Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
We seek talented applicants that are committed to a research career in the field of social work, criminology and criminal justice, or applied behavior analysis. All applicants are expected to have a master's degree before entering our program. Preference is given to those with a master of social work or social welfare, but we will also welcome talented applicants with graduate degrees in other disciplines such as criminology and applied behavior analysis.
QUESTION: Does the program begin in the fall semester or can I begin in the spring? ANSWER: We only admit students for the fall semester.
QUESTION: Is the PhD degree in social work a clinical doctorate? ANSWER: No. Our program is not a clinical or practice doctorate. We do not provide clinical training beyond the MSW degree. However, students can conduct clinically relevant or practice/program effectiveness research.
QUESTION: How long does it take to complete the PhD Program?
ANSWER: Our goal is to have full-time students graduate in 3-4 years and part-time students in 4-5 years, which is ahead of the national average.
QUESTION: I understand that 72 credit hours are required for the degree. Do any credit hours from my previous Master's degree count towards this total? ANSWER: Yes. Typically, students will receive up to 24 credit hours from their previous Master's degree towards the total of 72. As such, the program requires 36 credit hours of coursework and 12 hours of dissertation credits.
QUESTION: I don't have a Master's degree in social work. Will I be required to take additional courses? ANSWER: Yes. Depending on previous coursework you may have to take up to 12 credit hours from the MSW program. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
QUESTION: Can I complete the degree on a part-time basis?
ANSWER: Yes, we accept up to 3 highly motivated part-time students each year. Part-time students must register for a minimum of six credit hours per semester.
QUESTION: What funding is available?
ANSWER: All full-time students in the program will be awarded a graduate assistantship for two years that includes a waiver of tuition, stipend of $18,000.00 per year, and health insurance. A total package valued at over $75,000.00. There will be partial scholarships (up to 50% of tuition costs) available for part-time doctoral students.
QUESTION: What does the admissions committee look for in an applicant?
ANSWER: We look for commitment to a research career. A statement of purpose of 3 to 5 pages articulating why you wish to pursue a PhD and your research and career goals, a writing sample from a course paper, research report, grant proposal, or publication, strong letters of recommendation from faculty and colleagues, undergraduate and graduate grades, respectable GRE and (for international students) TOEFL scores, and a research match with our faculty. A current resume or CV is also required. Although an interview is not a formal requirement, the director of the program may wish to conduct an interview by phone or in person.
QUESTION: What type of post graduate career services support would be provided in regards to finding employment?
ANSWER: Career assistance for doctoral students is generally informal and facilitated by faculty mentors, other students, and networking with other researchers.
QUESTION: How do I identify a faculty mentor?
ANSWER: One of the best ways is to begin is view a faculty member's web page, examine their CV's, and read some of their current research using Google Scholar. Reaching out and contacting a faculty member to discuss their research in person or via phone can be quite helpful.
QUESTION: How do I apply?
ANSWER: Applicants will be able to apply and upload their materials electronically.
If you'd like more information about SLU's PhD in Social Work, fill out our information request form to contact our office of admission.
Applications are now being accepted for the fall semester. If you're ready to get started, apply now.