PhD Program

The PhD program at the School of Social Work provides opportunities for advanced scholarship, contributing transformative knowledge through research relevant to social work theory, practice, policy, social development and administration.

The PhD program is for students with a background in social work, giving them an opportunity for advanced scholarship and professional growth in the context of a research-intensive program. In addition to making an original contribution to social work knowledge, students will be prepared for university teaching and research (theoretical and applied), including program evaluation. The program provides critical components for professional practice in research, policy analysis and human service management.

Via their program of work, students are expected to acquire a solid grounding in the core theoretical paradigms relevant to their course of study and quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as specialized competencies in the methodological skills necessary for productive scholarship in the substantive area of their chosen research. A research-based dissertation adding to the field’s knowledge base is the capstone of this program. Upon completion of the program, graduates obtain competence in the following areas:

  • Ability to conduct research using a range of paradigms and methods which span quantitative – qualitative approaches and which inform and advance knowledge and its application in the areas of social work.
  • Leading-edge substantive knowledge of an area of social work (defined by students’ research interests), including questions in the area that need to be addressed empirically.
  • Comprehensive understanding of professional, educational and policy issues in social work, with an ability to explicate the implications of research for the social good.