Doctorate of Social Work
Doctorate of Social Work (DSW)
Spalding University's Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) program is a rigorous 48 credit hour sequence of coursework over eight continuous semesters. Students are exposed to a series of foundational (first two-years of study) doctoral level courses placing emphasis on theoretical approaches to social problems, advanced practice knowledge and skills beyond the MSW degree, and enhanced competency in evaluation skills. In the third year of doctoral level study, students will declare their concentration focus and complete specified courses in both Leadership and Administration (e.g. Trauma-Informed Leadership and Healing Interventions), or Advanced Clinical Practice (e.g. Psychopharmacology for Clinical Practice). After completion of students’ concentration courses, they are eligible for DSW candidacy by passing their comprehensive exams (oral and written). Once students move into candidacy status, they will complete their capstone project in collaboration with their faculty advisor. The DSW is structured for completion in four years, however, students are allowed up to six years to complete the requirements for this degree.
Applicants to the DSW program will be required to have completed the MSW degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited institution. Preference will be given to those applicants having an MSW degree and two-years post MSW practice experience. *While preference will be given to applicants having an MSW degree and two-years post MSW degree practice experience, exceptional individuals credentialed at the MSW level, but lacking the two-year post-MSW practice requirement, may fulfill this DSW program application requirement by completing an additional 225 hours of field work (agency practicum) prior to the start of any DSW coursework. Applicants who must complete 225 hours of agency field work prior to their acceptance into the DSW program will be denoted with a Pre-DSW classification for program purposes. Those individuals required to complete an additional 225 hours of agency field work prior to admittance into the DSW program will receive 3 credit hours of college credit. Those individuals needing to complete this additional field requirement will have completed 51 hours of college credit for their DSW degree rather the 48 credit requirement for those individuals meeting the two-years post MSW practice experience prerequisite.
Pre-DSW students needing to complete 225 hours of field work prior to their acceptance in the DSW program will complete their placements at social service agencies in the learner's home community. These placements require the supervision of an approved MSW field agency supervisor. Neither prior life experience nor employment may count for this additional practicum credit required for entry into the DSW program.
Application procedures are obtained from the University's Admissions Office or the School of Social Work office. Acceptance into the DSW program is required before any student may enroll in doctoral level social work courses.
Admissions decisions are based on a constellation of criteria. All individuals wishing to be admitted into the DSW program must complete an application and have the following requirements: An MSW degree from a CSWE accredited school of social work and; a minimum of a 3.3 out of 4.0 grade point average during their MSW studies; and a minimum of two-years of post-MSW practice experience (*see exception). In addition to the requirements above, applicants will be required to submit the following documentation: An application to Spalding University for Graduate Education; a resume/CV highlighting their years of social work practice; three letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic sources (e.g. former professors, supervisors etc.); official transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended; a statement of purpose describing: Professional goals and how a DSW degree will help the applicant achieve them, area of interest the applicant wishes to focus on during their DSW studies, how their MSW education helped inform their practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels, and how their professional practice and/or academic experience has contributed toward their collaboration with community stakeholders in an area of practice interest. For non-native English speakers who apply to Spalding University’s DSW program, TOEFL scores must be submitted. Acceptable TOEFL scores are 600 for the paper version, 120 for the computer version and 95 for the web version. Those with a GPA below a 3.3 out of 4.0 grade point average during their MSW studies may be considered for admission to the DSW program, given extenuating circumstances (e.g., significant improvement is shown in upper level grades, professional accomplishment) deemed appropriate by the Director of Graduate Studies, or the Chair of the School of Social Work. As a final step in the application process, DSW applicants interview with the Director of Graduate Studies, the Chair of the School of Social Work, and faculty members of the School of Social Work. Meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not guarantee acceptance into the DSW program.
Transfer of Credits
Transfers of graduate credit from accredited institutions will be allowed, up to a max of 6 credit hours. Acceptance of transferred credits will be at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies and Chair in Spalding University’s School of Social Work. Academic credit is not awarded for previous work or life experiences in lieu of any course-work in the social work program.
Student learning is assessed multiple ways. The range of assignments include critical analyses of practice situations and ethical dilemmas, written narratives, skill demonstrations, experiential exercises, professional presentations, research projects, group projects, and examinations. After students complete their required core and specialization courses (36 hours), they are eligible to take their oral and written examinations. Once DSW students have completed all of their required course work and passed their oral and written exams, they will be moved to candidacy status where they will be required to complete a capstone project. The capstone project will be assessed by a faculty adviser (Chair) and two other faculty members. Individuals must successfully pass their capstone project defense in order to obtain their DSW degree. The time limit for completion of a capstone project is 2 years after completion of the student's final course (exclusive of registration for capstone project credit). If not completed within that time frame, the student must make a request for a formal extension of time to the faculty for each additional semester that the capstone is in progress. If the capstone goes beyond 3 years from the time of the last course, the student may be required to apply for reinstatement into the program. If the departmental faculty agree to reinstate the student, the student may be required to take and pass the oral and written qualifying exams, as well as meet any other conditions imposed by the faculty, to be allowed to graduate.
(see program sheets for specifics of the DSW degree)
DSW students complete 48 to 51 credit hours of doctoral level course work.
Doctor of Social Work: Advanced Clinical Track
Doctor of Social Work: Advanced Clinical Track with Practicum
Doctor of Social Work: Leadership and Administration Track
Doctor of Social Work: Leadership and Administration Track with Praticum