Application Instructions | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Application Information

Our doctoral program provides the nation and the world with some of the profession’s best scholars, teachers and researchers and, as such, is highly competitive. We review all applications holistically, assessing an individual’s overall preparation for rigorous doctoral study.

All of our applicants must meet the admissions requirements of the Graduate School at Washington University as well as the requirements of the Brown School PhD Program.

The application deadline is December 1. Most admission decisions are announced on a case-by-case basis in February and March.

Application requirements include:

  • A clear personal statement demonstrating interest in research and scholarship
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  • Master's degree in relevant discipline
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty and colleagues
  • CV
  • Writing sample from your master’s program or professional portfolio
  • GRE scores (NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the GRE is currently optional.)
  • In some cases, TOEFL scores are needed

Testing Information


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is typically required for all applicants to our doctoral programs, but due to COVID-19, the GRE is optional for applicants for fall 2021. 

Applicants should supply test results for all sections, verbal, quantitative and analytical. While there is no minimum acceptable score, the most competitive applicants receive a minimum of 145 in the verbal and quantitative sections and 3.5 or above in the written analytical portion. We will consider the higher set of scores for an applicant who sits for the examination more than once.

Applicants are strongly advised to sit for the examination no later than November 1 to allow sufficient time for their scores to reach us by the December 1 program deadline. Applications with missing GRE scores cannot be reviewed.

For more information on the GRE, visit The institution code for Washington University in St. Louis is: 6929. The Social Work department code is: 5001.


Foreign nationals, for whom English is not a native language, or who have not already received a master’s degree in an English-speaking country, are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) in sufficient time for their scores to reach us by the December 1 program deadline. Applicants must receive a minimum score of 100 or better to be considered. Visit for all information related to this test.

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