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What our graduates are saying...

Denise Levy, Ph.D. '08

"My doctoral experience at the UGA School of Social Work has been exceptional. I have been most impressed with the collaborative learning environment, interdisciplinary opportunities, and research concentration. The School also offers multiple opportunities for teaching and research, which have provided me with a solid foundation for a career in academia. Outside of UGA I have thoroughly enjoyed the educational, leisure, and cultural opportunities in the Athens community. Finally, my Ph.D. cohort has been a very supportive, fun, sincere, and inspiring group!"

Dr. Denise Levy, '08
Associate Professor & BCHS Associate Dean for Academic Support
Appalachian State Univ.
Department of Social Work


Ph.D. Curriculum

Overview/Mission | Admissions/Apply | Why Choose UGA SSW? | Curriculum & Courses | Forms & Resources | Financial Assistance | PhD Student Profiles | PhD Graduates & Dissertations | Dissertation Abstracts


Course Syllabi (Browse "By Prefix" SOWK)

The Ph.D. program requires that the student complete two full years of core and elective courses, followed by comprehensive examinations, and completion of the dissertation research project.  During the first year, students complete core courses in the history and philosophy of social work, theory and the philosophy of science, research methods, and statistics.  During the second year, coursework topics include additional research methods, a research practicum, social work education, elective courses centered on the student's areas of interest, and preparation for completing the comprehensive examination.  All students will complete a collaborative research study in the research practicum course prior to undertaking the dissertation, and will also have opportunities to engage in independently driven research projects with faculty supervision. After fulfilling coursework requirements, students complete their comprehensive examinations, and (upon their admission to doctoral candidacy) begin their dissertation research.  The research dissertation is the capstone of the student’s educational experience. Dissertation topics are proposed by the student and require approval from the student's Doctoral Advisory Committee.  At least 62 credit hours are required to graduate.

Coursework Time Limit

As per the University of Georgia Graduate School, all requirements for the degree, excluding the dissertation and final oral examination, must be completed within a period of six years. This time requirement dates from the first point of registration for graduate courses on a student's program of study.

A candidate for a doctoral degree, who fails to complete all degree requirements within five years after passing the comprehensive examination, and being admitted to candidacy, will be required to take the comprehensive examinations again and be admitted to candidacy a second time.



Click here for a PDF of the curriculum with course descriptions and program grade requirements


Fall (12 credit hours)
SOWK 8217—History & Philosophy of Social Welfare (3)
SOWK 8116—Quantitative Research Methods in Social Work (3)
SOWK 8176—Data Analysis & Statistical Inference I (3)
SOWK 8417—Integrative Seminar (3)

Spring (12 credit hours)
SOWK 8022—Theory (3)
SOWK 8166—Qualitative Research Methods in Social Work (3)
SOWK 8186—Data Analysis & Statistical Inference II (3)
SOWK 8417—Integrative Seminar (3)

No required coursework. Students may take electives.
If awarded an assistantship for the fall and spring semesters students are eligible for the reduced summer tuition rate of $25.00 plus applicable fees. Students must register for at least 9 credit hours to receive this tuition reduction.


Fall (12 credit hours)
SOWK 8227—Social Work Education and Pedagogy (3)
SOWK 8306—Doctoral Research Practicum I (3)
Research Methods or Statistics Course 1 (3)
Elective 1 (3)*

Spring (12 credit hours)
SOWK 8315—Social Work Education Practicum (3)
SOWK 8307—Doctoral Research Practicum II (3)
Research Methods or Statistics Course 2 (3)
Elective 2 (3)*

No required coursework. Students may take comprehensive exams, dissertation prospectus, or electives.
If awarded an assistantship for the fall and spring semesters students are eligible for the reduced summer tuition rate of $25.00 plus applicable fees. Students must register for at least 9 credit hours to receive this tuition reduction.

The following additional courses are required to graduate:

SOWK 8428—Comprehensive Exams (3)
SOWK 8240—Dissertation Prospectus (3)
SOWK 9000—Doctoral Research (6)
SOWK 9300—Doctoral Dissertation (9)

* At least one of the two required electives must be taken outside of the School of Social Work. Electives may be in the form of either a traditional course or an independent study. If taken as an independent study, the student in collaboration with the faculty supervising the independent study, will create a course plan to be submitted by the student to the Ph.D. program director for approval prior to the course.

Please note: This is a suggested timeline for completion of the degree. Excluding the first two years of coursework, each student's timeline will vary according to his or her program of study.