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Social Work, Ph.D.




What will I learn?

The purpose of this program is to prepare social work scholars to advance social work knowledge. Coursework focuses on theory, research methods, and critical evaluation of social work policies and practice. In addition to coursework, students work with faculty members in research and/or teaching.

The PhD program builds on a base of professional knowledge and practice in social work. The program offers students the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding in a selected area of concentration and, through the dissertation, contribute to knowledge development in that area. Students take electives in an area of personal interest. Upon enrollment in the program, students are assigned to a PhD faculty advisor for program planning and guidance.

The program is notable among social work PhD programs for the range and depth of its research foundation courses and electives. Exceptional opportunities are available for students interested in research in health, mental health, aging, and child welfare. There are opportunities for international experiences as well as for collaboration with the Center for Mental Health and Aging, the Institute for Rural Health Research, the Institute for Social Science Research, and the Youth Services Institute, other colleges and departments of the University; and with various units of The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).


The Social Work Ph.D Program requires 49 hours of course work. Specific requirements are as follows:

Thirty-four semester hours of core social work courses, including a one-credit seminar, five courses in substantive areas and six courses in research methodology.
Nine semester hours in an elective area taken in or outside of the School of Social Work.
A statistical research competency demonstrated by successful completion of approved statistics two-course sequence.
A dissertation showing the student's ability to conduct independent research that adds to the knowledge of the profession (includes a minimum of 24 hours of dissertation credit).
Completion of all courses with a grade point average of 3.0 ("B") or better.

These requirements are minimum standards. Additional work may be required, depending on the student's preparation and career interests.

Which department am I in?

School of Social Work

Study options

Full Time (7 years)

Tuition fees
US$31,460.00 per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

11 January 2023, 23 August 2023


School of Social Work

Little Hall,

670 Judy Bonner Drive,



35401, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

International application must hold the equivalent of a U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution to be eligible for graduate admission.

For international students

Successful applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School, which follow.

  • a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (overall) or a GPA of at least 3.0 for the last 60 hours of the previous degree program, or 3.0 for a completed graduate degree program.
  • an acceptable score on an appropriate entrance examination as set by the department or school.

A master's degree in social work (MSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or simultaneous application to the UA concurrent MSW/PhD program.
Applicants who will not have an MSW before entering the program must submit GRE scores. Scores exceeding 300 (combined verbal and quantitative) are required for unconditional admission. In addition, the faculty will consider the score on the analytical writing section of the GRE together with the essay submitted to the School of Social Work as part of the application.
Applicants from non-English speaking countries must submit evidence of English language proficiency by means of a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 79 on the internet-based TOEFL, or a score of at least 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Application Deadline: Admissions begin in December. The Ph.D. and Concurrent MSW/Ph.D. have a February 1 application deadline

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About The University of Alabama

Boasting a long history of success, The University of Alabama produces legendary results through our scholars’ research and service.

  • Located in the mid-size city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • 200 programs in 10 academic schools
  • Scholarships for international students at all levels
  • More than 600 student organizations

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