Dear Prospective Student,

Thank you for taking the time to check out the UK College of Social Work’s PhD program. The doctorate represents the highest level of academic aspiration and achievement. Our rigorous curriculum prepares graduates for exciting careers in research and university-level teaching. Students who choose to accept the challenge of doctoral education will embark on an academic experience like no other. Through classroom instruction and close collaboration with nationally and internationally recognized faculty, our PhD students immerse themselves in the crucial work of advancing the profession’s knowledge base.

The PhD program will prepare you to critically examine society’s most vexing problems, to delve deeply into theoretical models that direct practice behaviors, and to develop skills to become a producer of social work knowledge. You will have the opportunity to shape the future of social work!

The doctoral curriculum will provide you with the skills to critically analyze the state of the art in social work knowledge, to develop theory-informed research questions, and to design and implement scientific procedures to find answers to advance the knowledge base. You will also hone your skills as an educator through a mentored teaching experience across your course of study. Most importantly, you will work closely with faculty mentors to benefit from their expertise as you carry out research leading up to your dissertation. Our faculty are some of the leading experts in Military Social Work, Suicide, Self-Care and Child Welfare. We also have expertise in Gerontology, Rural Social Work Practice, Trauma, and Social Work Regulation.

The University of Kentucky is the Commonwealth’s Flagship University. It offers a world class research infrastructure, and the opportunity for doctoral students to work collaboratively with renowned researchers from a broad range of academic disciplines. Our students work with faculty from Education, Public Health, Family Science, Gerontology, Psychology and others.

We encourage you to visit the University, to meet some of our current students, perhaps to observe a doctoral student class or a doctoral student teaching a class. I’ll be glad to talk with you by email ( or by phone (859-218-2768).

What questions do you have about the practice of social work? How could the profession’s mission be carried out more effectively? Shouldn’t someone be exploring these questions? Is that someone you?


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Dr. Natalie Pope
Doctoral Program Director