School of Social Work

Doctorate (PhD)

The University of Missouri School of Social Work PhD program is nationally distinct in its interdisciplinary emphasis, theory-driven research, community-based collaborative research, and student-faculty collaborative research. The program’s purpose is to produce researchers who investigate social problems and disseminate research knowledge, as well as to produce high quality social work educators. It also prepares graduates with the highest level of knowledge and skills needed to inform policy making, program development and evaluation, and research on clinical practice issues.

one student passes papers to another in a classroom

Greetings from the program director

Dr. Virginia Ramseyer Winter

On behalf of our faculty and staff, I would like to welcome you to the University of Missouri’s School of Social Work PhD Program website. Our program stands apart from other doctoral training programs in social work and social welfare for several reasons. First, ours is the only PhD program in all of Missouri’s publicly funded institutions of higher education. Second, given our standing amongst the Association of American Universities, and in the spirit of our land grant mission as Missouri’s flagship institution of higher learning, our goal is to prepare social work scholars who can competently engage in all stages of the social prevention-intervention development and research cycle to better the lives of people. Third, we work alongside each student to craft an individualized learning plan that promotes their interests and builds upon prior experiences as we teach them basic social scientific skills so they can (a) expertly identify social problems; (b) design, implement, and rigorously test social interventions to alleviate those problems; and (c) contribute our collective social science knowledge through effective analytical, writing, and teaching skills.

Our former graduates work in a range of policy, practice, and academic settings where they successfully apply these skills. Our current students regularly contribute to ongoing research to advance progressive social programs and policies and disseminate knowledge in journals, at conferences, and in trainings for social work professionals. Ultimately, it is expected that graduates with a PhD in Social Work from the University of Missouri will pursue scholarly careers in academic, research, or program/policy settings using basic and applied research skills we impart here in our program. It is also expected that the scholarly careers of our graduates will ultimately enhance the lives of individual people and the social systems with which they interact.

We are honored you are exploring the University of Missouri’s School of Social Work PhD program as an option for your doctoral training. As a key step in identifying a program for academic training in research and social intervention, it is important to identify successful faculty who are aligned with your areas of interest. On that note, please take some time to review the webpages of our top notch faculty and their current research interests. In addition, we hope you will contact us as you consider a program to advance your future in social work research. We are eager to speak with you about your interests and to answer any questions you may have about our program.

Dr. Virginia Ramseyer Winter

Curriculum requirements

Learn about required courses and sample semester-by-semester plans for full-time and part-time students.

Meet our students

Check out our PhD student profiles.

Meet our faculty

Learn more about PhD faculty research interests and activities.

Admission and application

Applications are due Dec. 1.

Cost and financial aid

Financial aid is available.