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PhD Curriculum

Our PhD Program is designed for students to obtain their degree in three to five academic years of full-time study, and consists of two stages. The first stage consists of core classes and elective hours. The second stage begins with the successful completion of a written Qualifying Examination and advancement to candidacy, which consists of the dissertation process and requires a minimum of 14 dissertation research hours. Nine credit hours for both fall and spring is considered a full-time campus schedule and part-time students must be registered for a minimum of one credit each semester(a minimum of 3 credits are required all for international students). Students are not expected to register for summer term. Students must, however, be registered during summer term if they are completing qualifying examinations or defending proposals or theses/dissertations.

There are 37 credit hours of PhD-level social work core courses. Course numbers and titles are subject to change. Please consult the University’s General Catalog & Class Schedulesfor a full description for each of these courses.


  • 7111 Quantitative Research: Theory and Design (3 credits)
  • 7113 Knowledge for Social Work Practice: Systematic Reviews (3 credits)
  • 7121 Scholarly Writing Workshop I (1 credit)
  • 7122 Scholarly Writing Workshop II (1 credit)
  • 7123 Scholarly Writing Workshop III (1 credit)
  • 7130 Epistemological and Theoretical Perspectives for SW Research (3 credits)
  • 7211 Statistics I: Introduction to Analysis (3 credits)
  • 7221 Statistics II: Multivariate Analysis (3 credits)
  • 7530 Statistics III: Structural Equation Modeling (3 credits)
  • 7231 Secondary Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • 7512 Qualitative Research: Methods of Social Inquiry, Field/Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • 7520 Development of Biopsychosocial Intervention Models (3 credits)


1st Year Fall Semester (I) 1st Year Spring Semester (II)
 SW 7111 Quantitative Research   3 CH  SW 7512 Qualitative Research   3 CH 
 SW 7211 Statistics I   3 CH   SW 7221 Statistics II   3 CH 
 SW 7130 Epistemology/Theory   3 CH  Elective: Substantive Area/Research   2-3 CH 
 SW 7121 Scholarly Writing Workshop I 1 CH  SW 7122 Scholarly Writing Workshop II 1 CH
2nd Year Fall Semester (III) 2nd Year Spring Semester (IV)
 (2nd Year Plan of Study to be pre-approved)   (begin forming QE committee, QE questions) 
 SW 7113 Systematic Reviews   3 CH   SW 7520 Grant Writing/Intervention Models   3 CH 
 SW 7123 Scholarly Writing Workshop III  1 CH   SW 7231 Secondary Data Analysis  3 CR
 SW 7530 Statistics III 3 CH  Elective: Substantive Area/Research  3 CR
Elective: Substantive Area/Research 2-3 CH    

Teaching in Higher Education: Students are strongly encouraged to gain teaching experience, and may prepare for teaching in higher education through a 3-step, experientially-based approach. For students with no prior teaching experience, the first step is to apply for a Teaching Assistantship at either the BSW or MSW level; they must also enroll concurrently in CTLE 6000 (on campus, not online). The second step is to apply for a Co-Instructor position at the MSW/BSW level for those who enter the doctoral program with some prior teaching experience, or those who have successfully completed step one. Successful completion of steps one and two, or Program Director-approved prior teaching experience allows a student to apply to teach courses autonomously at the discretion of the relevant program Director.

 Timeline:   Student Activity
 First Year   Required coursework; RA with faculty, research involvement
 Second Year   Required and elective coursework; continue research involvement; begin forming QE committee.
 Spring Semester: students begin formulating possible areas/questions and get QE Committee approved by Ph.D. Program Committee.
 Summer after Second Year: May through September   QE development, get questions approved by QE Committee by September 15th, at the beginning of third year in the program.
 Third Year: January and into Spring Semester   Submit written QE, complete revisions, oral defense of QE. Seek approval for Dissertation Committee.
 Spring of Third Year   Defend Dissertation proposal.The dissertation proposal presents prospective research and is scheduled a minimum of two months after the successful completion of the Qualifying Exam. Please plan accordingly.
 Fourth Year   Complete Dissertation and defense. The oral defense of the dissertation is scheduled a minimum of 4 calendar months after the committee approval of the dissertation proposal. Please plan accordingly.
Last Updated: 3/27/19