Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work
This program provides students with opportunities for advanced scholarship and professional growth in one of two fields: Studies in Social Work Practice, or Critical Social Policy and Organizational Studies.
The field Studies in Social Work Practice encompasses a wide variety of practice issues and diverse practice settings. Students apply quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to the study of service fields such as health and illness, mental health, child welfare, addictions, corrections, disabilities, seniors and immigration. Students explore paradigms essential to understanding the practice relevance of, for example, feminism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, social change, global studies, post-modernism, and self and subjectivity. Students engage in critical reflection of social work practice from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives.
The PhD program seeks applicants who possess the following qualifications:
The program consists of a minimum of eight half-credit courses. Seven courses are required for all students and the eight is an elective corresponding to the student's study plan and interests. A comprehensive paper and a dissertation are required.
During the first academic term each student, in collaboration with the PhD Program Co-ordinator, will prepare a study plan based on the above guidelines.
Term One (Fall)
Term Two (Winter)
Term Four (Fall)
Terms Five to Seven (Winter, Spring, Fall)
Terms Eight to Twelve
Note on Statistics Courses
The PhD comprehensive paper serves to assess the student's ability to: (1) integrate social work knowledge, theory and practice; (2) analyze the implications of knowledge and theory for social work practice; and, (3) demonstrate a broad knowledge of the selected area of study.
Students complete a comprehensive paper and an oral examination. Guidelines for the content, scheduling and format of the examination are included in the PhD Student Manual.
Students must register for SK893 - Comprehensive Examination by the fifth term. All requirements for SK893 - Comprehensive Examination must be completed no later than the seventh term in residence. The Chairperson and the members of the Comprehensive Examination Committee must be appointed at least four months prior to the proposed examination date.
All members of an Examining Committee must have Graduate Faculty Status at the time of appointment to the Committee.
Papers will be read by all three (3) members of the student's comprehensive committee. Following the defense of the Comprehensive Paper, the Comprehensive Committee must assign one of the following categories:
At least two members of the Comprehensive Committee must assign either the “Accepted” or “Accepted with minor changes” category in order for the student to successfully complete the requirement. The category assigned is based on both the written and oral parts of the comprehensive defence.
When the decision of at least two members of the Comprehensive Committee is “Decision deferred; major changes required” the student must resubmit and re-defend the paper; this is considered the second and final attempt to meet the expectations of the comprehensive requirement. Similarly, if the category assigned to the first attempt is Rejected/Failed, the student may resubmit and re-defend the paper only once. A student who does not complete the requirements for SK893 after two attempts will be required to withdraw from the PhD program.
The regulations and procedures at the university in which the student is registered will govern both the dissertation and the examination formats.
Students are required to spend a minimum of four terms as full-time students. It is expected that most students will extend this period beyond the minimum.
Time Limits and Status
Each PhD student is required to submit, by May 1 annually, the PhD Supervisory Report Form. See the section on in the Graduate Calendar on Academic Standing for details.
Years 1 and 2
Years 3 and Beyond
It is necessary to maintain continuous registration unless an inactive term has been granted per university policy.
All standards for examinations are set by the Graduate Faculty Council and the Senate of the University. The regulations for doctoral students are as follows: the student is expected to pass, with a minimum of a B grade, the core courses and all additional course work required by the PhD Committee. In addition, the student is required to pass a comprehensive written examination covering the areas addressed in the student's selected area of concentration or write and orally defend a comprehensive paper covering the same area of concentration.
Students for whom field experience in a particular setting is necessary to advance their ability to conduct their research may request permission to enrol in SK809* - Field Learning Option. The student is responsible for identifying the setting, negotiating the details of the role and submitting a written proposal for the Field Learning Option to the PhD Committee for approval. Students approved for this option will be exempt from SK820 - Doctoral Seminar and the required elective course.
PhD students are expected to teach in the Master of Social Work program and are encouraged to enroll in the Instructional Development non-credit course for PhD candidates which focusses on effective teaching skills. The Faculty of Social Work is committed to providing appropriate teaching opportunities for PhD students subject to congruence between the expertise of students and the courses available.