The Doctoral Program

Grounded in the recognition that direct practice and scholarly inquiry are complementary, Simmons's Ph.D. in Social Work prepares advanced clinical scholars for careers that significantly impact the direction of our profession. The Doctoral Program builds on our school's mission to contribute to the development of the social work profession in a multicultural society, to enhance the human service delivery system, and to work toward the goal of social justice.

Tamara Cadet


Coursework focuses on the philosophy of science and models of clinical social work practice, quantitative and qualitative research methods, the analysis of policy and practice trends, and the social work profession in interdisciplinary contexts. Students graduate as leaders, equipped with the comprehensive and cutting-edge knowledge that's required for solving complex social problems across a variety of professional venues. Our curriculum prepares experienced clinicians for advanced careers that significantly impact the direction of our profession, particularly in research and higher education. A total of 45 credits (15 courses) are required for graduation. 00Students make up the remaining 15 credits by taking elective courses.

Graduation requires a total of 15 courses (45 credits), research and teaching practicums, the successful completion of a comprehensive qualifying written and oral exam, the submission of at least one manuscript for peer review in a scientific journal, and the completion of the dissertation, which may take the form of three additional manuscripts submitted to peer review journals.  

Ph.D. Courses

All students are required to take the following courses:

  • Quantitative Scientific Methods
  • Introduction to Statistics, Data Analysis and STATA
  • Philosophy of Science 
  • Social and Behavioral Theory 
  • Introduction to Multivariate Statistics
  • Critical Analysis of Clinical Practice 
  • Qualitative Scientific Methods
  • Integrating Public Policy Issues and Outcomes Into Social Work Research 
  • Survey Research Methods
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Comparative Social Work Macro Practice Models
  • Intervention research
  • Teaching and Learning.
  • Dissertation Proposal Seminar
  • Elective such as Advanced Methods, Logistic Regression, or Secondary Analysis of Data

Supplemental Courses

A total of 45 credits (15 courses) are required for graduation. 00 Students can take elective courses during summers, third year, or while in the dissertation phase.

Current PhD Students

Detailed information is available to current PhD students in a dedicated section of our website.

A Rich and Varied Body of Knowledge

SSW doctoral candidates conduct thorough, thoughtful research, generating powerful dissertations. Some recent topics include:

  • Reclaiming and Constructing Identities: The Journey Out of Homelessness for Persons With Mental Illness
  • Self-perceived Unpopularity in Children and Adolescents: Its Antecedents, Characteristics, and Relationship to Later Maladjustment
  • To Hear and to Respond: The Influence of Zen Buddhist Meditation on the Practice of Clinical Social Work
  • Helpful and Unhelpful Interactions Between Professionals and Parents of Children with Cognitive Challenges: A Developmental Perspective
  • Adaptation and Transformation: The Transition to Adoptive Parenthood for Gay Male Couples
  • Young, Urban, Unwed Fathers: Depressive Symptoms, Problem Behaviors, and Psychosocial Correlates
  • El Sufimiento de los Colombianos en Nueva Inglatera: Como Salen Adelante (Suffering of Colombians in New England: How They Cope)