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Online Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Program Overview: Online Doctor of Social Work

The KU School of Social Welfare Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program is centered on developing leadership and administrative skills while translating the research base of the profession to help agencies understand and implement best practices found in the social work and social science literature. Additionally, many courses are devoted to the theory and practice of teaching, preparing graduates to conduct their own classes, contribute to curricular development, and serve as skilled mentors and advisors to students.

42 credits | 100% online

Apply by Feb. 1

What careers are possible with an online Doctor of Social Work?

DSW graduates are expert practitioner-scholars who teach, supervise, and mentor; assume leadership roles in social work practice settings; and generate and disseminate social work practice knowledge. Employers seek candidates with the DSW for career advancement in agencies, government, and higher education.

Overall employment of social workers nationwide is projected to grow 12% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations; and employment of social workers in the field of health care, mental health, and substance misuse is projected to move into administrative positions within these settings. Even though many DSW graduates choose nonacademic administrative and private clinical practice positions, 12-15% accept tenure- or nontenure-track faculty positions at CSWE-accredited programs as a first destination, which are also growth employment areas in the U.S.

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Doctor of Social Work Careers

$100k
Potential average annual salary
84
Years providing exceptional social work education
Top 12%
of public institution social work programs

How flexible is online learning at KU?

KU’s online degree programs are designed with your busy schedule in mind and offer the flexibility to study wherever — and often whenever — is most convenient for you. Our online courses are taught by the same highly regarded faculty and expert instructors, and consist of the same rigorous curriculum and instruction as our on-campus programs.

Why get an online DSW degree from KU?

The online DSW coursework allows social workers to advance their practice to the leadership or management level. While earning your DSW from KU, you will build a framework of leadership best practices, develop a deep understanding of research implementation, and take away critical learning theories.

The KU School of Social Welfare’s DSW program focuses on collaborative learning and fosters leaders in anti-oppressive social work in agency and community contexts, experts in translational and implementation science, and world class teachers and mentors. The salaries expected of DSW graduates are highly competitive and higher than what may be expected with only an MSW. Finally, the DSW is designed to be flexible enough to complete while employed, so students do not have to forego a salary to complete the program.

 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

The School of Social Welfare strives to be a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the university and in our community. We want to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff feel safe, heard, and valued. Our DSW program emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central component of course content. Visit the School of Social Welfare's DEI page for more details about the school’s Strategic Priority 1: DEI.

 

Vision of justice, mission of change

To supplement the student experience, we ask all incoming students during orientation to consider their vision of justice — big or small. We hope students use their vision to help structure ideas for their coursework. By using them throughout all aspects of the program, by graduation the student will have a body of work that can create change and move us all closer to a more just society.

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Want to learn more about how an online Doctor of Social Work degree from KU can help you reach your career goals?

FAQ: online doctor of social work

The PhD focuses on developing conceptual and methodological skills necessary for a career in conducting scholarly research and teaching in higher education.

The DSW, however, is practice-centered and emphasizes the mastery of evidence-based academic literature in a particular area of social work practice and policy, and the demonstration of knowledge, skills, and values in the implementation of those practices in community or agency practice settings. KU’s DSW emphasizes leadership skills and implementing knowledge for the betterment of clients, organizations, and communities.

Additionally, a significant percentage of the courses are devoted to the theory and practice of teaching, preparing graduates to conduct their own classes, contribute to curricular development, and act as skilled mentors and advisors to students.

Applications open Oct. 1.

Deadline to apply is Feb. 1.

KU’s Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program produces expert practitioner-scholars who teach, supervise, and mentor and assume leadership roles in social work practice settings. Because the DSW indicates preparedness for career advancement, candidates with this degree are sought by employers in agencies, government, and higher education.

The full-time program can be completed in two years, which requires nine credit hours each fall and spring semesters, plus additional capstone seminars during the summer and winter breaks. If you attend part-time, you can choose between a three- or four-year schedule.

Yes, the DSW is 100% online. Synchronous online classes in a block format are held every other Saturday.

GTA/GRA positions and scholarships are not available to DSW students. The DSW is designed to be flexible enough to complete while employed so students do not have to forego a salary to complete the program.


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Get more info on admission, deadlines, tuition and financial aid, career paths, curriculum, and more when you fill out the form below. We’ll be in touch to answer any questions and help you get started.

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