The Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. in social work provides master practitioners with rigorous research training and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with world-class research centers. Graduates are positioned for advanced careers in academia, healthcare and human service agencies, and other fields. The Program prepares scholar-practitioners to develop new knowledge, engage in applied research, and advance social justice and the field of social work.

Tamara Cadet


Graduation requires a total of 15 courses (45 credits), research and teaching practicums, the successful completion of a comprehensive qualifying written and oral exam, the submission of at least one manuscript for peer review in a scientific journal, and the completion of the dissertation, which may take the form of a traditional dissertation or three-paper dissertation

Ph.D. Courses

All students are required to take the following courses:

  • Quantitative Scientific Methods
  • Introduction to Statistics, Data Analysis and STATA
  • Philosophy of Science 
  • Social and Behavioral Theory 
  • Introduction to Multivariate Statistics
  • Critical Analysis of Clinical Practice 
  • Qualitative Scientific Methods
  • Integrating Public Policy Issues and Outcomes Into Social Work Research 
  • Survey Research Methods
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Comparative Social Work Macro Practice Models
  • Intervention research
  • Teaching and Learning.
  • Dissertation Proposal Seminar
  • Elective such as Advanced Methods, Logistic Regression, or Secondary Analysis of Data

Supplemental Courses

A total of 45 credits (15 courses) are required for graduation. 00 Students can take elective courses during summers, third year, or while in the dissertation phase.

Current PhD Students

Detailed information is available to current PhD students in a dedicated section of our website.

A Rich and Varied Body of Knowledge

SSW doctoral candidates conduct thorough, thoughtful research, generating powerful dissertations. Some recent topics include:

  • Reclaiming and Constructing Identities: The Journey Out of Homelessness for Persons With Mental Illness
  • Self-perceived Unpopularity in Children and Adolescents: Its Antecedents, Characteristics, and Relationship to Later Maladjustment
  • To Hear and to Respond: The Influence of Zen Buddhist Meditation on the Practice of Clinical Social Work
  • Helpful and Unhelpful Interactions Between Professionals and Parents of Children with Cognitive Challenges: A Developmental Perspective
  • Adaptation and Transformation: The Transition to Adoptive Parenthood for Gay Male Couples
  • Young, Urban, Unwed Fathers: Depressive Symptoms, Problem Behaviors, and Psychosocial Correlates
  • El Sufimiento de los Colombianos en Nueva Inglatera: Como Salen Adelante (Suffering of Colombians in New England: How They Cope)