Graduate Programs

Ph.D. Program Overview

The 2014 Colorado State University School of Social Work PhD Cohort from left to right: Steven Baldwin, Denise Raven, Reuben Addo, and Cortney Worrell


The School of Social Work offers a doctoral degree in Social Work. Our primary objective is to prepare practicing MSW social workers for a career in academia or research. The degree is a doctor of philosophy (PhD) and is the only PhD program at a public university in an eight state region. The Program is listed as part of the WICHE/WRPG Program. For applicants who live in the Western Region of the United States, please see “Paying for School” for more information.

We admit students in small cohorts every other year, so that classes remain small and the academic program can be individually designed to match personal goals and life schedules. We have completed our 2016 selection process and are no longer accepting applications for the 2016 cohort. We will begin accepting applications for the Fall 2018 cohort starting in August 2017. Please click on the following link to learn more about the application process: http://www.ssw.chhs.colostate.edu/students/graduate/PhD/admission.aspx

The School of Social Work is a full member of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE.) As in the case with PhD education in other fields and disciplines, the purpose of the PhD in social work is to prepare students to be scholars who function as “stewards of the discipline.” The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate articulated that a steward of the discipline is one who generates and critically evaluates new knowledge, conserves the most important ideas and findings that are the legacy of the discipline, understands how knowledge is transforming the discipline and the larger world, and communicates their knowledge responsibly to others (Walker et al., 2008). Thus, PhD-trained social work scholars improve the art and science of the social work by generating, disseminating, and conserving the knowledge that informs and transforms professional Practice.