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College of Social Work
College of Social Work Building
Minimum Doctoral Hours: 50
Doctoral studies in social work at the University of Utah are grounded in empirical research and focus on the preparation of research scholars for academic or professional leadership whose potential for influence is in the wider society and the global community. The program emphasizes theory and skill development for applications in research, teaching, policy, and practice. The principal goal of the doctoral program is to prepare students to contribute to the development and dissemination of knowledge in the field of social welfare and the profession of social work. Specifically, the program seeks to achieve the following goals:
- To provide students with applied knowledge and analytical skills to address major policy and practice issues, challenges and trends in social work and social welfare.
- To prepare students for leadership roles: analyzing, evaluating, and guiding practice and policy for a variety of social work fields and populations.
- To equip students to contribute to the development and dissemination of research informed practice and practice informed research using traditional and emerging methods.
- To prepare students for academic roles including the development and delivery of courses, curricula, and programs.
There are two delivery strategies for the Ph.D. program with identical standards of rigor, program requirements, and expectations for students. The campus-based program admits full- and part-time students each fall semester. The Technology-Enhanced Doctoral (TED) program, designed for geographically-bound advanced social work practitioners, admits students for summer residencies every four to five years.
Applications for admission to the program must be received by the College of Social Work no later than February 1 (This date is subject to change. For information contact the program at 801-585-5979). Late applications are accepted on a space-available basis. Admission requirements include:
- A master’s degree in social work from an accredited school of social work.
- Evidence of superior academic achievement in undergraduate and graduate education.
- Minimum of two years of social work experience that demonstrates the applicant’s professional competence, ability to undertake advanced study, potential for leadership, and emotional maturity. (This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Social Work Ph.D. Committee)
- Satisfactory performance on the GRE, taken within five years prior to the admission year.
- For international applicants whose primary language is not English, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) must be taken.
- A personal interview, if requested by the Ph.D. Committee.
- Three letters of reference.
- A sample of writing in the form of a published article, a manuscript being submitted for publication, a report completed in connection with a research interest, or a paper prepared specifically for admission to the Ph.D. program.
- A written statement of educational and professional intent.
Transfer Credit. All transfer work must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee and conform to policy guidelines and requirements of the University and of the respective departments. The last full year of work must be taken at the University of Utah.
Doctoral Requirements for Social Work
The Ph.D. degree requires a master’s degree plus a minimum of 50 credit hours beyond the master’s degree (a minimum of 30 core, 6 elective, and 14 dissertation hours). The following are also required:
- Two years of graduate study beyond the master’s degree. At least two consecutive semesters of full-time study (nine credit hours) must be taken in residence.
- The core courses provide students with knowledge and skills critical for creative problem-solving in the profession. Students are required to complete 30 credit hours in core courses. In addition, students are required to complete at least 6 hours of electives.
- Satisfactory performance on a qualifying examination. The Ph.D. Committee will establish the requirements for the qualifying examination, which may include but not be limited to a written comprehensive examination.
- Admission to Ph.D. candidacy by vote of the Ph.D. Committee upon completion of the qualifying examination and coursework.
- Completion of an approved dissertation including at least 14 hours of dissertation research.
- Successful defense of the dissertation, including a dissertation proposal presented prior to the student’s defense.
- Completion of all dissertation work within three years from the date of admission to candidacy (unless an extension is approved by the Ph.D. Committee).
- Completion of all course work toward the degree within seven years of admission to the program (unless an extension is approved by the Ph.D. Committee and The Graduate School, University of Utah).
*For specific curriculum information contact the program at 801-585-5979.
Social Work Specializations
Program specialization is tailored to each student’s needs and interests. A minimum of six (6) elective credit hours are required in coursework focused on a content area or issue of interest to each student. At least three of these must be taken outside the College of Social Work. In addition, students may enroll in guided readings or independent study with faculty throughout the University. Study should be focused on the development of knowledge and skill in a substantive area within the field of social welfare. Substantive areas are usually characterized by the selection of a social problem (e.g., child abuse, mental illness, delinquency) on which to focus study and develop expertise. Students are expected to develop substantive knowledge that relates to the variety of people and populations-including minorities and women-that are affected by the social problem. Study also includes a focus on a range of interventive strategies and public policies that might be used to effect social change related to the problem.
Three statistics courses are required to complete the program. Additional statistics courses at the University are encouraged.
Students are required to present a dissertation proposal to a faculty committee after candidacy has been granted. Upon completion of dissertation research, students defend their research at a meeting open to the University community. Fourteen (14) hours of dissertation study are required.