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Ph.D. in Social Work

Degree Requirements

Doctoral program requires an enrollment of 54 credit hours, as follows:

  • 27 credit hours of required coursework
  • 9 credit hours of electives
  • A qualifying paper
  • A comprehensive examination process
  • Completion of a dissertation

The curriculum is designed to provide standard core content for all students and also to give flexibility for students to develop particular expertise in chosen areas of inquiry and research methods. Required social work doctoral courses provide a common base of knowledge and skills. Electives, the Qualifying Paper, the oral comprehensive exam, and the dissertation allow greater focus and specialization. The cumulative effect of coursework and the Qualifying Paper should be to create a clear area of specialization or emphasis. The dissertation involves detailed scholarly investigation within this area. Students are not required to use the same or similar topic and methodology developed in the Qualifying Paper for the dissertation. However, doing so is the most efficient way to proceed through the program.

It is realistic to expect that the PhD Program can be completed in 4 years. Incoming students with GRA or GTA appointments of 50% or more may take a maximum of two courses (SW 978 and SW 980) in the first semester, and are highly encouraged to take only two core courses (SW 979 and SW 981) in the second, spring semester. Students must plan carefully with their enrollment advisor, because core courses are offered only once per year. The following section depicts the recommended schedule for completion of the program.

Curriculum

Recommended completion schedule for all students with GRA or GTA appointments of 50% or more, which is Full Time for KU purposes.

TAB: Year 1

Fall

SW 978 Research Design and Methods
This class is an in-depth introduction to the process of conducting research. This introduction provides the essential context for the qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research courses. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC
M 01:30-04:30 PM TWE 208 - LAWRENCE
3 17924

SW 980 History and Philosophy of Social Work
This course is designed to provide students with opportunities to examine the underlying conceptual frameworks of social work practice-their history and present manifestations. This course rests on the definition of social work practice that includes the interaction of knowledge, value, and skill around professional purpose and in the context of professional sanction. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC
M 09:30-12:30 PM TWE 208 - LAWRENCE
3 13954

Spring

SW 979 Methods of Qualitative Inquiry
This course provides a detailed overview of knowledge and skills in qualitative inquiry. It examines issues in the philosophy of science and paradigms for qualitative inquiry in social work. It emphasizes principles and procedures for qualitative inquiry design, including an introduction to data collection, analysis, report writing, while attending to criteria for establishing trustworthiness. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

SW 981 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods I
This course, which includes a lab, focuses on quantitative research methodology and related inferential statistics, emphasizing mastery of specific methodological and statistical knowledge and skills. The course will address the following topics: the framing of research questions; the selection of appropriate research methods and designs; the selection of appropriate statistics for data analysis; the principles of analysis; interpretation of findings; and the presentation of results. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

Summer

One Elective (3 hours)

TAB: Year 2

Fall

SW 982 Social Welfare Policy
This seminar helps doctoral students learn to analyze social welfare policies and programs. After comparing and contrasting various policy analysis frameworks, students learn to analyze the ways in which social conditions, values, and ideologies shape the definitions of social problems as well as the development, implementation, and evaluation of social welfare policies that impact those problems. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC
T 02:00-05:00 PM TWE 208 - LAWRENCE
3 18484

SW 983 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods II
The purpose of this advanced research methods course is to help equip professionals to design and carry out research with direct implications for social work practice and social welfare policy. Building on the experience in SW 978 and SW 981, this course will focus on more advanced topics in research design and both experimental and correlational statistical analyses. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC
T 09:00-12:00 PM TWE 208 - LAWRENCE
T 01:00-01:50 PM TWE 208 - LAWRENCE
3 13955

SW 987 Teaching Social Work: Philosophy and Methods
The purpose of the course is to prepare doctoral students for effective teaching of Social Work courses at all levels of higher education. Doctoral students need practical skills, a theoretical base, experience, and confidence in order to improve their teaching performance. LEC.
Fall 2017
Type Time/Place and Instructor Credit Hours Class #
LEC
W 09:00-12:00 PM TWE 208 - LAWRENCE
3 22246

Spring

SW 984 Social Work Practice: Identifying and Improving "Best Practices
The main focus of this seminar is on developing skills for conduction multi-dimensional, value critical inquiry about "best practices" relevant to social work practice, and applying the results of that inquiry toward extending and improving current "best practices". LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

SW 985 Theory for Research: _____
This course provides an introduction to interdisciplinary theory for applied social research, focusing on: (1) the roles and uses of theory in social inquiry (2) theory building and theory testing (3) induction and deduction (4) the articulation of common or related theoretical traditions in various social science disciplines. LEC.

The class is not offered for the Fall 2017 semester.

One Elective (3 hours)

Summer

Begin work on Qualifying Paper

One Elective (3 hours)

TAB: Year 3

Fall

Submit Qualifying Paper for grading

Form Dissertation Committee

Enroll in Research Hours as needed

Spring

Defend Dissertation Proposal (Oral Comprehensive Exam)

Summer

Begin or continue Dissertation, and complete in spring or summer of Year 4

NOTE:  Variations in the above recommended schedule can be made with approval of the Program Director. For example, due to employment or other obligations, some students take as few as one course in some semesters. These students need to assess their plan to graduation carefully. Other students may have less than 50% GRA or GTA appointments, and could take 3 courses in the first year, with approval.


Questions?

Laurie Ramirez
Graduate Student Services Coordinator
785-864-3883
lramirez@ku.edu

Anne Williford
Ph.D. Program Director
Professor
785-864-8969
awilliford@ku.edu

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