PhD Program in Social Work

Your Destination for Innovation, Diversity and Access

The Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) initiated the Ph.D. Program in 1993. Students may pursue study on a full-time or part-time basis. A full-time doctoral student takes 9-12 credit hours per semester with coursework designed to be completed in two and one half (2 ½ ) academic years. Part-time doctoral students take 6 credit hours per semester, and coursework is designed to be completed in three and one half (3 ½) academic years.

In 1998, the GCSW began a M.S.W./Ph.D. dual degree option designed for students pursuing the M.S.W. degree while also working on their doctorate. The dual degree program is available only to full-time students. Applicants interested in the M.S.W./Ph.D. option must apply and be admitted to each program separately.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Graduate College of Social Work is to educate professionals for social work practice, research, and leadership. We advocate for innovative, collaborative, inclusive, and humane policies and solutions that promote social, economic, and political justice. Our College generates new knowledge through critical thinking that links rigorous scientific inquiry, ethical social work practice, and community engagement.

Ph.D. Program Goals

The goal of the GCSW doctoral program is to prepare social work researchers, scholars, and educators to advance the knowledge base of the profession. The Ph.D. Program offers students an opportunity to:

  • conduct translational research on evidence-based interventions and policies in real world social work and social welfare settings ;
  • develop a multidisciplinary understanding of complex issues and problems;
  • focus on innovative methodologies in knowledge building; and
  • foster individual connections and collaborative mentorship.

Ph.D. Program Objectives

Upon completion of the Ph.D. Program, students will be able to:

  • conduct independent research that advances the evidence-base of social work and impacts problems studied;
  • analyze and conduct translational research that advances the implementation of evidence-based interventions and policies in real world social work and social welfare settings;
  • apply analytical models and multidisciplinary theories in the study of social problems and human behavior;
  • demonstrate innovation in critical thinking and research; and
  • write competitive grant applications.