Ph.D. Program Block Plan

Session One

June-August

Smith College campus

Session Two

September-April

Field internship

Session Three

June-August

Smith College campus

Session Four

September-April

Field internship

Session Five

June-August

Smith College campus

Like the M.S.W. program, our doctoral curriculum operates on a block plan of instruction in which students alternate periods of classroom study with periods of clinical and research study in the field. The program includes two and one-half summers (and optional second-half summer in year three begining with incoming students in 2021) of on-campus intensive study and two intervening eight-month clinical practice internships.

Through the required and elective courses our students advance their knowledge of:

  • Clinical theory and practice with individuals, families and small groups
  • Social work research, including both qualitative and quantitative methods and advanced statistics, psychodynamic and social theories
  • The philosophical foundations of contemporary social work practice
  • Social work education
  • Social policy as related to clinical practice and mental health

We offer all courses on a full-time enrollment basis only.

Ph.D. students take specialized courses in teaching philosophy and methods to help them prepare for academic careers. We also encourage all doctoral students not already employed in social work education to engage in some form of clinical teaching—in the classroom, in an agency, as a supervisor or as a consultant—as part of the course of study. Typically students take on this work during the second internship or the final summer of on-campus study, and they are mentored by an adviser or by individual faculty members.

Finally, as in all Ph.D. programs, students must complete an individual doctoral dissertation. Dissertation topics may address any issue relevant to clinical social work, and students select topics in consultation with the research adviser. Dissertations vary in design and research methods, but all involve a new, independent contribution to the social work literature.