Faculty and PhD grads
UI SSW faculty and PhD graduates at the 2017 CSWE conference.

Individualized and Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Our PhD program will allow you to develop a coherent program of study with opportunities to pursue your own scholarly interests. These interests are pursued through a core social work curriculum, a concentration (sociology, psychology, education or public health) and a social work focal area (e.g., family violence). Students may take focal area courses in any college or department at the University of Iowa. The median time to degree is four years. In the table, below, we provide an example of a student’s course schedule by year. You can find detailed information about our curriculum, by clicking on the PhD Handbook.

Courses by Year (Example)

Plan of Study for the PhD in Social Work (Example)

Plan of Study for the PhD in Social Work (Example)



Course Title



1 Fall Social work proseminar 1  
    Social work seminar : Selected topics 3  
    Elective 3  
    Statistics Level 2 3 10
    Arrange teaching practicum    
  Spring Concentration theory 3  
    Statistics Level 3 3  
    Teaching practicum 2  
    Teaching seminar 1 9
    Arrange research practicum    
  Summer Research Practicum 3 3
2 Fall Social work seminar : Selected topics 3  
    Concentration research methods 3  
    Elective 3 9
  Spring Elective 3  
    Statistics Level 4 or research methods 3 6
    Write comps exam proposal and receive approval by May 15th    
  Summer Write and submit comps exam paper by August 15th    
3 Fall Thesis writing seminar 3  
    Dissertation 3 6
    Defend comps exam paper by September 15th    
  Spring Dissertation 3 3
    Defend dissertation proposal by March 15th    
4 Fall Dissertation 3 3
  Spring Dissertation 3 3
    Defend dissertation    
    Course hours, including Dissertation hours   52
    Hours applied from the Master's degree   30
    TOTAL   82