Admissions Procedure

Minimum requirements for consideration for the PhD program (Onsite and Distance) include:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited graduate school of social work, counseling psychology, or a master’s degree in a closely related field.

  • Graduate program grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

  • Personal therapy experience is not required as a prerequisite for admission, though such experience is favorably considered.

  • At least baseline licensure in the State where you practice (i.e., LSW, LCP, etc.) by the time ICSW classes begin; applicants without baseline licensure may be admitted on the condition that they receive baseline licensure by the start of classes. Once classes begin, we expect students with baseline licensure to be working actively toward receiving terminal licensure (i.e., LCSW, LCPC), following their State’s guidelines regarding clinical supervision.

  • An active weekly clinical caseload; ICSW doctoral students need to discuss their clinical work regularly, both in class and in consultation with members of the faculty.

Applicants who meet the above criteria and are interested in applying to the program are welcome to apply online. During this process, applicants are asked to submit:

  • Application Form

  • Personal Statement (Uploaded with application) (Guidelines)

  • Practice Philosophy (Uploaded with application) (Guidelines)

  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate colleges or universities attended

  • Curriculum Vitae (Uploaded with application)

  • Non-refundable $100 application fee

Based on the above materials, applicants who appear well qualified for the program will be invited to a minimum of two interviews with ICSW faculty members (onsite or via video conferencing), and will be asked to take an online writing / critical thinking assessment.


Priority Admissions Deadline: February 24, 2020

General Admissions Deadline: April 1, 2020

Hard copies of materials should be sent directly to:
Chair of Admissions
Institute for Clinical Social Work
401 S. State St., Ste. 822
Chicago, IL 60605

* Official electronic transciprts may be sent to Andrea Dunbar, Director of Student and Academic Affairs, at

Program Graduation Requirements

A student is eligible for graduation when they have:

  1. Completed all coursework with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

  2. Completed all clinical practicum requirements, including presenting a clinical case to a faculty panel

  3. Successfully completed a Qualifying Theory Exam covering concepts from psychodynamic theory courses

  4. Successfully defend a scholarly dissertation

  5. Fulfilled all financial obligations to the Institute

Some credit earned in the master’s program may be transferable to ICSW’s doctoral program. For specific information, please contact ICSW at 312-935-4232 or 

Credit Transfer Policy

We accept, on an individual basis, transfer of credits from any other accredited Master’s or Doctoral Program for courses which are equivalent to courses in the curriculum of ICSW’s Master’s or Doctoral Program pending approval by the Academic Dean or the Director of the Master’s Program.

  • Courses from other programs must be evaluated by the Academic Dean.

  • The evaluation will include a judgment of the general similarity in content and clock hours.

  • We will accept credits totaling no more than twenty percent of the required coursework in any degree program.

  • Clinical Practicum and case conference courses may be eligible for transfer of credit consideration.

  • Courses may be no less than 5 years old to be eligible for transfer credit.

  • Transcripts and syllabi need to be reviewed for content prior to granting transfer credit approval.

ICSW has always had a “test-out” policy for any course. Students must successfully complete the evaluation of student learning activities to demonstrate knowledge of course content.