2023 Best Online Doctorate in Social Work Programs

Click here to find out more about the ranking methodology that we used to compile this list.

Congratulations! If you represent a college or university that is included in this list, please collect your seal below.

Deciding which college to attend can be a daunting task. For many, it will be the most important decision that they make in their lives. To make an informed decision, you have to consider a lot of variables, such as cost of attendance, financial aid, student/teacher ratio, academics, student life, and more. These factors will either positively or negatively impact the quality of education that you receive.

Do you want to acquire an online doctorate in social work, but don’t know what institution you should attend? Well, if you are as ambitious as I was in my late teens, then you want to attend a top school, instead of an average or mediocre one. Fortunately, we have already done the legwork for you. To help you find the right school for your interests and goals, we’ve compiled a list of 2022’s best online doctorate in social work programs.

What institution did we forget? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

  1. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

In 2007, the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice introduced its doctorate in clinical social work, the nation’s first practice doctorate. Unlike research-based PhD programs in social work, Penn’s DSW degree program prepares learners for administrative leadership and teaching roles. Learners finish online classwork and dissertation research simultaneously, which appeals to working professionals.

Learners can earn an online PhD in social work in two years, although most learners require three years. The blended degree program delivers classes synchronously for two evenings each week, and learners attend two five-day residencies at Penn’s Philadelphia campus. The first residency unites new learners for an immersion experience in late August or early September. Learners attend the second residency during the summer session after their first year.

During their first year, learners take classes on foundations, theory, research, and clinical practice. Second-year classwork emphasizes applied clinical practice and teacher preparation. Third-year learners do not finish any formal classwork; instead, they partake in a dissertation seminar that offers the structure and support they need to finish and defend their dissertation.

Candidates must have a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a sanctioned degree program, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and at least two years of post-MSW clinical practice experience.

  1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California has an online doctor of social work degree program geared toward working professionals who want to improve their practice and qualify for career advancement. This 42-unit, advanced practice degree prepares social workers to develop pioneering solutions to real-life problems.

The coursework emphasizes innovation and leadership and prepares learners for advanced management practice in complex systems. Online learners finish classwork synchronously and asynchronously, and most learners earn the online PhD in social work in two years. Distance learners must attend six-day residencies during the third and sixth semesters of the degree program. Learners can fulfill the residency requirement in Los Angeles or the District of Columbia.

USC’s doctoral degree program incorporates the 12 grand challenges for social work, a project developed by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. The agenda emphasizes social justice, economic inequality, and child and family welfare. Required classwork includes classes in informatics and social innovation, leading public discourse in social work, and managing innovation and alter in social work. Learners finish a capstone research project based on one of the grand challenges.

Prospective learners must hold an MSW from a degree program sanctioned by the Council on Social Work Education. Candidates must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate and graduate classwork.

  1. University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, MN

The online doctorate in social work from the University of St. Thomas prepares learners for teaching and leadership positions in higher education. The degree program prepares scholars and professionals for faculty positions in higher education. Coursework covers concepts including coursework development, assessment and evaluation, and degree program administration. Learners finish a “banded” dissertation comprising a series of three critical works linked by either theme, issue, pedagogy, or population. During the dissertation process, learners design two publishable articles and either a third article, a presentation, or a BSW or MSW class.

UST delivers classwork synchronously and asynchronously, and the online PhD in social work degree program uses a cohort model. Learners finish one class at a time, taking two eight-week classes each semester. Distance learners normally finish the degree program in three years, and they must attend two on-campus residencies in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Each residency lasts two weeks, and they occur after the learner’s first and second years.

Candidates must hold an MSW from a degree program sanctioned by the Council of Social Work Education and must have at least two years of post-MSW professional practice. Candidates with higher education teaching experience obtain preference. Candidates must have a minimum 3.0 graduate GPA, but UST does not require candidates to submit GRE scores. UST holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Choose your Reaction!