Social Work (PhD)
Mission statement: The program develops scholars prepared to create knowledge through research that informs interventions and policies and educates future social workers to address critical social problems and pursue social justice. The program also prepares its graduates for positions in academic and related research settings.
- Graduates will demonstrate advanced critical thinking skills and knowledge necessary to be leaders in the social work profession as researchers, academicians and advocates for social justice.
- Graduates will demonstrate mastery of an area of theoretical and methodological expertise to address specific social problems.
- Graduates will demonstrate mastery of research methodology and advanced statistics, including both quantitative and qualitative methods.
- Graduates will demonstrate mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare future social workers to address complex social problems.
For additional information about the PhD Program in the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work, click here.
The components of the program include: (a) coursework, (b) comprehensive examination, (c) dissertation, and (d) mentoring and professional development. The program requires a total of 50 credit hours. A revised curriculum is nearing final stages; minor adjustments are possible.
For more information, policies and procedures, please view the PhD Social Work Program Handbook
Interested applicants will want to view the PhD Admissions page, and our PhD Application Guidance reference to walk through the general application process. Materials are due December 1st of each year. New cohort members can typically look forward to entry for the following Fall Semester.
Application materials include the following:
Doctoral program application
Non-refundable application processing fee
Letters of recommendation
- TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo (if required)
The admission process involves the following:
Review of application materials by the doctoral admissions committee
Admission committee interviews with those recommended
Recommendations of selected applicants are forwarded to the Graduate School
*Note: Admission is typically limited to individuals who hold a Master in Social Work degree—i.e., MSW, MSSW—from programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or international equivalents. Two years of full-time post-master's degree experience is advised. However, applicants without a Master’s degree in social work, but with a Master’s degree in another related discipline are welcome to apply and will be considered on a case by case basis.
|SW 729||Pro Seminar I: Foundations of Scholarly Writing||1|
|SW 732||Theory I: Philosophy of Science & the Development and Application of Theory in Social Work Research||3|
|SW 733||Foundation Research Methods||3|
|SW 734||Introduction to Social Statistics and Data Analysis||3|
|SW 741||Systemic Change: Identifying and Intervening in Issues of Social Justice||3|
|SW 742 Theory II: Theory-Driven Analysis of Social Problems to Inform Practice & Social Welfare Policy||3|
|SW 743 Advanced Research Methods||3|
|SW 744 Applied Regression Analysis||3|
|SW 750||Independent Study: Examination of Scholarly Literature||3|
|or SW 751||Independent Study: Mentored Research Experirence|
|SW 752||Qualitative Methods: Design, Data Collection, and Analysis||3|
|SW 761 Advanced Scholarly Writing to Fund and Disseminate Resesarch to Diverse Audiences||3|
|SW 765 Advanced Qualitative Research: Design, Data Collection, and Analysis||3|
|SW 764||Teaching in Social Work||3|
|SW 780 Pro Seminar II: Comprehensive Examination Preparation||1|
|Elective or SW 750 or 751 Independent Study||3|
|SW 781 Teaching Practicum||3|
|SW 799 Dissertation Prep||6|
|Years 3 and 4|
|DOCT 600||Doctoral Candidacy||0|
|Minimum Total Hours||56|
The coursework consists of 56 credit hours, including 38 credit hours of core curriculum, 12 hours of individualized curriculum (i.e. independent studies and electives), and 6 hours of dissertation preparation. Six of the 12 individualized credit hours must be in research methods or statistics.
The comprehensive examination evaluates knowledge and skill deemed critical prior to beginning the dissertation component. Students are eligible to write their comprehensive examination upon successful completion of all required coursework. A thorough description of the comprehensive examination details the following requirements: (a) eligibility, (b) students’ exam committees, (c) exam committee roles and responsibilities, (d) expected content of the exam, (e) length of exam and time allotments, and (f) evaluation of student performance.
Following the passage of the comprehensive examination, students are admitted to Candidacy status and proceed with their dissertation:
2nd Year: Summer : Dissertation Preparation (6)
The primary requirement of a dissertation is that it contributes to the knowledge base of the social work profession. It must represent independent work and be based on original research. Dissertation committees have at least four members and must include one member outside of the Kent School. If the outside member does not have a primary appointment as UofL faculty but is otherwise qualified, they may be granted ad hoc approval to participate. Dissertation information such as deadlines and preparation guidelines dictated by the University are at the Graduate School website. Please note semester deadlines and that the Request to Schedule Final Oral Defense form must be completed by the student. The required steps to complete the dissertation at the Kent School can be found in the Dissertation Guidelines .