Doctor of Social Work

The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program at Aurora University is one of only a handful of clinical doctoral programs in the country. Aurora University offers an innovative program for clinical social workers who desire to advance in their clinical careers as well as those who would like to teach advanced clinical theory and practice content in any type of undergraduate or graduate program. The DSW program is delivered using an executive-style format, with courses meeting on Saturdays.

Throughout the DSW program students will develop and foster meaningful relationships with their peers and faculty. Students develop lifelong relationships with colleagues, mentors, and experts in the field.

Program Overview

We offer the DSW program on a part-time basis with courses on the weekends on the Aurora campus. Most students complete the program within five years.

In the DSW program, you will complete a total of 64 semester hours, including:

  • 48 academic semester hours
  • 12 internship semester hours
  • 4 dissertation supervision hours

Clinical Seminar and Clinical Oral Requirements
You will complete a clinical preceptorship of eight hours per week, including one hour of weekly consultation, beginning in the spring semester of your first year in the program and running for four consecutive semesters. You will also concurrently complete a four-course clinical seminar sequence. With the approval of the Chair of the DSW program, you may be able to use your current place of employment for the preceptorship.

At the end of the four-course sequence, you will develop an initial preceptorship paper that presents a clinical case. You will demonstrate mastery of a particular clinical theory and its application in clinical practice through an oral presentation to the clinical oral committee.

Comprehensive Exam
After completing the first two years of coursework, you will need to pass a written comprehensive exam on that material. You will then be accepted into doctoral candidacy and may begin your research course sequence and progress toward your dissertation.

Dissertation
The dissertation process includes successfully completing the four-course research sequence, developing a successful clinical dissertation proposal, securing university Institutional Review Board approval, gathering and analyzing data, and defending the completed clinical dissertation. For more information, see Dissertation Process .

Student Handbook
Complete program details and additional information are available in the DSW Student Handbook.