Social Work Programs
A Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work is the highest level of academic attainment in the field of Social Work, a discipline that focuses on social welfare issues, theories and practices with the aim of improving the quality of life through social policy, administration, institutional and community development.
A graduate program in Social Work will include subjects related to economics, education, medicine, politics, psychology and sociology. A PhD program in Social Work has a heavy emphasis on research and policy analysis, requiring a student to be well versed in qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to carry out independent researches during the course of the program.
Entry level into a PhD program is strict; candidates are expected to have acquired a Masters Degree in Social Work or related fields and have related work experiences. A typical duration of a PhD program in Social Work is two to four years but certain research-oriented programs can stretch to eight years. The duration also depends on whether it is a full-time or part-time study.
Numerous schools and institutions in the United States offer PhD programs in Social Work and certain institutions also offer online programs to cater to students who hold full-time or part-time jobs as well as students who study remotely from another location.
Online Schools Offering PhD Programs in Social Work
Capella University offers online PhD in General Social Work which focuses on the use of technology for social service programs as well as the study of social issues and professional development. The program is designed to be completed in three years.
For more information, contact Capella University at Capella Tower, 225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402 or visit its website at www.capella.edu.
Walden University offers online PhD in Human Services-Clinical Social Work which emphasizes the development of theories and practices for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Candidates who are interested must possess a Masters Degree from an accredited institution.
For more information, contact Walden University at 155 5th Ave S Ste 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401, or visit its website at www.waldenu.edu.
Schools Offering On-campus PhD Programs in Social Work
University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee offers PhD in Social Work. The full-time program includes foundation courses, electives, advanced seminars and dissertation research.
For more information, contact the University of Tennessee at the College of Social Work, 313 Henson Hall, Knoxville TN 37996-3333 or visit its website at www.csw.utk.edu.
Adelphi University offers on-campus PhD in Social Work on either a part-time or full-time basis; the program comprises two-year course work followed by completion of a dissertation.
For more information, contact Adelphi University at its School of Social Work, Garden City Campus at 1 South Avenue, P.O. Box 701, Garden City, NY 11530-0701 or visit its website at www.socialwork.adelphi.edu.
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago offers PhD in Social Work which has heavy emphasis on research, supporting the institution’s established research centers for Family Health, Social Work Practice Research and policy research in children welfare and children’s services.
For more information, contact the University of Chicago at its School of Social Service Administration Social Work, 969 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637-294 or visit its website at www.ssa.uchicago.edu.
University of Houston
The University of Houston has an established Graduate College of Social Work which offers a PhD program in Social Work on part-time and full-time bases. The program focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to social issues and research methodologies. The duration for full-time PhD study is two years and the duration for part-time study is three years.
For more information, contact the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work located at 110HA Social Work Building, Houston, TX 77004-4013 or visit its website at www.sw.uh.edu.
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University’s School of Social Work offers a PhD in Social Work that emphasizes research work on social issues. The program also provides opportunities for collaborative partnerships between its students with government agencies and non-profit agencies in the community and the state.
For more information, contact the School of Social Work at Louisiana State University located at 311 Huey P. Long Field House, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803 or visit its website at www.socialwork.lsu.edu.
Morgan State University
Morgan State University’s PhD in Social Work offers a research-oriented focus on urban policy issues, advocacy and social work education and adopts a social justice framework to analyze the social problems of contemporary urban society. The PhD program is offered on full-time and part-time bases; full-time study takes four years to complete, while part-time study takes five to six years.
For more information, contact the university’s Department of Social Work located at 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Jenkins Behavior Sciences Building, Rm. 422, Baltimore, MD 21251 or visit its website at www.morgan.edu.
Florida State University
The PhD program in Social Work offered by Florida State University provides students research opportunities in a range of social areas such as child welfare, foster care and adoption, mental health, substance abuse, aging, domestic violence, juvenile justice, HIV/AIDS, homelessness and others.
For more information, contact the College of Social Work which is located at 296 Champions Way, P.O. Box 3062570, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2570 or visit its website at www.csw.fsu.edu.
University of Kansas
The PhD Program in Social Work offered by the University of Kansas’ School of Social Welfare offers specialization in aging, child welfare, child mental health, adult mental health, corrections, juvenile justice, school social work and poverty.
For more information, contact the School of Social Welfare which is located at 1545 Lilac Lane, Lawrence, KS 66044-3184 or visit its website at www.ku.edu.
Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis
The university’s School of Social Work offers full-time as well as part-time PhD programs in Social Work; the program is made up of five core components, namely core social work courses, external minor, research courses, research internship and dissertation. The university also offers varied funding resources, grants and research assistantships.
For more information, contact the university’s School of Social Work which is located at Union Building, Room 518, 620 Union Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5167 or visit its website at www.iupui.edu.
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s PhD in Social Work requires students to enroll full-time for the first two years of the study and complete the program’s core curricular areas within a stipulated time. The university’s faculty members have specializations in aging, child welfare and domestic violence, diversity, social justice and inequality, substance abuse and mental health.
For more information, contact the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Science School of Social Work which is located at 347 Jessup Hall, 2222 Old Highway 218 S, Iowa City, IA 52240-9810 or visit its website at www.uiowa.edu.
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan offers a joint interdepartmental PhD in Social Work and Social Science, offering specializations in Social Work and one of five social science disciplines such as anthropology, economics, political science, psychology and sociology.
For more information, contact the School of Social Work which is located at 1696 SSWB, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106 or visit its website at www.ssw.umich.edu.
University of South Carolina
The PhD program in Social Work offered by the University of South Carolina must be completed within eight years and students are required to complete a teaching practicum, a social work research practicum, a number of elective courses as well as a well-researched dissertation.
For more information, contact the College of Social Work which is located at Columbia, SC 29201 or visit its website at www.cosw.sc.edu.
University of Alabama
The PhD program in Social Work at the University of Alabama provides grounding in research skills including research design, data management, entry and analysis and writing for publication.
For more information, contact the School of Social Work at Box 870314, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 or visit its website at socialwork.ua.edu.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania offers a PhD in Social Welfare as well as a Dual Degree program which allows students to work on their doctorate while pursuing their Masters degree in Social Work.
For more information, contact the School of Social Policy and Practice which is located at 3701 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214 or visit its website at www.sp2.upenn.edu.
Ohio State University
Students who pursue the PhD program in Social Work at the Ohio State University must complete five core courses, specialization courses, electives, a candidacy exam and a dissertation.
For more information, contact the College of Social Work which is located at 300 Stillman Hall, 1947 College Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1162 or visit its website at www.csw.ohio-state.edu.
Boston University offers an interdisciplinary PhD in Sociology and Social Work; the program emphasizes the application of social science theories and research methods to social issues and problems. The PhD in Social Work is four-year full-time study program.
For more information, contact the School of Social Work which is located at 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215 or visit its website at www.bu.edu.
University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky offers PhD in Social Work on a part-time study basis, covering three main components, i.e. core curriculum, individualized plan of study and dissertation.
For more information, contact the College of Social Work which is located at 615 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington, KY 40506-0027 or visit its website at www.uky.edu.
University of Minnesota
The PhD Program in Social Work offered by the University of Minnesota is research-based and is designed for those who aspire to move on to a career in academia. The program covers core courses in social work, teaching and research practicum as well as statistics courses.
For more information, contact the College of Education and Human Development which is located at Admissions Office, 105 Peters Hall, 1404 Gortner Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55108 or visit its website at www.cehd.umn.edu.
University of Utah
The PhD Program in Social Work offered by the University of Utah is a three- to five-year program, consisting of core courses and a dissertation process. Its faculty members have specializations in the field of child welfare, aging, family supports, juvenile justice and corrections, disabilities, health, mental health and substance abuse.
For more information, contact the College of Social Work which is located at Salt Lake City, UT 84112 or visit its website at www.socwk.utah.edu.
New York University
New York University offers PhD in Clinical Social Work for part-time as well as full-time study. Its faculty members have expertise and specializations in the field of homelessness, trauma, aging, health and mental health and service delivery.
For more information, contact the Silver School of Social Work which is located at One Washington Square North, New York, NY 10003-6654 or visit its website at www.nyu.edu.
Washington University in St. Louis
The George Warren Brown School of Social Work offers a PhD program in Social Work that is interdisciplinary in orientation; the program requires substantial course work in the social sciences, research courses as well as the preparation of a dissertation.
For more information, contact the George Warren Brown School of Social Work which is located at One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1196, Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899 or visit its website at gwbweb.wustl.edu.
Career Opportunities in Social Work
A PhD in Social Work graduate would have substantial work experience as a social work practitioner prior to his or her study program. A PhD in Social Work prepares the graduate to pursue a career in research and teaching or to attain a leadership role in any agency-based organization. Many who have completed their PhDs in Social Work enter the world of academia and involve themselves in research and publication of works that are aimed to precipitate social change.
As a PhD, he or she is an expert in a specialized field on a specific area of social work, be it aging, child’s welfare, poverty, domestic violence and others. His or her career options will be based on one’s expertise in a particular field, through which one will also earn professional respect and high regards from industry peers and become an opinion leader in that field.
As a senior management or leadership position in an agency-based organization, the rough salary range would be between $90,000 to $100,000 per annum, while the rough salary range for an academia in an institution of higher learning would be between $60,000 to $110,000 per annum depending on experience, degree of specialization and seniority.
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