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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the focus of a Ph.D. in Social Work?

The Ph.D. in Social Work is a research-focused degree.  We prepare students for positions as faculty in colleges and universities, research scientists, and policy analysts. This program does not prepare students for advanced clinical training or for going into private practice. The Ph.D. is a program of the School of Social Work and the Graduate School New Brunswick, Rutgers University. We enroll a cohort of about six to seven students each year.

What jobs do Rutgers Social Work Ph.D. graduates hold?

Our graduates hold jobs as faculty at colleges and universities across the country including: Boston College, University of New Hampshire, University of Connecticut, University of Pennsylvania, State University of New York, Rutgers University, University of Vermont, Fordham University, Wayne State University, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Monmouth College, Clark-Atlanta University. Many of our graduates have accepted post-doctoral awards including positions at Brandeis University and Princeton. Others are research scientists at organizations such as Veterans Health Administration and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington D.C. Some work in policy and research such as Deputy Commissioner, N.J. Department of Human Services, and Special Assistant with the United Nations.

What is the combined MSW/Ph.D. program?

There are two enrollment options:  1) applicants may apply to both the MSW and Ph.D. programs at the same time; students take courses in both programs;  2) students may apply to the Ph.D. program during their first year in the MSW program, and begin taking Ph.D. courses in their second year while completing the MSW.  We admit 1 or 2 students per year into the combined MSW/Ph.D. program.

What are you looking for in an applicant for the Ph.D.program?

We consider research interests and commitment to research, graduate and undergraduate GPA, GRE scores, reasons for pursuing a Ph.D., intellectual capacity, determination, and ability to pursue work independently.

Is an MSW necessary for admission into the Ph.D. program?

An MSW is not required for acceptance into the Ph.D. program. A Masters degree in a related science field is acceptable for admission; we do advise that applicants without an MSW consider the combined MSW/Ph.D. program.

Do I have to take the GRE?

Yes, all applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  The GRE is a requirement of the Graduate School New Brunswick for all Ph.D. programs at Rutgers.

When do I apply?

Our application deadline is January 15.  All students enter the program in the fall of the academic year.

Are there weekend or online classes available?

There are no weekend or online course offerings for SSW Ph.D. courses.  They are offered in small seminar style format, within in-person settings.

May I take classes as a non-matriculated student?

Our PhD classes are available only to students admitted to the Ph.D. program in social work, or enrolled in other Ph.D. programs at Rutgers or consortium universities.

Are classes held at Camden or Newark?

Social Work Ph.D. classes are only offered on the New Brunswick campus.

How long does it take to complete the Ph.D. program?

The full-time Ph.D. program consists of two years of coursework, followed by two years of predominately individual study (e.g., qualifying exams; development of dissertation projects; completion of dissertation thesis). It is reasonable to expect that students will finish the program within four to five years.  For combined MSW/Ph.D. students, it may take five to six years because they will need to complete their MSW course program requirements as well.

Is there a part-time program?

There is a part-time option for the Ph.D. program, though most of our students are full-time. Classes are held during day-time hours, so part-time students require a flexible work schedule.  There is no part-time option for the combined MSW/Ph.D. program.

Can my MSW application serve as the application for the Ph.D. program or do I need to submit a new application?

The PhD program is a separate program and requires a separate application.

How much does the program cost?

Tuition and fees are posted on the website of the Graduate School New Brunswick. The School of Social Work offers tuition remission and research and graduate assistantships to full-time admitted Ph.D. students.

For more information, visit our website or contact program director Allison Zippay.








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