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SCHOOL OF SOCIAL WORK

Ph.D. Program

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School of Social Work
Thayer Hall
(404) 880-8506


The Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Social Work 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 purpose of the program is to implement a set 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 include the School of Business Administration, Education, Arts and Sciences.


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. Prepares students for careers in teaching, research, social policy analysis and leadership of human service organizations.

  2. 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.

  3. Ensure through all teaching experiences the core values and ethics of the profession; the promotion of social justice; a responsibility to serve the oppressed and at-risk members of society; and a strong commitment to fight inequality and oppression.

  4. Promote the role of research that acknowledges the contributions to humanity.

  5. Provides opportunities for students to engage in policy analysis that will enhance services to those who are oppressed.

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:

  • The Master of Social Work Degree from a school accredited by the Council on Social work Education (CSWE)
  • Official transcript from all colleges and universities attended;
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores taken within the last five (5) years;
  • GPA in MSW Program of 3.0 or higher
  • Three (3) letters of reference from professional persons who can attest to your ability to complete a doctoral program in social work. 
  • Completed a minimum of two (2) years of professional experiences in Social Work post the MSW degree.
  • Demonstrate academic and professional excellence, and a capacity to conceptualize and clearly articulate ideas and career interests in advanced social work practice and research.
  • Resume or Vita. 

Applicants must also provide:

  1. A Personal Statement clearly presenting the relevance of their professional experiences in Social Work to their career objectives, including how the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Social Work will prepare the applicants to meet these objectives (3-5 pages).
  2. A writing sample that clearly communicates the applicant's potential for integrative and critical thinking, the ability to appropriately use the literature (paraphrasing arguments, synthesis of ideas, citation practices utilizing APA) and an advances ability to present a clear, logical and compelling written product.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the General Degree Requirement as presented in the Clark Atlanta University Graduate Catalog, student s pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Social Work must complete a minimum of seventy-two (72) semester credit hours which include the core curriculum course, cognate course, required elective courses, satisfactory completion of qualifying examinations and a dissertation;

  • Course Requirements
    • Core Requirements: 33 Graduate Credit Hours
      • Required courses during the first and second years include social work administration theory, organizational development, policy, research methods, and statistics. The third year is primarily devoted to the completion of cognate and elective courses. After all course work is satisfactorily completed, students must complete qualifying examinations prior to enrolling in dissertation research. Transfer courses must be approved by the Program Director and Dean.
        • CSSW 990, Historical Analysis of Social Welfare and Professional Social Work (3)
        • CSSW 901, Social Welfare and Professional Social Work Policy Planning and Development (3)
        • CSSW 910, Research Methodology (3)
        • CSSW 911, Descriptive and Inferential Statistics (3)
        • CSSW 912, Evaluative research and Multivariate Statistics (3)
        • CSSW 913, Doctoral Seminar I (3)
        • CSSW 914, Doctoral Seminar II (3)
        • CSSW 920, Organizational Development (30
        • CSSW 921, Planned Change in Complex Organizations (3)
        • CSSW 930, Critical Analysis of managerial Theories (3)
        • CSSW 931, Administration in Human Service Organizations (3)
        • CSSW 995, Dissertation Research (12)
        • CSSW 996, Dissertation Consultation (1)*
          • *Required only for the student who has completed 12 hours of Dissertation Research but has minor corrections to make.
    • Cognate Courses: 18 Graduate Credit Course
      • Cognate course are courses other than social work that individually and collectively enhance the depth of understanding of the student's chosen research area and or area of interest. These are graduate-level courses from other disciplines within the University or at another accredited institution of higher learning. Cognate course expose the student to interdisciplinary training. Students choose cognates under the advisement of the major professor and with the approval of the student's Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC).
        • Cognate: School of Education (Educational Leadership)
        • Cognate: School of Business (Marketing & Executive Leadership)
        • Cognate: Arts and Sciences (Public Administration)
        • Cognate: Arts and Sciences (Political Science)
        • Cognate: Arts and Sciences (Criminal Justices)
        • Cognate: Arts and Sciences (Sociology)
    • Electives: 9 Graduate Credit Hours 
      • While students have the freedom and flexibility to choose whatever elective they prefer(across any relevant discipline), they are encouraged to consider three (3) of their open electives from their cognate area.
  • Qualifying Examination
    • A research paper in the student's concentration is required.
  • Dissertation: 12 Graduate Credit Hours
  • Final Examination
    • The Final examination includes a defense of the dissertation.

Ph.D. Degree Curriculum


The curriculum is a planned three-year program that requires satisfactory completion of seventy-two (72) 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 910  Research Methodology 3 
CSSW 913  Doctoral Seminar I 3 
    _________
9
Second Semester
CSSW 901  Social Welfare and Professional Social Work Policy Planning and Development  3 
CSSW 911 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics 3 
CSSW 914  Doctoral Seminar II 3 
    _________
9
 
Year Two
First Semester
CSSW 912 Evaluative Research and Multivariate Statistics 3 
CSSW 920  Organizational Development  3 
CSSW 930  Critique and Analysis of Managerial Theories 3 
    ________
9
 
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 
    ________
12
 
Year Three
First Semester
 
- - - - - - Cognate Course III  3 
- - - - - - Cognate Course IV  3 
- - - - - - Cognate V 3 
- - - - - - Cognate VI 3
    ________
12
 
Second Semester 
- - - - - - Required Elective 3
- - - - - - Required Elective  3
- - - - - - Required Elective 3
    ________
9
CSSW 995  Dissertation Research  12 
    ________
12
 
Total Hours  _________
72
 CSSW 996  Dissertation Consultation  1
Summary of Course Requirements

Semester Credit Hours

Core Curriculum  33
Cognate Studies 18 
Required Electives  9 
Dissertation  12 
Total Hours  ________ 
72