About PhD

UK’s Ph.D. in Social Work program is designed to prepare its graduates to be faculty members in social work programs across the country and internationally. There is a strong emphasis on students acquiring the research competencies needed to conduct research and publish their scholarship. At the same time, students learn how to become top-notch educators through teaching assistantships, teaching practica, and a course in teaching. Graduates also find that the doctoral program prepares them to be program evaluators, administrators, policy analysts, and researchers. All of the core curriculum courses are taught on Fridays. Students design their individualized courses with the assistance of their advisor or the Director of the Doctoral Program. Course descriptions can be found here.

Curricular Overview 

A. Core Curriculum (29 credit hours)

All of the following courses in this section are required:

  • SW 781 Theory Development in the Social Work Profession
  • SW 782 Advanced Analysis of Social Welfare Problems
  • SW 783 Human Behavior & Change Theories in Social Work Practice
  • SW 772 Introduction to Qualitative Methods
  • SW 770 Social Work Research I
  • SW 771 Social Work Research II
  • SW 795 Social Work Statistics I (or the equivalent: EPE 557/558)
  • SW 773 Social Work Statistics II (or the equivalent: EPE 660)
  • SW 785 Professional Seminar in Social Work (1 hr in each of 2 semesters)
  • SW 790 Seminar in Teaching and Learning

B. Individualized Plan of Study (15 credit hours)

SW 786 Doctoral Research Practicum
SW 787 Doctoral Teaching Practicum
Electives/Independent Study Combinations 

C. Dissertation

Students must complete an independent research product and write a dissertation. Students do this while registered for a minimum of 4 hours of dissertation credit hours (SW 767)