Social Work Doctorate

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) is a professional doctorate that prepares master’s-level social workers for leadership in organization or academic settings. It is offered in a three-year, part-time format, which allows students to maintain their employment while studying.

The program prepares them to practice ethically, translate research into policy, and assume leadership in the implementation of advanced social work practice. The self-designed externship (240 hours) and capstone project allow students to enhance their expertise in one of the following areas of focus:

  • Advanced clinical practice
  • University teaching
  • Leadership and management

Graduates of the DSW program are, therefore, competent and compassionate agents of change.

Plan of Study (48 credits)

The DSW program is offered in a three-year, part-time format that allows students to pursue a doctorate while maintaining their employment. The plan of study consists of two courses per semester (summer, fall, and spring) over three calendar years. Summer courses are hybrid courses; each course meets on ground during a five-day residency, and the remaining coursework occurs online.

Residency Dates

June 24-28, 2024

For specific DSW degree requirements and course descriptions, please see the Graduate Catalog.

Semester and Year Course Title Credits
Summer (Year 1) SWK 803 - Historical and Contemporary Analysis of Social Policy
SWK 831 – Leadership and Management in Social Work
Fall (Year 1) SWK 805 – Paradigms, Epistemology, and Heuristics in Social Work
SWK 820 – Emergent Models and Critical Issues in Clinical Social Work Practice
Spring (Year 1) SWK 823 – Neuroscience and its Application for Social Work Practice with Couples and Families
SWK 821 – Therapeutic Relationships: Advanced Clinical Practice
Summer (Year 2) SWK 800 - Evidence Informed Practice
SWK 822 – Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Advanced Clinical Practice
Fall (Year 2) SWK 806 – Education for Social Work
SWK 804 – Clinical Social Work Supervision
Spring (Year 2) SWK 802 – Program Evaluation
SWK 809 – Capstone I: Capstone Proposal - Translational Project or Peer-Reviewed Manuscript
Summer (Year 3) SWK 833 – Technical Skills in Social Work Administration
SWK 809 – Capstone I: Capstone Proposal - Translational Project or Peer-Reviewed Manuscript
Fall (Year 3) SWK 807 – Externship I
SWK 810 – Capstone II: Capstone Final Project - Translational Research Project or Peer Reviewed Manuscript
Spring (Year 3) SWK 808 – Externship II
SWK 810 – Capstone II: Capstone Final Project - Translational Research Project or Peer Reviewed Manuscript
Total   48

DSW Program Sequence

DSW Learning Outcomes

  1. Administer effective clinical practice services for diverse, underserved and vulnerable populations in Connecticut
  2. Interpret and apply research to engage in evidenced informed best practices
  3. Design effective programs that enhance agency functioning 
  4. Provide leadership and management capacity that will result in superior supervision, administration and innovative strategies to respond to new and unfolding problem
  5. Effectively communicate knowledge, ideas, and concepts in a wide variety of venues and constituencies within and outside of one’s organization 
  6. Deliver best practices in education, training and staff development
  7. Apply evidence-based best practices to enhance interventions for persons with behavioral health and particularly substance use/abuse problems


Successful applicants to the DSW program must meet the following minimal requirements:

  • MSW from a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program
  • A minimum of 3.00 grade point average for both undergraduate and graduate degrees*
  • 3 years of post-MSW social work practice experience
  • Demonstrated capacity for doctoral coursework and independent study

* Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement may be eligible for conditional admission. For more information, click here.


Applicants for the DSW program are required to complete all admissions materials required by both the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Social Work Department.

Applications to the Doctor of Social Work program must be submitted and complete by December 15th for admission the following summer. Any applications submitted after this date will be reviewed only if spaces remain for the upcoming year. Applicants to the DSW program apply to the School of Graduate Studies. 

Application Requirements

  • Online Application to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies
  • Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Curriculum Vitae or Résumé
  • Recommendation forms from two (2) employers, teachers, or community, civic, or clinical/management leaders attesting to potential as a Doctoral Candidate


Submit a 4-5-page, double-spaced essay addressing the following:

  • Social work practice experience, including supervision, leadership, and/or teaching
  • Most significant aspects of social work professional mission and values for one’s practice
  • Reasons for pursuing doctoral study, including influence of prior experience
  • Professional goals and the desired impact of doctoral study on career trajectory

This essay will also serve as a writing sample to demonstrate proficiency in professional writing. Where appropriate, use APA 7th ed. to cite your work.  

Student Handbook

DSW Handbook