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Welcome to the DSW Program!

Earn Your DSW in Advanced Clinical Practice or Organizational Leadership

The new DSW program is an exciting endeavor for students and faculty alike. It represents the continued commitment of the School of Social Work to strive towards excellence in social work and to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities, at the local and global levels.

The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama approved the School of Social Work to offer a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program in Fall 2019. The DSW program, which includes two years of courses, a summer on-campus residency requirement, and is offered in a distance format with program tracks in advanced clinical practice and organizational leadership.

The curriculum developed for the DSW Program is designed to be rigorous, stimulating, and relevant for today’s MSW-level social workers who want to become leaders and more independent professionals in the field. Those who complete the DSW Program will have the skills and knowledge needed to tackle some of the most challenging and complex social and health problems facing society today.

  • Meet Our DSW Students

    Learn more about the School’s DSW candidates, their experience, and their career goals.

Purpose of the DSW

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The University of Alabama’s DSW program prepares social work practitioners who have an MSW to become leaders within organizational settings, work with the highest degree of independence, and/or pursue a social work faculty appointment in higher education.

Careers for social workers with a DSW degree include

  • upper-level or executive-level administrative positions in health and human service agencies
  • leaders in social welfare and health policy at the local, state, or federal levels
  • independent, private practice clinicians, especially for clients with complex therapeutic needs that extend beyond the MSW-level curriculum
  • full-time social work educators and/or administrators in higher education involved with social work instruction or translational social work research

Program Tracks

The DSW Program has two tracks that students may select from, based on their current and future social work interests.

  • Advanced Clinical Track offers coursework on advanced clinical theory and interventions; social justice and advocacy in clinical settings; research in clinical practice; clinical social work education and pedagogy; and policy related to clinical social work.
  • Organizational Leadership Track offers coursework on advanced administrative theory and interventions; social justice and advocacy for groups and larger populations; research in administrative social work; macro-practice social work education and pedagogy; and policy development and advocacy.

Program Overview

How to Apply

Still Have Questions?

Request information using our online request form.

Accreditation Update

CSWE’s Board of Accreditation (CSWE-BOA) is currently piloting the accreditation of professional practice doctoral programs. Although there are currently no CSWE-BOA accredited professional practice doctoral programs, in June 2020, CSWE-BOA approved and adopted the Accreditation Standards for Professional Practice Doctoral Programs in Social Work. The UA School of Social Work DSW Program has adopted the Accreditation Standards for Professional Practice Doctoral Programs in Social Work and is prepared to undergo accreditation once it becomes available. For information about professional practice doctoral program accreditation and the current pilot, please visit the Council on Social Work Education website.