Social Work Doctoral

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 agency or academic settings. DSW students enhance their practice through evaluation and translational research. A self-designed externship of 180 hours expands students’ experience in one of the following areas of focus:

  • Advanced clinical practice

  • University teaching

  • Leadership and management

Building on a tradition of access and excellence in BSW and MSW social work education, Southern Connecticut State University is the only university in New England to offer the DSW degree.

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. Following a five-day in-person residency that begins each summer term, all DSW courses are delivered online.

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

Semester and Year

Course Title


Summer (Year 1)

SWK 800 – Evidence Informed Practice

SWK 803 - Historical and Contemporary Analysis of Social Policy



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 822 - Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Advanced Clinical Practice

SWK 831 – Leadership and Management in Social Work




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 1a



Summer (Year 3)

SWK 833 – Technical Skills in Social Work Administration

SWK 809 - Capstone 1b




Fall (Year 3)

SWK 807- Externship I

SWK 810 - Capstone 2a



Spring (Year 3)

SWK 808 – Externship II

SWK 810 - Capstone 2b







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

  • MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program

  • At least two years of post-MSW social work practice experience

  • Demonstrated proficiency in professional writing, such as scholarly or professional publications

  • Clear statement of professional goals and purpose for pursuing doctoral study

  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of the social work profession

Minimum Admissions Requirements:

  • MSW from a regionally accredited university or college.

  • High undergraduate and graduate grade point average (undergraduate minimum 2.5 per university policy, graduate minimum 3.0 per university policy).

  • Demonstrated technical writing competency.

  • At least 2 years of exceptional clinical and/or management/leadership practice in the social work field post MSW.

  • Submission of all admissions material by the December 15 deadline

  • Demonstrated capacity for doctoral coursework and independent research.


Applicants for the DSW program complete all admissions materials required by both the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Social Work Department. All application materials must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by December 15 for admission in the following year.

Applicants to the DSW program apply to the School of Graduate Studies

Application Requirements:

  • Transcripts from all degree programs attended.

  • Scholarly or professional written published work if available.

  • Curriculum Vitae.

  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from employers, teachers or community, civic, or clinical/management leaders attesting to potential as a Doctoral Candidate.

  • Essay describing the student’s professional life to date, including a vision for how this doctorate would add to personal and professional growth and development.

  • Completion of application form.

  • An interview (video conferencing or in-person) may be required.

Student Handbook

Click here for DSW Handbook