PhD in Social Work Curriculum

The PhD program curriculum allows you to actively configure and plan your learning with faculty advising and collaborative mentorship. In the first year of the program, you will develop an educational plan in consultation with Jennifer Greenfield, Associate Dean for Doctoral Education. This plan includes required core courses in addition to elective courses to help you acquire a theory emphasis and the skills needed to conduct independent research.

Here is the typical 4-year PhD program path. This plan can change if you seek external funding for your dissertation from foundation or governmental sources.

  • Year 1
    1. Enter program and begin core course work
    2. Submit and seek approval of Educational Plan (spring quarter)
    3. Successfully pass the Research Methods and Statistics Qualifying Exam
    4. Advancement to preliminary candidacy (year one ends)
  • Year 2
    1. Seek approval of final version of Educational Plan (winter quarter)
    2. Complete comprehensive examination proposal (by August 15, year two)
    3. Complete core course work plus electives (year two ends)
  • Year 3
    1. Comprehensive Exam (summer or fall quarter)
    2. Advancement to candidacy
    3. Approval of dissertation committee
    4. Submit dissertation proposal to dissertation committee
    5. Approval of dissertation proposal by dissertation committee (winter quarter)
  • Year 4
    1. Conduct dissertation research and write dissertation manuscript
    2. Submit graduation application to Graduate Studies
    3. Defend dissertation at least four weeks before desired graduation date
    4. Finalize dissertation paperwork
    5. Exit interview with the Associate Dean for Doctoral Education

The table below shows a list of required class offerings. To see a full list of course descriptions, view the GSSW bulletin.

Fall Quarter - Year 1
  • Seminar in Professional Social Work Issues (2 credits)
  • Introduction to Advanced Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Introduction to Advanced Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Statistical Methods in Education, Psychology, and Social Work (5
  • credits)**
  • Social Science Theory and Philosophy of Science (3 credits)
Winter Quarter - Year 1
  • Seminar in Professional Social Work Issues (2 credits)
  • Qualitative Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • Correlation and Regression (4 credits)
  • ELECTIVE: (3-6 credits)
Spring Quarter - Year 1
  • Seminar in Professional Social Work Issues (2 credits)
  • Mixed Methods Research in Social Work (3 credits)
  • Multivariate Analysis (5 credits)
  • ELECTIVE: (3 – 6 credits)
Fall Quarter - Year 2
  • Social Work Theory in Research and Practice (3 credits)
  • Social Welfare Policy Analysis/Development (3 credits)
  • Pedagogy in Social Work Education (3 credits)
  • ELECTIVE: (3 – 6 credits)
Winter Quarter - Year 2
  • Preparing for the Comprehensive Exam: Knowledge Integration from a Social Justice Perspective (3 credits)
  • Teaching Practicum (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods for Assessing Social Interventions (3 credits)
  • ELECTIVE: (3 – 9 credits)
Spring Quarter- Year 2
  • ELECTIVE: (8 – 15 credits)
University of Denver Campus

Learn more about the PhD Program.