A Study of PhD Courses and Curricula Across Schools of Social Work

Cynthia Franklin, Elizabeth B Lightfoot, Melissa Nachbaur, Katharine Sucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. This study explored courses offered by social work PhD programs, the variation in these courses by type of university, and how the courses compare to the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) Quality Guidelines. Study Methods. Course curriculums of 84 GADE-affiliated social work PhD programs were double-blind coded. PhD directors verified codes and answered a brief survey. Findings. A total of 1146 courses were coded into 28 categories. An average of six research and statistics courses were offered per program. Few programs offered courses in measurement, intervention research, meta-analysis, program evaluation, or grant writing. Most programs indicated that diversity, equity, and inclusion was infused in the curriculum. Less than half (41%) of PhD program directors indicated that GADE Quality Guidelines were influential. Conclusions. PhD programs are offering more research and statistics courses than in the past, but GADE Quality Guidelines are not consistently followed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
StatePublished - Aug 18 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • PhD curriculum
  • doctoral education
  • educational issues
  • higher education administration
  • scholarship of teaching and learning
  • social work curriculum


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