PhD Program

Scholars for 21st Century Challenges

USC established the first social work doctoral program in the western United States in 1953. Today, we continue to welcome highly motivated individuals who are passionate about developing original research that is interdisciplinary and takes a global perspective to advancing the profession’s knowledge base.

Students admitted to our PhD program pursue a customized course of study in an atmosphere of highest regard for scholarship and careful mentoring from faculty who are top ranked in the nation for funded research.

Pursuing a PhD at USC places you in the center of Los Angeles with an exclusive opportunity to develop and test research in one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the world.

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Should I Pursue a PhD in Social Work?

Michael Hurlburt, director of doctoral programs, encourages all students interested in graduate level social work to consider the benefits, challenges and potential career paths associated with a PhD.

Tasha Perdue

USC PhD Achievement Award

Tasha Perdue, PhD '21, received the 2021 USC PhD Achievement Award, one of six PhD students the university annually recognizes for their exceptional academic profiles.

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PhD Admissions

Our admission PhD candidate selection process is rigorous, reflecting our emphasis on academic achievement, initiative and motivation.

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PhD Degree Requirements

The PhD program requires a minimum of 45 units beyond the master's degree and successful completion of written and oral qualifying exams and the doctoral dissertation.

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PhD Research

Our PhD program places major emphasis on independent inquiry, the development of competence in research methodology, and communication of research results.

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PhD Students

We provide our PhD Students a wide range of educational support services, a rich campus experience and our Doctoral Student Association.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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