Doctor of Social Work

The Doctor of Social Work program offers a clinical doctorate designed for those who want to teach in higher education, particularly clinical theory and practice in bachelor's and master's degree programs. Our DSW program responds to the real and pressing need for qualified faculty who can teach clinical theory and practice as one of only four institutions in the country offering a clinical social work doctorate. Graduates also are prepared to practice clinical social work at a highly advanced post-graduate level.

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.

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.