Doctorate in Social Work (PhD)


The University of Pittsburgh has one of the oldest and most well respected social work doctoral programs in the United States, awarding its first DSW degrees in 1949. In 1963, the DSW degree was changed to a PhD. We have consistently been regarded among the top 10 social work doctoral programs in the nation. We are proud of our heritage and celebrated the 60th Anniversary of our PhD Program in 2009.

Since its inception, The School of Social Work has conferred the PhD degree on hundreds of graduates who enjoy productive careers in social work research, education, administration, and planning. The program provides students with a supportive educational environment which facilitates their progress towards degree completion. Our doctoral program is committed to the school's mission which addresses human dignity, social justice, and social equity for diverse populations.

Our full time program is highly competitive and we accept 6-8 students each year. The students we accept are fully funded with tuition and stipend support for four years of study. Tuition support includes health insurance, and we have a wonderful Social Work Library which is part of the University’s Library System. Doctoral education in Social Work prepares students for leadership roles in social work research, social work education, social policy, planning, and administration. The goal of our program is to provide students with advanced academic training that will allow them to contribute to the knowledge base of our profession.

The doctoral program is open to applicants who have demonstrated intellectual capacity, critical thinking skills, and potential for research and scholarship.

Due to program goals, the regular PhD program requires applicants to have earned a master's degree in social work (MSW) to be eligible for admission. Students without the MSW, may apply to the joint Master of Social Work/Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work program.