If you are interested in researching, teaching or writing about issues that impact the human condition, you might want to consider enrolling in a Social Work PhD or Doctor of Social Work –DSW program. Although a doctorate degree in social work does not lead to a different level of licensure for social workers, as a professional you may opt for a terminal degree as a way to potentially further your career.
Social Work Doctoral Programs: Essentials
Social Work PhD Programs prepare you to be able to apply your research data to potentially help communities, cultures and individuals understand and resolve some of the problems that they face. Prospective candidates need a MSW, experience in the field, GRE scores, an aptitude for writing, conducting research, and analyzing complex findings. It usually takes 3 years to complete a DSW program, and you are likely to have to pass a comprehensive exam, as well as write and defend your dissertation, or complete a project for graduation.
Types of Social Work PhD Programs
The two types of Social Work doctoral degrees are the DSW and the PhD. Most graduate schools offer one or the other.
- The Doctor of Social Work or DSW is considered a practice doctorate degree. This means that it may give you the opportunity to conduct practical research and lead social service programs (e.g. Director of Social Work).
- The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD in Social Work is considered to be more research-oriented and may emphasize educational practices. Graduates typically seek advanced careers in research or academia.
FUN FACT: The job outlook for postsecondary Social Work Teachers is favorable; a 14% employment growth between 2014-2024 is predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.