How to Apply

To be eligible for full consideration for admission and financial support, students should submit all application materials by January 2nd. Applicants must:


  • Criminal Justice - hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in criminal justice, criminology, or otherwise titled degree in the criminal justice field;
  • Social Work - hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in social work (preferred) or in a related field, or be assigned MSW-level coursework to fulfill any deficiency requirements. A copy of transcripts that demonstrate fulfillment of MSW degree or equivalent requirements or help that satisfy social work training deficiencies is required.


  • Hold a Bachelor's degree in any field.


  • Meet admission requirements of the UWM Graduate School;
  • Submit the following to the Graduate School:

    • A completed Graduate School Application and application fee. To complete the application, go to: http://www.graduateschool.uwm.edu/students/prospective/apply/
    • A personal statement, in the appropriate space in the online application, that identifies (1) which of the program’s four areas of specialization (Criminal Justice, Social Work-Applied Gerontology, Social Work-Family and Child Welfare, or Social Work-Health and Behavioral Health) you wish to study, (2) your reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree, (3) your goals as a future scholar, and (4) a topic or issue in the field you consider to be particularly challenging and worthy of study. You may also provide other information you consider relevant regarding your commitment to criminal justice or social work in the academic arena.
    • One official transcript from each academic institution you have attended;
    • If applicable, scores from within the past five years on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL);
  • Submit the following to Prof. Steve McMurtry, Social Welfare Doctoral Program Director, Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 786, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0786:

    • A current copy of your professional résumé or curriculum vitae;
    • Scores from within the past five years on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test;
    • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your achievements and academic potential, including a least one current or former instructor (a graduate instructor if applicable);
    • A sample of your written work that demonstrates your writing skills, your ability to think analytically, and your knowledge of theory, practice, and research.

You may submit the above materials electronically if you prefer. To do so, please email them to Prof. McMurtry at mcmurtry@uwm.edu.

Checklist for the Ph.D. Application Process