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Doctorate Degree in Social Work (DSW)


Doctorate in Social Work program

The School of Social Work is now accepting applications for the DSW Program for Spring 2024 semester. The application deadline is November 20, 2023.  Please contact us at the School of Social Work at 936.468.4020 or email, if you have any questions about the DSW Program.


The social work field is growing significantly, and the need for qualified social work professionals is rising due to the increasing number of social problems facing the global community. The field is predicted to grow by almost 19% by 2028. The DSW program will serve to mitigate the shortage of practitioners and social work educators by providing a degree that focuses on advanced theoretical, pedagogical and practical applications in the social work field. 


The DSW program consists of a three-year curriculum and 54 semester credit hours – 45 credit hours of core curriculum courses and nine credit hours of prescribed electives. Instruction focuses on assessment and application of social work perspectives, behavioral and social science theories, research methods, social work education, critical analysis and assessment of social problems, social welfare policy, and knowledge development in a substantive research area of interest.

Students will take a variety of social work practice, research, policy and leadership development courses. The DSW focuses on practice, teaching, leadership and administration. A dissertation is not required. Limited financial assistance is available.

Core Courses

The core curriculum is comprised of 45 credit hours. The courses focus on the history and philosophy of social welfare and the profession, social welfare policy, social work perspectives, behavioral and social science theories, research methods, statistics, social work education, leadership, and professional development.

Prescribed Elective Courses

The prescribed elective courses consist of nine credit hours and offer students subject-specific content to develop an area of interest that complements the curriculum and supports the capstone project. Courses must be approved by the student’s advisor, add to the student’s educational objectives and relate to the student’s capstone project.

Capstone Project

The capstone project is the culminating academic event for students in the DSW program. The project is designed to model the process by which advanced practitioners develop, demonstrate and communicate a coherent area of expertise. 

There are five capstone choices available. Other areas may be considered following consultation and approval from the DSW director.

  • Research project with primary or secondary data
  • Program development
  • Training module development
  • Policy development
  • Theoretical or conceptual framework development

Application Process

  1. The student will meet requirements for admission to the SFA graduate school.
  2. The student will hold a master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. Applicants from international programs will be reviewed on an individual basis.
  3. The student will have three years of post-MSSW/MSW practice experience.
  4. The student will have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for previous graduate work.
  5. The student will complete a statement of interest and purpose.
  6. The student will provide a writing sample.
  7. The student will provide three reference letters from colleagues and supervisors in a field related to social work.
  8. The student will participate in an applicant interview.

Program Goals

  • Prepare students to become a social work educator
  • Prepare professional social workers who will embody ethical and professional behavior
  • Prepare professional social workers who will demonstrate critical thinking skills 
  • Prepare professional social workers to engage diversity and difference
  • Prepare professional social workers to advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  • Prepare professional social workers to identify as a scholar practitioner
  • Prepare professional social workers to identify as a leader in the field
  • Prepare professional social workers to demonstrate collegiality and stewardship


School of Social Work
Dr. Emmerentie Oliphant, DSW director

420 E. Starr Avenue

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 6104, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962