The Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare
The primary purpose of the Ph.D. program is to produce scholars who can use systematic methods to develop through research, and disseminate through teaching and writing, knowledge concerning social welfare problems and professional social work practice. Professional social work practice includes direct service with clients, the organization and management of service delivery systems, and the formulation and analysis of social welfare policies.
Drawing upon the social, behavioral and health sciences as well as social work knowledge and experience, the graduates of this program will have the skills to expand the base of tested knowledge that can guide the profession of social work in its efforts to address major social problems.
A second purpose is to develop leaders and educators who can effectively contribute to contemporary social work practice as defined in this school’s mission statement.
The core of this program is education for scholarly research leading to careers as teachers, researchers, and policy analysts with a focus on the content areas of health, mental health, and substance abuse. The strength of such a program lies in its location within the Health Sciences Center. This is a natural setting in which to bring together the basic sciences and theoretical disciplines in applied policy/program analysis and thereby contribute to research in the social dimensions of health and mental health.
Program Structure and Content
The structure of this program consists of 12 required classroom courses (36 credits) as follows:
Statistics I and II
Research Methods I and II
Social Welfare Policy Analysis I and II
Social Welfare Administration
Knowledge Building in Social Work: The Philosophy of Applied Social Research
Theories of Social Work Intervention
Seminar and Teaching Practicum in Social Work Education
Dissertation Seminar I and II
Also required are three electives (9 credits), a research practicum of 10 hours per week for two semesters under mentorship (6 credits), an integrative paper, and the production and defense of a scholarly dissertation. Fifty four credits are required for graduation. In the first three years, students take three courses each semester. The full-time program is designed to be completed in a minimum of four years. The scholarly research paper of publication quality is required at the end of the fourth semester.
Once all coursework and the integrative paper are completed successfully, students select a preliminary dissertation chair and committee and develop an approved dissertation proposal. The student is then advanced to candidacy and begins dissertation research. The fourth year is spent on completion of the dissertation and defense.
The Part-Time Option
Students who are approved for the part-time option take a minimum of six credits each semester until the 54 credit sequence has been completed. In order to meet residence requirements, they must take nine credits in each of two consecutive semesters. Part-time students prepare their integrative paper at the end of the semester when 36 credits of required course work are completed (usually the second semester of the third year). At the end of the third year, once all coursework and the integrative paper are completed successfully, part-time students select a dissertation chair and committee. In the fourth year, they develop an approved dissertation proposal. They are then advanced to candidacy. Dissertation research begins in the fifth year.