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  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (Ph.D.)


Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work (Ph.D.)

Ph.D. Program Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work  in conjunction with the School of Graduate Studies-New Brunswick provides an outstanding program of academics and research. Here are a few key features: 

  • Rutgers is a member of the highly selective Association of American Universities (AAU) comprised of 62 leading research universities in North America.
  • Faculty are outstanding scholars in their respective fields.  
  • Funding packages are available for all full time students.
  • Rutgers University is a vibrant and welcoming intellectual and social environment.
  • Location allows for easy access from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Learn more about life at Rutgers.


If you are a prospective student interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or a dual MSW/Ph.D., visit Ph.D. admissions or dual degrees for information about how to apply. Call us at 848-932-5333 if you have questions.


Our Ph.D. program prepares you for a career as a faculty member, research scientist or policy analyst and offers you:

  • Access to exceptional faculty
  • A dynamic, diverse, and accomplished student body from across the United States and the world
  • Research facilities that rank among the best in our nation
  • Research opportunities with faculty and institutes in areas including child welfare, poverty, violence against women and children, mental health services, addictions, gambling, international development, prevention, health, and public health
  • Funding packages including stipends and tuition and fees for all full-time students
  • Strong professional development support, including funding for conferences
  • A commitment to advancing social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Outstanding  job placements in academia and research

Choose Your Research Opportunities

We have an extensive network of faculty and institutions that provide you with excellent faculty-supervised research opportunities. Choose from a variety of areas, including health, poverty, interpersonal violence,  mental health, gerontology and aging, immigration, public health, community practice, child welfare, addictions, gambling, international development, prevention, global issues, and more. Explore your options and talk with your advisor about your interests.

Be Inspired

Read about our Ph.D. student accomplishments and the many excellent job placements our Ph.D. graduates have earned.


Ph.D. Syllabi

Click links below to view individual course syllabi. 

Recent Ph.D. Dissertations

  • Evalyne Kerubo Orwenyo: Dissertation Title: Participation, Social Isolation, Biculturalism, and Empowerment: A Virtual Ethnography of Kenyan Diaspora Women Living in North America
    Dissertation Chair: N. Andrew Peterson

  • Julia O'ConnorDissertation Title: Rape myths and proclivity to perpetrate in male college students
    Dissertation Chair: Sarah McMahon

    Shrivridhi Shukla: Dissertation Title:  A Phenomenological Inquiry of Women Living with HIV Caring for Family Members Living with HIV in India: Pathways Through Authoritative Knowledge and Self-Efficacy Towards Resilience
    Dissertation Chair:  Judith L.M. McCoyd

    Kate Stepleton: Dissertation Title:  Care Coordination as a Preventative Intervention: Effects on Child Welfare Outcomes
    Dissertation Chair:  Michael MacKenzie

  • Sangeeta Chatterji: Dissertation Title: Like Mother Like Daughter: Mothers' Education and Investment in Daughters' Education in India
    Dissertation Chair: Lenna Nepomnyaschy

    Katherine Findley: Dissertation Title:  Trafficking in Persons for the Removal of Organs in India 
    Dissertation Chair:  Patricia Findley

    Elizabeth Matthews: Dissertation Title:  Electronic Health Records in Social Work Practice: The Impact of Collaborative Documentation on Person-Centered Care
    Dissertation Chair:  Beth Angell

    Jillian Stein: Dissertation Title:  Does Industry Sector Matter?  An Examination of the Relationship Between Industry and Rearrest
    Dissertation Chair: Jeounghee Kim

  • James Fedor:  Dissertation Title:  "A Victim is a Victim": Barriers to Culturally Competent Service Delivery to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender Crime Victims
    Dissertation Chair:  Michael LaSala

    Denalee O’Malley:  Dissertation Title:  Examining the Impact of Diabetic Status on Multiple Outcomes Among Cancer Survivors
    Dissertation Chair:  Patricia A. Findley

    Samantha Winter:  Dissertation Title: Identifying Factors Associated With Women’s Sanitation Practices in Informal  Settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa:  A Case Study of Mathare Valley in Nairobi, Kenya
    Dissertation Chair:  N. Andrew Peterson

  • Fiona Conway:  Dissertation Title:  Aggressive Behavior and Alcohol Use:  Classification of College Athletes
    Dissertation Chair:  Darcy Clay Siebert

    Gretchen L. Hoge:  Dissertation Title:  Understanding and Measuring Economic Self-Sufficiency in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence and Immigration:  A Mixed-Method Study
    Dissertation Chair:  Judy L. Postmus

    Alexis Jemal:  Dissertation Title:  Transformative Consciousness of African American Racial Oppression and White Racial Privilege:  Conceptualization, Scale Development and Testing
    Dissertation Chair:  N. Andrew Peterson

    Shuang Lu:  Dissertation Title:  Well-Being of Migrant and Left-Behind Children in China
    Dissertation Chair:  Chien-Chung Huang

    Sheila McMahon:  Dissertation Title:  Examining Relationships Among Student Empowerment, Sense of Community, and the Implicit Curriculum:  A Multigroup Analysis of Race and Ethnicity
    Dissertation Chair:  N. Andrew Peterson

    Alexandra Redcay:  Dissertation Title:  The Impact of Attraction and Identity Fluidity on Depressive Symptoms in Young Adults:  Exploring Gender as a Moderator
    Dissertation Chair:  N. Andrew Peterson

    Amanda Mathisen Stylianou:  Dissertation Title:  The Impact of Economic Abuse on Depressive Symptoms Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
    Dissertation Chair:  Judy L. Postmus

  • Louis Donnelly:  Dissertation Title:  Neighborhood Disadvantage and School Dropout:  A Multilevel Analysis of Mediating Contexts
    Dissertation Chair:  Ayse Akincigil

    Kerrie L. Ocasio:  Dissertation Title:  Understanding Individual Level Motivations for Repeat Service Use in a Family Support Program
    Dissertation Chair:  Beth Angell

    Bonnie Fader Wilkenfeld:  Dissertation Title:  Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover:  Contextual Antecedents of Identity Complexity in Individuals with Development Disabilities
    Dissertation Chair:  Judith McCoyd 

  • Aleksandr M. Cheryomukhin:  Dissertation Title:  Development and Validation of the Azerbaijani Empowerment Scale:  Support and New Implications for Theory
    Dissertation Chair:  N. Andrew Peterson

    Bradley Anton Forenza:  Dissertation Title:  Civic Engagement Among Youth Aging out of Foster Care:  Processes and Outcomes of a Statewide Initiative
    Dissertation Chair:  N. Andrew Peterson

    Jamey D. Lister:  Dissertation Title:  The Relationship of Gambling Goals and Loss/Win Conditions to Chasing Behavior During Slot Machine Play
    Dissertation Chair:  Lia Nower

    Kristen C. Niemczyk-Kistner:  Dissertation Title:  U.S. Physicians Treatment of Adolescent Tobacco Use
    Dissertation Chair:  Ayse Akincigil

    Anasuya Ray:  Dissertation Title:  In the Shadows of Armed Conflict:  Exploring Everyday Violence in Afghanistan
    Dissertation Chair:  Jeffrey Longhofer

  • Heather F. Harcourt:  Dissertation Title: Judging Failures in Moral Development: The Classification of Antisocial Behavior
    Dissertation Chair: Kathleen Pottick

    Nadine Murshid:  Dissertation Title: Examining Linkages Among Microfinance Participation, Domestic Violence, and Help-Seeking Social Networks in Bangladesh: A Mixed-Methods Study
    Dissertation Chair: Allison Zippay

    Kristen Gilmore Powell:  Dissertation Title: Empowerment and Effectiveness: A Mixed Methods Study of Coalition Building Within a Statewide Substance Abuse Prevention Context
    Dissertation Chair: N. Andrew Peterson

    Jessica Strong:  Dissertation Title:  Women at War:  A Qualitative Study of Combat Experiences of Female Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan
    Dissertation Chair:  Beth Angell

    Corinne D. Warrener:  Dissertation Title: Sense of Entitlement and Dating Abusive Behavior in College Dating Relationships
    Dissertation Chair: Chien-Chung Huang

  • Christine M. Allegra:  Dissertation Title: The Influence of Neighborhood Characteristics, Peer Delinquency, and Attitudes Approving of Violence During Adolescence on Male-to-Female Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration in Young Adulthood
    Dissertation Chair: Antoinette Farmer

    Mi Sung Kim:  Dissertation Title:  The Role of Maternal Verbal Sensitivity During Parent-Child Shared Book Reading in Socio-Emotional Functioning in the Preschool Years
    Dissertation Chair:  Judith C. Baer

    Cory M. Morton:  Dissertation Title: Alcohol Outlets and Child Maltreatment: The Moderating Effect of Access to Community Substance Abuse and Prevention Facilities
    Dissertation Chair: N. Andrew Peterson

    Kathleen Giblin Ray:  Dissertation Title: Protecting Newly Deployed Troops from PTSD: The Role of Preparedness
    Dissertation Chair: N. Andrew Peterson

    Svetlana Shpiegel:  Dissertation Title: Resilience Among Youth Emancipating from Foster Care: Cumulative Risk and Protection and Their Relationship with Positive Adaptation
    Dissertation Chair: Kathleen Pottick

    Jeoung Ah Yoo:  Dissertation Title:  The Effects of Domestic Violence on Behavior Problems of Preschool Children
    Dissertation Chair:  Chien-Chung Huang

    Joelle Zabotka:  Dissertation Title:  “How Could I Have Done This?”:    A Qualitative Study of Birth Mothers Who Have Children Diagnosed With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
    Dissertation Chair:  Michael LaSala

Ph.D. Graduates and Candidates on the Job Market.

Iris Cardenas

Education: PhD, Rutgers University School of Social Work (expected 2022); MSW, Rutgers University, 2016; BA, Psychology, New Jersey City University, 2010. Research Interests: Intimate partner violence among diverse populations, with a focus on Latinx communities; victimization and help-seeking behaviors; health and wellbeing; culturally concordant services; cross-cultural scale adaptation & psychometric properties validation. Honors (selected): Awarded the National Institute of Justice Research Assistantship Program (2021-2022); Emerging Scholar IIDEA Research Award, SSW, Rutgers University (2021); Fellow at the Summer SW Graduate Student Mentoring Workshop on African American and Latinx Research, University of Michigan (2019); Recipient of The Rutgers Latino Studies Research Initiative Graduate Student Fellowship (2017-2018); Dean’s Recognition Award to an Outstanding Student in Management and Policy, SSW, Rutgers University (2016)Recipient of the Equity and Opportunity Studies Fellowship (2015-2016). Research experience: Research Assistant, Dr. Kristina Nikolova, Wayne State University; Project Coordinator and Research Assistant, Center on Violence Against Women and Children at Rutgers University; Consultant, Dr. Chiara Sabina, Department of Women and Gender Study at University of DelawareResearch Assistant and Research Internship, Dr. Laura Cuesta at RUSSW; Bilingual Research Assistant, Ryan White Grant, Fox Caring Consultants. Teaching Experience: Part-time lecturer Research methods II (MSW). Teaching Interests: Diversity & Oppression; Violence Against Women and Children; Research Methods; Latino Culture & Social Work Practice. Practice Experience: Licensed Social Worker in NJ; Consultant, Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers University; Healthcare Case Manager, St Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Paterson, NJ; Case Coordinator, Los Niños Services Early Intervention Program, NY, NY.

View CV:  Iris Cardenas   

Sangeeta Chatterji

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Center on Gender Equity and Health, University of California, San Diego. Education: PhD, Rutgers School of Social Work, 2018; MSW, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India, 2009; BA, Psychology, Fergusson College, Pune, India, 2007;               Research Grants: World Bank Marketplace Innovation grant 2020- 22 (Role: Co-PI with Dr. Lori Heise) "Optimizing the construction of outcome measures for impact evaluations of intimate partner violence interventions"; Research Interests: Dimensions and causes of violence against women (VAW); developing, adapting and testing interventions to prevent VAW; developing and validating novel methods to measure VAW; women’s economic empowerment. Research Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2018-20): Evaluation of a cRCT of an Intimate Partner Violence prevention program in Rwanda; Graduate Assistant, Rutgers University (2014-18): Child gender and disability among children of immigrants from China and India; Experiences of LGBT forced migrants in the U.S. and Canada; Project manager, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (2012-13): Family acceptance of Lesbian and Gay individuals in Mumbai, India; Study of the implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA) in India, Project Officer, SNEHA (2010-11); Violence against women with disability, lesbian women, and sex-working women in India, Bangladesh, & Nepal. Practice Experience: Training & service delivery, SNEHA; Training & advocacy, SRUTI, India. Honors/Awards: Margaret McNamara Fellowship 2017-18; AAUW International Doctoral Fellowship 2017-18 (Alternate); Tuition Assistance Award, Graduate School, Rutgers; Special Study Award, Graduate School, Rutgers; E-mail Address: 

View CV: Sangeeta Chatterji 

Sarah Gold

Current position: Associate Research Scholar, The Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University. Education: Postdoctoral Research Associate (2018-2021), Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs; PhD (2018), Rutgers University School of Social Work; MSW, Rutgers University School of Social Work (2016); Masters in the Art of Teaching, Elementary Education, Montclair State University (2013); BS, Community, Environment, and Development, The Pennsylvania State University (2010). Research interests: Housing assistance, social policy, poverty, inequality, children, and families. Research support: NIH, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and NJ Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (Role: Co-PI with Kathryn Edin). “Housing and health in New Jersey’s capital city.” Honors: Outstanding Doctoral Student Instructor award (Rutgers School of Social Work, 2016-2017 academic year). Research experience: Research Assistant, Rutgers University School of Social Work, research assistance (writing, data analysis, survey development, and data management) for several faculty on grants funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Teaching experience: Part-time lecturer, Rutgers School of Social Work, courses: social welfare policy and services; research methods (program evaluation); and poverty, inequality, discrimination, and public policy. Practice experience: Evaluator and Research Associate, New Jersey Department of Human Services, Office of Research, Evaluation and Special Projects (2016-2018).

View CV: Sarah Gold     

Hsiu-Fen Lin

Current position: Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Office of Gender-Based Violence, School of Social Work, Arizona State University. Education: Ph.D. Rutgers University School of Social Work; MSW, Rutgers University School of Social Work, 2018; Master of Arts, National Taiwan University, 2002; Bachelor's of Social Work, National Taiwan, University, 1997. Research Interests: Intervention and prevention on violence against women and children; the impacts of domestic violence on mental health and financial well-being; economic empowerment for survivors of intimate partner violence; financial social work; policy analysis; intervention research; qualitative research; clinical social work practice; cultural competence in social work practice; diversity and women's study. Honors: Study Abroad Specialist Scholarship for women and gender policy analysis, Ministry of Education, Taiwan. Research experience: Graduate Assistant, Dr. Judy Postmus: UN project, New Jersey Instruments for survivors project. Research internship, with Dr. Chien-Chung Huang, studying multiple imputations using a longitudinal data of female survivors of intimate partner violence. Teaching Interests: Policy analysis; research method; violence against women and children; social work practice; human behavior in the social environment; Financial Social Work; Diversity and Oppression Teaching Experience: Adjunct lecturer teaching policy analysis: violence against women and children, and research methods courses to MSW programs (traditional classroom, online, and hybrid). Practice Experience: Residence Assistant for Graduate family housing, Residence Life, Rutgers University; Coordinator of the International Women's Group, Rutgers University (2014-2021). Supervisor for Child Protective Services, Taoyuan County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Center, Taiwan (2007-2012); Clinical Social Worker (Board of Social Service in Taoyuan, Taiwan, 2003-2013). Professional License: Licensed Social Worker (2018, New Jersey), Licensed Social Worker (1998, Taiwan).  

View CV: Hsiu-Fen Lin

Mariam Rashid

Education: Ph.D. (expected May 2022) Rutgers University, School of Social Work; MPH, Health Policy, Rutgers University, Biomedical and Health Sciences, School of Public Health; BA, Biology, Rutgers University- Newark. Honors and Awards: USAID Fellow (2015); Governors Executive Award (2016), Eagleton Institute of Politics; 2016 Student Community Service Award, Rutgers, School of Public Health; Dr. Ronald Altman Award (2017) for outstanding work in public health from the New Jersey Public Health Association; APPAM Equity and Inclusion 2019 Fellow; President and member of Alpha Chi Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda Honor Society; the Rutgers Inter- professional Honor Society 2016-2018 Research Interests: Social policy, health policy, poverty, socioeconomic inequality, policy analysis, health disparities and inequalities, social welfare policies, and geospatial analysis. Research Experience: Graduate Research Assistant, Center for Prevention Science, Rutgers School of Social Work, under Dr. Andrew Peterson and Dr. Kristen Gilmore Powell 2016-2019 ; Research Assistant to Dr. Emmy Tiderington, Moving-On housing initiative 2016-2018; Research Assistant to Dean Kyle Farmbry, Graduate School, Rutgers- Newark 2013-2016. Teaching Interests: Social Policy, Welfare and Health Policy; Health Disparities Teaching Experience: Women Gender and Public Health; Women Gender and Medicine; Introduction to Gender, Race, and Sexuality. Practice Experience: USAID Fellow 2015, Cape Town, South Africa, post-Apartheid access to sanitation in townships across Cape Town; Eagleton Institute of Politics Graduate Fellow 2016, interning for Director of New Jersey’s Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS); Research Associate at the Center for Tobacco Studies 2019-Present. Email Address:

View CV: Mariam Rashid    

Laurent Reyes

Education: PhD (2021), Rutgers University School of Social Work; MSW, Rutgers University School of Social Work (2018); BSW, Rutgers University School of Social Work (2013); BA, Women and Gender Studies Rutgers University (2013). Research interests: Civic participation, Latinx and Black older adults, immigration, systemic inequality, intersectional life course theory, participatory research, and arts-based research. Honors/Awards: Rutgers University & Bevier Dissertation Completion Fellowship to support PhD completion and recognize excellence (2020). Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Research Scholars (HPRS) Dissertation Award (2020). Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar (2017- 2021). Emerging Scholar Award for Aging & Social Change: Ninth Interdisciplinary Conference (2019). AARP Travel Grant for ICAA-USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging (2017). Transatlantic Summer Institute on Qualitative and Mixed Methods (2018). Research experience: Graduate Research Assistant, Rutgers University School of Social Work, writing, data analysis, instrument development, and data management for several faculty on grants funded by the National Institute of Health, New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Taub Foundation. Teaching experience: Part-time lecturer, Rutgers School of Social Work, courses: Human Behavior and Social Environment I (HBSE I), Rutgers First-Year Interest Group (FIGs): Community Activism & Civic Engagement. Practice experience: Data Systems Developer, Middlesex County Office of Aging and Disabled Services (2018).

View CV: Laurent Reyes     

Jordan Steiner

Education: Rutgers School of Social Work, PhD (2021); Rutgers School of Social Work, MSW; Teachers College, Columbia University, International Educational Development, Master of Arts; International Peace and Conflict Studies; University of California, Berkeley, Bachelors of Arts; Research Interests:  Gender based violence (GBV; sexual violence response and prevention; poverty and GBV; GBV in schools; refugees and immigrants; forced migration; GBV and migration; culturally sensitive interventions; mental health; adolescents and young women; sub-Saharan Africa; international social welfare.  Honors:  USAID Fellow (2017); Rutgers Graduate School Pre-dissertation funding awards; Graduate Enrichment award winner, Center for African Studies, Rutgers University; Institute for Research on Women (IRW) Fellow; Predoctoral Leadership Development Academy (PLDA) fellow.  Research experience: Rape and Prevention Education (RPE) Evaluator-New Jersey Division on Women/Office of Research, Evaluation, and Reporting- NJ Department of Children and Families;  Evaluation Coordinator and Graduate Research Assistant- Center for Research on Ending Violence (REV); Research Internship- Dr. Felix Muchomba; Research Assistant for Literacy in Conflict Affected Sites (Teachers College, Columbia University); Consultant, UNICEF; Consultant/Evaluator, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Sierra Leone.  Teaching Interests: International Social Work; Refugees/Immigrants; Violence Against Women and Children; Diversity & Oppression; Research Methods; Human Behavior in the Social Environment (HBSE). Teaching Experience:  Part Time Lecturer- Global Social Work & Development;  HBSE (BSW) and HBSE: Violence Against Women in Childhood (MSW); Guest Lecturer- MSW, MPH, and Gender Studies programs; Adult Educator of Teaching English as a Second Language; Teaching Assistant, Columbia University; Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Benin, West Africa (Peace Corps).    Practice Experience: Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) Evaluator, New Jersey Department of Children and Families; Program Manager, International Catholic Migration Commission (Amman, Jordan); Immigration Program Coordinator, IRC; Program Manager, IRC (Cote d’Ivoire); Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Benin, West Africa); Licensed Social Worker- New Jersey (NJ)

View CV: Jordan Steiner