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- Best Online PhD Social Work Programs in 2022
- What To Expect from an Online Social Work PhD Program
- How Long Does It Take to Get an Online PhD in Social Work?
- Admissions Requirements for Social Work PhD Programs
- How Much Does an Online PhD in Social Work Cost?
- Are There Accredited Online Social Work PhD Programs?
- What Can You Do with a PhD in Social Work?
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Social Work PhD Programs Online: Your Questions Answered
Learn about this advanced degree where you’ll work on new research that creates positive social outcomes in local communities, across the nation, and beyond. From listings of top accredited online programs to answers to your critical questions, you’ll be ready to take the ultimate leap in your social work education and career.
Last Updated: 02/06/2022
What Are the Best Online PhD Social Work Programs in 2022?
Given that so many PhD students are busy with a wide variety of obligations, such as work or family, there is a growing number of quality online social work PhD programs. But with so many out there, how is it possible to narrow down the options? Our listing of online programs helps take the guesswork out of the process by providing a comprehensive list of accredited programs, all in one convenient place. Look over our list, identify the features that matter most to you, and sort to find the programs that will best suit you and your needs.
About the Ranking
Each ranking on STEPS utilizes data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which colleges and universities across the country self-report via surveys from the U.S. Department of Education. From there, data scientists analyzed the data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. post-secondary institution and its online programs using 8 primary factors:
- Number of online programs in a given subject and/or degree level
- Number of online students at the college or university
- Availability of Academic Counseling
- Availability of Career Placement Services
- Tuition & fees
- % of students who receive institutional aid
- Median earnings of students ten years post-entry (from the College Scorecard)
- Institutional accreditation by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
Also, to make sure each ranking honors the STEPS commitment to public service education, the following secondary factors were used:
- AmeriCorps Match participation
- Recognition as top Peace Corps school
At STEPS, we've done the best we can to generate the most useful rankings, program descriptions, and degree information possible. You can also use our filtering and sorting tools to visualize and narrow down the data however you see fit. And if you have any questions about this ranking, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.
What Can I Expect from an Online Social Work PhD Program?
Students enrolled in an online social work PhD degree program can look forward to taking the vast majority – if not all – of their program requirements entirely online. This is due to the fact that PhD programs focus strongly on theoretical applications of social work concepts, and the program itself is available to those who have already earned their master’s degree and thus, already completed in-depth fieldwork requirements. Designed for working professionals, online PhDs in social work are meant to be flexible to accommodate for the busy schedules of adults with multiple responsibilities outside of school.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online PhD in Social Work?
Full-time social work PhD students can typically expect to be in the program for at least three years. The first year focuses on foundational and theoretical concepts, while the second year dives into research methods and ways to put those previously-learned concepts to good use. The third year is devoted to the dissertation or capstone project. However, those who choose to attend part-time or need more time to complete their dissertation will experience a different timeline, one that could take five years or more.
Here’s an idea of what to expect for full-time students in the online PhD in social work program.
|Year 1, Fall Semester||Social Work Seminar, Theory for Social Work Practice|
|Year 1, Spring Semester||Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research|
|Year 1, Summer Semester||Statistical Analysis, Religious and Cultural Diversity|
|Year 2, Fall Semester||Research Practicum, Measurement in Social Work|
|Year 2, Spring Semester||Advanced Qualitative Research, Religion and Ethics in Social Work|
|Year 2, Summer Semester||Leadership in Social Work, Electives|
|Year 3, All Semesters||Dissertation Seminar, Research Seminar|
What Are the Admissions Requirements for Online Social Work PhD Programs?
Each school has their own standards for admission, but some elements will always be universal, such as already holding a bachelor’s or master’s degree (which one depends upon the program) and completing certain prerequisite courses. Here are some other points that might be required for admission to the competitive online social work PhD programs.
How Much Does an Online PhD in Social Work Cost?
Any PhD program can be a significant investment of time and money, and the social work PhD is no exception. Costs vary widely from one from to another, as can the financial aid a person might receive from a particular school. Before applying for any program, look carefully at the costs involved, including fees, to determine whether the bottom line is something you can handle. Here’s an idea of what to expect from tuition of an online PhD in social work program.
|School Name||No. of Credits||Cost/Credit||Total Tuition Cost|
|Institute of Clinical Social Work||See school website||$21,000 flat rate per year||$63,000 (based on flat-rate tuition for three years completion)|
|Walden University||63 quarter credits plus 20-130 quarter credits for dissertation||$610||$50,630 – $112,850|
*Note: This data represents tuition costs only. Additional fees will likely apply. Check individual college websites for complete cost figures.
Are There Accredited Online Social Work PhD Programs?
There are many accredited online social work PhD programs to choose from. But it’s important to remember that while the Council on Social Work Education accredits bachelor’s and master’s level programs in social work, it does not accredit PhD programs. That’s why it’s so important to look to regional or national accreditation at the institutional level. Any school that holds this accreditation will offer a program that will be suitable for obtaining a respected, reputable PhD in social work.
What Can You Do with a PhD in Social Work?
A PhD in social work can open doors to a wide variety of positions, including those in research, teaching, administration and leadership. Social workers can go into healthcare, child and family services, substance abuse and mental health issues, postsecondary education and so much more. If you’re curious about the wide variety of things you can do with a degree in social work, including the PhD, check out our page on what you can do with a degree in social work.