How to Apply

The program assumes that students have prior and extensive knowledge of the field of social work. It will be open to qualified students wishing to pursue advanced scholarly study in the field of social work.

Dates & Deadline

Applications for all programs will re-open in October for the following Fall session. Please consider attending one of our virtual Social Work PhD Info Sessions to learn more about the PhD program in social work and the application process. Register Here

Application review results for the social work PhD Program are expected to be available by mid to late February and will continue until the program is full.

Admission Requirements

Have a minimum B+ average from the Master's degree (MSW or a related discipline) and have completed at least one social work degree (BSW or MSW). In exceptional cases, applicants who do not have a social work degree may be considered if they have a related degree. In such case, applicants must also demonstrate extensive experiences in social welfare, or community/social services.

Application Procedures

  1. Provide a Statement of Interest: (please limit your statement to 5 pages double-spaced)
    • Please explain your proposed area of research, the questions you are interested in exploring, and the theoretical framework(s) you anticipate using.
    • Please explain why you believe this topic is important to social work and/or social justice
    • Please explain why you consider York University's School of Social Work to be a good choice for you given your research interests.
    • Please describe any life, community, professional, and/or academic experiences which relate to your proposed research.
  2. Provide a curriculum vitae of your academic and work experience, including education, scholarships or awards, practice experience, research experience, professional activities, conference and/or training presentations, and publications including agency reports. (submit electronically);
  3. Provide a sample of professional or academic writing (e.g., published or unpublished scholarly paper, conference presentation, or professional report). (submit electronically);
  4. Provide a supplementary information form, which you can upload on MyFile.   (submit electronically);
  5. Provide three letters of reference, of which at least one should be an academic reference that addresses the candidate’s potential for doctoral level research. (submitted electronically as part of the application);
  6. Unofficial copies of transcripts clearly indicating name of the student and issuing institute can be uploaded in MyFile for admission consideration. Grade reports are not accepted. (Please note that if you receive an offer, your post-secondary institutes must send official transcripts directly to York Graduate Admissions.)

Applicants will be assessed on the basis of past academic achievement as well as demonstrated or potential capacity for advanced study.

For applicants whose first language is not English, a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper based) or 250 (computer based) or YELT score of Band 1 is required.

What does the application process involve?

The application to the program is a two-step process.

The first step will be completing the initial application online where you will be asked to input a method of payment. You will get a confirmation of payment number with this process.

After 5-7 business days you will get an email from York University confirming that your application has been received and providing you with your York University Student ID number. If you have ever been a York Student or are currently a York student, the number will be the same.

You will be given the link to the MYFILE where you will complete the second step of the application process. The link is below.

Once you login to the MYFILE please read and follow all the directions carefully. Bear in mind, staff cannot see what you see, so you must be diligent.

In the MYFILE you will have to upload your CV, Statement of Interest and complete supplementary information form. You will have to input the email addresses of your referees and they will be prompted to complete an email reference form/letter. We do not accept hard copy letters. Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded to the MYFILE. You can use any transcript or grade report from your Institution. York Graduates will have to provide copies if they have them. If you are a current York University student then you will not be expected to provide transcripts as we have those on file.

For more information on what's required please visit the graduate social work admissions page or contact