The Process

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.

The Method

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.

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