Social Work

600 Academic and Student Recreation Center

1800 SW Sixth Ave.


Two graduate degree programs are offered by the School of Social Work: a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree, which is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and a Ph.D. degree in Social Work and Social Research. The School offers Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science in Social Work (B.S.) degrees. The BSW Program was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in June, 2011.

Degree Maps and Learning Outcomes

Admission requirements



Social Work and Social Research Ph.D.

Social Work and Social Research Ph.D.

The School of Social Work offers the Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research, a unique educational opportunity for students to integrate practice, policy, and research. The program prepares students to conduct advanced social problem analysis; evaluate multi-level interventions designed to address social problems; assume leadership roles across settings, including academic, policy, practice, research, evaluation, and administration; and provide instruction in undergraduate and graduate social work programs.  The Regional Research Institute for Human Services and the Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services are major resources for the program.

Courses are taught seminar style, providing students with experiences of engagement in discussions about complex ideas and diverse viewpoints. Following completion of required and elective courses and a research practicum, the student must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations before defending a dissertation proposal, conducting independent research and a final dissertation defense.   


Each doctoral student is required to select a social problem for study and become knowledgeable about relevant theories and proficient in the methodologies appropriate for scholarly inquiry of the problem.

Core requirements for the course of study are designed to ensure knowledge and skills in the history, theory, and organization of societal responses to social issues; quantitative and qualitative research methods and statistics; and expertise in a cognate area relevant to the social problem or method of inquiry through course work outside of the School of Social Work. Students also are required to enroll in a research practicum under the direction of an approved qualified supervisor. A teaching practicum may be elected. Each student’s program of study will be individually planned and approved. Students in the first and second years of the program are required to attend the Ph.D. seminar each quarter.

Core Courses (47 credits)

SW 620Social Problem Analysis: Assessment Phase


SW 621Social Problem Analysis: Intervention Phase


SW 622Social Problem Analysis: Evaluation Phase


SW 630Empirical Foundations of Knowledge Building in Social Work


SW 631Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Social Work


SW 632Quantitative Data Analysis in Social Work Research


SW 633QualitativeResearch I: Critical Research Frames and Beginning Practices


SW 634Quantitative Data Analysis in Social Work Research II


SW 635Qualitative Research II: Collecting Data for Interpretive & Constructivist Research


SW 637Qualitative Research III: Making Sense of Qualitative Research Findings


SW 640Research Practicum and Seminar


SW 641Research Practicum and Seminar


SW 642Research Practicum and Seminar


SW 650History and Philosophy of Social Welfare and Social Work


SW 660Ph.D. Seminar


SW 660: required for six terms

Elective Courses (16 credits)

Cognate Electives (taken outside the School)


Other Electives (including 6 Advanced Research electives)


Dissertation (27 credits)

Total Credit Hours: 90

Comprehensive examination

A written and an oral comprehensive examination is taken after completion of required coursework.


After successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, the dissertation chairperson and committee are appointed. The student develops a dissertation proposal that is defended orally before the dissertation committee. When the proposal has been approved by the dissertation committee and by the University Human Subjects Research Review committee, the student is considered a candidate for the Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research. A dissertation must be completed following the outlines of the approved proposal. Students must maintain continuous registration while engaged in dissertation research.

Final examination

At the conclusion of doctoral work, the student defends the completed dissertation before the dissertation committee and other interested faculty and doctoral students. The student is expected to demonstrate knowledge of the topic selected for study and to show that the dissertation is a contribution to knowledge in the social problem area.