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Fall 2019 Phd Social Work /Welfare

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Long time lurker here, but I'll be going to the University of Denver as well! Super excited, and hope to connect with other incoming folks to that program. If anyone has tips on living in Denver, I'm all ears - it's going to be a big transition for my partner, dog, and I. I'll be studying youth identity development/feelings of belonging, place-based resiliency factors amidst personal/community/intergenerational trauma, and the integration of arts-based and participatory methods in social science research. Also happy to connect with others doing any similar work given that we'll likely be running into one another at conferences, etc, for years to come.

 

(also can't wait to meet in person @MCC778 😊)

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Hi, all. Congratulations on your acceptances to these great programs! 

I'm hoping that, having gone through this process so recently, some of you would be able to steer me in the right direction. I currently work in the field of clinical psychology research (with a Master's degree), but I am looking into pursuing a PhD in Social Work/Social Welfare. However, I have no idea where to begin to narrow down programs, how matching with a faculty mentor works, how competitive admissions to PhD Social Work/Social Welfare programs are or whether I would be considered a competitive applicant. I've included some questions below that I would love to get some answers to, if you are able. 

  • Are there resources that you all used to narrow down which programs you were interested in applying to?
  • Do you apply to work with a specific faculty mentor, or does the program assign you a mentor as they see fit? 
  • About how many students apply to these programs each year versus how many are accepted?
  • I do not have experience as a practitioner, but have a strong research background (~5 years of research experience in psychology, grant applications, publications, presentations). Will this be a problem for admission to a PhD program in Social Work/Social Welfare?
  • What do you think made your application stand out?
  • What is the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD program versus a PhD-only program? 

Thank you all for your help! 

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6 hours ago, Applicant4788 said:

Hi, all. Congratulations on your acceptances to these great programs! 

I'm hoping that, having gone through this process so recently, some of you would be able to steer me in the right direction. I currently work in the field of clinical psychology research (with a Master's degree), but I am looking into pursuing a PhD in Social Work/Social Welfare. However, I have no idea where to begin to narrow down programs, how matching with a faculty mentor works, how competitive admissions to PhD Social Work/Social Welfare programs are or whether I would be considered a competitive applicant. I've included some questions below that I would love to get some answers to, if you are able. 

  • Are there resources that you all used to narrow down which programs you were interested in applying to?
  • Do you apply to work with a specific faculty mentor, or does the program assign you a mentor as they see fit? 
  • About how many students apply to these programs each year versus how many are accepted?
  • I do not have experience as a practitioner, but have a strong research background (~5 years of research experience in psychology, grant applications, publications, presentations). Will this be a problem for admission to a PhD program in Social Work/Social Welfare?
  • What do you think made your application stand out?
  • What is the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD program versus a PhD-only program? 

Thank you all for your help! 

One thing you mentioned that stuck out to me is that you don't have an MSW already. Some programs will require you to have an MSW before being accepted into the PhD program ( The program i'm attending required MSW), so you may have to end up doing joint anyways or pursuing the MSW first then applying for PhD programs later. I have an MSW and ran into this when applying to a PhD program in Counseling. They accepted me into the doctoral program but told me I would only be doctoral in name as I would have to take Masters level coursework in counseling before starting doctoral coursework. The PhD in Counseling was 3 years, but would have been 6 years had I done it because of the extra Masters level work. I think that is just something to consider and look out for when applying to programs . What makes you consider social work rather than a psychology program? 

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2 hours ago, Number4 said:

One thing you mentioned that stuck out to me is that you don't have an MSW already. Some programs will require you to have an MSW before being accepted into the PhD program ( The program i'm attending required MSW), so you may have to end up doing joint anyways or pursuing the MSW first then applying for PhD programs later. I have an MSW and ran into this when applying to a PhD program in Counseling. They accepted me into the doctoral program but told me I would only be doctoral in name as I would have to take Masters level coursework in counseling before starting doctoral coursework. The PhD in Counseling was 3 years, but would have been 6 years had I done it because of the extra Masters level work. I think that is just something to consider and look out for when applying to programs . What makes you consider social work rather than a psychology program? 

Thank you for your reply! A lot of programs I've seen request that applicants have an MSW "*or a Master's degree in a social science field," for which I think my psych Master's should qualify(?). I'm definitely open to a joint MSW/PhD program as well, where that is offered, but I have gotten the impression that they are not particularly common. Do you think that my psychology MA would be seen as a disadvantage in applying to programs which allow applicants with other social science degrees?

While I'm still considering some psych PhD programs, my research and professional interests have a stronger social justice orientation, focus on contextual factors, and engagement with vulnerable populations than a vast majority of the research happening in psychology. The research happening in social work/social welfare programs also seems much more in line with the methodologies that I would like to employ in my eventual work (i.e., participatory action research, community-based interventions). When exploring potential PIs at psych PhD programs, I've never been able to find a truly strong match between their research and my interests - it always seems like I'd have to tailor my interests to fit more neatly with theirs. In the short time that I've been exploring potential PIs at social work/social welfare PhD programs, there seems to be a strong match in almost every program - without tailoring my interests - which I'm taking as an indication that I should be strongly considering these in addition to psych programs. 

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1 hour ago, Applicant4788 said:

Thank you for your reply! A lot of programs I've seen request that applicants have an MSW "*or a Master's degree in a social science field," for which I think my psych Master's should qualify(?). I'm definitely open to a joint MSW/PhD program as well, where that is offered, but I have gotten the impression that they are not particularly common. Do you think that my psychology MA would be seen as a disadvantage in applying to programs which allow applicants with other social science degrees?

While I'm still considering some psych PhD programs, my research and professional interests have a stronger social justice orientation, focus on contextual factors, and engagement with vulnerable populations than a vast majority of the research happening in psychology. The research happening in social work/social welfare programs also seems much more in line with the methodologies that I would like to employ in my eventual work (i.e., participatory action research, community-based interventions). When exploring potential PIs at psych PhD programs, I've never been able to find a truly strong match between their research and my interests - it always seems like I'd have to tailor my interests to fit more neatly with theirs. In the short time that I've been exploring potential PIs at social work/social welfare PhD programs, there seems to be a strong match in almost every program - without tailoring my interests - which I'm taking as an indication that I should be strongly considering these in addition to psych programs. 

No, I don't think having another social science degree would be a disadvantage! For the counseling program I applied for, it had the same wording about accepting other social science/ similar degrees but still required me to take " leveling" courses to be on track with those who had an MA in Counseling, which essentially ended up being another Masters degree. But, when I interviewed they were excited about accepting someone from another discipline because they felt like it would bring a diverse perspective to the cohort. I would say to play your Psych background to your advantage and speak on how it makes you stand out from other applicants. Have you looked into Counseling Psychology? I applied to some of those programs because I have a mental health research interest and saw that these programs had somewhat more of a social justice component than other psych programs. (Though not as much as I would have liked, which is why I ended up sticking with Social Work.)

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3 hours ago, Number4 said:

No, I don't think having another social science degree would be a disadvantage! For the counseling program I applied for, it had the same wording about accepting other social science/ similar degrees but still required me to take " leveling" courses to be on track with those who had an MA in Counseling, which essentially ended up being another Masters degree. But, when I interviewed they were excited about accepting someone from another discipline because they felt like it would bring a diverse perspective to the cohort. I would say to play your Psych background to your advantage and speak on how it makes you stand out from other applicants. Have you looked into Counseling Psychology? I applied to some of those programs because I have a mental health research interest and saw that these programs had somewhat more of a social justice component than other psych programs. (Though not as much as I would have liked, which is why I ended up sticking with Social Work.)

Thank you! That's some really helpful insight. I haven't looked into Counseling Psych programs, but I will check those out as well. It never hurts to explore more options! For the program that you will be attending, did you apply to work with a specific PI or is it a situation where you are accepted to the program generally and assigned to a PI upon arrival?

Also - how much would you say that GRE scores matter for admissions? I'm open to retaking it if my score (168V, 158Q) is not strong enough, but of course would prefer not to endure the extra hassle.  

Thank you so much. I am very appreciative of your help while I try to work through this. I've spent a ton of time learning how psych PhD admissions processes work, so it's been tough trying to navigate this and understand a whole new system in regards to how I might be evaluated as a candidate for admission to these programs. 

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On 4/27/2019 at 12:26 AM, Applicant4788 said:

Thank you! That's some really helpful insight. I haven't looked into Counseling Psych programs, but I will check those out as well. It never hurts to explore more options! For the program that you will be attending, did you apply to work with a specific PI or is it a situation where you are accepted to the program generally and assigned to a PI upon arrival?

Also - how much would you say that GRE scores matter for admissions? I'm open to retaking it if my score (168V, 158Q) is not strong enough, but of course would prefer not to endure the extra hassle.  

Thank you so much. I am very appreciative of your help while I try to work through this. I've spent a ton of time learning how psych PhD admissions processes work, so it's been tough trying to navigate this and understand a whole new system in regards to how I might be evaluated as a candidate for admission to these programs. 

For my program I had to mention a PI I wanted to work with and was asked about them in my interview as well, but I have the option to work with all of the faculty member because my cohort is small (the program accepts ~5 ). Your GRE scores are good IMO, but just see what the program requires for MSW students. I saw less emphasis on the GRE in PhD programs and more on research interest/experience.  I remember some MSW programs accepting a cum. GRE score asl low as 298 though. 

 

& No problem at all! I know the process is stressful. I'm glad to be on the other side of it lol. 

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9 hours ago, Number4 said:

For my program I had to mention a PI I wanted to work with and was asked about them in my interview as well, but I have the option to work with all of the faculty member because my cohort is small (the program accepts ~5 ). Your GRE scores are good IMO, but just see what the program requires for MSW students. I saw less emphasis on the GRE in PhD programs and more on research interest/experience.  I remember some MSW programs accepting a cum. GRE score asl low as 298 though. 

 

& No problem at all! I know the process is stressful. I'm glad to be on the other side of it lol. 

That's great to know. Thank you! I currently work at a large university, so I will plan to reach out to some folks in the school of Social Work for additional guidance. It's so interesting to see how many differences there are between these programs and Psych programs! 

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On 4/26/2019 at 9:21 AM, Applicant4788 said:

Hi, all. Congratulations on your acceptances to these great programs! 

I'm hoping that, having gone through this process so recently, some of you would be able to steer me in the right direction. I currently work in the field of clinical psychology research (with a Master's degree), but I am looking into pursuing a PhD in Social Work/Social Welfare. However, I have no idea where to begin to narrow down programs, how matching with a faculty mentor works, how competitive admissions to PhD Social Work/Social Welfare programs are or whether I would be considered a competitive applicant. I've included some questions below that I would love to get some answers to, if you are able. 

  • Are there resources that you all used to narrow down which programs you were interested in applying to?
  • Do you apply to work with a specific faculty mentor, or does the program assign you a mentor as they see fit? 
  • About how many students apply to these programs each year versus how many are accepted?
  • I do not have experience as a practitioner, but have a strong research background (~5 years of research experience in psychology, grant applications, publications, presentations). Will this be a problem for admission to a PhD program in Social Work/Social Welfare?
  • What do you think made your application stand out?
  • What is the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD program versus a PhD-only program? 

Thank you all for your help! 

Hey! It's exciting to hear you're planning on applying to social work phd programs! From reading the last few posts, it seems like you're well poised for applying to phd programs--I'll try to provide some answers to your questions as best I can!

  • Are there resources that you all used to narrow down which programs you were interested in applying to?

I work at a research institute at a large university and often worked collaboratively with researchers across the nation and knew a little bit about what schools were doing the kind of work I was interested in. Additionally, I knew that I wanted to be part of a program that was focused more on collaboration than competition (I work in that now and it's wholly unproductive) so I reached out to the Associate Dean's for Doctoral Education of all the schools I was interested in and set up a phone call. I went in prepared with questiosn that were important to me and the answers I received helped me narrow down which programs I was interested in. Additionally, being fully-funded was a necessity for me so that helped as well.

  • Do you apply to work with a specific faculty mentor, or does the program assign you a mentor as they see fit? 

Different programs assign mentorship in different ways. For example, the three programs I got accepted to all went about it in a different way. One of them sent me who my mentor would be with my acceptance letter (they had very little in common as far as research interests) and noted that this person would be who I worked with per my GRA assignment but also talked about how I would need to find an advisor as well; another one (the one I ended up going to) didn't identify my mentor til a while later and the Associate Dean of Doctoral Education chooses the mentor for the students based on the students research interests and faculty capacity/funding--this particular school also encourages multiple mentors and changing them over time so that you get a better feel for working with more of the faculty and learning different things; and the last one I never received any information about who my mentor might have been before I declined the offer. 

However, I did reach out to individual faculty whose research I was interested in prior to applying to guage their capacity for mentorship and available funding in their projects. 

  • About how many students apply to these programs each year versus how many are accepted?

There is very little information available to answer this question. Some schools provide this on their website (UT Austin's Steve Hicks School of Social Work does) but most do not. I do know that schools vary on how many they accept--the GADE guide sheds some light on average yearly enrollment: http://www.gadephd.org/Portals/0/GADEdocuments/General/GADE Guide FINAL.pdf?ver=2016-12-26-154557-940 but it does not provide much on how many people originally apply each year. 

  • I do not have experience as a practitioner, but have a strong research background (~5 years of research experience in psychology, grant applications, publications, presentations). Will this be a problem for admission to a PhD program in Social Work/Social Welfare?

No. It helps to have a strong research background. Most places require (or encourage) 2 years post MSW experence, but that experience is not lijmited to direct practice. I worked in research prior to applying (I do have direct practice experience, but it wasn't my most recent work experience). I do not think that it hurts you or is a problem. I do think your strong reserach background is a strength for your application though.

  • What do you think made your application stand out?

Statement of Purpose. Honestly, this is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, piece of your application that will have a lasting impact. I spent a lot of time on my SOP and I had EVERYONE who would look at it review--from my own graduate assistants who were interested to faculty and staff that I worked with on campus and consultants I had befriended on past reserach projects at other universities. I think you will also want really strong LORs. From what I gather, the GRE isn't really that big of deal and most places want to do away with it anyways. However, VERY few schools (e.g., University of Kentucky) require minimum scores and some of the more competitive programs may weigh it a little heavier if they have too many applicants who are very strong. But in all honesty, it doesn't matter how good your application is if they do not see a good research fit for you in their program. You need to apply to programs where you will be a good fit research-wise and they have faculty to accommodate your research interests. 

  • What is the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD program versus a PhD-only program? 

It depends on your plans post-graduation. Do you want to teach in social work? If so, the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD might be worth it. While most programs just require that you have a social science degree for phd acceptance, you can not teach CSWE social work classes (which are a lot, especially in MSW programs) as a professor if you do not have an MSW. You would, instead, be able to teach any of the other elective-type and research classes. So it might not be a big deal if you don't mind not teaching foundational classes in social work and I'm unsure of how it impacts competitiveness in the tenure-track job market in social work programs. 

 

Hope some of that helps and good luck!!

 

 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, MCC778 said:

Hey! It's exciting to hear you're planning on applying to social work phd programs! From reading the last few posts, it seems like you're well poised for applying to phd programs--I'll try to provide some answers to your questions as best I can!

  • Are there resources that you all used to narrow down which programs you were interested in applying to?

I work at a research institute at a large university and often worked collaboratively with researchers across the nation and knew a little bit about what schools were doing the kind of work I was interested in. Additionally, I knew that I wanted to be part of a program that was focused more on collaboration than competition (I work in that now and it's wholly unproductive) so I reached out to the Associate Dean's for Doctoral Education of all the schools I was interested in and set up a phone call. I went in prepared with questiosn that were important to me and the answers I received helped me narrow down which programs I was interested in. Additionally, being fully-funded was a necessity for me so that helped as well.

  • Do you apply to work with a specific faculty mentor, or does the program assign you a mentor as they see fit? 

Different programs assign mentorship in different ways. For example, the three programs I got accepted to all went about it in a different way. One of them sent me who my mentor would be with my acceptance letter (they had very little in common as far as research interests) and noted that this person would be who I worked with per my GRA assignment but also talked about how I would need to find an advisor as well; another one (the one I ended up going to) didn't identify my mentor til a while later and the Associate Dean of Doctoral Education chooses the mentor for the students based on the students research interests and faculty capacity/funding--this particular school also encourages multiple mentors and changing them over time so that you get a better feel for working with more of the faculty and learning different things; and the last one I never received any information about who my mentor might have been before I declined the offer. 

However, I did reach out to individual faculty whose research I was interested in prior to applying to guage their capacity for mentorship and available funding in their projects. 

  • About how many students apply to these programs each year versus how many are accepted?

There is very little information available to answer this question. Some schools provide this on their website (UT Austin's Steve Hicks School of Social Work does) but most do not. I do know that schools vary on how many they accept--the GADE guide sheds some light on average yearly enrollment: http://www.gadephd.org/Portals/0/GADEdocuments/General/GADE Guide FINAL.pdf?ver=2016-12-26-154557-940 but it does not provide much on how many people originally apply each year. 

  • I do not have experience as a practitioner, but have a strong research background (~5 years of research experience in psychology, grant applications, publications, presentations). Will this be a problem for admission to a PhD program in Social Work/Social Welfare?

No. It helps to have a strong research background. Most places require (or encourage) 2 years post MSW experence, but that experience is not lijmited to direct practice. I worked in research prior to applying (I do have direct practice experience, but it wasn't my most recent work experience). I do not think that it hurts you or is a problem. I do think your strong reserach background is a strength for your application though.

  • What do you think made your application stand out?

Statement of Purpose. Honestly, this is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, piece of your application that will have a lasting impact. I spent a lot of time on my SOP and I had EVERYONE who would look at it review--from my own graduate assistants who were interested to faculty and staff that I worked with on campus and consultants I had befriended on past reserach projects at other universities. I think you will also want really strong LORs. From what I gather, the GRE isn't really that big of deal and most places want to do away with it anyways. However, VERY few schools (e.g., University of Kentucky) require minimum scores and some of the more competitive programs may weigh it a little heavier if they have too many applicants who are very strong. But in all honesty, it doesn't matter how good your application is if they do not see a good research fit for you in their program. You need to apply to programs where you will be a good fit research-wise and they have faculty to accommodate your research interests. 

  • What is the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD program versus a PhD-only program? 

It depends on your plans post-graduation. Do you want to teach in social work? If so, the benefit of a joint MSW/PhD might be worth it. While most programs just require that you have a social science degree for phd acceptance, you can not teach CSWE social work classes (which are a lot, especially in MSW programs) as a professor if you do not have an MSW. You would, instead, be able to teach any of the other elective-type and research classes. So it might not be a big deal if you don't mind not teaching foundational classes in social work and I'm unsure of how it impacts competitiveness in the tenure-track job market in social work programs. 

Thank you SO much! This information is so helpful. 

First of all, I had no idea that I could just reach out to Associate Deans to ask questions about the programs. In psych (especially clinical), the number of applications that programs receive is so astronomically high (one R2 school I know of received 750 applications for 9 spots) that they're largely unable to accommodate prospective students' questions prior to applying. The same goes for reaching out to potential mentors in psych ahead of applying - people are split on whether you should/shouldn't reach out, because the volume of applicants is too high for many PIs to respond to these inquiries, so some actually see it as a negative. I'm glad to learn that SW faculty and Associate Deans are open to these kinds of conversations. 

The GADE guide that you shared is so helpful to get an idea of average enrollment, what programs are out there, and where I will be eligible to apply. I'm also loving the transparency from UT Austin! 

Regarding the statement of purpose: I've noticed that quite a few programs ask for responses to a question along the lines of "What barriers in your life might prevent you from succeeding in a doctoral program?" Can you shed some light on what a response to this question might be? I can't think of any barriers off the top of my head (except maybe the lack of MSW or experience as a practitioner?), but I'm not sure about whether this is the type of question where you're supposed to come up with barriers and talk about how you will address them. 

I also appreciate your insight into the MSW/PhD program. I would be interested in completing both degrees, but I am unsure about whether accruing additional student loan debt for the MSW portion would be wise if the MSW itself is not strictly necessary moving forward. 

Can you also tell me which programs are considered the "top" programs in the field? I found an article quantifying research productivity in each program, but I was wondering whether there are certain programs that are widely considered to be the "best" or "most competitive". 

Thank you again for all of your help! 

Edited by Applicant4788
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On 5/10/2019 at 10:45 AM, Applicant4788 said:

Thank you SO much! This information is so helpful. 

First of all, I had no idea that I could just reach out to Associate Deans to ask questions about the programs. In psych (especially clinical), the number of applications that programs receive is so astronomically high (one R2 school I know of received 750 applications for 9 spots) that they're largely unable to accommodate prospective students' questions prior to applying. The same goes for reaching out to potential mentors in psych ahead of applying - people are split on whether you should/shouldn't reach out, because the volume of applicants is too high for many PIs to respond to these inquiries, so some actually see it as a negative. I'm glad to learn that SW faculty and Associate Deans are open to these kinds of conversations. 

The GADE guide that you shared is so helpful to get an idea of average enrollment, what programs are out there, and where I will be eligible to apply. I'm also loving the transparency from UT Austin! 

Regarding the statement of purpose: I've noticed that quite a few programs ask for responses to a question along the lines of "What barriers in your life might prevent you from succeeding in a doctoral program?" Can you shed some light on what a response to this question might be? I can't think of any barriers off the top of my head (except maybe the lack of MSW or experience as a practitioner?), but I'm not sure about whether this is the type of question where you're supposed to come up with barriers and talk about how you will address them. 

I also appreciate your insight into the MSW/PhD program. I would be interested in completing both degrees, but I am unsure about whether accruing additional student loan debt for the MSW portion would be wise if the MSW itself is not strictly necessary moving forward. 

Can you also tell me which programs are considered the "top" programs in the field? I found an article quantifying research productivity in each program, but I was wondering whether there are certain programs that are widely considered to be the "best" or "most competitive". 

Thank you again for all of your help! 

No problem--glad it's helpful! 

Yes, you can reach out to Associate Deans or professors--it doesn't necessarily mean they'll always be responsive but that also can give you an idea of the kind of responsiveness you may receive once you're a student. That was an important factor for me. I had reached out to a psych professor at one of my original choices and didn't hear back for 3 months with a response, so I still got a response but it did take much longer. I also used any connections I had to broker a connection prior to reaching out, which may have helped in some of my cases. For example, I knew people who had previously been in the program that sent an email introduction to me and the Associate Dean at one of the schools, which might have impacted the responsiveness so if you have any way of using connections such as that it could help. I wouldn't put off reaching out to current students in the program too, they can both give you insight into the kind of program it is and connect you with faculty or Deans. If I were you, I would start reaching out now or right as the semester/quarter ends--it's a good time to start that piece of the courting (it really does feel like courting) because some people will be less busy and because it allows for follow-up that doesn't occur too close to the admission deadline.

Seems like a tricky question, I don't think any of mine required such a pointed question regarding what might prevent me from suceeding in a doctoral program. I always towards the beginning that I was confident in my abilities to succeed in a doctoral program at this time in my career, or something of the sort. I was fortunate to have colleagues who shared their personal statements with me as well as many who gave me an immense amount of feedback in mine. I have tried to return the favor and have helped several friends with their personal statements, CVs, and other parts of their application. Feel free to DM me and I don't mind sharing mine as an example, I know having seen others' examples really helped me make sense of what the expectations were (and, unfortantely, it is SO hard to find examples online, especially for social work phd programs! I spent way too much time looking haha). 

I'm glad the GADE guide was helpful, although the specializations they list tend to just be the same so it's a little harder to know which programs to focus your efforts on. As far as "top" programs in the field, most people use the US News Ranking but I take it with a grain of salt (mostly). I've seen the efforts universities take to get themselves where they are on the list and it's part prestigue and large-part fundraising efforts, it's also based on MSW programs not PhDs. And, I add in the "(mostly)" above because regardless of how one gets the ranking they do on the US News list, the top still hold a lot of prestigue in the field (e.g., UM, WashU, Berkeley, U.Chicago, Chapel Hill, Columbia, U.Austin, etc.). For many, this is really important and it can impact your future job perspectives but several of these schools also have a heavy research faculty where it can be more difficult (but not impossible!) to find holistic, immersive mentorship and responsiveness that will help you to complete your dissertation in a timely manner. I've actually found this to be the most helpful guide for me as far as 'top' programs because their methodology also factors in financial assistance (https://www.bestmswprograms.com/best-social-work-phd/). In looking for the top, and most competitive, programs you also want to narrow that to what you want to research. These guides will only give you programs in general, which aren't as helpful. My research focus is in restorative justice and while many programs might touch on it, there are few RJ research faculty experts so I limited my list to top programs that either a) had those experts, b) had faculty in other collaborative departments doing that work, or c) had plenty of funding coming in from places where RJ work had place (e.g., DOJ, VAWA, NIJ, etc.). Your research focus should help you narrow schools and from there you should weigh other things that are important to you about the program whether it be ranking, teaching-focus, responsiveness, financial aid, resources for doctoral students (such as travel grants and conference grants). Do you have an idea of what your research focus will be? (This will be a piece that you will want to narrow enough to be clear and concise on your SOP, but don't worry too much about it being a binding contract, they know that students very often change as they start their doctoral studies).

Also, in my opinion and if debt is a concern, I wouldn't accrue more to get an MSW if you already have a master's degree. If you want to teach, there are still plenty of classes that aren't foundation courses that can be taught and social work is pretty versatile, depending on your research focuses and what they may lend to other fields. I know plenty of non-social work professors who are on faculty where I work and have seen SW professors on faculty in other departments such as psychology, sociology, etc. And, unlike other social sciences, the job market for social work faculty is very good. There's an influx of students pursuing MSWs to do direct practice or other masters-level macro work that do not intend to get their PhDs, so the need for SW PhDs to teach that influx makes for a healthy job market that is not shared with other disciplines where the job market is actually very poor (most social sciences and humanities). 

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Also, I forgot to mention, I also reviewed current PhD students CVs at my prospective schools to see how far along they've progressed as far as publications, grant authorship, conferences, etc. to give me an idea of whether the research productivity is that of faculty or open to collaborations with students. It gave me a slight, and ancedotal, window into what I could expect during my progression in the program. It made a huge impact in my decision. 

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Hey everyone , 

 

Just checking in to see if anyone has anymore good news!

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I keep being told that jobs are rare in academia (especially to become a professor.) BUT a lot of professors in social work tell me it is not the case in our field, in Canada. Is this true in your opinion? And what about social work jobs as professors in the US?

 

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On 6/30/2019 at 6:57 AM, Adelaide9216 said:

I keep being told that jobs are rare in academia (especially to become a professor.) BUT a lot of professors in social work tell me it is not the case in our field, in Canada. Is this true in your opinion? And what about social work jobs as professors in the US? 

 

Simply do a search for social work faculty positions and compare them to other disciplines to get an idea. I just checked and there are indeed some tenure-track openings but not like a ton.

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Hi all, 

I’m waiting to hear from USC on my DSW application, they said I will be informed by the end of the month. I was wondering if anyone else is in the same or similar boat. Although I know it’s normal for my application timeline it feels late in the game to still be waiting with most people already knowing how their future looks. Also I don’t remember seeing any USC DSW acceptance response in here, has anyone decided to attend?

(sorry if I missed a previous post)

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