The purpose of the PhD program is to prepare students for research careers in social work by advancing their knowledge and increasing their skills in theory-building, research methods, and the critical evaluation of social work policies and practice. More specifically, the program is designed to impart the following to its graduates:
- Commitment to continuous, long-term inquiry
- Mastery of existing knowledge in the field with a special emphasis on research methodology
- Understanding of the social, political, and philosophical issues affecting social work and social welfare, including issues of social justice, oppression, and equity
- Commitment to leadership roles in social work education and research
- Research and practice ethics.
The PhD Program builds on a base of professional knowledge and practice in social work. It provides advanced knowledge of research, social policy, and practice.
In addition to grounding in research methodology, the program offers the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of a selected area of concentration. Additionally, to facilitate the advancement of interdisciplinary social work, students will select a minor area in another academic discipline, or develop a comprehensive interdisciplinary minor. The PhD degree is granted primarily on the basis of scholarly achievement. This achievement is demonstrated in three ways:
- Successful completion of all required course work
- Passing of a comprehensive examination that includes knowledge required of all social work PhD students but emphasizes the student’s defined special area of concentration
- Completion of original research in a chosen area of concentration and a dissertation reflecting that research.