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Clinical Social Work Ph.D. Degree Program Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Social Work programs are focused on providing students with teaching and research experience in the field. Students in these programs can specialize in a specific problem or population.

Essential Information

Students in doctoral degree programs in clinical social work build on social work skills learned in bachelor's or master's degree programs, such as helping people and families deal with family, employment, personal and relationship problems. In general, these programs are designed for those with social work experience who wish to teach or conduct research at the postsecondary level.

Doctoral candidates often specialize in a particular social problem or a particular demographic, and the program often culminates in a dissertation. Though some applicants are licensed social workers or professional counselors, this is not typically a requirement for admission. However, applicants often need to submit standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and a resume including all relevant experience.


Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work

Students in clinical social work doctoral programs typically develop or build upon research methodologies to help individuals deal with unemployment, drug abuse, inadequate housing, domestic issues or disabilities. Coursework in doctorate programs in clinical social work incorporate both research and hands-on learning. Some programs include a clinical practicum, while others focus on classroom lectures and research. The following are class topics that might appear in the curriculum:

  • Policy advocacy
  • Types of neurosis
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Theories of trauma
  • Family dynamics

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Graduates of Ph.D. programs in clinical social work are qualified to pursue employment as postsecondary teachers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that employment of postsecondary social work teachers would increase by 14% between 2014-2024, which is faster than average. The median annual salary for postsecondary social work teachers, as of May 2015, was $63,390.

Clinical social work Ph.D. programs provide students with in-depth education and research in key areas of psychology, public policy, health and education. This degree program is a great choice for those who wish to pursue careers in social work education.


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