In collaboration with their dissertation mentors and later with their dissertation committees, students begin developing a dissertation topic in the first semester of the DSW program. Through a closely mentored, tightly structured process, students complete an original work of scholarship that makes a contribution to the clinical social work literature and knowledge base. The dissertation engages students in deep study and positions them as knowledge experts in their content area.
Students have a variety of options to choose from when deciding how to answer their research question, including systematic/scoping reviews, quantitative designs including intervention studies and surveys, qualitative studies, and data-driven development of treatment manuals. Please see the DSW Handbook for further description.
The Finished Product
The final product may be in the form of a traditional chapter-style manuscript, two publishable articles, or one publishable article accompanied by a critical review of the literature.
All of the DSW dissertations are published on Scholarly Commons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open-access repository for scholarly work. This ensures that the knowledge produced by our students is readily available and accessible for front-line social work practitioners and others who are seeking information on a particular topic.