GCSW Doctoral Awards FAQ

This FAQ page will be continually updated as more questions come in. Please check back for any updates!

What areas will be funded?

One award will be made for each of the 13 Grand Challenges for Social Work. Applicants are asked to identify which Grand Challenge their proposal most closely aligns and can select up to two. We are unable to provide insight into which area will be most competitive, or which Grand Challenge area you should select.

Who May Apply?

Applicants must be enrolled in a social work doctoral program in the United States and its territories. Doctoral students who anticipate completing a capstone project or dissertation by August 31, 2025 are eligible to apply. A Masters in Social Work is not required. Students from underrepresented populations or historically marginalized backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Examples of marginalized backgrounds include, but are not limited to, first-generation college graduates; individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds; individuals from communities of color; individuals from LGBTQ2SI+ communities; and individuals with disabilities.

Does this include international students?  Yes. International students are eligible to apply. If you are selected, you will need to submit a W9 form and a copy of your photo ID.

When are applications due?

The deadline is 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday, October 20, 2023. The application form with accompanying documents must be submitted by the deadline. If you are having technical difficulties, send applications as an attachment to GCSocialWork@ssw.umaryland.edu.

How and when will I know if I am selected?

Applicants will be notified of the final decision by email approximately 6 weeks after the application deadline.  If selected, the awardee will receive a confirmation letter and will be asked to submit a W9. It is not possible for the GCSW to provide feedback on applications that are declined.

Do I need IRB approval in order to be considered? What should I submit to show evidence of initiating the process?

If your proposed project requires IRB approval, you should submit evidence that you have initiated the IRB process. If your proposed project does not require IRB approval, there is no need to submit this.

What does the 5 page limit apply to?

Item 2, Project Summary, must be no longer that 5 pages including references. The other required materials (Items 3 – 7) do not have to fall within any page limit.

Does this include the actual references list?

What is needed for the letter of agreement from the applicant?
All that is expected is a brief letter confirming your ability to meet the expectations outlined in the Guidelines. A simple statement acknowledging the expectations and your intentions to meet them will do.

Will this awards program be offered every year?

The generous NYCT grant will allow the Grand Challenges to offer this program for two years (calendar years 2023 and 2024). The GCSW strives to procure additional funding in order to continue offering this program in years to come.

Are there restrictions on how I use the funds or preferred uses that will be prioritized?

The awards will be issued as unrestricted stipends directly to the awardee. The only restrictions on how you use your stipend follow your program’s guidance on allowable activities (i.e. lobbying and other advocacy efforts). Certain activities are tax-deductible, while others are not so you may take that into account when considering your budget.

Who can I reach out to if I still have questions?

All questions and communications should be sent to GCSocialWork@ssw.umaryland.edu.


The Grand Challenges for Social Work Doctoral Awards Program is generously funded by The New York Community Trust.

Grand Challenges for Social Work Invites You to Go•Grander!