What is the DSW and how is it different from a PhD?
In 2007, Penn became the first social work school in the country to offer the DSW as a practice doctorate. Before this, the PhD in social work and the DSW had both been offered as research-based doctorates that prepared people for careers as researchers and academics, and the two degrees were considered interchangeable. By 2007, all the DSW programs had been discontinued or converted to PhD programs. We seized the opportunity to reinvent the DSW as a practice doctorate focused on preparation for leadership in practice and teaching, clearly differentiated from the research-based PhD.
Why does social work need both the PhD and the DSW?
Is the program accredited?
What is the cost of the program and is there financial aid available?
Information about tuition and fees can be found here on the DSW Tuition page. Most students finance their DSW education through loans and personal resources. Our financial aid team can help with questions related to loans. A limited number of small scholarships are available for qualified DSW students.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The program is designed to be completed in three years, but it is possible to complete the degree requirements (coursework and dissertation) in as little as two years.
What technical equipment do I need to have for the online classes?
You need a desktop computer or laptop, equipped with a video camera with microphone, and a secure broadband connection. We also recommend a noise-canceling headset. You also must have a secure broadband connection.
How often do I need to be on Penn’s campus?
There are two 5-day campus immersion experiences or residency periods – one at the start of the first year and the other the following summer.
Do I need to have the MSW to apply?
Yes, eligible applicants to the DSW program must have the MSW degree and at least three years post-MSW experience that CSWE has started to require for programs.
Do I need to take the GRE?
No, we do not require entrance exams.
Can I transfer credits?
We will consider doctoral level credit for transfer.
Do you grant social work course credit for life experience?
We do not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.
When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is February 15th. All admissions materials (including letters of recommendation) must be submitted by February 15th.
When can I expect to hear if I’ve been accepted?
Decisions are generally out by the middle of April.
Is this considered a full-time program?
Yes, the DSW is considered a full-time program, although it is scheduled in a way that allows working students to complete it.
What jobs does the DSW program prepare students for?
Graduates report both tangible and intangible benefits from the knowledge they’ve gained and from the status and prestige that a doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania confers. Many of our DSW graduates are combining social work practice and teaching with some taking full-time teaching positions. Meet some of our graduates here.
When do I need to be in class for the online classes?
The online classes are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings, from 7:00 to 9:00pm EST.