Social Work Home
USC class lecture

PhD Research

Your research career begins in your PhD program. Doctoral study is a time to learn scientific principles and methods for conducting research and begin building a portfolio of research experience and publications.

The PhD program at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work places major emphasis on independent inquiry, the development of competence in research methodology, and communication of research results. We have high expectations for our doctoral students and offer a rigorous program of study to ensure our students demonstrate outstanding original scholarship and are prepared to take on independent, long-term research commitments.

Our distinctive research culture encourages students to pursue research opportunities as partners of our faculty and as investigators in their own right. Faculty relationships are key to success in the program. In fact, one of the more critical decisions you must make as you pursue doctoral study is finding the right match in a faculty member who has research and scholarship interests that are similar and compatible with yours, and who is willing and interested in working with you.

We provide a myriad of resources to our doctoral students to help maximize their research opportunities, including the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services, and the school’s funded research projects that bring together distinguished groups of investigators with common academic interests to provide a framework for research and training.

The school also offers students the chance to learn useful activities, including how to prepare an IRB (Institutional Review Board) application, plan statistical procedures, submit grant proposals and write results for publication, as well as the chance to present research findings at national and international meetings.