Doctorate Degree in Social Work

A Ph.D. in social work prepares students to become leaders in the field of social work, both within academic and clinical settings. This doctorate is often required for college and university positions involving teaching, research and policy development [http://www.simmons.edu/ssw/academics/phd/index.shtml].

Reasons for Earning a Doctorate Degree in Social Work

Professional social workers who are seeking to advance their careers and move into an academic setting may be interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in social work. This credential may also be valuable for people who are involved in governmental policy development, consulting and the publication of books and reference materials related to social work practice.

The salary range for holders of a Ph.D. in social work varies widely based on location, field of specialization and type of position. Most students in this program seek out either contract or permanent work in a post-secondary institution, where according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008-09 the average salary of a full-time university professor was $79,439 [https://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos066.htm].

Career Opportunities for Individuals With a Ph.D. in Social Work

In addition to both tenured and contract teaching positions within college and university social work and human services programs, graduates of a social work doctorate program may find work within non-profit agencies, government social service departments and as consultants to schools, detention facilities and aid organizations.

Coursework for a Doctorate Degree in Social Work

Coursework for a doctorate in social work may include advanced statistics and social research methods, ethics and clinical practice, and policy development [http://www.nyu.edu/socialwork/our.programs/phd.curriculum.descriptions.html]. Candidates for a Ph.D. will also be required to successfully prepare and defend a dissertation within 5-7 years of commencing the program [https://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos066.htm].

Online Doctorate Degree in Social Work

An online social work Ph.D. program can allow students to pursue this credential on a part-time basis with little to no on-campus coursework. Depending on the university, students may be required to arrange for clinical supervision in their local area and travel to the university to defend their dissertations.


University of Pennsylvania: http://www.sp2.upenn.edu/programs/dsw/index.html

NYU Silver School of Social Work: http://www.nyu.edu/socialwork/our.programs/phd.html

Simmons School of Social Work: http://www.simmons.edu/ssw/academics/phd/index.shtml

Capella University: http://www.capella.edu/schools_programs/degrees/phd.aspx?v=dsw

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos066.htm