Admission requirements

Admission to the PhD in Social Work is dependent on the following factors:

  • Applicants must have obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work at exit level 9 with 180 credits.
  • Applicants must be registered as a social worker or student social worker with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP). Students have to hand in proof of registration.
  • Applicants with a foreign MSW qualification have to apply at the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for an evaluation of their qualification. The purpose of this evaluation is the recognition of foreign qualifications in terms of the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
  • Foreign students must apply for registration at the SACSSP as social workers or student social workers, in terms of section 17 of the Social Service Professions Act, 1978.
  • A minimum of 60% is required for admission to the University of the Free State.
  • Applicants must have achieved at least 65% for the MSW qualification.
  • Applicants must have advance working knowledge of social work research methodology. Applicants are advised to study the following textbook:
    • Rubin, A & Babbie, ER. 2017. Research methods for social work. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Selection Procedure

  1. Applicants have to sit for the TALPS test (a test of academic literacy for postgraduate students). Please note: this is an ICELDA test; it is NOT a test of the University of the Free State. Procedure for the arrangement/registration of a TALPS test:
    • A test booking must be made by sending an email to, indicating your intention of writing the test. A registration form and details will then be sent to you by the TALPS administrator.
  2. Applicants must submit an electronic or hard copy of their dissertation or mini-dissertation for the previous qualification.
  3. Applicants must compile an annotated bibliography of 15 journal articles (not older than five years) on their topic of choice. See the addendum for the criteria to compile the annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography should be submitted to the Postgraduate Coordinator, Prof Sandra Ferreira (, two weeks before the envisaged date of the preliminary examination.
  4. Applicants must pass a preliminary examination of their proposed conceptual framework and research methodology. The preliminary examination will take place in the form of an oral presentation on their research proposal of about one hour. The date of the preliminary examination must be arranged with Prof Sandra Ferreira (


  1. Complete the online application form for admission to the University of the Free State.
  2. The following documents must be completed and sent to Prof SB Ferreira, Department of Social Work (34), PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300:


  • If possible, you will be placed with the supervisor of your choice.
  • If your application is successful, you will be expected to attend workshops presented by the Postgraduate School of the UFS that will aid you in your research study.
  • After completion of your research report, you will be invited to do a presentation on your research findings to the social work community.

The closing date for applications is 30 September.

Prof Sandra B Ferreira


T: +27 51 401 2240 or

Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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