Woman applying for the Faculty of Social Work PhD Program

PhD Application Process

How do I get in

  1. A Master of Social Work (MSW) degree or equivalent Master's degree from an accredited/recognized institution. 
    If you completed your degree outside Canada, look up the grade equivalency for your country.
  2. A minimum of 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 point system, calculated on the Master of Social Work or equivalent Master's degree.
  3. A minimum of two years full-time post-master's social services practice experience.
    What is relevant social work and human service experience? 
  4. English Language Proficiency

Dates and Deadlines

Apply early! Do not wait until the application deadline. You'll upload your documents after you submit your application.

Deadlines are firm. You are unable to upload or edit application materials after the deadline.

Our goal is to notify all applicants of the outcome of their application by the end of February. Admission results are sent by email.

Prepare your PhD Application

In Fall 2025, the PhD program will be delivered from Edmonton.

Getting started

Gather References

We will invite your referees to complete an online reference form after you submit your application.

Make sure you enter their email address correctly or your referee will not receive the invite.

Learn more about this requirement below >>

Begin Your Application

Create an eID to log in. If you already have an eID, you can begin your online application. 

Once you begin, remember to click 'Save & Continue' often to ensure your application is saved.


Access the UCalgary Online Application

Submit your application

Pay your non-refundable application fee:

$125 for Canadian or Permanent residents

$145 for International Students


To access the online application, an eID is required.

New applicants: you must create an eID before starting your application.

Current and former UCalgary students/applicants: You must use your previous eID to access the online application, which is typically firstname.lastname. Your eID is different from your IT username.
Confirm your eID  |  Reset your password

Clearing your cache often resolves many issues with accessing the online application.

Still experiencing issues? Contact the UCalgary IT Support Centre.


Your application has to contain information for two referees:

  • one from a person who can speak to your academic performance and ability (e.g., graduate program supervisor, professor, practicum instructor), and
  • one needs to be a professional/work reference (must have directly supervised you).

We do not accept letters from friends, family members, colleagues, people who are currently registered in a graduate degree program, or general letters that are not written in support of your application.

Choose a referee who can describe your strengths and weaknesses in these general areas:

  • academic background and training;
  • research ability and record;
  • communication and language ability; and
  • reliability and personal aptitude; and
  • provide their overall recommendation.

Ask your referees to read your research proposal and comment on it in their reference submission.

Currently registered in a graduate degree program or recently graduated? Your program supervisor must submit a reference.

If you have been out of school for a long time (5+ years) or you are an international student and cannot contact previous instructors, you can submit two professional references. Make sure to provide an explanation in the Program Specific Questions.

Submit Required Documents

You will upload your required documents through your Student Centre after you submit your application.

Your CV is an important part of your application. Make sure you fully capture your experience (paid and/or volunteer) relevant to social work.

Don’t forget to detail:

  • your educational history
  • professional experience (including teaching and research)
  • professional and educational awards/distinctions
  • peer and non-peer reviewed publications and
  • presentations

Your program proposal is a vital part of your application. Make sure you allow enough time to prepare a well written proposal. The proposal is approximately 10 pages, double-spaced (not including title page and references), and must be written in an academic format (APA or other).

In your program proposal, include a discussion of:

  • your reasons for pursuing doctoral education in social work
  • your educational goals and career expectations
  • your prior research course work and experience
  • a research proposal outlining the research problem you hope to investigate, your guiding theoretical framework and your preliminary ideas regarding methodology, and the potential contributions to social work research, practice, policy, and education (approximately 5 pages, double-spaced)

Your program proposal is evaluated for clarity, content and writing ability.

A sample of written work such as a published or unpublished scholarly paper or a professional report.  

You need to upload unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you've attended (except for the University of Calgary) by the application deadline. If those institutions don't indicate the awarded degree on their transcripts, you will need your degree certificates as well.

IMPORTANT: Transcript file(s), including English translations and/or degree certificates (if applicable), must be amalgamated into one PDF file per institution, and clearly outline the following: terms, institution grading scale, course weight (units/credits), and grade.

If your application is successful, final official transcripts will be requested with your offer of admission. These must be sent in a sealed envelope directly from your previous post-secondary institution(s). If you have official transcripts in your possession, they need to remain in the original sealed envelope. 

Do not submit official transcripts in advance of an offer of admission.

English is the official language of instruction at the University of Calgary. We follow the Faculty of Graduate Studies policy for English Language Proficiency, and we are a Level 1 program.

You need to submit ELP test scores. If you have completed a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution that teaches in English you may be exempt. List of eligible countries

In certain circumstances, you may request to waive the English Language Proficiency requirement.

After you apply

Apply early! Do not wait until the application deadline. You'll upload your documents after you submit your application.

Within a few days of submitting your application, you'll receive a confirmation email with your student identification number (UCID). This email will go to your UCalgary email address if you already have one. If you don’t see your email within a couple days, check your spam folder, in case your email account filtered the auto-generated email.

Check in with your referees - they should have received an automated email allowing them to complete the reference form. Your referees must submit their reference using the unique link in this email. It is your responsibility to ensure your references are received by the deadline. If they don’t see our email, ask them to check the spam folder, in case the email account filtered the auto-generated email.

Changes to your application

Once you have submitted the online application, it cannot be updated.

Reach out to Student Services to inquire further. 

Upload your supporting documents

Review the list of required supporting documents, and upload your required documents by the deadline. 

Check your status

To check the status of documents or your application, log in to your Student Centre, and refer to your 'To Do List'.

My application is complete - what happens next?

You’ve completed the application form, paid your application deposit, and submitted all your required documents. What happens next? 

At this point your application is considered complete. It will be reviewed by the admission committee for a decision on your admission to the program. 

Applications will start to be assessed following the application deadline. 

Due to the nature of the assessment process, you'll be notified of the outcome of your application by the end of February - but you may receive a decision earlier. 

All applicants will receive either an offer, regrets, or waitlist notification by email.

I've been admitted!

Congratulations on receiving an offer.

Review your offer of admission carefully. It outlines how to accept your offer and pay your non-refundable admission deposit, conditions of your admission (if applicable), critical deadlines, and required official transcripts. 

Your deposit must be received to confirm your spot in the program. We'll send you detailed registration information after your deposit has been paid  and posted to your account.  

Official transcripts are required from all post-secondary institutions you've attended outlined in your offer of admission.

Plan ahead. Transcripts can take two months or more to be received. International applicants may need even longer.

Note: transcripts from UCalgary do not need to be submitted as they are on file.

  1. Official Paper Transcripts

    Transcripts must be sent directly from the Registrar’s Office of your institution/s to the Faculty of Social Work. Official transcripts must be sealed in an envelope with the institution’s official seal.

    If the transcripts are in a language other than English, official translated copies are also required.

    Address to:

    Faculty of Social Work - Graduate Admissions
    MacKimmie Tower, Room 301
    University of Calgary
    2500 University Drive NW
    Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4

  2. Official eTranscripts

    The Registrar’s Office of your post-secondary institution/s can email transcripts to UCalgary’s Faculty of Graduate Studies at gradtranscripts@ucalgary.ca.

    Email transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing institution's transcript office. Transcripts received from individuals (e.g., students, faculty members) will not be accepted as official. The name of the transcript office varies between institutions. Common examples: Registrar’s Office, Controller of Examinations, Student Records, or Admissions Office. 

Mailing address

Faculty of Social Work - Graduate Admissions 
MacKimmie Tower, Room 301 
University of Calgary 
2500 University Drive NW 
Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4 


You are not given a number on the waitlist. The admission committee will consider everyone on the waitlist to determine who will receive an offer at the time a spot becomes available.

This means that we cannot estimate how long it will take for each waitlisted applicant to receive a final decision; waitlisted applicants may receive their final decision as late as orientation week.

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