The goal of the University of Pittsburgh doctoral program (PhD Social Work) in the School of Social Work is to provide students with advanced substantive, scholarship, and research skills related to their chosen area of social problem specialization.

Our program prepares students for research-oriented academic roles in social work that contribute to the knowledge base of the profession. Program graduates will be able to conduct research and scholarly analysis relevant to social work practice and policy for a specific service population, and to disseminate such knowledge to researchers, educators, social work practitioners, and policy makers.

The curriculum in our doctoral program strongly emphasizes social problem areas as coordinating themes in theory, research methodology, and social policy courses. The overall goal is to integrate the acquisition of basic knowledge, methods of empirical testing, and application to real-world situations. Course materials draw heavily on several priority areas of social work concern, including aging, mental health, income maintenance, women's issues, family policy, and issues related to diverse populations.

Students completing the program should have acquired the following:
• Knowledge of relevant social science theory;
• Advanced skills in research methodology and statistics;
• Advanced knowledge of social welfare policy (historical and contemporary) and policy analysis;
• Knowledge of relevant fields of practice, theoretical and policy perspectives, and research findings;
• Exposure to an interdisciplinary frame of reference through mechanisms provided internally by the doctoral program and externally through access to other disciplines and professions in the wider University.