Social Work, PhD

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The purpose of the PhD program in social work is to train future social work scholars, social work professionals engaged in research, teaching and service.

Supplementary to the coursework, this doctoral program offers students opportunities to be actively involved in both research and teaching. Students benefit from the close mentorship of the committed faculty and regular partnerships with many internal research centers and offices. Students also receive valuable opportunities to develop a teaching portfolio, positioning them to succeed in academic careers.

Graduates are prepared to enter careers in applied research that enhance human well-being, particularly among oppressed and vulnerable populations, and to educate the next generation of social workers.

Program offered

Social Work, PhD

Offered by
Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Application deadline

Applications are accepted up to January 15th preceding the fall semester to which the applicant is seeking admission.

Program requirements

Required Social Work Courses (12 credit hours)

Research Methods and Statistics (12 credit hours)

Directed Electives (9 credit hours)

Theory (3 credit hours)

Research (12 credit hours)
SWG 792 Research (12)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
SWG 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree. The doctoral program requires students to take a minimum of 36 course credit hours beyond the MSW in addition to the required 24 credit hours of research and dissertation; 84 credit hours are required beyond the bachelor's degree. Students may need to take additional coursework to achieve the competency requirements set by the program or set by their graduate supervisory committees.

Students develop their plan of study in consultation with the graduate supervisory committee. Required social work courses must be 700 level and approved by the doctoral program committee. Students should see the academic unit for approved course lists and other requirements for research methods and statistics courses, electives, and theory coursework.

Once the 36 minimum course credit hours are completed, students are required to register for 12 hours of SWG 792 Research before the defense of the prospectus and 12 hours of SWG 799 Dissertation after the prospectus defense. Students must be registered for at least one credit hour during the semester (including summer) when they do their dissertation proposal defense. At least one of the dissertation hours must be taken in the semester the student expects to defend his or her dissertation.

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