Degree Requirements

The 53-credit curriculum begins with 23 credits of core courses:

  • research seminar (2 credits);
  • quantitative and qualitative research design and methods (9 credits);
  • data analysis and statistics (6 credits); and
  • research practicum (6 credits)

Additional required courses include:

  • intervention research (3 credits);
  • integrative seminar (3 credits);
  • teaching methods (3 credits);
  • advanced research or data analysis in the student’s area of interest (3 credits), and
  • theory in the student’s area of interest (3 credits)

Students also take another 3-credit elective.

After completing integrative seminar, students take a comprehensive examination. The final phase of the program is the completion of 12 hours of doctoral dissertation credits.

PhD Courses
Fall 2021   
SOWK 804 Research Methods I DeForge Thursday 9-12
SOWK 805 Data Analysis I R.Rose Friday 9-12
SOWK 811 Research Practicum II B.Lee/T.Rose Thursday 2-5
SOWK 826 Qualitative Research Methods Shdaimah/M.Smith Thursday 2-5
SOWK 835 Theory and Practice of Social Work Teaching Greif Thursday 9-12
SOWK 815 Structural Equation Modeling Sacco Friday 9-12
SOWK 816 Special Topics: Philosophy of Science and Socially Just Research (1 Credit hour) B.Lee Friday 12:15 - 1:45

Spring 2022
SOWK 806 Research Methods II                                 DeForge Thursday 9-12
SOWK 807 Data Analysis II Cagle Thursday 2-5
SOWK 810 Research Practicum I Negi Friday 9-12
SOWK 812 Integrative Seminar Wagner Thursday 9-12
SOWK 814 Intervention Research Berlin Thursday 2-5
SOWK 828 Causal Inference R.Rose Friday 9-12
SOWK 817 Special Topics: Philosophy of Science and Socially Just Research (1 Credit hour) B.Lee Friday 12:15 - 1:45
Approved Courses


NURS 811 Measurement of Nursing Phenomena Dr. Louise Jenkins
NURS 812 Seminar in Nursing Measurement
NURS 820  Meta-Analysis – Dr. Karen Soeken
NURS 826  Structural Modeling in Health Care Research Dr. Karen Soeken
NURS 830 Large Health Care Databases
LAW 534  Mental disability and Criminal Law
LAW  548  Critical Issues in Health Care


ANTH 419/Socy 419/Socy 619  Qualitative Methods in Social Research  Dr. Kevin Eckert
EDUC 605 (The Adult Learner) Dr. Greg Williams
GERO 703  Policy Analysis of Aging Issues  Dr. Nancy Miller
GERO 786 Psyc Aspects of Aging
GEOG 386/686  Intro to Geographic information Systems
PSYC 680 Personality
PSYC  695 Addictive Behaviors
PSYC 715  Measurement of Behavior
SOCY 629 Aging in Cultural Context
SOCY 630  Sociology of Aging
SOCY 698 Performance Assessment


AMST 629 The Body, Sexuality, and Society   Dr. Struna
EPIB 623 Epidemiology of Health Disparities  Dr. Olivia Carter-Polras
PSYCH 611 Advanced Developmental Psychology
PSYCH 819-D Personality and Development: Attachment Across the Lifespan  Dr. Jude Cassidy
PUAF 735  Health Policy   Dr. R. Sprinkle
SOCY 644: Gender, Work, and Family  Prof. Harriet B. Presser
SOCY 699  War, the State and Society  Dr. Meyer Kesenbaum
SOCY 699  Space and Places     Dr. George Ritzer
SOCY 699  Theories of Globalization   Dr. George Ritzer
WMST 602  Feminist Theory through and beyond critique  Dr. Katie King
WMST 698G Gender, Globalization, and Transnational Feminist Movements  Dr. Claire G. Moses


APPL 642.185  Motivation/Satisfaction/Leadership   Dr. Tom Mitchell  UB

Outside Course Policy

PhD students in the School of Social Work are allowed to take PhD level courses outside of the School for elective credit. In order to be approved, the courses must meet the following criteria:

1. The course must be a PhD level course. That is, it must be in a program that offers a PhD degree, and be approved by the “host” PhD department for their own PhD students. (If the program does not have an associated PhD program, master’s level courses may be acceptable – please see the PhD program director for further information.)

2. The course must be taught by someone with a PhD or equivalent degree.

3. The course should be approved by the student’s chair or advisor. Chairs should take into consideration the content of the course and how it “fits” with the student’s plan of study, goals and interests.

4. The Course cannot duplicate a course that is offered at UMB/SSW

Students who want to propose an “outside” course must submit the following:

1. Course description

2. Course syllabus

3. Evidence that the course is approved for PhD students in the “host” program

These 3 items must be submitted to the PhD Program Director before the semester begins. The PhD program Director will approve, disapprove, or refer to the PPC. If approved, the student will be given permission to register for the course.

If the course is an “off campus” course, the student will need to complete an Inter Institutional Enrollment Form and get the PhD Program Director’s signature. This form should be submitted to the PhD Program Coordinator who will then submit to the Graduate School. The Graduate School then contacts the host school to start the registration process.  For Outside Courses at UMCP, UMBC and U of B, or elsewhere, prior permission of the instructor may be required and tuition remission may not apply.

GRA’s please check the Benefits website for FAQ’s about Tuition Remission at

The PhD program will keep a file of all approved “outside” courses. If a course has been approved in the past, the requirement of submission of a syllabus may be waived. (A list of the previously approved courses will be available from the Program Coordinator).

Students who want to take courses that do not meet the above criteria may submit the course description and syllabus to the PhD Program Committee for consideration. In such cases, students should submit a rationale for taking this particular course. (Note: the PPC meets monthly from September to June. Students who are interested in a course that is outside the basic criteria must plan well in advance to obtain PPC approval).

After the course is completed, students who take “outside” courses must submit a description of the course, with an evaluation of the quality of the learning experience. This will be made available to other PhD students who might be interested in the course, and their advisors.

Frequently Asked Questions by PhD Applicants

Q: Can I begin my studies in January?

A: There are no January admissions. Students are only admitted for the Fall semester.

Q: When and where are classes held? 

A: All classes in the PhD program are held on Thursdays and Fridays.  Full-time students take three courses per semester and need to be available to take classes on both Thursday and Friday.  Part-time students take two courses per semester and need to be available on Thursday and Friday as well.  All classes are conducted in the School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore campus in downtown Baltimore.  No online courses are offered at this time.

Q: Can I take a course to “try out” the program before I am admitted?

A: Non-degree status is not granted to those who plan to obtain a PhD.  We welcome you to visit our program for the day and sit in on a class if you wish.

Q: What type of Financial Aid is available?

A: The School has a number of graduate research assistantships (GRAs) that require either 10 or 20 hours of work per week for a 10- or 12-month academic year.  Full-time students are eligible for full-time (20-hour) assistantships which provide a stipend of $23,200 (10-month) or $27,800 (12-month), plus tuition remission for the fall and spring semesters, and health insurance.  Admitted students interested in applying for assistantships should complete the GRA application

GRAs are offered to full-time students only.  The University of Maryland Graduate School provides PLUS awards that may be available to provide tuition remission and fees for part-time students; students are recommended for these awards by the Program Director.

Q: What kind of health care is available?

A: All full-time students are required to have health insurance.  An excellent insurance policy that provides wide coverage, including obstetrical care, is available through the university.  For detailed information about health insurance, please visit  Full-time students with a GRA have the student health insurance covered as part of the GRA package.

Q: Can I enroll part-time?

A: Yes.  Students enter the program as either part-time or full-time.  Full-time is nine credits per semester (three courses).  Part-time is six credits per semester (two courses).  Students cannot enroll for fewer than two courses per semester.  If possible, it is best to complete the program as a full-time student.

Q: What will my workload be like?

A: Doctoral education is different from master’s degree education.  The workload is much heavier and the program is more rigorous.  The University of Maryland PhD program maintains high standards by having high expectations of the students.  Students spend 3 to 4 hours in preparation for every hour of class.  A full-time student with a 20-hour GRA will spend 56 to 65 hours a week on the doctoral program.  This is a major commitment and may require sacrifice in other areas of life.

Q: Can I keep my job? 

A: If you have a GRA, you are not allowed to work for pay outside of the GRA.  We provide GRAs so that you can focus on your doctoral education, gain research experience, and complete the degree in a timely manner.

If you are a part-time student, you can work outside of the program, but it is best to meet with the Program Director to discuss your individual circumstances and how to balance working with being a PhD student.

Q: I am from out of town.  Is it possible to live on the GRA stipend in Baltimore?

A: Yes.  Baltimore’s cost of living is very reasonable.  Check out the University’s Housing Department’s website at You will find information about on- and off- campus housing, housing costs, and Baltimore neighborhoods.  Also, if you have a 10-month GRA, you can work for 2 months over the summer to gain extra income.

Q: Can I take courses in other schools or programs?

A: Yes. Students are required to take at least one course outside the social work PhD program; students begin taking electives in their second year.  Students may select their electives from doctoral-level courses offered in the School of Social Work, the other UMB schools, as well as academic departments on the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) or University of Maryland in College Park (UMCP) campuses (e.g., psychology, sociology, policy sciences).  Elective courses from other institutions may also be acceptable.  The tuition remission provided as part of the GRA or PLUS awards covers courses at several campuses of the University System of Maryland.

Q: Is there a maximum time limit?

A: You must achieve candidacy status within 5 years of admission to the PhD program and you must graduate within 4 years of the date you are admitted to candidacy.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?

A: Full-time students can complete the coursework in 2-3 years.  Part-time students complete the coursework in an average of 3-4 years.  The time for the completion of the dissertation depends on the nature of the research and the amount of time the student devotes to it.  Our full-time students average 4 to 5 years to complete the program.

Q: How does the program help prepare students for the job market?

A: In addition to providing an outstanding education in research and teaching, we offer workshops in applying for jobs (academic and non-academic), submitting abstracts, and making presentations.  The Graduate School also offers numerous workshops in career development.  Students are encouraged to attend the annual meetings of the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and other professional groups, and to present and publish their work.  Travel fellowships are offered to help cover expenses.

Q: Does the program help with job placement upon graduation?

A: The PhD Program Director receives numerous job announcements, and these are posted and distributed to students nearing graduation.  Also, the School shares the vitae of graduating students at national social work conferences. Faculty members also help their students find jobs.

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