The PhD: Social Work program is designed to prepare social work scholars, educators and researchers to have an in-depth understanding of social justice and human rights and the underlying structural issues; to be equipped to take leadership positions in universities, colleges, and government and non-government organizations; and to be able to contribute to the development of structural social work theory and practice.

Admission Requirements

  • Master’s degree in Social Work (accredited by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education or equivalent). Or an accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree and a closely related master’s degree.
  • A- (80%) or better in your courses (including your thesis)
  • No grade below a B- (70%)
  • Minimum two years full-time post graduate work experience or five years post-baccalaureate work experience in the social services and/or policy field.

*If you were educated internationally, please see the minimum admission requirements for  relevant country –

Required Documents

After you have submitted your online application and your application fee has been processed, you will be instructed on how to upload your required documents in Carleton Central. For complete application instructions and required electronic documents, please visit the Graduate Admissions website.
Our program requires:

Document/Forms  Details
Transcript(s) All post-secondary transcripts are required
Letters of Reference Three (3) are required.
Academic References: Two are preferred but you must have at least one. Even though it may have been some time since you were last in school, we encourage you to contact previous instructors/professors with a reminder of the classes you took, when you took it, any specific assignments or  presentations you did, and your final grade.  This may help them to write a strong reference for you.
Professional Reference: At least one referee must be provided who can comment on your Social Work related work experience.
Statement of Intent One (1) is required. It should include a discussion of:

  1. your reasons for pursuing a PhD education;
  2. your main academic areas of interests;
  3. a summary of the research problem you hope to explore; and
  4. your academic and professional experiences as they relate to your plans for study.
CV/Resumé One (1) is required. It should include the following information:

  • your education (institution, dates attended and degree awarded);
  • paid employment history (identify employer, location of employment, the start and end dates, and a brief job description);
  • teaching experiences (list any courses that you have taught at either a community college or university level; and
  • research experience, papers presented at conferences, publications; and professional affiliations.

Note: A minimum of two years full-time post-graduate work experience, or five years post-baccalaureate work experience in the social services and/or social policy field is required. 

Writing Sample One (1) is required.
Language Proficiency (ESL Test Scores) Required, if applicable. For Carleton’s ESL requirements and policies, please visit the ESL Requirements website.

You can check Carleton Central to see what documents have been uploaded to ensure a completed application.

Application Deadlines

Fall Term (September):

  • February 28

The only intake term is the Fall term. Winter and Summer term admission is not available.

How to Apply

Application Website ButtonThe application process to graduate studies at Carleton for all prospective students is the same and must be completed online. For complete information regarding the application process please visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Financial Support

Consideration for funding and financial support including teaching and research assistantships is made at the time of admission. A separate application is not required. In order to be considered for funding, you must submit a completed application (including all required documents) before the December 1 deadline. Current and prospective graduate students are encouraged to apply for Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) scholarships and Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS), which are awarded annually to outstanding students by the federal and provincial governments. Please note that funding from Carleton (including teaching and research assistantships) for international students is limited and is only available to a few outstanding international applicants. For more information on awards and funding, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

More Information

For complete and detailed information about the PhD: Social Work program, please consult the official Graduate Calendar.

Those who are interested in learning more about the PhD program are encouraged to contact the PhD Supervisor