Doctor of Philosophy Overview

The USC School of Social Work established the first social work doctoral program in the western United States in 1953. Today we continue the tradition of admitting highly motivated, self-directed individuals interested in university research and teaching. Students pursue an in-depth, customized course of study in an atmosphere of careful mentoring and respect for scholarship.

Our doctoral curriculum is highly interdisciplinary with the intent of producing graduates who are capable of original research and passionate about advancing the profession’s knowledge base. Course work and independent study opportunities within the school and across the university offer intellectual grounding in comparative social science theories, advanced research methods and statistics, global issues, policy analysis and advocacy, and 21st century challenges to practice at the individual, family and group levels. The school gives special emphasis to evidence-based approaches and translational science. Our doctoral students regularly collaborate on faculty research projects in addition to pursuing their own funded research.

The cornerstone of our success is our dedicated faculty, who take pride in close collaboration with students in research and mentoring, as well as teaching. We help our doctoral students develop a portfolio of research and teaching experience that will prepare them fully for the challenges they face as the next generation of scholars and leaders of the profession.