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Doctoral Curriculum

The Ph.D. in Social Work degree program at UNC-Chapel Hill is designed to produce graduates who are capable of building and testing explanatory and practice theory to guide social interventions in social work. It includes thorough training in research methodology and data analysis for addressing both basic and applied research questions. It is not designed to add to clinical or practice skills.

Doctoral students define a specialized area of study that focuses their assignments and guides their research experiences. We anticipate that UNC School of Social Work doctoral graduates will pursue careers involving scholarly activity and both basic and applied research in either academic, research, or policy settings.

Curriculum Overview

Doctoral students at UNC School of Social Work follow a Student Educational Plan that outlines all program requirements and guidelines, along with a recommended course sequence. The plan includes a teaching practicum, a research practicum, and several courses taken outside the School of Social Work.

Students must complete 45 credit hours before advancing to candidacy. After the fourth semester, students may choose additional courses that are needed to support their dissertation research, in consultation with their advisor.

Current course descriptions are listed in the UNC-Chapel Hill academic catalog.

Required Courses (3 credit hours each)

  • SOWO 900, Conceptualizing Social Problems to Inform Interventions
  • SOWO 910, Research Methods in Social Interventions
  • SOWO 911, Introduction to Social Statistics and Data Analysis
  • SOWO 912, Research Practicum
  • SOWO 913, Integrative Research Methods in Social Intervention
  • SOWO 914, Measurement in Social Intervention Research
  • SOWO 916, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)
  • SOWO 917, Longitudinal and Multilevel Data Analysis
  • SOWO 918, Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models
  • SOWO 919, Systematic Reviews and Introduction to Meta-Analysis
  • SOWO 921, Qualitative Research Methods
  • SOWO 922, Advanced Topics in Causal Interference: Propensity Score and Related Models
  • SOWO 940, Development of Social Intervention Models
  • SOWO 941, Teaching Seminar/Practicum

Other Requirements

  • 3 courses (9 credit hours) that are not part of UNC School of Social Work — 2 of these must be substantive/theory courses
  • 2 courses (6 credit hours) in advanced methods — these must be taken after completing SOWO 918 and may be part of UNC School of Social Work or a different professional school
  • Dissertation seminar (following completion of residency and required coursework)