masters work experience for admission to the social work PhD program.

» Apply Now

Checklist of required documents for application to the PhD Program:

One four-page Essay or Personal Statement (The essay or statement should address the following points):
  • educational background and professional experience, to support your application
  • substantive areas of interest for research, evaluation and/or teaching
  • past educational and career experiences to prepare you for your specialization
  • career plans, including how a doctorate in social work supports the achievement of these goals.)
Three letters of recommendation that, among other things, addresses the applicant’s academic abilities. 
One updated curriculum vitae.
One writing sample that showcases the applicant’s academic/scholarly writing skill and style.
One completed application form.
Official transcripts from all tertiary academic institutions that the applicant attended. 
A cover letter. Additional information from applicants with degrees from non-Native English speaking countries.

International Applicants
Please view our additional application requirements for international graduate students.

Message from the Director

Thank you for your interest in the PhD program at the Adelphi University School of Social Work!

Inaugurated more than 30 years ago, the Adelphi social work doctoral program offers a tightly structured and integrated curriculum that prepares experienced social workers for leadership in the profession as scholars, educators, researchers and service providers. Throughout their doctoral studies, students benefit from the School’s experienced faculty and well-developed system of advisement and mentorship. They learn to think critically; to evaluate a broad spectrum of clinical, administrative and social policy interventions; to use extant knowledge creatively; and to become scholar-practitioners, educators, researchers and leaders in the field.

To date, more than 200 men and women have earned their doctoral degrees from Adelphi University. They serve as leaders in voluntary and public social service organizations, teach in colleges and universities and engage in social research.

A special feature of Adelphi’s PhD program is that it is designed to meet the needs of working professionals. Classes are offered during the late afternoon and early evening. The program requires successful completion of 48 doctoral-level credits beyond the master’s degree, a comprehensive candidacy examination and a research-based dissertation that demonstrates scholarship, creativity and methodological rigor and that contributes to the knowledge base of social work.

This website will give you an overview of the program, details of the curriculum, degree requirements and the many opportunities that we provide for student learning.  Please feel free to email me or call if you have any questions. I am happy to meet with you personally as well if that is best for you. You are also welcome to attend one of our Information Sessions to learn more about the program.

Dr. Elizabeth Palley
Director of PhD program, School of Social Work

Follow Adelphi Social Work at:   

For further information, please contact:

Office of Graduate Admissions
p – 800.ADELPHI
e –
» Request Information

Apply Now!