Doctor of Social Work Program Looking for Top Social Work Doctoral Programs?
As full members of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education, the School of Social Work believes the purpose of the Ph.D. in social work is to prepare students to be scholars who function as “stewards of the discipline.”
Our program offers
- Forward-thinking approaches to professional education, addressing critical social issues and transforming professional practice and social policy
- Interdisciplinary training and collaboration opportunities to enhance health and well-being across local and global community systems
- Flexible full-time and part-time programs of study
Each student works closely with their adviser and graduate committee to develop their own learning agenda and dissertation proposal. The student’s background, experience, personal schedule, and learning goals are considered when developing the program of study.
CSU’s Social Work doctoral program is part of the WICHE/Western Regional Graduate Program exchange.
Learn more about how you can tailor your program to fit your research and career interests.
Interdisciplinary Research Centers
You will have the opportunity to work with interdisciplinary research centers during your doctoral tenure.
Featured Faculty Research
Ph.D. Program Information
Admission and Application
The full-time and part-time programs start in Fall 2019.
Applicants must have the following:
- Master’s degree in social work or an allied discipline from an accredited institution
- A completed statistics course within two years prior to admission
Note: We will give preference to applicants who have an MSW. Further preference will be given to applicants who have an MSW and at least two full years of post-MSW professional practice experience.
Required Application Materials:
To be uploaded to the Graduate School’s online application during the application period:
- Official transcripts from each post-high school institution attended. To be official transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing institution to CSU. If the transcripts are in a language other than English, we require that certified translations accompany the transcripts. (Exception: Colorado State University transcripts do not need to be sent).
- Three letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be from a former professor and speak to the applicant’s ability to succeed in the Ph.D. program. The letters must be uploaded directly from the person recommending you to the Graduate School application site. You provide CSU with the email addresses of those submitting recommendations, and CSU then sends those people instructions on submitting the recommendation.
- Personal Statement that addresses your practice background, your reason for pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work, your research interests, your interests in CSU’s School of Social Work, and your future goals. It should be between three to five pages double-spaced.
Also, please note:
- International Students are required to score 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based) for TOEFL; 6.5 for IELTS; and 58 for PTE. Please refer to CSU’s Graduate School website for international students English proficiency FAQs.
- WICHE/WRPG If you live in the Western United States Region outside of Colorado, and would like to apply for in-state tuition with WICHE/WRPG, please refer to the applicable form within the Graduate School application.
Please note: application requirements may be subject to change by our department, the Graduate School, and/or the CSU Office of Admissions.
- A master’s degree in social work or an allied discipline from an accredited institution is required. We will give preference to applicants who have an MSW. Further preference will be given to applicants who have an MSW and at least two full years of post-MSW professional practice experience.
- Each student should have completed course work or demonstrate competence in research methods. A statistics course is required within the two years prior to admission. If the graduate committee determines the student does not have a sufficient background in certain areas, the committee may prescribe additional course work. Courses taken to meet these prerequisite requirements cannot be used to meet program requirements.
- The prerequisite statistics course should be taken from an accredited university. Online courses are acceptable. It should be geared towards behavioral sciences. It does not need to be a graduate-level course. An example of an appropriate class is STAT 311 offered through CSU and CSU Online. Please see the CSU course catalog for details of the course or contact the Ph.D. office if you have questions.
Financial Aid and Funding Opportunities
Financial Aid and Scholarship Information
- There may be graduate assistant positions available through grants written by faculty members.
- In addition, the School of Social Work will offer one to two graduate assistantship positions. These assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. Application to the doctoral program will serve as the required materials to be considered for the School of Social Work assistantships.
- Assistantships funded by grants may require additional materials as determined by the faculty members.
- Financial aid and scholarships are also available for doctoral students.
- Please visit the Funding Opportunities for Graduate School page of this site for more information. Note many of these scholarships require the common scholarship application that is due each year by March first.
WICHE/WRPG Tuition Program
- The Ph.D. program is also part of the WICHE/WRPG program that allows western state region applicants to apply for Colorado in-state tuition rates.
- Please see the link below for more information about the WICHE/WRPG program and for a CSU WICHE/WRPG application form to be sent with your Graduate School application.
- Information on the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s Western Regional Graduate Program
GADE Program Scholarships
- The Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education offers several scholarships for Ph.D. students in social work.
- Information for these can be found at GADE’s site.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many courses will I take each semester?
- Your schedule will depend on the availability of courses and your own needs and constraints. There is no minimum or maximum course load for each semester. Generally, the most a student will take is nine credit hours per semester and the average tends to be six credits per semester.
How long will it take to complete my Ph.D.?
- There is no standard time frame in which students complete their Ph.D.s. The quickest it has been done is three and a half years, but five years is more typical. You have up to ten years to complete the degree.
Do I need to have my research topic chosen before I begin the program?
- No, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a topic with the help of coursework, literature review, and consultation with faculty members.
How many students are accepted each year?
- The program accepts under a cohort model. Between five-seven students will be accepted for the Fall semester of odd-numbered years.
Is there a possibility to complete my degree online?
- At this time the Social Work Ph.D. courses are only available in‐person, on‐campus.
- There is a possibility that some Research courses and Electives may be taken online. It’s expected that you’ll be able to attend courses on CSU’s campus.