Doctorate in Social Work


Program Description

Instructional Philosophy and Mission

The primary mission of the educational programmes in Social Work is consistent with the mission of the profession: to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. The Social Work Doctoral Programme philosophy at IUGS reflects this mission. A historic and defining feature of Social Work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to Social Work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to and address problems in living.

Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. “Clients” is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.

The mission of the Social Work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values and the principles that flow from them must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience (NASW 2008).

Degrees Offered

  • IUGS offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Doctor of Social Work (DSW).
  1. The Ph.D. is designed to prepare the social work professional to engage in research, teaching and academic leadership in the field as well as provide advanced social work services to organizations, governments, communities, and individuals.
  2. The Doctor of Social Work is designed to enhance the student’s capacity to work in applied social work settings where advanced knowledge can help them further their ability to provide social work services.
  3. The Ph.D. Dissertation tends to be theoretical and involves more secondary then primary research.
  4. The DSW Project tends to seek a practical solution or outcome for a question or need. It involves more primary then secondary research.

Course Content Domains and Requirements

  • Required course domains (or equivalency as assessed and approved by the Dean of Faculty) for Doctoral Degrees in Social Work include:
  1. Social welfare and organizational policy;
  2. Human growth and development;
  3. Abnormal psychology;
  4. Systems theory;
  5. Special Needs Populations;
  6. Social Work methods;
  7. Social Work practicum;
  8. Research methods;
  9. Relevant social work electives;

Courses required to be taken at IUGS are as follows, in sequence:

  1. Research I (3 credits);
  2. Research II (3 credits);
  3. Dissertation or Doctoral Project (18 credits) and Dissertation Defense or Oral Project Examination (18 credits);
  4. Graduate Seminar (3 credits).

A minimum of 85% mastery of examination materials is required.

Instructional Requirements, Strategies, and Sequence

  • A total of 93 post-baccalaureate credit hours are required for Doctoral Degrees, a minimum of 27 credits must be taken at IUGS. Some of these may be taken via independent study or at other post-baccalaureate institutions approved by the Dean. Up to 66 post-baccalaureate academic credits may be transferred from other accredited post-baccalaureate academic institutions according to IUGS’s Advanced Standing Academic Credit Transfer Policy. Only grades of “C” or better will be accepted in transfer for academic standing. In addition the students overall average must be “B” or better.
  • Instructional methods include:
  1. Review and, as approved, acceptance of previous relevant post-baccalaureate coursework that meets the criteria of IUGS for advanced standing academic credit transfer.
  2. As needed, independent study or courses completed at other post-baccalaureate institutions approved by the Dean to complete the required coursework.
  3. Assigned readings of texts and academic journal articles.
  4. Interactive lectures.
  5. Small group discussions.
  6. Use of electronic media (Questia online library provided by the University and other selections by the student, mentor, and the Dean).

The instructional requirements and sequence include the following coursework to be successfully completed at IUGS:

  1. Social Work Research & Design I (3) credits;
  2. Social Work Research Design II (3) credits;
  3. Upon completion of the research requirements, mentor-based development of the Doctoral Dissertation or Project;
  4. Dissertation and Oral Defence or Doctoral Project and Oral Examination (18) credits;
  5. On-site oral panel defense of the Ph.D. Dissertation or Oral Examination of the Doctoral Project;
  6. The 8-day Graduate Seminar at the 10-day Residency Programme.

A minimum of 85% mastery of examination materials. For both Doctoral Degrees, Social Work Research Design I must be completed, approved, and filed before work on Research Design II begins. Social Work Research and Design I and II are prerequisites to undertaking the Dissertation or the Doctoral Project. The Dissertation and Doctoral Project, are not prerequisites for the Graduate Seminar. However, it is recommended that all required coursework prior to the research courses be completed. The Graduate Seminar may be completed at any time during the degree candidate’s matriculation at IUGS, but it must be completed prior to fulfilling their academic requirements.

Intended Competencies and Outcomes

  • Upon completion of their degrees, Social Work graduates will demonstrate competencies and outcomes in the following areas of scholarship and practice:
  1. Comprehensive knowledge of Social Work theory and practice via literature review, bibliography, and development of annotated outline;
  2. Thorough knowledge of research methodologies via formulation of a social work research question and selection of appropriate means of data collection and analysis;
  3. Well-developed critical thinking skills, including those of analysis and synthesis, along with divergent and convergent processes;
  4. Graduate-level writing skills;
  5. Ease with verbal discourse about subject matter via Oral Defence and, when appropriate, round-table discussions with peers;
  6. 6. Competent practice skills in social work practice with adults, children, adolescents, organizations, and systems.
Last updated Feb 2018

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About the School

Designed for professionals with diverse educational backgrounds and experience, programmes at IUGS are structured to meet the needs of qualified people seeking to complete their formal credentials.

Designed for professionals with diverse educational backgrounds and experience, programmes at IUGS are structured to meet the needs of qualified people seeking to complete their formal credentials. Read less