Best Online Schools for Doctor in Social Work Programs

Social workers are deeply concerned with a just society and the well being of others. They contribute in important ways in almost every social context by helping people to understand mental and emotional conditions and finding ways to solve them. Over the next eight years, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% growth in the field of social work. In this growing field, earning a doctorate in social work will help any social worker in his or her efforts to help others and form a stronger society.

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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:

Liberty University’s online Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is geared towards social workers seeking to increase their knowledge and practical skill in the realm of counseling, counseling education and supervision. As with most online doctoral programs, this program requires an on-site component through that are called “intensives”. This program is especially suited for those seeking to establish or advance their careers in social work contexts that are strongly rooted in Christian ethical principles.

Campus Location: Lynchburg, VA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 51%

Acceptance Rate: 26%

Admission Requirements:

  • Apply online or download an application for admission
  • $50.00 application fee
  • Submit official college transcripts
  • Possess a regionally or nationally accredited master’s degree with a minimum of 3.0 GPS
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language or approved alternate test of English proficiency.

Sample Course Options and Requirements:

  • Supervision and Consultation
  • Issues in Integration
  • Instruction in Counselor Education
  • Career Counseling

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this program will be well prepared for social work careers in the fields of counseling, counseling education and supervision. Some suitable career paths for graduates from this degree program are Advanced Clinicians; Program Directors, Managers and Developers; Supervisors; College/University Faculty Members.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ONLINE DOCTOR OF EDUCATION IN COMMUNITY CARE AND COUNSELING AT LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

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WALDEN UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:

The Walden University’s online doctoral program in Social Work offers students a wide variety of specializations. The possibilities open through the Walden Ph.D. makes it likely that Walden will be able to meet the needs of social workers in any number of occupations. Specializations at Walden include:

  • Addictions
  • Disaster, Crisis and Intervention
  • Clinical Expertise
  • Criminal Justice
  • Family Studies and Interventions
  • Medical Social
  • Policy Practice
  • Social Work Administration

Four face-to-face short residencies are required in order to complete this degree.

Campus Location: Minneapolis, MN

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Retention Rate: 11%

Acceptance Rate: Open

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed online application
  • Resume showing work history
  • Employment and educational history
  • Master’s of Social Work

Sample Course Options and Requirements:

  • Advanced Social Work Theory and Practice
  • History and Development of Social Work
  • Research Theory, Design, and Methods
  • Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: This degree is designed to give graduates the ability to understand and apply current research, practice, and theory in the social work field. Graduates will be able to engage in their own research. Graduates will be able to assess social work history, the role of diversity, ethical matter and make sound applications to concrete social work-related situations.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTORATE IN COUNSELOR EDUCATION AND SUPERVISION AT WALDEN UNIVERSITY

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REGENT UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:

The excellent online Ph.D. doctorate in Counselor Education & Supervision offered through Regent University is designed to set social work professionals apart from the crowd. This CACREP-accredited program integrates faith and science. This degree program is limited to practicing, licensed counselors who want to gain further knowledge and engage in their own research. As with many online accredited doctoral programs, there is an on-site residency requirement. This amounts to about one week per year, each of the three years of coursework.

Campus Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 30%

Acceptance Rate: 81 %

Admission Requirements:

  • Complete Application
  • 48-hour master’s degree in counseling
  • Personal goals statement
  • Resume or CV
  • Transcripts
  • GRE Scores
  • Writing Sample

Sample Courses and Requirements:

  • Advanced Child & Adolescent Therapy
  • Family Dynamics of Addiction
  • Multicultural Issues in Counseling
  • Business Issues in Professional Practice
  • Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this degree program will be prepared for careers as licensed professional counselors; university positions; clinical practitioner; director of mental health services; leadership positions in school counseling; research and writings.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ONLINE DOCTORATE IN COUNSELOR EDUCATION AND SUPERVISION AT REGENT UNIVERSITY

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UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA

Program Standouts:

The online social work doctoral program offered by the University of West Georgia focuses upon forming educators of other social workers. This program is asynchronous, which provides great flexibility for busy professionals. And, unlike the other online doctorates on this list, West Georgia’s degree program is an applied degree. This means that the degree emphasizes the application of knowledge through practice. A likely benefit of this degree program is its minimal residency requirements as compared to many of the other online doctoral programs on this list.

Campus Location: Carrollton, GA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 41%

Acceptance Rate: 59%

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed online application
  • Official transcripts
  • GRE scores
  • Master’s degree in counseling or related field
  • Minimum of 3 years of counseling experience
  • 300-500 word essay, presenting professional and educational goals
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume/CV

Sample Coursework and Requirements:

  • Leadership and Diversity
  • Ethics and Education Leadership
  • Advocacy
  • Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this online degree program will have engaged in real-life interventions, developing appropriate strategies and using local data to provide the most sound guidance. Graduates will have a working knowledge of the most recent literature and will have the facility to evaluate and design interventions and programs in terms of the needs of their clients.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF EDUCATION IN PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING AND SUPERVISION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA.

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UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE-KNOXVILLE

Program Standouts:

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s online Doctor of Social Work prepares graduates for advanced professional engagement in both clinical practice and leadership. This degree program features an accelerated professional practice curriculum that allows social workers to study while continuing to work. Flexibility is the main feature of this degree program. Courses are delivered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats which allow for independent study and peer interaction where needed. Students in this degree program are never far from the people they are being trained to serve, and each student, throughout the program, works with at-risk clients. The residency requirement for this degree program is minimal with students coming to campus for one week each year during the program for intensive and focused study. This degree program presents an outstanding opportunity for social workers looking to advance their careers and boasts of being the only online doctoral program of its kind offered by a major university.

Campus Location: Knoxville, TN

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 86%

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed application
  • Master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education
  • 2 years of post-master’s clinical practice experience
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 for previous graduate work
  • GRE scores
  • Demonstrable information technology skills

Sample Coursework and Requirements:

  • Neuroscience for Clinical Practice
  • Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Theory
  • Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this online doctoral program are well-prepared for advanced clinical social work, evaluating and designing social work programs and strategies, teaching on a college faculty, and conducting new research and writing.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF SOCIAL WORK IN CLINICAL PRACTICE & LEADERSHIP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE-KNOXVILLE

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UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

Program Standouts:

The online doctorate in Clinical Social Work offered through the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice is designed to prepare clinical experts, teachers and scholars who engage in real-world situations. Penn’s highly selective doctoral program boasts world-class instructors and resources within an outstanding Ivy League community of clinical social workers and theorists. This degree program has steeper admissions conditions and a larger on-campus requirement than some of the other online doctorates in social work. However, for high-achieving and ambitious social work professionals, Penn offers a top-notch education and degree that allows its students to complete their coursework and dissertation within three years without disrupting their careers.

Campus Location: Philadelphia, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Retention Rate: 98%

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in social work from an accredited social work program
  • 2 years of post-Master’s practice experience
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Application essay

Course Sample:

  • Clinical Theory
  • Applied Statistics
  • Relational Social Work
  • Trauma Theory and Interventions
  • Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: This degree program is designed to prepare its graduates with the highest level of social work theory as it is applicable to clinical practice. Graduates will be able to design and implement empirically grounded social work interventions; conduct evidence-based research of significance; function as experts with a commanding knowledge of a specialized area of social work research and practice; serve the broader community as social work educators in a variety of settings.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF SOCIAL WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Program Standouts:

USC’s elite Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers an online doctoral program in Social Work. Online classes are live, and this degree fosters intense peer interaction and collaboration through online breakout rooms, live chat and document sharing. This degree program opens up a USC education to students nationwide and has very moderate residency requirements of two six-day sessions during the third and sixth semesters of the program. USC’s online doctoral program in social work is designed to be completed in only two years. Unlike an academic degree, USC’s doctorate in social work is specifically oriented towards “working professionals who want to have a greater impact in their practice.”

Campus Location: Los Angeles, CA

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission

Retention Rate: 96%

Acceptance Rate: 17%

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education or a related field
  • Candidates are preferred when they have at least 5 years post-master’s experience
  • Must show academic promise by above-average achievement in Undergraduate Studies and professional experience

Sample Coursework and Requirements:

  • Managing Innovation and Change in Social Work
  • Leading Public Discourse in Social Work
  • Informatics and Social Innovation
  • Financial Management for Social Change
  • Capstone Project in place of a Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: This online doctoral program aims to equip social work professionals to meet real-world challenges and problems. Social work professionals who earn a doctorate through USC will be able to “enter in the greater public discourse as they explore and construct ways to deliver basic human rights to people and build a just society.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF SOCIAL WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

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UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

Program Standouts:

This online doctorate of Social Work brings together the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University to offer a uniquely-focused online educational experience. The online Doctor of Social Work is unique because it is ” the first online DSW program to focus on preparing social work faculty specifically for university-level teaching and leadership in higher education.” Courses in this program are offered in synchronous and asynchronous formats. Each summer there is a two-week on-campus residency requirement throughout the duration of the program.

Campus Location: Saint Paul, MN

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Retention Rate: 88%

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Admission Requirements:

  • Completed online application
  • Transcripts from all institutions where credit was earned
  • Employment history
  • Master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education
  • Current resume or CV
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample
  • 2-year post-MSW practice experience

Sample Coursework and Requirements:

  • History of Social Work & Social Work Education
  • Obligations of Professoriate
  • Teaching Social Work
  • Creating Hybrid/Online Courses
  • Banded” Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this program will have developed the learning and practice needed for engaging in “transformative teaching”; develop as a scholar-practitioner; write for publication; pursue social justice through service and leadership.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF SOCIAL WORK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

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BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:

Baylor’s online Ph.D. degree program in Social Work, offered through the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, is designed to prepare leader-educators in social work and service. Baylor’s online “virtual classroom” format meets at a specific time one day a week. Baylor seeks to integrate “religion and faith, with the ethics, values, and practices of the social work profession.” At the beginning of the program, a five-day on-campus session is required.

Campus Location: Waco, TX

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 11%

Acceptance Rate: Open

Admission Requirements:

  • Personal statement (7-10 pages)
  • Sample of scholarly writing
  • Resume/CV
  • Completed application
  • GRE scores
  • 3 letters of recommendations
  • Master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education

Sample Coursework and Requirements:

  • Christianity, Ethics, and Social Work
  • Religious and Cultural Diversity
  • Theory and Model Development for Social Works Practice
  • Academic Leadership and Administration in Social Work Education
  • Dissertation

Degree Outcomes: This online doctoral program prepares academically strong, practice-oriented social work professionals who are are fully equipped to “serve in academic research and teaching…in social work programs” and give “leadership in government and private agency contexts.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF SOCIAL WORK  AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

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FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:

The Doctor of Social Work at Florida Atlantic University is the first program of its kind to be offered in the state of Florida. This degree program is designed as to train “scholarly clinicians” and, thus, has a strong emphasis upon practice. This program has on an on-campus component and is considered to be a hybrid program. Unlike many of the other online doctorates, this degree requires a culminating “Capstone Project” in place of a dissertation.

Campus Location: Boca Raton, FL

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Retention Rate: 77%

Acceptance Rate: 60%

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education
  • GPA of 3.5 or higher from master’s program
  • 2 years post master’s experience
  • GRE scores
  • Personal statement
  • Current license in social work
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Resume/CV

Sample Coursework and Requirements:

  •  Social Work Pedagogy
  • Clinical Social Work Supervision
  • Advanced Psychopathology in Social Work Practice
  • Capstone Project

Degree Outcomes: Graduates from this online doctoral program are prepared to engage in evidence-based social work and serve as leaders and critical thinkers ready to help bring about positive social change.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCTOR OF SOCIAL WORK AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY