About the PhD Program

PhD Program

MSU School of Social Work is a top 25 program amongst public universitiesThe PhD program in Social Work is designed to prepare social workers for leadership positions in the profession as:

  • Social work educators
  • Researchers of social problems and social work intervention methods
  • Planners, administrators, and evaluators of social service programs
  • Policy makers and analysts

It emphasizes the development, analysis, and application of social work knowledge related to professional practice and research in selected settings and to social work education at the undergraduate and graduate levels in order to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the Social Work profession and the field of social welfare.

It is also interdisciplinary in nature, requiring course work in both social work and a particular social science, or across disciplines, while focusing on a selected area of study. This focused cognate is designed by the student and his/her Guidance Committee (a group of faculty chosen by the student that represents social work and the focused cognate area). Courses for the cognate may be taken from any department within the University, with appropriate approval, and are organized around a student's specific area of scholarly interest.

In addition to the designated areas of course work, all students must satisfactorily complete a statistics sequence and a sequenced research internship. Finally, students must complete a comprehensive examination and a doctoral dissertation that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the degree.

The doctoral program is a member of GADE, the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work.

Please refer to the PhD Student Handbook for a detailed program description.