PhD Student Learning Objectives

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work PhD program prepares doctoral scientists, scholars and educators who are able to produce impactful research that will make a significant contribution to alleviating suffering and increasing the well-being of individuals, families, groups, organizations and society as a whole. Our graduates are ready to take on leadership roles within academia and significant research institutes and to tackle that most significant social problems we face in areas such as homelessness, poverty, incarceration, substance abuse, child welfare, racial and ethnic inequalities, mental health, workplace diversity, global health, and youth unemployment. Our doctoral students develop mastery in research methodology, both quantitative and qualitative, and statistics, and become experts in their chosen area of specialization, contributing to the academic knowledge base through publications and conference presentations.


PhD program learning objectives include:.

  • Mastery of a broad-based knowledge in social work and a specific area of knowledge relevant to their own research interests, including theories and methods of intervention.
  • Mastery of a research methodology and advanced statistics, including quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • Demonstrated ability to make an original and significant contribution to the scientific knowledge base in their area of research.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in a productive research career, including publications, grant writing and conference presentations.
  • Demonstrated ability to teach and provide a valuable educational experience to students in academic settings.