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 Courses

SOWK 804 Research Methods I

SOWK 805 Data Analysis I

SOWK 811 Research Practicum II

SOWK 826 Qualitative Research Methods

SOWK 835 Theory and Practice of Social Work Teaching

SOWK 815 Structural Equation Modeling / SOWK 809 Multi Level Modeling

SOWK 816 Special Topics: Philosophy of Science and Socially Just Research (1 Credit hour)


Spring Courses

SOWK 806 Research Methods II

SOWK 807 Data Analysis II

SOWK 810 Research Practicum I

SOWK 812 Integrative Seminar

SOWK 814 Intervention Research

SOWK 817 Special Topics: Philosophy of Science and Socially Just Research (1 Credit hour)

SOWK 828 Causal Interference / SOWK 832 Epidemiology and Behavioral Health Researc

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.

GRAs: 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.

Interested in our PhD Program?