The doctorate represents the highest level of academic aspiration and achievement.  The UK College of Social Work offers a rigorous curriculum to prepare graduates for careers in research and university-level teaching.  Through classroom instruction and close collaboration with nationally and internationally recognized faculty, our PhD students immerse themselves in the crucial work of advancing the knowledge base of the social work profession.

The University of Kentucky PhD program aims to prepare students to thoughtfully examine existing social problems, to examine theoretical models that shape and inform human behavior, and to develop skills to become a producer of social work knowledge.

Our curriculum is designed to prepare students to have the knowledge and requisite skills to critically investigate existing social work research and knowledge, develop theory-informed research questions, and design and implement sound research studies that can be used by social work educators, practitioners, administrators and policy makers.  The University of Kentucky PhD program offers coursework and mentored teaching experience to develop and strengthen your skills as an educator.  We strive to provide students with hands-on research experiences where they work closely with faculty mentors who are leading experts in military social work, suicide, self-care, and child welfare.  Our faculty 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, and psychology.

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).


University of kentucky college of social work, UK Social Work, UKY Social Work, Social Work Kentucky, Kentucky Social Work, Social Work Master's Degree, Social Work Bachelor's Degree, Social Work Colleges, Best Social Work College in America


Dr. Natalie Pope
Doctoral Program Director