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PhD Curriculum

  36 credit hours of PhD-level social work core courses

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.


First Year Fall Semester 

Course Credits Description
SW7111 Quantitative Research 3 Description
SW7211 Statistics I  3 Description
SW7130 Epistemology/Theory  3 Description
SW7121 Scholarly Writing Workshop 1 1  


First Year Spring Semester 

Course Credits Description
SW7512 Qualitative Research 3 Description
SW7221 Statistics II 3 Description
SW7140 Teaching and Pedagogy 3  
SW7122 Scholarly Writing Workshop II 1  


Second Year Fall Semester *

Course Credits Description
SW7113 Systematic Reviews 3 Description
SW7123 Scholarly Writing Workshop III
1 Description
SW7530 Statistics III 3 Description
Elective - Substantive Area / Research 2-3  

*2nd year Plan of Study to be pre-approved 


Second Year Spring Semester *

Course Credits Description
SW7520 Advanced Research and Grantwriting 3 Description
SW7231 Secondary Data Analysis 3 Description
Elective - Substantive Area / Research

*Begin forming QE committee, QE questions


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. 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.



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: September though January Students has 3 months to independently complete the examination.
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: 11/3/23