FAQ

#1.  Do you have a part-time program? We admit a small number of students on a part-time basis.  This plan of study requires students to complete two courses per semester for the first three years of the program and the dissertation in the last two years.  Because students take courses outside the school of social work and we do not have control over these courses, students will need to come to the Iowa City campus for several courses.  Students who are interested in part-time study should contact the director of the PhD program to discuss whether part-time study is feasible given their circumstances.

#2.  Do you have an online program?  No.  Many required courses are offered on the Iowa City campus only.

#3.  Do you offer funding?  Yes.  We offer a competitive funding package to our full-time students.  At the time of admission, applicants receive at least a three-year award, which includes an assistantship, 100% tuition, and a health care stipend.  Most students receive funding from the School for the duration of their studies, and many students also receive external funding.  We also provide travel and dissertation grants to our students.

#4.  How long does it take to complete the program?  Almost all full-time students complete the program in less than five years.  Most students complete the program in four years.

#5.  What is the job outlook?  The job outlook for faculty positions in the United States continues to be excellent for three reasons.  Schools of social work are increasingly requiring that their faculty have a PhD, schools are continuing to graduate the same number of students with the PhD in social work, and faculty are retiring in increasing numbers.

#6.  What type of positions do your graduates get after graduation? About 65% of our graduates accept faculty or research positions at a university or college, 10% accept a post-doctoral appointment, 20% accept an administrative or policy position, and 5% accept a practice position.  Students in administrative or policy positions often hold an adjunct teaching position.

#7. What do you consider major strengths of your program? 

● Strong mentoring.  We are committed to providing intensive mentoring experiences for all of our students.  These experiences include, for example, a teaching and a research practicum.

● Interdisciplinary focus.  Our program has a strong interdisciplinary focus, with students taking about one-half of their coursework in an allied discipline, including public health, sociology, psychology or education.  By taking courses in other departments, our graduates are able to see social problems through multiple lenses.  We think our focus on interdisciplinary study is attractive to prospective employers.

● Individualized plan of study.  Our students have a lot of flexibility when it comes to selecting courses in other departments that are related to their interests.

#8.  Are GRE scores required?  If yes, how heavily do you weight GRE scores in your decision?  Yes.  We require the GRE.  The admissions committee considers the student's entire application, including the applicant’s prior coursework and accomplishments, statement of purpose, scholarly writing, letters of recommendation, and the GRE scores.  In general, if a lower score can be offset by other evidence demonstrating the applicant’ ability, then the GRE score has less weight. 

#9.  Statistics were covered in my MSW research courses.  Do I need I still need to take an introductory statistics course?  Probably. The director of the PhD program can evaluate the course(s) that you took to determine whether they meet this admissions requirement. 

#10. How many applicants do you accept?  We typically offer admission to three to five applicants a year or about 35% of applicants.

#11. I missed the deadline (February 15).  Will you consider a late application?  If you missed the deadline, contact the director of the PhD program to see if an application will be considered.

#12.  I’ll be completing my MSW soon, and I’m thinking about applying now.  I’m concerned about the CSWE two years of post-MSW experience requirement that most schools of social work expect.  Should I apply now or work for two years?  This decision depends on several factors.  The director of the PhD program would be happy to discuss your unique circumstances.   

#13. I would like more information.  Who should I talk to? 

● For questions related to submitting your application to the Graduate College or the School of Social Work, contact our admissions coordinator, Tomeka Petersen at ssw-admissions@uiowa.edu.

● For most questions related to the joint MSW/PhD program and visiting the campus during the summer, contact program administrator kate-kemp@uiowa.edu.

● For most other questions related to the PhD program, contact PhD program director man-guo@uiowa.edu or, if you think you might want to work with a specific faculty member, contact them directly.