PhD Program in Social Work

Education for the next generation of leaders in Social Work

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. On a full-time basis, the coursework is designed to be completed in two academic years. Part-time doctoral students take 6 credit hours per semester, and coursework is designed to be completed in three 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 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:

  • develop a multidisciplinary understanding of complex issues and problems;
  • focus on innovative methodologies in knowledge building;
  • conduct translational research from problem-solving to real life solutions; and
  • foster individual connections and collaborative mentorship.

Ph.D. Program Objectives

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

  • analyze the varieties of translational research;
  • apply analytical models and multidisciplinary theories in the study of social problems and human behavior;
  • conduct basic, applied and translational research that has a meaningful impact on problems studied;
  • demonstrate innovation in critical thinking and research; and
  • write competitive grant applications.