Application Instructions | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Application Information

Our doctoral program provides the nation and the world with some of the profession’s best scholars, teachers and researchers, and as such, is highly competitive. We review all applications holistically, assessing an individual’s overall preparation for rigorous doctoral study.

The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis admits one PhD cohort each year for the fall semester. The application deadline is December 1. Most admission decisions are announced on a case-by-case basis in March and April.

PhD applicants must have a master's degree in social work or a related discipline.

Applications must be submitted through our online application system. We will consider your file complete once your application is submitted and all application requirements have been received.

Application Requirements:

  • $50 Application Fee
  • Academic Transcripts (an unofficial transcript from all post-secondary institutions attended is required for review)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives
  • Writing Sample

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NOT required and will not be considered.

English Language Proficiency Scores

International applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by providing an official score report from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS). Test scores are valid for two years. The Duolingo English Test may be used as an alternative for students unable to access the TOEFL or IELTS.

Official scores must be verified by the testing agency before your application can be considered complete. Official TOEFL scores must be sent electronically to Washington University using TOEFL code 6929. Official IELTS scores must be sent electronically to Washington University in St. Louis Graduate Admissions.

Minimum scores:

  • TOEFL iBT - Preferred: 100; Required: 90
  • IELTS - Preferred: 7.0; Required: 6.5
  • Duolingo English Test - Required: 115

Exemption from this requirement is automatically granted to applicants meeting any of the following criteria, as demonstrated in the application:

  • Applicant is a citizen of Australia, Cameroon, Commonwealth Caribbean nations, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Liberia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
  • Applicant has completed three or more years of study in an English-medium academic program at a university in any of the above countries, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, or the United States.

International applicants not meeting the above criteria for exemption must provide required test scores.

Official Transcripts

Unofficial electronic or scanned student-issued copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended should be provided for application review. Record your academic history and upload your unofficial transcripts to the relevant section of the online application. Students admitted to the program must provide final official transcripts from the institution(s) that conferred their undergraduate and graduate degrees upon accepting their offer of admission.

If your educational documentation is not in English, you must also provide a certified word-for-word English translation. We will also accept foreign credential evaluation reports from a NACES® member organization such as World Education Services (WES), Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), or Foundation for International Services (FIS).

Application Fee Waivers

The $50 application fee is payable online by credit card. An application fee waiver is automatically granted to applicants meeting any of the following criteria, as demonstrated in the application:

  • Current Washington University student
  • Active duty, reservist, or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Person of American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) descent
  • Member of a national volunteer service corps organization (e.g. AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps)
  • Participant in an academic pipeline to post-baccalaureate outreach program or scholars organization (e.g. Fulbright, Gates Millennium Scholars, McNair Scholars)

The Brown School will consider application fee waivers for financial hardship or other extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis upon request.

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