PhD FAQs

What can I do with a doctoral degree in social work?
What types of careers do Ph.D. graduates pursue?
What is the difference between the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs?
Do you provide advanced clinical practice training?
Do I need a Master’s degree in social work to be in the Ph.D. program?
How long does it take to graduate?
How many of my total hours or coursework can involve my dissertation?
Are there opportunities to gain teaching experience while in the doctoral program?
What must I do to be eligible to teach a UT Arlington School of Social Work course?
What kind of financial support will be available to me?
I am an international student. Am I eligible for funding?
May I apply as a transfer student?
Do you offer a part-time or an online Ph.D.?
Will I be able to keep my current job and go to school at the same time?
When is the application deadline?
How do I send in my GRE or TOEFL scores?
What can I do to improve my chances of admittance?
What additional factors do you consider in the application process?
What makes UTA School of Social Work’s doctoral program different?
How would you describe the faculty mentoring relationship?
Who is considered for admission to the Ph.D. program?
When are applicants notified of admission decisions?
Can I start taking courses anytime in the academic year?
What if I am not sure if a doctoral degree is really what I want?
Where should I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?
How do I apply for the Ph.D. Program?

What can I do with a doctoral degree in social work?

The Ph.D. program prepares students for careers as researchers and academics. Ph.D. programs also prepare students to assume leadership positions in agencies. For additional information, you may want to check the occupational outlook handbook here

What types of careers do Ph.D. graduates pursue?

The majority of the doctoral program’s graduates accept positions conducting research and teaching in universities and research institutions throughout the world. Other graduates choose to work with governmental organizations shaping policies and providing leadership in a managerial or executive capacity.

What is the difference between the Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs?

The M.S.W. program offers a pre-professional degree that prepares individuals to become practitioners and provide direct social work services. In contrast, the Ph.D. program offers the highest level of preparation for research and teaching careers in academic and social welfare institutions worldwide. It should not be confused with a professional practice program. Our doctoral program is designed to produce high-ranking scholars who will make significant contributions to the knowledge base of the profession in social work academia.

Do you provide advanced clinical practice training?

The purpose of our program is to produce high-ranking scholars interested in the fields of research, scholarship and teaching. Although opportunities to build practice experience are available through research, our program is not designed for those seeking advanced clinical training.

Do I need a Master’s degree in social work to be in the Ph.D. program?

Yes. You may apply to the Ph.D. program if you have a Master’s degree in Social Work.
Our program is geared toward applicants with a master’s degree from an accredited school of social work. In addition, CSWE accreditation standards currently require that individuals who want to teach practice courses must have a M.S.W. and at least two years of post-M.S.W. practice experience.

How long does it take to graduate?

On the average three to four years. (Full time/study).

How many of my total hours or coursework can involve my dissertation?

On the Final Program of Work form (filed in the semester before you graduate), you must have 48 hours/credits. Be aware that you may only count 9 hours of dissertation in the 48 hour total. All students must be enrolled in the Graduate School for the semester in which they complete all graduate degree requirements and apply for graduation. Students defending their dissertation in their final semester must be enrolled in dissertation course (6699, 6999 or 7399) and receive a passing grade.

Are there opportunities to gain teaching experience while in the doctoral
program?

Yes. Most students have the opportunity to teach during the second and third year of the program. The School of Social Work makes a concerted effort to provide doctoral students with opportunities to teach in our BSW and/or MSSW program. Students must have successfully completed a teaching course.

What must I do to be eligible to teach a UT Arlington School of Social Work course?

You can become eligible to be a GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant) and teach a course on your own by taking the Social Work Education course (SOCW 6393). If you have had previous teaching experience at the college or university level, this requirement is waived.

What kind of financial support will be available to me?

The Social Work doctoral program provides all incoming doctoral students with a multi-year funding package that should fund much of your graduate career at the University of Texas at Arlington. We combine fellowship awards, graduate assistants and graduate teaching assistantships to offer students three years of funding, which includes tuition and stipends. Students may also apply for other funding from sources within and outside of the university. You may also fill out a FAFSA and apply for federal aid through the Office of Financial Aid.

I am an international student. Am I eligible for funding?

Yes, you are eligible for the funding package described above.

May I apply as a transfer student?

Each social work doctoral program is unique. Thus, we generally do not accept transfer students. However, on rare occasion a course may be transferred from another university. A doctoral level course from another program or university may occasionally be counted as an elective if
it is relevant to the student’s program of work in our Ph.D. program. Courses taken for credit toward a master’s degree cannot be transferred. Inquiries should be directed to the Ph.D. Program Director.

Do you offer a part-time or an online Ph.D.?

No. You must be registered as a full-time student (9 credit hours). Students are expected to devote full time to their studies and are supported financially to enable them to do so.

Will I be able to keep my current job and go to school at the same time?

The decision to pursue a doctorate requires a major commitment. The most successful students think of the Ph.D. program as another form of employment. Your “job” is to be a full-time student and handle all of the classes, research, teaching assignments, etc. that come with it.

When is the application deadline?

All applications and supporting materials must be received by the application deadline of January 15, 2012 for admission the following fall term. We admit students only once a year and all applications are considered at the same time. Applications after the deadline may be considered if space becomes available.

How do I send in my GRE or TOEFL scores?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test is required for all applicants. For information about GRE registration and preparation, please go here

Please contact the Educational Testing Services (ETS) and have them forward an electronic copy of your scores directly to UTA Graduate School. Only official results will be accepted, and scores that are more than five years old will not be considered valid. TOEFL scores are required from all applicants educated in countries whose native language is not English unless they have earned a degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English exclusively.


What can I do to improve my chances of admittance?

We suggest the following to increase your chances of being admitted to the doctoral program:

1) Prepare well for the GRE and/or TOEFL tests and leave yourself enough time for a retest
if you feel you have not done your very best;
2) Contact current and previous universities and colleges about submitting grade transcripts. Sometimes it takes a while for these to be completed;
3) Think carefully who you will ask to write letters of recommendation for you. Try to get letters from a current or former professor. It is important for them to know what your career goals are; why you are applying to a doctoral program, and that they can address your intellectual and research aptitude;
4) Write a clear, concise personal statement outlining your professional, intellectual, and research interests and career goal. Take to time to prepare this statement, and include an assessment of how your interests align with the interests of the faculty at UTA; and,
5) Present your very best written publication or scholarly paper.

What additional factors do you consider in the application process?
We consider your career goals and how well they match our program’s goal. We also consider your research interest to make sure that there is a good match between you and a faculty member’s research interest.

What makes UTA School of Social Work’s doctoral program different?

• Close faculty-student mentoring relationships
• National visibility for students and their research through publications, funding and conference presentations in the United States and abroad
• Faculty national reputations in a large variety of areas.
• Opportunities for research within four research centers: Center for Child Welfare, Center for Clinical Studies, Center for Advocacy, Nonprofits and Donor Organizations (CAN-DO), and Center for Addiction and Recovery Studies (CARS).
• A curriculum focused on understanding social issues from a global perspective and customized for each student’s specific research area
• Interdisciplinary research opportunities within the broader university
• Valuable teaching experience in our BSW AND MSW program
• Three-year fellowship award package/assistantship.


How would you describe the faculty mentoring relationship?

The faculty mentoring relationship is an important component of a student’s progression and success in academia. Students work with a variety of faculty members in graduate research positions. Faculty mentoring prepares students for leadership in research, teaching, the application of knowledge and professional practice, and strengthens the values of excellence, mutual respect, collegiality, honesty and integrity.

Does the Ph.D. program encourage interdisciplinary work?

Yes, our doctoral curriculum is interdisciplinary with the intent on producing graduates who are capable of original research and passionate about advancing the profession’s knowledge base. The Ph.D. program encourages students to develop expertise in other disciplines, as each student must develop a specialization either in another discipline outside the School of Social Work (such as gerontology, sociology, psychology, preventive medicine, business, political science, or policy, planning and development) or in an area where external courses in different departments or schools bear on a specific social problem (such as homelessness).

Who is considered for admission to the Ph.D. program?

Applicants are expected to show capacity for advanced academic work and potential for scholarship. The development of competence to design and carry out rigorous research studies relevant to social work is a critical expectation of the Ph.D. program. Applicants are expected to have a master’s degree from an accredited school of social work. Exceptions are sometimes made for students with a master’s degree in a related field who have extensive experience in human services. Applicants who do not have a master’s degree in social work should apply to the MSSW program (Master of Science in Social Work).

When are applicants notified of admission decisions?

We begin notifying students around the middle of March. Since enrollment is limited,some applicants may be placed on a waiting list pending an available slot.

Can I start taking courses anytime in the academic year?

Because the first year courses are a structured sequence, all students begin taking courses in the Fall semester.

What if I am not sure if a doctoral degree is really what I want?

Working toward a Ph.D. requires a major commitment of time, energy and finances. You should not apply to a Ph.D. program until you are ready to make this commitment.

Where should I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?

Many students chose to live close to the campus to have access to the university and its resources. However, some students live in Dallas; other students live in Fort Worth. Students live in a variety of locations in the DFW metroplex.

How do I apply for the Ph.D. Program?
Applicants to the Ph.D. program must submit the following:
• A completed online application that can be found here:

• Transcripts from your previous institution.

Have transcripts sent by the university to the Graduate School at:
Office of Graduate Studies
UTA Box 19167
701 S Nedderman Dr
Davis Hall, Room 333
Arlington, Texas 76019
USA