Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


2018 picture of doctoral students

The PhD program in social work at the Kent School of Social Work, a joint program with the University of Kentucky's College of Social Work, prepares academically motivated master's level social workers to take on teaching, research, administrative, and policy analysis positions.

The program focuses on building research, teaching, and analytic competencies through courses on social (work) theories, advanced research design and analysis, teaching, ethics, special topics seminars, guided research practicums and independent studies.

Students have the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of nationally recognized faculty within the school and university with expertise in the areas of social and child welfare, child & family well-being, gerontology, health & mental health, justice & criminality, school social work, substance abuse and international social work.

Along with coursework, students are guided in developing expertise in an area of social sciences research.  Areas of research have included examination of social and health disparities, social work interventions, predictors and risk factors for substance abuse, long term effects of maltreatment and trauma, and evaluation of training programs, to name just a few.

Students are also mentored and supported on becoming a faculty member, and balancing research, teaching, and service as they prepare for their future career.

Graduates of our program have gone on to work as faculty members in schools of social work nationally and internationally as well as in a variety of other research, administrative and policy positions.


Newly admitted students are oriented to foundational concepts, doctoral education, and the doctoral program through a weekly seminar during July and early August before beginning full-time coursework in the fall.

  • Advanced Research Design & Analysis I (ARDA I, 6)
  • Advanced Research Design & Analysis II (ARDA II, 6)
  • Advanced Research Design & Analysis III (ARDA III, 3)
  • Teaching in Social Work (3)
  • Theory I: Social Work Change Theories (3)
  • Theory II: Theory Development (3)
  • Theory III: Analysis of Social Problems, Policy and Practice (3)
  • Advanced Qualitative Research (3)
  • Advanced Measurement in Social Work Research (3)
  • Ethics, Social Work & Society (3)
  • Research Practicum (3)
  • Teaching Practicum (3)
  • Professional Seminar I (1)
  • Professional Seminar II (1)

44 core curriculum total hours

Individualized Plan of Study (at least 6 credit hours)

Independent Studies, Research or Teaching Practica, or other courses identified to meet individual students' needs.

Comprehensive Examination (No Credit Hours)

Dissertation (6 credit hours)


Program Contact Information

Dr. Bibhuti Sar, Director, Doctoral Program


Email Dr. Sar

Norma Kyriss, Coordinator


Email Norma Kyriss