The Graduate School-New Brunswick, in cooperation with the School of Social Work, offers programs leading to a Ph.D. in social work. Programs for students seeking a master of social work are provided by the School of Social Work. Students may find descriptions of those courses in the catalog of that professional school.
The doctoral program in social work prepares students for advanced research in social work and for leadership roles in social welfare organizations.
The program is designed for students who have earned an M.S.W. or a master`s degree in a closely related field. The program`s two tracks, direct practice and social policy and administration, emphasize theory development and research. Each track requires students to take courses in research and statistics, plus courses related to the specific track. Students also take electives and one or more courses in a cognate discipline outside social work. Finally, there are courses to help students become computer literate in social science research and statistical analysis.
In addition to course work, students must complete a research internship, take a qualifying examination, and submit a dissertation. The research internship, which is done under the direction of a faculty member, prepares students to do the independent research needed for the dissertation. The qualifying examination ensures that a student has acquired the necessary background before starting dissertation research. Only when all other requirements are met do students research and write their dissertation under direction of a faculty member and a doctoral committee.
The curriculum policy of the doctoral program in social work gives students maximum latitude to design their own programs of study. Preparation includes 6 credits of graduate-level statistics courses, 6 to 9 credits in the social work major, 6 to 9 credits of electives, and 3 credits in the social sciences or other courses outside social work. Once a student has completed satisfactorily 12 credits of course work, he or she may transfer as many as 18 credits from the prior master`s program.
Students take their qualifying examination after they have completed 30 credits of course work. Each is admitted to candidacy for the degree after his or her research proposal has won approval from the committee. While working on his or her dissertation, a student is required to register for 24 research credits. It takes 72 credits to earn a Ph.D.
The residency requirement calls for students to register for a minimum of 30 credits of approved course work. There are three ways of meeting this requirement. The most intensive plan calls for students to complete all their course work in one year of residency at the New Brunswick campus. Under this option, students take four courses each term and participate in a research internship during the summer of that year. Other requirements for the degree, such as the qualifying examination and dissertation, are completed after the first year, and do not require residency.
A two-year option is designed for people who want to obtain a doctorate in the middle of a career. Under this plan, students spend one full day each week on campus, completing the 10 required courses in two years. Most students choosing this option require an additional term to take the qualifying examination and prepare a dissertation proposal. While the time needed to complete a dissertation varies, most students take two to four years.
The program offers a post-M.S.W. honors option for students who complete the M.S.W. program with outstanding records but who lack practical experience after getting their advanced degree. These students are encouraged to do social work while in the doctoral program. This plan enables students, while working on a doctorate, to acquire the two years of post-M.S.W. experience needed to qualify for a faculty position.
Admission requirements include an M.S.W. or a closely related master`s degree. Two years of post-M.S.W. practice experience is preferred for all except those enrolled in the post-M.S.W. honors option.