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School of Social Work

Ph.D. in Social Work

Established in 1946, our program is one of the oldest in the United States, and develops a mentoring partnership between nationally prominent faculty and students to promote knowledge and skills in theory development and community-based research. View some of our recent dissertation titles and see the biographies of current students.

Our graduates include internationally recognized scholars in diverse areas of study. Alumni go on to faculty and academic leadership roles in schools of social work around the world, as well as agency and program directors, and high-level servants in federal, state, and local government agencies. See where our Ph.D graduate go on to work.

Online Ph.D. Information Session

Please join us for an online information session about the Social Work Ph.D. Program at the University of Minnesota.

  • Tuesday, December 20, 2016
  • 6:00–7:30 p.m.

Learn about the Ph.D. program curriculum, research opportunities, and faculty, as well as funding and financial aid options, and get prepared to submit your application. You will receive log-in information when you RSVP here.

Graduation ceremony with hood

Michael Lee receives his doctoral hood at the School of Social Work Recognition Ceremony.


Scholarship, research, and teaching which contribute to the knowledge base of social work and foster a just, nurturing, inclusive society.

Program Highlights

Program Outline

Students take two years of coursework both inside and outside the School of Social Work, including required courses in research methods, statistics, theory, history, policy and teaching, as well as supporting program courses from across the university. Students typically complete their preliminary examinations and defend their dissertation proposal, and then complete their dissertation in their fourth or fifth year. More specifics of the program are detailed in the Ph.D. Student Handbook.

See Frequently Asked Questions About the Ph.D. Program.

Meet Our Current Ph.D. Students

Learn More & Apply

how to apply

How to apply to the Ph.D. program: an overview of application materials, what we're looking for in our applicants, and how to use Apply Yourself, the University of Minnesota's online application system.

Program Handbooks and Forms