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Join us at Laurier

Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


The curriculum requires that all students take seven required courses and one elective course. The elective course may be completed as a directed studies course. Completion of coursework is followed by the comprehensive examination, approval of a dissertation proposal and the dissertation.

Full-Time Course Progression

Term One (Fall)

  • SK702: Advanced Qualitative Methods
  • SK790: Social Work Thought and Theory
  • SK791: Epistemology and the Nature of Social Work Knowledge

Term Two (Winter)

  • SK699: Statistics for Social Work Research (optional)  
  • SK805: Applied Qualitative Research Methods

Term Three (Spring)

  • SK701: Multivariate Analysis for Social Work Research
  • Elective

Term Four (Fall)

  • SK820: Doctoral Seminar
  • SK894: Writing for Publication (two-term course, fall/winter)

Term Five (Winter)

  • SK894: Writing for Publication (two-term course, fall/winter)
  • SK893: Comprehensive Examination

Terms Six (Spring) and Seven (Fall)

  • SK893: Comprehensive Examination

Terms Eight–12

  • SK899: PhD Dissertation

Part-Time Course Progression

The part-time PhD in Social Work program has been designed for individuals who wish to remain employed while they complete the PhD degree. Students take a maximum of two courses per term. Part-time students will follow the same curriculum as full-time students and attend classes with full-time PhD students. They must, therefore, plan to take courses in the terms in which the courses are currently offered.

Criteria for admission to the part-time program are the same as the criteria for the full-time program. Please note that part-time students are not eligible for the minimum guaranteed funding package or for Ontario Graduate Scholarships, SSHRC or CIHR doctoral awards.

Students accepted into the part-time program should develop a plan of study that is as necessary discussed with associate dean: PhD program prior to registering for the first term. Students must register in at least one course in all three terms of each year they are enrolled in the program. If circumstances arise that prevent students from remaining engaged in their academic work (e.g. illness, family emergencies, unexpected financial necessity that university funding cannot ameliorate, or career change), they may petition for inactive status (i.e. a leave of absence from their studies). Normally, inactive status will be approved for a maximum of two terms.

Term One (Fall)

  • Two of:
    • SK702: Advanced Qualitative Methods
    • SK790: Social Work Thought and Theory
    • SK791: Epistemology and the Nature of Social Work Knowledge

Term Two (Winter)

  • SK699: Statistics for Social Work Research(optional) AND/OR
  • SK805: Applied Qualitative Research Methods

Note: SK702 must be taken before SK805.

Term Three (Spring)

  • SK701: Multivariate Analysis for Social Work Research

Term Four (Fall)

  • One of (selection dependent on registration in term one):
    • SK702: Advanced Qualitative Methods
    • SK790: Social Work Thought and Theory
    • SK791: Epistemology and the Nature of Social Work Knowledge

Term Five (Winter)

  • SK805: Applied Qualitative Research Methods (Note: SK702 must be completed before SK805) or an elective

Term Six (Spring)

  • Elective (if not already completed)

Note: If elective has been completed and no other required course is available in this term, you may take either SK820 or SK894 as a directed studies course.

Term Seven (Fall)

  • SK820: Doctoral Seminar
  • SK894: Writing for Publication (two-term course, fall/winter)

Term Eight (Winter)

  • SK894: Writing for Publication (two-term course, fall/winter)
  • SK893: Comprehensive Examination

Terms Nine–11

  • SK893: Comprehensive Examination

Terms 12–21 (30 months, two-and-a-half years)

  • SK899: PhD Dissertation

Field Learning Option

  • May focus on advanced clinical practice, policy issues or international development among other possibilities.
  • An experience that will advance the student’s ability to conduct rigorous research that will have relevance for social work practice.
  • Students doing a field learning option are exempt from Doctoral Seminar and elective course.

Contact Us:

Lea Caragata, Associate Dean, PhD programs

E: lcaragata@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x5219

Gus Hill, Associate Dean, MSW - Indigenous Field of Study

E: ghill@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x5279

Deborah Russell, Programs and Admissions Coordinator

E: socialwork@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x5277

Faculty and Staff

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