CSWE-SSWR-GADE Social Work Doctoral Student Policy Fellowship

Doctoral Student Policy Fellowship Application 2023–24

Application Deadline: Thursday, August  17, 2023

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), and Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) announce the Social Work Doctoral Student Policy Fellowship, which will begin accepting applications for this opportunity to connect social work research with policymaking in Washington, DC throughout the 2023–24 academic year. This virtual opportunity does not require the fellow to relocate to the Washington, DC area. This fellowship will offer opportunities for experiential learning through virtual placement of 12 weeks with a congressional office or a government relation firm. Fellows will work closely with policy practitioners to translate their research agenda into policy proposals or briefs; will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the authorization process; will be able to effectively communicate complex social welfare concepts through advocacy materials, policy briefs, or policy one-pagers; and will expand their professional networks through a mentorship process.  A structured supplemental curriculum will be delivered virtually via experts in the field of social work, policy, and research. 

Program Purpose

The objectives of the CSWE-SSWR-GADE Social Work Doctoral Student Policy Forum & Fellowship are to:

  1. Create an opportunity for doctoral students to make a stronger link between their research and policy;

  2. Expose social work researchers to the ways their research experience and backgrounds are used by practitioners in government to influence and inform policy;

  3. Promote the value and significance of investments in social work and social work research on Capitol Hill; and

  4. Cultivate a cadre of social work researchers who can both advocate for investments in social work education and research, as well as disseminate this information amongst their communities of practice. 


Eligibility: Applicants must be currently enrolled doctoral students at a U.S. domestic higher education institution. They must be at least in their 2nd year of coursework and in the pre-dissertation phase of their program during the 2023–24 academic year. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in programs affiliated with CSWE, SSWR, or GADE.

Support for Participation: Up to 10 individuals will be selected to participate in this fellowship. Fellows will receive a $2,000 stipend and a $2,500 travel award. The stipend will be administered bi-annually.

Required Events: Fellows will be expected to attend a meeting at CSWE's 2023 Annual Program Meeting in Atlanta, GA (October 26–29, 2023), the 2024 CSWE policy forum in Alexandria, VA (spring 2024), and all virtual and mentorship meetings. Fellows will be expected complete a presentation on their fellowship placement experience. There is an expectation that the fellow’s home institution will supplement the travel award with financial support to ensure full participation in all events.  

Application Process: There will be a two-part application process. Applicants will apply through an online portal housed on CSWE’s website. Applicants will do the following: 

  1. Complete all the questions and a personal statement in the online application; and
  2. Identify two individuals to submit letters of recommendation on behalf of the candidate. The first recommendation must be from the applicant’s doctoral program director. The second recommendation should be from someone who knows the applicant in a professional or academic setting.  

Successful first-round applicants will be selected to undergo an interview process with representatives of each partnering organization, from which the Social Work Policy Fellows will be selected. Applications will be assessed by the applicant’s academic achievements, the strength of the personal statement and letters of recommendation, representation reflecting the breadth and diversity of the social work profession, and the demonstration of a commitment to the inclusion of policy considerations in their dissertation research.


Informational Webinar: CSWE will host an informational webinar on Wednesday, August 2, 2023, at 3:00 PM (EST). Register in advance for this webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Applicants are encouraged to join the webinar to ask questions.

For any questions or concerns regarding the application process, please contact the Director of Initiatives and Professional Development, Maisaloon Dias at [email protected].