Ph.D - Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

Andy Frey Doctoral Program Director 

The PhD Program is designed to develop scholars prepared to create knowledge through research that informs interventions and policies and educate future social workers to address critical social problems and pursue social justice. The program is designed to prepare its graduates for positions in academic and related research settings. 

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.

The basic components of the program include: (1) coursework, (2) comprehensive examination, (3) dissertation, and (4) mentoring and professional development system. The program requires a total of 50 doctoral level credit hours plus 6 dissertation credit hours for a total of at least 56 credit hours. 

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. Links to our core course descriptions and schedule are provided below, along with the doctoral handbook.

Updated 4/16/2021: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kent School of Social Work doctoral program is suspending the GRE requirement for 2021-2022 applicants.


Kent School of Social Work Dissertations [PDF]

Universities where Kent alumni hold positions [PDF]

Course descriptions and schedule for full- and part-time students [PDF]

Download PhD program brochure [PDF]

PhD Program Handbook

Download PhD Program Handbook [PDF]

Watch supplemental handbook videos below:

Topic  Summary Audience Duration
Handbook overview This short video describes the contents of the PhD program handbook.  Potential and current students, candidates, and faculty 3:24
Program update Describes the revisions that have occurred since January 2020 and next steps.  Students in the 2019 and 2020 cohorts, future students, and faculty 9:21
Mentoring and professional development System Describes Mentoring and Professional Development system, including a summary of the procedures that comprise the Annual Academic & Professional Development Review  Current students and all faculty who support Ph.D. students and candidates 11:44