I am looking to start applying for a PhD for Fall 2015 in the US and Canada. A little bit about my background... I did a BA (Hons) Economics from University of Delhi, India and then worked for two years as a Financial Research Associate at D. E. Shaw India. Following the corporate stint, I switched to the social sector and went on to do my Masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India with a semester specialization in Criminology and Justice and a dessertation on rehabilitation of children rescued from prostitution. Currently I am working with the State Government of Odisha in the area of rural development.
I want to go for a doctorate and I have the following doubts:
1) How important is work experience and the number of years of experience for a PhD? I will be completing a year and half in rural development at the end of 2014.
2) do I start zeroing in on schools based on the basis of the PhD topic (say gender, caste etc.) I am interested in and then see if it falls under anthropology, sociology, or political sciences OR should i zero in on the science and school and then think of potential PhD topics?
3) I see a strong psychiatric social work foothold in PhD programs in social work in the US. Are there other specific areas getting substantial funding in social work in the US/ Canada?
4) any particular school you would like to suggest considering my background and interest areas.
Looking forward to hearing from anyone!