Clark Atlanta University Learn Lead Change

Ph.D. Program

School of Social Work
Thayer Hall
(404) 880-8311

Ph.D. Program

The mission of the Whitney M. Young, Jr., School of Social Work is to develop individuals with a heightened sense of social consciousness who desire to work with individuals, groups, organizations and communities of color, regionally, nationally and internationally. Ultimately, the goal is to enrich and diversify the profession and those that it serves worldwide (recruit and develop, using the tenets of social work education, the talents and resources of individuals with a heightened sense of social consciousness, desiring to work with individuals, groups, organizations and communities of color, regionally, nationally and internationally). To achieve its mission the School seeks to reposition itself as a national and regional educational resource, with international influence, that serves as a magnet for collaboration and advancement of social work education and model development addressing social, economic, justice equity and racial disparity issues, especially those affecting African-American children and families, with a special emphasis on the African-American male within the context of family.

The Ph.D. Program prepares individuals for careers in teaching, research, social policy analysis, human service management, and organizational development. The program seeks to increase the number of African-American and other underrepresented ethnic minority social work leaders at the doctoral level. The mission of the program is to implement a set of interdisciplinary teaching and learning experiences that will lead to the development of competent and motivated leaders in the global human enterprise. The program provides educational content in two areas: 1) core courses in social policy, human service management/ administration, organizational development, and research methods and statistics; and 2) courses in a cognate area that students select from the graduate schools within the University and Atlanta University Center to include the Schools of Business Administration, Education, Arts and Sciences, and the Morehouse School of Medicine Master of Public Health Program.

Ph.D. Goals

1. To educate a diverse student population committed to the search for solutions to problems of poverty, social and economic injustice, sexism, racism, and other forms of oppression while preserving the heritage of African-American people

2. To ensure through all teaching and practicum experiences the core values and ethics of the profession, including the promotion of social justice, a responsibility to serve the oppressed and at-risk members of society. Further, to develop a strong commitment to fight inequality and oppression based on race, gender, age, class, sexual orientation, and disability rooted in one's capacity to grow and change.

3. To enhance the role of research with an improved research infrastructure that acknowledges the contributions to mankind that could be made by increasing the number of graduates of color, who obtain doctoral degrees

4. To develop seamless partnerships with governmental agencies at all levels and the corporate community, both profit and nonprofit, for the purpose of creating long-term sustainable funding opportunities for the School

5. To develop and implement more comprehensive public service programs, including opportunities for students to participate in local, regional, national, and international internships and work experiences.

6. To enhance and provide services to meet the social service needs of the community by maintaining ongoing linkages with other local, regional, national and international organizations, institutions, and governmental entities.

Ph.D. Program Objectives

1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of social work policy, planning, program administration, and evaluation at all levels of government and social service organization.

2. Demonstrate the critical application of the Afrocentric Perspective in social work education and practice.

3. Demonstrate the ability to create and implement social service programs for oppressed populations.

4. Demonstrate the ability to conduct and disseminate research from an Afrocentric Perspective

5. Demonstrate a beginning level of proficiency as an instructor to educate multiple stakeholders in deconstructing and constructing culturally relevant methodologies, practices and theory development.

6. Demonstrate the ability to administer policies and practices at the local, national and international levels.

7. Demonstrate lifelong professional growth through continuous research, education and policy development.

8. Demonstrate innovative publishable scholarship.

Ph.D. Application Requirements

Applications for the doctoral program are accepted throughout the year, however, classes are admitted only in the fall. The following materials are to be submitted to the University's Office of Graduate Admissions:

  • Official transcript from all colleges and universities attended;
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores taken within the last five years;
  • Three letters of reference, including one from a person in a position to judge the applicant's potential to conduct research at the doctoral level; and
  • A written declaration of intent that would address the following questions:
    • Describe your research preparation (i.e., research courses if you have written or thesis or conducted community-based research).
    • What is your research agenda?
    • Do you have a potential dissertation topic?
    • Describe your professional social work experiences and explain how these experiences have shaped your interest in doctoral social work education.
    • Discuss specific area(s) in which you desire to strengthen your skills and knowledge and/or develop new skills, knowledge and competencies.
    • What career goals do you envision upon completion of the Ph.D. degree program?
    • Why did you choose to apply to Clark Atlanta University Whitney M. Young, Jr., School of Social Work as the institution to pursue your doctoral education?
  • Applicant should have obtained an MSW degree from a school of social work program accredited by CSWE as well as 2 years post MSW work experience.
  • Resume or Vita.

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of a minimum of sixty-nine (69) semester credit hours which include the core curriculum course, cognate course, required elective courses, satisfactory completion of qualifying examinations and a dissertation;
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above;
  • Demonstration of competency in computer technology; and
  • Reading competency in one foreign language, preferably, Spanish or French.
Ph.D. Degree Curriculum

The curriculum is a planned three-year program that requires satisfactory completion of sixty-nine (69) semester credit hours. The curriculum is divided into core, cognate, elective courses and a dissertation. Core curriculum courses are required during the first and second years. The third year is primarily devoted to the completion of cognate and elective courses. After all course work is satisfactorily completed, one must take and pass qualifying examinations prior to beginning work on the dissertation.

Year One    Credit Hours 
First Semester
CSSW 900  Historical Analysis of Social Welfare and Professional Social Work  3
CSSW 912  Research Methodology 3 
CSSW 913  Doctoral Seminar I 3 

Second Semester
CSSW 901  Social Welfare and Professional Social Work Policy Planning and Development  3 
CSSW 910  Descriptive and Inferential Statistics 3 
CSSW 914  Doctoral Seminar II 3 

Year Two
First Semester
CSSW 911 Evaluative Research and Multivariate Statistics 3 
CSSW 920  Organizational Development  3 
CSSW 930  Critique and Analysis of Managerial Theories 3 

Second Semester 
CSSW 921 Planned Change in Complex Organizations   3 
CSSW 931  Administration in Human Service Organizations 3
- - - - - - Cognate Course I  3 
- - - - - - Cognate Course II 3 

Year Three
First Semester
- - - - - - Cognate Course III  3 
- - - - - - Cognate Course IV  3 
- - - - - - Cognate V 3 
- - - - - - Required Elective  3

Second Semester 
- - - - - - Required Elective  3
- - - - - - Required Elective 3
CSSW 995  Dissertation Research  12 
Total Hours  _________
Summary of Course Requirements

Semester Credit Hours

Core Curriculum  33
Cognate Studies 15 
Required Electives  9 
Dissertation  12 
Total Hours  ________