Our Ph.D. program prepares students to enter careers as social work scholars and academics who engage in research that enhances the well-being of oppressed and vulnerable populations and the education of the next generation of social workers. The School of Social Work offers Ph.D. students a state-of-the-art education at the largest Research I university in the nation. Our program has a number of unique programmatic features that enhance students’ educational experiences.
Our program offers students opportunities to be actively involved in both research and teaching and to study with renowned social work scholars. Students benefit from the close mentorship of our committed faculty and regular partnerships with our many internal research centers and offices. Opportunities for collaboration are plentiful. Doctoral students typically work closely with a range of faculty. Students also receive valuable opportunities to teach in our BSW and MSW programs, both in-person and online. Such experiences and partnerships offer students an emergent portfolio of research and teaching that positions them to succeed in academic careers.
The curriculum of our doctoral program is highly interdisciplinary. Core doctoral courses—including statistics, research methods, and social work pedagogy—are small and taught by School of Social Work faculty. Through the coursework, students receive mentorship in the preparation of publishable research articles to begin their careers conducting independent and meaningful social work research. Supplementary to the core in-house courses, students select among a repertoire of courses across Arizona State University to customize their course of study according to their substantive interests. Our school is located in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions within the smaller and more intimate downtown Phoenix campus. In addition to the School of Social Work, the college includes the Schools of Community Resources and Development, Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Public Affairs. The School of Social Work’s close physical proximity to these allied helping disciplines enhances students’ opportunities to be educated by and work with a diverse array of scholars.
The Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, inclusive of the School of Social Work, is a prominent presence and vital component of the downtown Phoenix area. The social embeddedness of the college within the broader downtown community facilitates cutting-edge social work research. Furthermore, the economic and cultural diversity of the Southwest affords students unique opportunities to engage in important community-based research with diverse populations.
Below is a list of research collaboratives housed within the School of Social Work. Reviewing the list of research centers and offices, along with the research interests of individual faculty will provide a sense of the extensive range of possibilities our doctoral program has to offer.
- ASU Center for Child Well-Being - Drawing upon the expertise of faculty from across ASU, this center works to increase resilience among families and build safer and more vibrant communities for young people. Faculty researchers and students affiliated with the center support, sustain, and improve community-based public services for children and families (Dr. Judy Krysik, Director).
- Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center - Funded by the National Institutes of Health, this center supports culturally sensitive research on health disparities, substance abuse prevention, HIV/AIDS, and mental health (Dr. Flavio Marsiglia, Director).
- Center for International Translational Intervention Research - Through transnational research partnerships, this center serves as a bridge between ASU and universities and communities in other countries to increase their capacity to apply science-based interventions to solve pressing health and social problems (Dr. Flavio Marsiglia, Director).
- Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy - This center’s collaborative mission is to improve practices, program implementation, and policies of human service systems that support families and individuals. The center engages in services research, policy analysis, workforce enhancement, program development and evaluation in the field of behavioral health (Dr. Michael Shafer, Director).
- Office of American Indian Projects - The purpose of this office is to develop the capacity of American Indian communities and programs. Research and grant projects aim to develop strengths in both individuals and systems within the social work arenas of American Indian communities and support tribes to assume responsibility for the delivery of social services to American Indian people (Edwin Gonzalez-Santin, Director).
- Office of Forensic Social Work - The primary mission of this office is to promote social work's contributions to the understanding of law and the legal system with a special focus on investigating child welfare, mental health, and criminal justice/law interactions (Dr. Jose Ashford, Director).
- Office of Latino Projects - This office is a social and economic justice resource center providing information, data, and policy analysis on the growing Latino population. It also focuses on increasing the linguistically and culturally competent social work workforce to meet the unique needs of populations of the Southwest (Dr. David Becerra, Director).
- Office of Global Social Work - This office was established to foster global connections and international relations by developing and sharing experiences and opportunities, good practices among social work practitioners, scholars, educators and students in a global environment, and provide an opportunity to engage in international collaborations to promote international social work practice, education and research (Dr. Barbara Klimek, Director).
- Office of Offender Diversion and Sentencing Solutions - This office promotes the use of scientific evidence in designing and evaluating sentencing policies and practices for pre-booking and post-booking diversion programs, pre-sentence and post-conviction proceedings, and offender reentry programs for adult and juvenile offenders (Dr. Jose Ashford, Director).
- Office of Gerontological and Interprofessional Initiatives - This office was established to support and promote the preparation of baccalaureate and graduate social workers for professional practice with older adults and their families (Dr. Teri Kennedy, Director).
- Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research - The goal of this office is to contribute to the knowledge base about sex trafficking by introducing innovative research methodologies and unique partnerships in the development of new knowledge. The office also aims to be a central source of research on domestic sex trafficking to inform law enforcement and prosecutors, educators, medical services, and social services (Dr. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Director).
- Southwest Collaborative on Immigration, Inequality, and Poverty - This collaborative is a laboratory for sharing ideas and research projects that explore ways to inform our understanding of immigration, poverty, social and economic inequality, social justice, human rights, globalization, social empathy, and their intersections (Dr. David Becerra, Director).