Ph.D Program Competencies

Achievement in the following competency or proficiency areas will position students to be independent scholars and leaders. Competency is demonstrated through successful completion of related coursework, individualized development of substantive area expertise in a social work/social welfare issue, practicum and mentored professional experience, comprehensive examination and dissertation.

Knowledge of the Profession

Demonstrate knowledge of the history and contemporary issues and trends in the Social Work profession and discipline. Understand how social work is relevant to public issues, including promotion of social justice and equity and advancement of effective practices and policies. Understand the role of social work values and ethics in research and knowledge. 


Demonstrate the ability to analyze, apply, build upon, and/or develop theory and theoretical frameworks that advance creation of knowledge, analysis or investigation of issues, and/or design of practices, policies and systems to improve social conditions. 


Demonstrate the ability to analyze and conduct independent, ethically sound research, making appropriate use of design alternatives and quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods analytic techniques to create knowledge, inform theory, examine issues or policies, develop new approaches or methods, or evaluate programs or interventions. 


Demonstrate the ability to apply pedagogy in Social Work, Child and Family Studies or related disciplines to instruction at the undergraduate or master’s level, using a variety of didactic, interactive, and experiential strategies.


Demonstrate the ability to plan, develop, create and disseminate scholarly work through publication and presentation.

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Demonstrate the ability to engage with social science and other relevant disciplines in examining, investigating, and improving social conditions. 

Social Justice/Equity

Demonstrate the ability to promote social justice and equity through critically informed practice, research, teaching, policy, and/or social action. Demonstrate the ability to recognize and interrupt the expression or perpetuation of privilege, discrimination, inequality, and structural systems of oppression. 

Community Engagement

Demonstrate the ability to engage with community and governmental agencies, programs, and leaders to examine, investigate and improve practices, policies and social conditions.


Adopted February 6, 2015