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PhD in Social Work

Educating Leaders and Scholars of Social and Economic Justice Heading link

JACSW PhD students & alumni

The mission of the Jane Addams College of Social Work is to educate professional social workers, develop knowledge, and provide leadership in the development and implementation of policies and services on behalf of the poor, the oppressed, racial and ethnic minorities, and other at-risk urban populations.

Consistent with this mission and Jane Addams’ Hull-House tradition, the PhD Program in Social Work responds to the urgent demand for more effective human services, the need for changes in social policy and the growth in social work education at all levels.

The program is designed to support the development of scholars of social and economic justice, providing students with the knowledge and skills for advancing social work treatment theory and research and for development and direction of social welfare programs. It provides for two broad research tracks: social planning, policy and administration, and social work practice scholarship within which a more specialized area of individualized study is selected.

The first cohort of students enrolled in 1973 and more than 120 persons have been awarded doctoral degrees since then. Most graduates of the program either teach in colleges and universities or hold positions as agency executives. Smaller numbers are working in research positions, with a very few in direct practice. Students are prepared for leadership in one or more of the following careers:

  • Teaching in colleges or universities,
  • Conducting and directing research,
  • Administrating large-scale social welfare programs, and/or
  • Analyzing and advising on social policy.

Program Options Heading link

PhD graduates

Full-time Study

A full-time student enrolls for a minimum of 12 semester hours per term. However, an optimal full-time load is considered to be 14 hours per term, in order to complete the program within 3 years.

Part-time Study

The option of beginning the program on a part-time basis is available to holders of the Master of Social Work. Initially, a part-time student may take less than 12 hours of credit per term, usually 6 per term. Part-time students will be expected to start their programs of study with the core courses especially designed for the Doctoral Program in Social Work. There are no special course offerings in the College of Social Work for PhD students in the summer session.

Interdepartmental Graduate Concentrations Heading link

Students in the doctoral program are eligible to participate in the following UIC Interdepartmental Graduate Concentrations:

Watch Our Video Info Session

In the Words of Our Graduates Heading link

Jane Bonsu

“JACSW was my first and only choice to pursue doctoral studies, and as I’m nearing the end of my doctoral education, I can truly say that the college really walks the talk of its mission. I’m proud to have been intellectually nurtured in this environment and empowered to take action on issues I truly care about.”

Janae Bonsu, PhD '21  |  Senior Research Associate at the National Black Women’s Justice Institute
Stephanie Bechteler

“Students that attend the Jane Addams PhD program will participate in a well-designed program that will equip them with the skills and experiences they will need to work in many different environments, doing many different kinds of jobs.”

Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, PhD ’15  |  Director, Special Projects & Program Services, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Susanny J. Beltran

“In my three years in the program, I benefited from continuous support and guidance, including when applying for awards and scholarships, preparing for presentations, and conducting my dissertation.”

Susanny J. Beltran, PhD '19  |  Assistant Professor at University of Central Florida
Andrew Repp

“In Jane Addams’ doctoral program, I have been fortunate to work with well-respected researchers, teach a master’s level course, and gain service experience as a student representative on the doctoral committee.”

Andrew I. Repp, PhD '21  |  Assistant Professor at St. Ambrose University

Apply to the PhD Program

For Additional Information Heading link

For further information on the PhD program, contact us by email, or call:

Chang-ming Hsieh, Director of PhD in Social Work Program
Jane Addams College of Social Work (MC 309)
University of Illinois Chicago
1040 West Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607-7134
Phone: (312) 996-4928

Meet Our PhD Students Heading link

Learn about our current PhD students, their backgrounds and their research interests.

PhD Student Profiles

The Doctoral Dispatch Heading link

The Doctoral Dispatch is a regular newsletter written and edited by PhD student Livvy Gerrish, who invites you to see what our PhD students have been doing.

Read The Doctoral Dispatch