PhD in Social Work

The School of Social Work at the University of Windsor is a dynamic and progressive leader in social work education. We are committed to partnerships and the development of knowledge for the betterment of society. The school’s location on an international border is geographically unique, creating research and leadership opportunities with a broad North American context.

With an overarching framework of civic engagement, the PhD program prepares students to make significant contributions as leaders in academia, research, practice, social policy, or administration.

The program offers:

  • Broad epistemological paradigms that promote critical thinking and inquiry
  • Development of diverse and rigorous research methods to address current practice and policy issues
  • Mastery of a substantive area of social work and effective knowledge translation
  • Opportunities for research collaboration with faculty scholars and community partners

PhD. StudentsDesigned as a full-time four year program, coursework in the first year introduces students to Epistemology and the Theory of Knowledge, the History of Social Work, and research courses in both Quantitative and Qualitative Methods and Data Analysis. Students will be encouraged to focus their assignments on their substantive area of interest so that the coursework supports the development of the comprehensive proposal. Students must pass a Comprehensive paper assessment as part of the Ph.D. program and prior to submitting their dissertation proposal for review.  Normally, students will complete the Comprehensive paper by January 1st in year 2 of their program.  The Comprehensive paper is directed by a Faculty advisor and a program reader from the School of Social Work.  The comprehensive paper is based on a proposal that must be approved by the student’s Faculty Supervisor normally by September 1st in year 2 of their program. That occurs prior to starting their dissertation seminar course, which further prepares students for the next stage of completing their dissertation proposal and moving to the dissertation stage. The dissertation proposal is due at the end of the Winter term in the second year.  Visit course descriptions and course sequencing.

Faculty Expertise and Guidance

Our faculty possess a wide range of substantive and research methodology expertise to support and guide students through the program. Current examples include local, national and international investigations aimed at advancing scholarly knowledge in a number of critically important social areas including: health, mental health, community capacity building, gerontology, poverty reduction and child welfare. Examples of our range of expertise in methodical inquiries include various forms of program evaluation, large scale survey design, a range of qualitative and quantitative methods including grounded theory, phenomenology, participatory research, theory development, secondary data analysis, as well as instrument development. Visit faculty profiles.

Current Student Accomplishments

Through graduate research assistantship opportunities students closely work with faculty members on research projects that often lead to dissemination through presentations and publications.  Pedagogical skills are developed through faculty mentoring, classroom teaching opportunities in both BSW and MSW programs, as well as trainings offered through the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Visit student profiles.

Apply to the Ph.D. Program

Applications are due in January for the following September admission. Learn more about the admissions process and requirements.

Financial Support and Scholarships

For complete, up-to-date fee information, visit the Finance Department website

For information on scholarship and awards available to doctoral students please visit

Contact or Visit Us

Individuals who are interested in exploring the Ph.D. program in greater depth are encouraged to contact and/or arrange a visit with:

Michael Dolan
Graduate Secretary
Room 205A (Windsor Hall)
Phone: 519-253-3000 ext. 6096

Dr. Wansoo Park
Associate Professor and PhD Program Coordinator
Room 201D (Windsor Hall)
167 Ferry Street
Windsor, ON N9A 0C5
Phone:  519-253-3000 ext. 3069