Doctoral Program in Social Work

The mission of the Doctoral Program in Social Work at the Steve Hicks School is to develop and train social work scholars who will provide the scientific leadership for the discipline and profession. We seek to train social workers as researchers, scholars, and educators. We seek to develop scientists who are dedicated advancing knowledge in areas of social work science rooted in the profession’s mission and purpose: “To enhance human well-being and help meet the needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty” (NASW Code of Ethics).

Graduates of the Doctoral Program in Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin will:

1. Have the advanced scientific and critical thinking skills and knowledge to be at the cutting edge of the social work profession as researchers, academicians and advocates for social justice.

2. Have the leadership capacities to develop, disseminate, and transform knowledge within the social work profession.

3. Assert an area of theoretical and methodological expertise to address specific social problems, increase equity, and promote social justice.

4. Understand the role and importance of social work values and ethics in research and knowledge development.

Students of the Doctoral Program in Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin are expected to:

1. Understand the major contemporary issues in social work education and research, and the current challenges facing our society and the social work profession.

2. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of social work theory and methods and be able to apply this knowledge base in research and teaching.

3. Show an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a specialized area related to social work and be able to use this expertise to promote social change and social justice and to transform knowledge in an area of social work practice.

4. Understand the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of the research and statistical methods that are being applied in social work research.

5. Demonstrate expertise in the application of both quantitative and qualitative research methods and data analysis techniques.

6. Be able to solve statistical problems using data sets relevant to social work topics, and interpret the findings supported by the statistical analysis, including the limitations of the analysis that may result from methodological decisions and data characteristics.

7. Demonstrate a capacity to be an effective social work educator through formulation of a teaching philosophy and successful participation in instructional activities.

8. Prepare and submit plans for the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

9. Show capacity to be productive scholars by submitting manuscripts for publication and participating in learned societies and professional conferences.

10. Be able to develop and submit research proposals independently, and in collaboration with others.

11. Develop a research career plan or trajectory including formulating a research agenda that will serve as a framework for career advancement after graduation.

12. Have an understanding of interprofessional education and transdisciplinary approaches to scholarship and research.

Application to the PhD program requires admission to both UT Austin Graduate School and the Steve Hicks School. A single online application is needed. Admission to the PhD program is competitive. We encourage early application.

Find information about course load, program of work and graduation requirements.

Learn more about our current PhD student cohort, their academic interests and areas of research.

Learn more about doctoral candidates on the job market, browse their CV’s and find out their teaching and research interests.

Join Our Community

Our doctoral students are passionate for community-engaged research and ready to be social work scientists, educators, scholars and leaders in the field.

Meet our doctoral students
Meet our doctoral students