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Social Work - DOCTORATE (PHD)

CIP CODE 44.0701.00


In the 48-credit-hour program students are prepared for positions in academia where they can teach and, most importantly, continue advancing research in the social work field. The curriculum focuses on research, statistical analysis, and theory and emphasizes a strong


  • Doctoral students work with world-class faculty at a Carnegie Research Tier 1 university.
  • Focus is on improving your skills as a researcher, educator, grantwriter, and policy maker.
  • Generous funding covering tuition for the first three years of the program.
  • Numerous Graduate Teaching Assistant and Graduate Research Assistant positions.



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.

  • Tenure-track faculty positions in top research universities or primary teaching faculty positions in colleges and universities
  • Social welfare policy research positions in public and private institutes, hospitals, advocacy organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies
  • University and college administrative positions (deans, department chairs, etc.)
  • Administrative leadership positions in family services, human resources, public welfare agencies, hospitals, treatment centers, mental health clinics, and more


  • Students will matriculate as full-time students taking in-person classes (part-time options available on case-by-case basis).
  • You do not need an MSW degree to earn the PhD degree (although most students admitted have the MSW degree and/or experiences in human services).
  • Most students complete the 48-credit-hour program in four years and many complete it in three years.
  • In the first year, students complete foundation courses in research, statistics, theory, and policy. In the second year, students develop an area of specialization and take courses in advanced research and statistics grant writing and elective courses. In the third year, students work on their dissertation.

Learn more about the PhD in Social work program


  • The PhD program is ranked among the best nationally, with graduates serving as deans, professors, department chairs, scholars, and researchers around the world.
  • Doctoral students have the option to teach BSW and MSW classes, earning extra income.
  • Incoming doctoral students receive multi-year funding package covering most of their time in the program. In addition, many fellowship awards, stipends, GTA, GRA, and other funding sources help cover expenses.
  • Interdisciplinary research opportunities are available with other disciplines in the University.
  • Students can earn national visibility, with opportunities to publish research and work with faculty known as leaders in the social work field.
  • While in the program, many of our students earn a national reputation, receiving fellowships, scholarships, and grants for their research and publications.


Take the next step toward investing in yourself by learning more about our Social Work - Doctorate (PHD) program.

Apply Today

If you're ready, so are we. The next step is to apply. Applying for admission is easy, and we're here to work with you every step of the way.

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Dr. Poco Kemsmith, Director of SSW's PhD Program 



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Social Work - DOCTORATE (PHD)

Learn more about this program on the College website.

College of Social Work