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Doctor of Social Work

The Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W. or Ph.D. in Social Work), like other doctorates, is an academic degree of the highest level. The D.S.W. is designed for experienced practitioners who wish to further their careers by gaining training in research and policy analysis. Much of the course work emphasizes qualitiative and quantitative analysis methods. The degree typically leads to research and teaching, or to leadership roles in agency-based or self-employed social work practice.

Currently, the Council on Social Work Education does not accredit D.S.W. or Ph.D. programs. It only accredits Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs.

While the Ph.D. is the most common doctoral degree, and even often (mis)understood to be synonymous with the term doctorate, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) recognize numerous doctoral degrees, including the D.S.W., as equivalent, and do not discriminate between them.

A list of doctoral degree designations can be found at: doctorate.