Online Doctoral Programs in Social Work

13 universities offer graduate PHD online program in Social Work

University of Pennsylvania logo
Ranked as:  #7 in Best National University
State:  Pennsylvania
Acceptance:  8.98%

The University of Pennsylvania presents an innovative Online Doctorate in Clinical Social Work (DSW), marking the first doctoral program in social work practice. Designed for working professionals, this entirely online program allows students to achieve an Ivy League doctoral degree in three years without interrupting their careers. It combines online coursework and dissertation work with occasional on-campus immersion experiences in Philadelphia, facilitating students in balancing their studies with professional commitments.

The DSW program is crafted to offer a seamless blend of robust academic training and hands-on professional development. It caters to social work professionals aiming to advance their careers while maintaining their current roles. With an emphasis on fostering relationships and interactive learning, the program leverages technology to facilitate connectivity and personal engagement. Through a combination of videoconferencing for courses and on-campus sessions, students benefit from enriched learning experiences.

Upon graduation, students emerge adept at crafting and implementing evidence-based social work interventions and conducting rigorous research on pressing societal matters. They become authorities in specialized social work domains, capable of assuming roles as educators and curriculum designers, enriching the field through teaching and scholarly pursuits. Leveraging Penn's esteemed reputation and resources, the DSW program delivers a blend of academic rigor and real-world applicability, establishing a benchmark for advanced professional training in social work.

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Online Doctorate in Clinical Social Work

  • Program Length:  -
  • Credit hours:  -
  • Cost per credit:  -
  • Program Cost:  $41,673
  • Scholarships Available:  No
  • GRE Required:  No
Ranked as:  #25 in Best National University
State:  California
Acceptance:  16.11%

The professional Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) program at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers an advanced practice doctorate in social change and innovation for agency and community leaders and entrepreneurs.

The online Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program comprises 24 months of part-time study. Students complete 42 units of coursework focused on two primary content areas: innovation and leadership, and advanced management practice in complex systems.

Unlike other schools of social work that offer advanced practice doctorates in clinical practice or teaching, we prepare experienced professionals to develop practical, applied solutions to large-scale social challenges that directly impact vulnerable, marginalized or otherwise disadvantaged populations.

As a student in the online doctorate of social work program, students will develop characteristics of both practitioners and scholars. By adopting the disciplinary habits of scholars through rigorous inquiry and use of methodological tools associated with leading and managing innovation and change, they will become an effective social change leader.

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Online Doctorate of Social Work

  • Program Length:  24 Months
  • Credit hours:  42
  • Cost per credit:  $1,995
  • Program Cost:  $83,790
  • Scholarships Available:  Yes
  • GRE Required:  Yes
Florida State University logo
Ranked as:  #55 in Best National University
State:  Florida
Acceptance:  32.45%

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Clinically focused to qualify students for social work licensure.

You have baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

If you have completed a baccalaureate degree in social work, please visit the Advanced Standing Program page.

Ranked the No. 1 online Master of Social Work program in the state of Florida (2017), and No. 38 in the nation for Best Graduate Schools by U.S. News World Report (2019).

Ranked in the Top 25 Best Values in Public Colleges by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

We rigorously adhere to the accreditation standards established by the Council on Social Work Education.

Whether you just have a simple question or need advice to determine if this Master of Social Work program is right for you, our friendly MSW advisors are here to guide you. They can chat with you on your schedule and guide you through the entire admissions process so you can feel confident in moving forward with an Online MSW program.

Work in a Wide Array of Social Work Fields Specializations.

Pursue a License in Social Work with In-Field Placements.

As an online MSW student, you’ll participate in social work field placements that will qualify you to pursue a license in clinical social work upon graduation. Both our Advanced Standing and Traditional online Master of Social Work programs are clinically-focused so you’ll get the real-world experience you need to be career-ready. Our social work programs are part-time to accommodate busy working professionals.

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Social Work Online Master Degree

  • Program Length:  -
  • Credit hours:  -
  • Cost per credit:  -
  • Program Cost:  -
  • Scholarships Available:  No
  • GRE Required:  Yes
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102 universities offer the Master's program in Social Work.

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Ranked as:  #115 in Best National University
State:  Tennessee
Acceptance:  78.15%

Cost per credit hour is an estimate based on maintenance and university fees. Some programs may have additional course fees.


The post-MSW MSSW Doctor of Social Work (DSW) in clinical practice program is for experienced mental health practice social workers interested in advancing their clinical knowledge and becoming scholar-practitioners. Scholar-practitioners are research-literate, innovative translators of research into practice and serve as strategic social service leaders in their communities.

1) The program will train students to understand and critically apply knowledge from neurobehavioral science and research informed advanced clinical practice to address the socio-emotional and physical health of the community, with particular focus on including under-resourced groups.

2) The program will mentor students to demonstrate the evidence-based practice process through designing and executing a research project, with particular consideration of conducting anti-oppressive research.

3) The program will instill in students the ability to translate research evidence into anti-oppressive advanced clinical and leadership practice settings.

The curriculum is focused on advanced clinical practice, clinical research, and advanced practice leadership. The DSW Program also has some pedagogical components that support practitioners interested in academic careers, but it is not intended to prepare students for academic careers as researchers. Geared toward working professionals, the DSW is an intensive accelerated program that enables students to satisfy all degree requirements in three years without career disruption.

Here are just a few of the courses you will take during the Doctor of Social Work program:.

Reviews theoretical underpinnings of CBT (behavioral, social learning, cognitive, acceptance based mindfulness), development of case conceptualizations, and technique development.

The UT Social Work hosts an in-person ceremony for 2022 graduates of the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program with a concentration in Clinical Practice and Leadership.

See all online degrees and certificates available online at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Check out the services and resources all online students receive at UT.

Take a look at policies related to being an online student at UT.

Online Learning Academic Programs2441 Dunford Hall915 Volunteer Blvd., Knoxville, TN 37996.

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Social Work

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  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
Ranked as:  #136 in Best National University
State:  Massachusetts
Acceptance:  82.55%

Doctorate of Social Work OnlineDoctorate of Social Work OnlineDoctorate of Social Work Online.

The online Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) program provides the highest level of clinical training to professionals who aspire to be the next generation of leaders in social work thought, education, and practice.

Start Your Social Work Doctorate in Our Next Cohort.

Applicants to the Doctorate of Social Work online program must hold an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program. Three years of relevant post-MSW work experience is required.

Cohorts begin in September, January, and May, and applications are accepted throughout the year.

Simmons offers a unique approach to doctoral clinical social work education by providing the ability for students to pursue their degrees at their own pace and the preparation needed for advanced work in a range of areas and organizations.

Many DSW degrees are paced for students to complete in three years. Students can complete the program full time in less than two years or part time in less than three years.

The Simmons DSW degree prepares students to pursue various social work career paths that include and extend beyond academia. they will have the clinical perspective and advanced practice methods needed for success.

Continuing into the 21st century with social justice values and a multicultural perspective, the School of Social Work began delivering high quality online graduate programs in 2014.

Our program curriculum is built by doctorally prepared clinical social workers, for clinical social workers. Informed by their expertise, the DSW curriculum explores a range of advanced social work competencies while keeping clinical practice at the forefront.

Core values front of mind within its curriculum and community. Our doctoral students also demonstrate these core values in all areas of their work, whether leading practice or healing individuals in their communities. We pride ourselves on this passionate commitment that permeates our community.

Students will gain an advanced understanding of leadership theory and practical tools for promoting inclusivity at all levels of an organization. By learning to train and mentor others, develop and evaluate programming, and improve client systems through collaboration, students will emerge as visionary leaders prepared to build and sustain organizations that live up to the core values of social work and the values of the communities they serve.

Commitment to clinical social work enables DSW students to apply advanced, doctoral-level knowledge to hands-on practice in the field. Students will learn emerging practices that aim to support diverse clients and graduate prepared to implement novel approaches in social work agencies or their own private practice.

Our online DSW program also prepares students for a career path in social work education. With advanced knowledge in learning theory, evidence-based pedagogy, responsive teaching and classroom practices, and knowledge dissemination, students will be able to translate new teaching skills to both traditional academic and other diverse educational contexts.

Comparative approaches to social learning theories and teaching strategies, including online pedagogy.

Expand Your Social Work Leadership, Clinical Practice, and Teaching Skills.

Request information the online DSW program today.

Our sophisticated online platform is also built to support socializing and collaboration outside of class sessions, featuring intuitive tools for group work, providing and receiving feedback, and gaining support. This experience enables students to form meaningful connections and develop a strong professional network.

Students will also complete coursework in the online platform through interactive and multimedia tools. Courses topics in the program include:.

The DSW curriculum culminates with the capstone project. The capstone provides the opportunity for students to explore a real-world topic or problem in the field, further establish their identities as advanced social work professionals, and assert their expertise within a specific area of interest.

The Simmons DSW capstone project allows students to explore unlimited topics within the field and truly push the bounds of their knowledge. The capstone can apply to any or all of the three curricular focus areas and will challenge students to synthesize what they have learned throughout the program.

Both a Doctorate of Social Work and a PhD in social work are terminal degrees that prepare professionals in the field with advanced knowledge and research opportunities. However, there are a number of distinctions between the two. While both are challenging degrees, asking students to rise to the most advanced levels of knowledge within their field, their rigorous curricula typically have different outcomes.

A DSW prepares students to apply what they learn and research to their practice in the field. A DSW student may take a new approach they learn in class one day and apply it to their work with a client the next day. DSW program will emerge as scholar-practitioners who seamlessly apply doctoral-level knowledge and practices to their work in the field.

Alternatively, a PhD student studies a rigorous curriculum based heavily around the research process. These students focus on epistemological theory as well as grand theoretical models within social work contexts. PhD candidates may complete their degree without ever working directly with clients or in the field. Rather, they are focused on the research and theoretical components of the social work field of study.

Simmons offers an on-campus PhD in social work that incorporates some of the hands-on aspects of the DSW into a research-centric curriculum.

Career aspirations. With a clinical focus yet breadth of curricular topics, the program enables graduates to apply the skills they learn to various career paths, such as:.

Advising as a social work subject matter expert.

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Online Doctorate in Social Work

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  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
University of St Thomas logo
Ranked as:  #137 in Best National University
State:  Minnesota
Acceptance:  87.4%

The St. Thomas DSW, housed at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, is designed to fill a gap in social work doctoral education as the first online DSW program to focus on preparing social work faculty specifically for university-level teaching and leadership in teaching-intensive colleges and universities. Strong social work educators and practitioners with an MSW degree will gain the skills and credentials to teach and lead in the social work profession and become stewards of the discipline. The online delivery format makes this program accessible to working professionals from throughout the country.

The University of St. Thomas Doctorate in Social Work is wholly committed to student development through teaching excellence, community engagement, and mentoring relationships. The faculty are recognized scholars, researchers and practitioners.

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Doctorate in Social Work Online

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  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
The University of Alabama logo
Ranked as:  #137 in Best National University
State:  Alabama
Acceptance:  80.39%

The highly selective DSW program is cohort based and allows students the benefit of enhanced collaboration and networking with peers. The program also offers a clinical track and an organizational leadership track so students can tailor their coursework to their professional goals.

In addition to completing online coursework, students are required to participate in residency programs on the UA campus, which last four to five days each summer. Students will also need to have a work or volunteer practice location where they can apply the concepts they are learning in a social work setting.

The DSW program can be completed in three years and consists of 45 credit hours of coursework. Students will choose a track in clinical or organizational leadership. The clinical track includes coursework in advanced practice theory and techniques, research methods and clinical supervision and practice. The organizational leadership track curriculum hones students leadership and management skills for organizational and community settings. Both tracks include courses on teaching social work.

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Doctor of Social Work

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  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
University of Louisville logo
State:  Kentucky
Acceptance:  65.12%

The Doctor of Social Work is offered by the CSWE-accredited Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science at the University of Louisville.

Experience the advantage of earning your degree from an R1 research institution.

Take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of 100% online classes and 24 7 access to learning tools as well as synchronous and asynchronous courses.

Earn your graduate certificate in just 14 courses (44 credit hours).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Social worker employment is expected to grow 16% between 2016 and 2026.

Online learning Online Doctor of Social Work (DSW).

This program transforms experienced professionals into scholars, teachers and organizational leaders positively impacting vulnerable and marginalized populations.


The essential knowledge, skills and credentials earned from a DSW equips you to advance your career and succeed as a social work postsecondary educator and or leader. Most postsecondary social work educators work in public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, and junior or community colleges.

The 2019-2029 occupational outlook for postsecondary social work educators is expected to grow 9% nationwide, which is faster than the average national occupation growth rate and have a median annual salary of $80,790 (

Other career opportunities available to Doctor of Social Work graduates include:.

The DSW is ideal for someone who wants to be an educator or take on a leadership position in a social service organization or within higher education. On other hand, a Ph.D. in Social Work will help students hone their research skills and prepare for conducting research while teaching at a college or university.

Students interested in applying for the Fall 2023 cohort now have until May 12, 2023, to submit their application materials.

Submit personal statement of goals for pursuing the DSW degree.

The preferred deadline helps you complete the application process on time, be notified of acceptance and enroll before the term begins. We recommend you work on and complete application in advance of the preferred deadline, as some application materials may take time.

The online Doctor of Social Work is a 44 credit hour program that requires 6 credit hours of capstone coursework (2 courses, completed during the third, final, year of the program).

SW 730: Social Service Leadership and Teaching Learning: History, Philosophy Current Practice.

SW 731: Ethics, Equity, and Social Justice: Theory Practice.

SW 732: Implementation Science, Program Development Administration.

SW 736: Applied Social Service Leadership, Management Practice.

SW 738: Social Work Teaching Learning: Theories, Methods Assessment.

SW 739: Teaching in Social Work: Course Design, Instruction Evaluation.

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Online Doctor of Social Work — Online Learning

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  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
State:  Minnesota
Acceptance:  -

A graduate education allows you to gain advanced knowledge and skills to provide assistance, navigate systems and offer advice that impacts lives.

Doctoral degrees in social work and human services.

Social work and human services organizations need leaders with the high-level knowledge and experience to make tough calls and change lives. Our doctoral programs will give you the advanced training you need.

Gain advanced leadership skills and prepare to step into a general or clinical practice (in most states) in a management or supervisory role offering social work services.

Gain the knowledge and skills needed to help serve our changing world with an advanced degree in human services.

Cultivate your passion for helping others with a Bachelor of Social Work. Learn the foundations of a generalist social work practice and connect people with the resources they need to thrive.

Individual courses in social work and human services.

Move closer towards your goals, one course at a time. Take an individual Capella course in subject areas including counseling, psychology, nursing, business, and .

We believe in being transparent the real cost, time, and value of a Capella degree.

Tackle coursework on your schedule with 24 7 online access to your courseroom anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Start and Grow a Career in Social Work.

The Difference Between Human Services and Social Work.

Social Work and Human Services involve helping people in challenging circumstances.

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate their careers as you are yours.

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Online Social Work Degree Programs

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  • GRE Required:  Register to view the details
State:  Minnesota
Acceptance:  -

Walden’s PhD in Social Work online degree program helps you prepare to practice at the highest level of the social work field as a researcher, college-level educator, or administrative leader. A challenging curriculum enables you to analyze advanced theory and explore some of the most pressing and cutting-edge issues in social work today. Align your studies with your interests by choosing one of eight specializations, such as Addictions and Social Work, Medical Social Work, or Clinical Expertise. Four face-to-face academic residencies support the learning experience by giving you the opportunity to collaborate with professors and colleagues, build your social and professional community, and enhance your ability to effect positive social change.

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PhD in Social Work online degree

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What kind of scholarships are available for Graduate Programs in Social Work?

We have 9 scholarships awarding up to $65,129 for Masters program in for Social Work, targeting diverse candidates and not restricted to state or school-based programs.

Scholarship nameAmountCredibility
QS WM Social Responsibility Scholarship$10,000High
Lincoln Institute 75 Fellowship for Ethics and Equity in Public Administration$5,000High
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Academic Scholarship$4,000Medium
James M. & Erma T. Freemont Foundation Scholarship Program$1,875Medium
Lex Hester Endowed Fellowship for Public Administration$1,500High

Find scholarships and financial aid for Social Work graduate programs

$500 $20000

How can I compare the Social Work Graduate Programs?

Compare the GRE score requirements, admission details, credit requirements and tuition for the Master's Program, from 102 universities offering Graduate Online PHD/Doctoral Programs in Social Work. Compare Graduate Online PHD/Doctoral Programs in Social Work

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