- Experience the advantage of earning your degree from an R1 research institution.
- Gain hands-on experience by completing a teaching practicum as well as a leadership practicum.
- Complete your DSW in as little as 3 years (or 8 semesters).
- Set yourself up for a successful career—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Social worker employment is expected to grow 16% between 2016 and 2026.
- Take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of 100% online classes and 24/7 access to learning tools as well as synchronous and asynchronous courses.
- Learn from world-class, experienced Kent School faculty and build influential connections with your peers through small cohorts.
- Complete—and defend—an original capstone project created under the supervision of a faculty mentor and 3 other faculty members.
100% ONLINE COURSES
Stronger cultural knowledge and stronger base to work from—available fully online.
Earn your graduate certificate in just 14 courses (44 credit hours).
16% JOB GROWTH
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Social worker employment is expected to grow 16% between 2016 and 2026.
"This program transforms experienced professionals into scholars, teachers and organizational leaders positively impacting vulnerable and marginalized populations."
John W. Miller Jr., PhD
RAYMOND A. KENT SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK AND FAMILY SCIENCE
The Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science
Founded in 1936, the Kent School of Social Work and Family Science prepares students to work in a society with complex social problems and needs. Rapidly becoming one of the top research social work programs in the country, the Kent School is able to provide current research information in the preparation of its students for work with individuals, families and communities. Learn more about the Kent School here.
What can you do with a Doctor of Social Work?
The essential knowledge, skills and credentials earned from a DSW equips you to advance your career and succeed as a social work postsecondary educator and/or leader. In the community, DSW degrees prepare individuals for leadership roles in human service and non-profit organizations, policy and advocacy positions, and community activism. In practice roles, DSW degrees prepare individuals for advanced social work positions in private practice and consulting and training. In academia, DSW degrees prepares individuals for roles as faculty members and administrators.
The 2019-2029 occupational outlook for postsecondary social work educators is expected to grow 9% nationwide, which is faster than the average national occupation growth rate and have a median annual salary of $80,790 (bls.gov).
Other career opportunities available to Doctor of Social Work graduates include:
- University faculty or administrator
- Policy practitioner
- Leader within social service organizations
What is the difference between a DSW and a PhD in Social Work?
The DSW is ideal for someone who wants to be an educator or take on a leadership position in a social service organization or within higher education. On other hand, a PhD in Social Work will help students hone their research skills and prepare for conducting research while teaching at a college or university.
While you can become a faculty member with either degree, a DSW prepares you to become part of the education faculty with a central focus on teaching and service as opposed to research.
START YOUR APPLICATION
|Preferred Application Deadline
|February 1 - Priority Deadline
|April 1 - Final Deadline
Steps to Apply
- Complete graduate application
- $65 non-refundable application fee
- Submit official college transcripts from all previous institutions
- Complete DSW application checklist
- Complete DSW applicant information form
- Submit personal statement of goals for pursuing the DSW degree
- Submit Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae
- Submit 3 letters of recommendation
- From individuals familiar with the applicant’s work and/or academic ability and performance such as current or former supervisors and instructors
- A writing sample demonstrating the applicant's writing and analytical ability
Send all materials to:
University of Louisville
2211 S. Brook Street
Louisville, KY 40292
* The preferred deadline helps you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We recommend you work on and submit your complete application in advance of the preferred deadline, as some application materials may take more time.
- Master’s degree in Social Work
- Master’s GPA of 3.0 (applicants with a master’s GPA of below 3.0 showing potential for success as demonstrated in their other submitted application materials and/or in the interview for admission into the DSW program will be given consideration for admission)
- 3 years of post-master’s social work experience
- An interview after review of submitted application materials
The online Doctor of Social Work is a 44 credit hour program. Fall and Spring courses are eight weeks. Summer courses are six weeks. Students complete both a teaching practicum and leadership practicum as part of their coursework. All students must pass a qualifying assessment before proceeding to the capstone project (6 credit hours) that is completed in the third year of the program. Practicums occur across all semesters.
DSW 700: Social Service Leadership and Teaching & Learning: History, Philosophy & Current Practice
DSW 701: Ethics, Equity, and Social Justice: Theory and Practice
DSW 702: Implementation Science, Program Development, & Administration
DSW 703: Continuous Quality Improvement, Data Driven Decision-Making and Evidence Based Practice & Manage
DSW 704: Research Methods
DSW 705: Program Evaluation
DSW 706: Applied Social Service Leadership, Management & Practice
DSW 707: Program Planning, Finance, & Budgets
DSW 708: Social Work Teaching & Learning: Theories, Methods & Assessment
DSW 709: Teaching in Social Work: Course Design, Instruction & Evaluation
DSW 710: Policy Analysis & Advocacy: Contemporary Issues
DSW 711: Integrative Seminar & Qualifying Assessment
DSW 712: Capstone Project I
DSW 713: Capstone Project II
|Minimum Required Credit Hours
Students complete two practicum experiences. In the fall semester of the second year, students complete a leadership practicum concurrently with Applied Social Service Leadership, Management & Practice. In the spring semester of the second year, students complete a teaching practicum concurrently with Social Work Teaching & Learning: Theories, Methods & Assessment.
Work in online learning is asynchronous or synchonrous. With asynchonrous coursework, the instructor as well as the students in the course, engage with the course content at different times. Synchronous learning, a modality often enjoyed by students, more closely resembles the traditional classroom and requires students and the instructor to be in the same place at the same time.
While work in all DSW classes is primarily asynchronous, each course meets twice during the semester. All synchronous class meetings are held on Wednesday evenings.
I am thinking of applying
Is there a dissertation required?
There is no dissertation. However, students have the option of conducting a capstone project.
What do the classes cover?
The classes provide instruction on the models of social service leadership and teaching and learning; training in analyzing and improving models of leadership and teaching and learning; knowledge and skills in implementing leadership knowledge; application of teaching skills and learning strategies; ethical leadership and teaching practices; and modalities of scientific inquiry in evaluating practices in leadership and teaching and learning.
How long does the degree take to finish?
The program is a 3-year program. Students take one course at a time continuously across Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.
Do I have to come to campus?
There is no residency. All classes and program events are online. You are welcome to join us for commencement activities if you elect to do so.
Can I still work while completing the program?
The program is designed with the practicing social worker in mind. Students take one class at a time so they can focus on course content while remaining employed. Additionally, students will use observations and experiences from their workplace to complete coursework across the curriculum. Students will begin applying new knowledge in their work as they learn.
How competitive is the admissions process?
The admissions process is competitive. Students must demonstrate strong verbal and written communication skills, critical thinking, a commitment to social work values and a commitment to prioritizing the time needed to undertake doctoral studies.
How large are the cohorts?
There are 20 students in each cohort.
Is the program considered part-time or full-time?
The program is a part-time program because students only complete six credit hours each semester. Classes are a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous meetings.
What is the application deadline?
The application deadline is February 1st each year for the cohort that begins the program in the Fall semester of the given year. Interviews are conducted in February and March. Admission decisions are made in March.
What is the focus of the program?
The program provides a foundation in the belief and value of engaging in lifelong learning; a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, “learning organization” perspective; theories, methods, and principles of adult learning, and equity, fairness, and justice; and advanced skills in assessing, implementing, and evaluating social work practices to motivate, teach, instruct, train, and lead for the betterment of social work practitioners, employees, social work students, and clients who are ultimately served.
What are the practicum experiences?
There are two practicum experiences completed in year two of the program. First, students complete a leadership practicum at their place of employment. The practicum experience depends on the nature of the organization with tasks focused on activities conducted by upper administrators. Second, in the teaching practicum, students work with Kent School faculty to observe and conduct teaching activities. The leadership practicum occurs in the Fall semester, and the teaching practicum occurs in the Spring semester.
How is the DSW degree different from the PhD degree?
DSW program prepares students to become scholar-practitioners in advanced social work practice, leaders in human service and educational institutions. PhD programs prepare students to become researchers who develop theoretical research and educational practices.
Is the DSW Program accredited through the Council on Social Work Education?
Currently, DSW and PhD programs are not accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). In June of 2020, CSWE approved accreditation standards for the DSW degree which is currently being piloted. The Kent School of Social Work and Family Science DSW program has adopted CSWE’s Accreditation Standards for Professional Practice Doctoral Programs in Social Work. For information about the standards and the current pilot study, please visit the Council on Social Work Education Website.
Is the DSW degree eligible for licensure?
After completing an MSW/MSSW or DSW degree from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), graduates are eligible to apply for licensure as a Certified Social Worker (CSW) or Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Kentucky. The University has not determined whether the DSW program meets the educational requirements for certification or licensure outside the state of Kentucky. Applicants are highly encouraged to check with the professional licensing authority in the state where they plan to practice to determine if our DSW program meets the educational requirements for that state.
I was accepted! What now?
I have finished my coursework. What now?
I am graduating!