Programs by Campus


Social Work

School of Social Work

Departmental URL:

Departmental E-mail: swkphd [at] iupui [dot] edu

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degree Offered

Doctor of Philosophy. The School of Social Work also offers the Master of Social Work degree on the Albany, Bloomington, Indianapolis, IUN/Gary, Fort Wayne, Richmond, and South Bend campuses. For further information on the M.S.W. program, see the School of Social Work Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Admission Requirements

All applicants to the Ph.D. program must have a master’s degree in social work or a related field of study. Admission to the Ph.D. program is based on evaluations of: (1) the applicant’s professional resume, (2) professional experience beyond the M.S.W. degree, (3) undergraduate and graduate transcripts, (4) three online references, (5) an example of the applicant’s scholarly writing, (6) a 500-word statement of purpose, and (7) Graduate Record Examination General Test scores.

Application Deadlines

Applications are due annually by February 1st. Application materials and further information may be obtained online at:

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, including dissertation and research internship. Up to 30 graduate credit hours may be counted toward the minimum 90 credit hours required for the Ph.D. degree. All courses credited toward the Ph.D. degree must have a minimum grade of B and must receive written approval of the School of Social Work Ph.D. Program Committee and the dean of the University Graduate School. Specific program require­ments include: (1) professional social work component (27 credit hours), (2) specialization component (18 credit hours), (3) research component (27 credit hours), (4) research internship (6 credit hours), (5) dissertation (12 credits). See also the “Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy” discussed in the first section of this bulletin.

Advisory Committee

All students in the Ph.D. program, with the approval of the program director, will select an advisory committee of three faculty members, one of whom will represent the student’s area of specialization outside the School of Social Work.

Qualifying Examination

Comprehensive; specific focus and scheduling determined by the student’s advisory committee.

Research Proposal

After nomination to candidacy, the student, with the approval of the program director, will select a research committee of no fewer than four faculty members, including an outside member. This committee must approve the proposed dissertation topic.  A multiple manuscript dissertation option is available.

Final Examination

Oral defense of dissertation.

Pre-Doctoral Exploratory Option

This option is designed to provide prospective Ph.D. students with an opportunity to explore their interests in research and doctoral education before making formal application to the Ph.D. program. Qualified students are admitted under a “spe­cial student” status (M9) and are permitted to enroll in up to three of the school’s regular Ph.D. foundation courses (9 credit hours) before having to decide whether they intend to apply to the Ph.D. program. If later accepted to the Ph.D. program, credits earned during the pre-doctoral phase will automatically apply toward the Ph.D. degree. Participation in the Pre-Doctor­al Exploratory Option does not guarantee acceptance into the Ph.D. program. Applications for the Pre-Doctoral Exploratory Option should be submitted by May 1 for fall admission and by November 1 for spring admission. All inquiries regarding the pre-doctoral option should be directed to the academic advisor listed above.

Ph.D. Minor in Social Work

A minor in social work requires the completion of at least 12 credit hours of graduate course work. Students must com­plete at least two courses from among the 700-level courses listed below. Remaining course requirements may be taken from among the school’s 500- and 600-level courses with the approval of the director of the M.S.W. program and the course instructor. The choice of courses comprising the minor must be made in consultation with the Ph.D. program director and have the approval of the student’s identified faculty advisor.

Academic Bulletins

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