Graduate Program Social Work and Social Research

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Social Work and Social Research Doctorate Overview

The Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State University educates the next generation of scholars, researchers, teachers, and leaders in social work and related fields. Students will be prepared to contribute to scholarly knowledge, conduct ethical, rigorous, and community-engaged research, and teach passionately and effectively in various settings--all with special attention to equity and justice.

The Ph.D. Program admitted its first cohort in 1992, and since then doctoral graduates have been hired into tenure-track academic positions in universities across the country. Many conduct research as principal investigators on major research projects, and others hold leadership roles in diverse communities and at social service organizations.

The program employs an innovative curriculum that prepares graduates to become leading academics, researchers, and scholars. It is rigorous, relevant, and responsive to the future of social work education and scholarship and continues its focus on the promotion of social and economic justice for the improvement of communities.

PH.D. PROGRAM COMPONENTS

COURSEWORK BUILT THROUGH A FOCUSED SOCIAL JUSTICE LENS

The program teaches students to recognize and interrupt the expression or perpetuation of privilege, discrimination, inequality, and structural systems of oppression. All graduates will learn how to promote justice and equity through critically informed research, teaching, and action. Students learn to recognize and interrupt the expression or perpetuation of privilege, discrimination, inequality, and structural systems of oppression.

INTERDISCIPLINARY EDUCATION

Students can take courses in other colleges, schools and departments of the university, including: OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Division of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Department of Psychology, and Department of Sociology.

COMMUNITY-ENGAGED RESEARCH

Students engage in research projects working with a wide variety of community and governmental agencies, programs and leaders.

COURSEWORK DESIGNED TO MAKE YOU A BETTER TEACHER

The curriculum highlights teaching pedagogy in social work and social science related disciplines using a variety of didactic, interactive, and experiential strategies. Students gain instructional skills teaching in classroom and community settings.

Learn More About Ph.D. Program Competencies

Degree Details


Social Work and Social Research Doctorate: Why PSU?

Join Oregon’s #1 School of Social Work, ranked among the top 20% of all social work programs across the nation.

At Portland State, we empower our students to focus their dissertations in a variety of areas, with individualized interdisciplinary study in their point of interest.

Our program has more than forty faculty members with an array of research interests who work with students in and out of class. You will be partnered with a faculty advisor from the time you enter the program until graduation. We will work with you to find opportunities for research and financial assistance to help you complete your degree and achieve your goals.

You will have opportunities to work with senior researchers at Regional Research Institute, Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services, and Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research.

Our program is rigorous, relevant, and responsive to the future of social work education and scholarship. You will graduate prepared to advance in the field, to promote social and economic justice for the improvement of communities.

What can I do with a Doctorate in Social Work and Social Research?

Since our first cohort was admitted in 1992, more than 50% of our doctoral graduates have gone on to tenure-track academic positions at universities across the nation, approximately 20% are in principal investigators positions at major research projects, and 30% have leadership roles in diverse communities and social service agencies.

Featured Courses

  • SW 660 PhD Seminar First Year
  • SW 661 PhD Seminar Second Year
  • SW 620 Substantive Are Conceptualization
  • SW 622 Substantive Area Investigation
  • SW 626 Teaching and Learning in Health Promotion and Social Work
  • SW 630 Philosophy of Science for Social Sciences
  • SW 637 Qualitative Research Methods for Social Inquiry
  • SW 640 Research Practicum and Seminar
  • SW 690 Teaching Practicum and Seminar

Electives

  • Selected Research Electives 
  • Substantive Area Electives 

For more information about electives and to view a course map, please visit the Social Work site.

Accreditation

Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).