Skip navigation

GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

PhD Curriculum

The University of Denver requires a minimum of 135 quarter hours (beyond a baccalaureate) for the PhD degree in social work. Up to 60 quarter hours toward this requirement may be credited for "A" or "B" work completed as part of a master's degree in social work or a related field.

Find details in the PhD Handbook (PDF) and the GSSW Bulletin (PDF).

The doctoral curriculum includes advanced content in theory, policy and research methodology. In consultation with your faculty adviser, you will develop a plan of study that includes required core courses and elective courses in your chosen substantive area of inquiry. A typical program consists of 75 quarter-hour credits, distributed as follows:

  • 52 hours of required course credits
  • 23 hours of elective course credits

Coursework for a full-time doctoral student is usually completed in two academic years. Before beginning the dissertation, you must successfully complete a comprehensive examination that demonstrates knowledge of theory, research and policy.

As a doctoral student, you must have an applied research experience while enrolled in the program. This experience is generally obtained through a University of Denver graduate research assistantship or as a research assistant on a funded research project.

While the program is structured for students to complete in four years, per university policy, students have up to seven years to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree.