Thursday, November 10, 2022 11:00am, EST
Professor LaSalla and graduating students

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Our DSW program transforms clinicians into social work leaders who address complex practice issues through the knowledge building and dissemination.

About the Rutgers DSW Program

The mission of the Doctorate of Social Work program is to transform experienced clinical social workers into leaders who promote individual, family, and community well-being and social justice in an increasingly diverse and global environment. Students develop and disseminate clinical knowledge through peer-reviewed journal articles, national and international conference presentations, teaching, supervision, and innovative digital projects.

DSW Program Goals

Graduates of the DSW Program at the School of Social Work will:

  1. Develop an area of expertise in the field of clinical social work.
  2. Advance new scholarship in the field of clinical social work through the completion of a case study and qualitative research project.
  3. Disseminate scholarship within an area of clinical social work through multiple modalities including the creation of a multi-media project, submission of original manuscripts to peer-reviewed journals, presenting at national and international conferences, supervision and teaching.
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Explore the DSW Program

DSW Curriculum & Syllabi

Rutgers DSW students will receive hands-on teacher training from Rutgers School of Social Work faculty along with regional and national practitioners.

DSW Student Profiles

Learn about our current DSW students.

DSW Student Articles & Accomplishments

The DSW department is proud of all of our students' achievements. View some of our current students' many accomplishments.

DSW Multimedia Projects

Third-year students produce a dynamic, interactive multimedia project (MMP) that synthesizes their scholarship and makes their work accessible and useful to a global audience. Our graduates learn to use video, audio, data visualizations and other digital tools to advance human understanding, and to connect with and serve their chosen communities.

How will a Rutgers DSW help me?

By assisting you in developing the thinking and writing skills that translate your rich practice experiences into innovative case studies and qualitative papers that connect theory, research, and practice and are publishable. We give you the technical skills you will need to connect to online audiences who need access to your clinical wisdom and experience.

Why the Rutgers DSW Program?

You were meant to be an acknowledged leader in the field of clinical social work, drawing on your experience to build knowledge through the development and dissemination of original ideas through journal articles and books, national and international conferences, and innovative websites. In the Rutgers DSW program, you will gain insight to allow you to be part of the practice world, where we need such leaders.

Weekend Residencies for Working Practitioners

Each year consists of nine onsite weekend residencies and two online residencies. The onsite residency sessions will include lectures, seminars, writing workshops, case presentations, meetings with faculty and advisors, and participation in research interest groups. Each day of a residency consists of two three-hour modules; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Our modular approach provides the flexibility for students to learn from a multitude of faculty with a broad array of expertise and allows our faculty (drawn from across various disciplines, institutions, and nations) to focus instruction on what they do and know best.  Our instructors are deep thinkers from a variety of fields who have attained considerable influence in their areas, and thus serve as aspirational role models for experienced practitioner doctoral education.

Coursework is grounded in three integrated sequences: foundation (training in theory development and research skills), clinical practice (use and critique of clinical theories), and engaged scholarship (writing, clinical, and research proseminars). Graduation requires successful completion of 54 credits and is completed in three years. The program builds on students’ initial case studies which are completed in the first year. Formulating the case study helps students to develop critical thinking skills needed to draw on the scholarly literature and to understand case material in a new way. This becomes the foundation for developing qualitative inquiry skills and enhancing writing skills in the second year of the program. The final year culminates in a multi-media project that allows students to disseminate their work while also engaging with the greater scholarly community. These three projects make up a portfolio that is required for graduation in lieu of a traditional dissertation. Through the curriculum and assignments, the DSW doctoral degree prepares graduates to address complex practice issues using critical perspectives and nuance, and enables them to become more sophisticated practitioners, teachers, and consumers and creators of scholarship. Learn more about the portfolio projects→ 

 Writing Instruction

We have designed an innovative writing-intensive curriculum that offers our students the unique opportunity to engage in guided writing and revision with experienced writing professors. Students will learn strategies for writing publishable material asthey progress through the program, and professionalize and distinguish themselves through their writing. Additionally, students will create and maintain their own professional website to be interlinked with the DSW Website as both a digital ‘home’ for continued scholarship, a venue for conversation among peers, and they will get an opportunity to practice establishing a web presence, while learning critical digital literacy skills.

DSW Faculty & Affiliates

Michael LaSala headshot

Michael LaSala

Director of the Doctorate of Social Work Program (DSW) and Professor

Doug Behan

Douglas Behan

Associate Professor of Professional Practice and Director of Continuing Education

Christine E. Kephart

Christine E. Kephart

Writing Instructor, DSW Program

Abdul Ali

Abdul Ali

Program Coordinator, DSW Program

Dr. Edward Alessi

Edward Alessi

Associate Professor and Chancellor’s Scholar of LGBTQ Mental Health, Trauma, and Resilience

Judith McCoyd

Judith McCoyd

Associate Professor

Alex Gatten

Alex Gatten

Instructional Designer