Course of Study Ph.D. Program
The course of study consists of four major components:
- Core coursework focused around social problem analysis and research methodology,
- Elective coursework, including advanced research courses and courses in other departments,
- Practicum experiences, and
- Dissertation research. A written comprehensive examination and a final oral examination (dissertation defense) are also required.
The course of study is organized around a social problem:
The student selects a social problem, performs an analysis of the problem, designs an intervention to address the problem, and proposes a plan to evaluate the interventions. Research coursework focuses on development of research skills needed for the applied research of social work. After this core is completed, work is highly individualized as students choose electives in consultation with faculty advisers. Some coursework in other departments is required to add an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of the social problem. There is a required research practicum and an elective teaching practicum. See course descriptions in Required Courses. Dissertation research completes the program. See example of Full-Time Ph.D. Program (pdf).
The core required Ph.D. classes usually take place on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The program may be completed on a part-time basis. The course of study is individually planned. Usually the core courses within the School will be completed in the first year of such study, the research practicum and advanced research methodology courses in the second, with electives being taken as the problem area becomes more focused. In order to ensure timely progress through the Ph.D. program, students must be enrolled in one required sequence per year until core courses are completed. See example of Part-Time Ph.D. Program (pdf).
Combined M.S.W./Ph.D. Study
Students who enter the program with a master’s degree in a related field, and who wish to obtain a master’s degree in social work, must complete a modified program designed to supplement their doctoral work with foundation knowledge about the social work profession. Application is made only to the Ph.D. program, however students are admitted to both the M.S.W. and Ph.D. programs, and receive both an M.S.W. in Social Work and Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research. See example of Full-Time M.S.W./Ph.D. Program (pdf).
The purpose of the research practicum is to enable the student to experience the interplay of research and practice in an agency or applied research setting, and to provide an opportunity for learning the skills of applied research. The research practicum provides a research experience in a study under the supervision of an approved faculty mentor; a seminar accompanies the practicum. See examples of recent Ph.D. student research practicum experiences.