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Organization and Structure of the PhD in Social Work Program

Our PhD program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals.

The PhD in Social Work program accommodates your continued work as a social work professional during your course of study. To obtain the doctoral degree, you must complete the 48-credit curriculum with at least a 3.3 GPA and successfully defend a dissertation that is the product of original, independent research.

The PhD in Social Work program offers part- and full-time options. In the part-time option, you will take:

  • 48 credits one afternoon and evening a week for 8 semesters (two courses per semester)

Once you’ve completed the first two years of study with a minimum 3.3 GPA, you are eligible to take qualifying examinations based on the first two years (8 courses and 24 credits) of course work. If you pass all four examinations, you may proceed with the remaining 8 courses and with the development of a proposal for your dissertation.

In the full-time option you will take four courses a semester two days a week—also in the late afternoon and early evening. You’re eligible to take the qualifying examinations after the first year of study if you’ve completed 8 courses and 24 credits with at least a 3.3 GPA. After passing the qualifying examinations, you will take:

  • 48 credits two afternoons and evenings a week for four semesters (four courses per semester)

Dissertation advisement may begin while you’re enrolled in courses. For advisement after completion of your course work:

  • Enroll in SWK 895, Continuing Matriculation with Dissertation Advisement for a maximum of six semesters
  • For semesters when you’re not receiving advisement, you must enroll in SWK 896, Continuing Matriculation without Advisement.

Within two years of the completion of their course work, students in both full- and part-time PhD social work programs must have an accepted dissertation proposal. They have 10 years from the date of matriculation to complete and successfully defend a dissertation.

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For further information, please contact:

School of Social Work
p – 516.877.4300

Office of Graduate Admissions
p – 800.ADELPHI
e –
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