Skip to Content

College of Social Work

Ph.D. Funding

Your doctoral education is a major investment. Our funding packages are intended to make doctoral education within reach – and to support you to give your doctoral studies your full-time attention.

Our standard funding package provides a stipend-paying Graduate Assistantship and a full tuition supplement for three years of full-time study. Students whose study extends to a 4th or 5th year generally have opportunities for continued funding through fellowships, classroom teaching and agency-based practicum instruction, and individually arranged research assistantships with individual faculty in the college or across the university. Many of these opportunities also provide partial or full tuition offsets.

College of Social Work Scholarships and Fellowships

Several competitive scholarships are offered through the College of Social Work, and applicants are encouraged to explore these opportunities and apply as appropriate.


Research on aging and older adults is the focus of the new Connor Fellows Program for PhD students. The College of Social Work fellowship provides a package of funding, mentoring and scholarship aimed at improving the wellbeing of South Carolina adults. One incoming PhD student each year will receive the scholarship.  


The Margaret Gheen Hartzog Memorial Scholarship Fund was created to assist disabled students in the MSW or Ph.D. programs. Students must have a documented disability and be registered with the Student Disability Resource Center.


The Linda M. Summer Social Work Pioneer Fellowship was established to recognize outstanding academic performance, leadership and social work practice.



  • Financial need
  • Male student

Research Assistantships

Our PhD students are assigned to Graduate Research Assistantships which provide stipends of $18,000/academic year for the first three years of study. These stipends are for 20 hours/week of faculty-mentored research and professional development activities.

Graduate School Scholarly Initiatives

A number of competitive opportunities exist for additional doctoral student funding. We nominate highly qualified applicants for the prestigious Presidential Fellowship and Trustee Recruiting Fellowships. Other award applications can be initiated by the applicant/student. We encourage you to explore opportunities to apply for university-wide Scholarly Initiatives through the Graduate School, such as the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program. Applicants are also encourage to visit the USC Opportunities page for information about additional funding possibilities.

Classroom Teaching

PhD students often receive funding to teach in our MSW or BSW programs. Students usually teach during summer terms and after the first three years of the program.

Field Teaching

If you have social work practice experience, you may work as a field liaison or, in some cases, as a field instructor. These roles will help you gain supervisory experience and learn to assess student mastery of practice skills.


You may qualify for other forms of financial aid to support your doctoral education, such as: ·

  • Funding to support pilot and/or dissertation research and travel to present your scholarly work at conferences. Limited College of Social Work funding may be available, and students can apply for Travel Grants from the Graduate School as well.
  • Faculty support: You may receive travel and research support from faculty mentoring or research funds. · Dissertation support: The Office of the Vice President for Research offers the Support to Promote Advancement of Research and Creativity (SPARC) program to support Ph.D. dissertation research.
  • External fellowships and grants: The Ph.D. program provides information about assistance in applying for numerous external fellowships and grants.

Additional funding tips and opportunities are available from The Graduate School.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.