Admission Information

Admission Requirements

The primary purpose of the application process for the PhD Program in Social Welfare potential for scholarship and for future contributions to the field of social welfare in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Basin. In addition to requirements set forth by the University of Hawai‘i Graduate Division, the Doctoral Program Committee of the School of Social Work looks for evidence of the following when reviewing applications:

  1. Education. Applicants must have a Master of Social Work degree from a CSWE accredited school/program of social work prior to beginning the PhD program. (Students are urged to obtain 2 years post-MSW experience in social work which will allow them to teach social work practice courses at a CSWE accredited school of social work upon graduation.) Exceptions are made to this requirement for applicants from countries without accreditation provided they produce evidence that their masterís degree is approved by the International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service of the Council on Social Work Education: http://www.cswe.org/cms/22207.aspx or for allied masterís degreed applicants with strong credentials and with experience working in social work settings. (Prerequisite courses in social work will apply for non-MSW students.)

  2. Scholarly capacity. Applicants are expected to show capacity for advanced academic work and potential for scholarship. The ability to work independently and develop competence to design and carry out rigorous research studies relevant for social work is a critical expectation of the PhD program. Applicants are expected to demonstrate excellent writing skills, and evidence of analytic skills, research interest and capabilities, as part of the admissions application.

  3. Work experience. Applicants with at least two years of experience working with a multicultural population will be preferred.

  4. Career goals. Applicantsí interests and career goals should be compatible with the stated focus of the PhD program.

Application Procedures

Applicants for admission to the PhD program at the UH Mānoa School of Social Work must submit two (2) separate applications:

  1. The UH Mānoa Graduate Division for admission to the University.
  2. The School of Social Work for acceptance into the PhD program.
Please note that both applications require official transcripts to be submitted as part of the application.

UH Mānoa Graduate Division Application

UH Mānoa Graduate Admissions application and instructions can be obtained online at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate/content/prospective-students or by contacting:

Graduate Admissions Office
2540 Maile Way
Spalding 354
Honolulu, HI 96822.

Applicants must submit:

  • Graduate Admissions application form
  • Ppplication fee
  • one (1) copy of all official transcripts and
  • other required materials, if any, to the Graduate Division Admissions Office

Applications may also be submitted online at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate/content/how-apply. The School of Social Work does not require the Graduate Divisionís Supplemental Information and Statement of Objectives forms. Submit UH Mānoa Graduate Division Admissions application materials to:

University of Hawai‘i
Graduate Admissions Office
2540 Maile Way, Spalding 354
Honolulu, HI 96822

School of Social Work PhD in Social Welfare program application

PhD application forms and instructions can be obtained online at http://www.hawaii.edu/sswork/phd-forms.html, from the School of Social Work Admissions Office, 1800 East West Road, Henke Hall 230, Honolulu, HI 96822. Applicants to the PhD program must submit the following materials to the School of Social Work:

  1. A fully completed Application for Admission to the PhD Program in Social Welfare form. Found at http://www.hawaii.edu/sswork/forms/phd/phd_02_appl.pdf.

  2. A statement of purpose. This statement should not exceed 5 double-spaced typewritten pages, using a font no smaller than 12 points. Please be as specific as possible in answering the questions below.
    • Discuss your qualifications and readiness for pursuing doctoral studies in social welfare.
    • Describe your view of the role of research in social welfare.
    • Describe the area of specialization around which you wish to concentrate your study and research. In specifying your area of research interest, please identify social welfare PhD faculty who might be useful to you in exploring your area. Indicate any special projects of research emphasis at the School of Social Work or within the larger University that you view as helpful resources.
    • Describe the development of your interest in research and the relation of that interest to your professional area of specialization.
    • Illustrate how your personal history, family background, and intellectual development have influenced your decision to pursue social welfare research as a career goal. As appropriate, note cultural and educational opportunities that you have experienced and any educational, social, or economic disadvantages that you have had to overcome.
    • What are your career plans? Specifically, how do you expect to use the research and scholarly skills developed in the doctoral program?

  3. One example of your academic or scholarly writing (e.g., academic paper, thesis, publications, research proposals). Your writing sample should be single-authored or first-authored by you. If no examples of your academic or scholarly writing are currently available, please write a paper as though you would submit it for publication in a professional journal. Do not send Power Point presentations or case notes. Your writing sample should:
    1. Demonstrate conceptual and analytic skills;
    2. Use appropriate and consistent citation and referencing format; and
    3. Demonstrate writing ability.

  4. One official transcript from every college and university attended even if the credits appear as transferred credits on your records at another institution, and regardless of the number of credits earned or the length of time attended. Official transcripts are original documents issued by the college or university that bear the actual signature of the registrar in ink, and the embossed seal or official stamp of the issuing institution. Request that the official transcripts be sent directly to you in sealed envelopes with the registrarís signature stamped across the flap. Include the unopened envelopes with your other application materials. (Note: Applicants do not need to submit transcripts from any University of Hawai‘i system school.)

  5. Three completed PhD Reference forms with reference letters. Reference letters from faculty or supervisors, which evaluate the applicantís ability to do scholarly work on a doctoral level, are strongly recommended. Request that each completed PhD Reference form and accompanying reference letter be sent directly to you in a sealed envelope with the referenceís signature across the flap. Facsimiles will not be accepted. Please send the three sealed references together with your entire, completed application packet.

  6. GRE scores

    Submission of GRE scores is required of all applicants. Applicants should make arrangements to take the GRE serveral months prior to the application deadline. Test scores cannot be more than five (5) years old.

  7. TOEFL scores: Students who speak English as a second language are required to submit evidence of fluency in English as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. Official scores should be sent directly to the Graduate Admissions office. The Educational Testing Services (ETS) code for UHM is 4867. Test scores cannot be more than two years old.

    Test Information:
    TOEFL/TSE Publications
    P.O. Box 6151
    Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
    Web: http://www.ets.org/toefl

Application Deadline

Deadline for receipt of all materials is January 15.

All UH Mānoa Graduate Division application materials must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office at the address listed above.

All School of Social Work PhD program application materials must be submitted to the School of Social Work at the address listed above.

Tuition and Fees

Please refer to the General and Graduate Information Catalog, Outreach College bulletin, or the Office of Admissions and Records for current information regarding tuition and fees.


For more information, please review the information on this site, or contact Jennifer Kishida, MSW and PhD Program Assistant, at jenkishi@hawaii.edu or (808) 956-3831.

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