Online and Distance Degrees > Degree Programs > Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Social Work (DSW)

Primarily Online

Program Overview

Prepare yourself for advanced social work practice and leadership through this primarily online Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree program. In as little as three years of study, you can equip yourself for specialized practice, public and nonprofit agency management or teaching future social workers.

  • Program Format

    Primarily Online
  • Credit Hours

  • Tuition Per Hour


Enhance Your Social Work Practice and Make a Difference

This highly selective DSW program is cohort based and allows you the benefit of enhanced collaboration and networking with peers. The program offers an advanced clinical practice track and an organizational leadership track so you can tailor your coursework to your professional goals.

In addition to completing online coursework, students are required to participate in residency programs on the UA campus, which last four to five days each summer. Students will also need to have a work or volunteer practice location where they can apply the concepts they are learning in a social work setting.

  • Application DeadlineMarch 1
  • Orientation RequiredYes
  • Other Program SpecificsRequired campus visits and access to a social work placement (work or volunteer)


The DSW program can be completed in three years and consists of 45 credit hours of coursework. Students will choose a track in advanced clinical practice or organizational leadership. The advanced clinical practice track includes coursework in advanced practice theory and techniques, research methods and clinical supervision and practice. The organizational leadership track curriculum hones your leadership and management skills for organizational and community settings. Both tracks include courses on teaching social work.

Please note that courses are subject to change.

Core (21 hours)

  • Advanced Advocacy and Policy Practice
  • Research for Clinical and Community Practice I
  • Research for Clinical and Community Practice II
  • Introduction to Capstone Project (1 hour)
  • Capstone Project Proposal (2 hours)
  • Capstone Project (up to 9 hours)

Advanced Clinical Practice Track (18 hours)

  • Advanced Theories in Oppression and Disparities
  • Neuroscience in Clinical Social Work Practice
  • Teaching Social Work Practice
  • Cognitive Behavioral Theory
  • Assessment and Diagnosis in Evidence-Based Practice
  • Clinical Supervision and Ethics

Organizational Leadership Track (18 hours)

  • Advanced Theories in Oppression and Disparities
  • Organizational Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Teaching Social Work Practice
  • Leadership and Organizational Change
  • Leadership in Human Service Development
  • Ethics in Community and Organizational Leadership

Electives (6 hours)

Two elective courses pre-approved in consultation with your academic advisor. Some examples include:

  • Human Service Finance and Budgeting
  • Complementary and Alternative Therapies
  • Social Work and Emotional Trauma
  • Human Resources in Health and Social Service


The application deadline for fall is March 1.  Students must meet the following minimum requirements prior to starting the DSW program:

  • 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for their last completed graduate degree program
  • Hold a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program
  • Have at least 3 years of post-MSW program experience
  • Complete a Statement of Purpose (scroll down to DSW for instructions)
  • Students whose first language is not English must submit an official score report for the TOEFL or the IELTS; the minimum TOEFL score for admission is 550 and the minimum IELTS score is 6.5

It is also recommended that prospective students review the Application Checklist.

Program Orientation

Prior to the start of the program all students are required to attend a one-day, on-campus orientation.  This unique opportunity allows students to meet faculty and network with other DSW students. Students who do not attend orientation may be administratively withdrawn from the program.

Campus Visit Requirements

Students are required to come to UA’s main campus in Tuscaloosa four to five days each summer — in years one and two for residencies and in year three to present their capstone project.

Practice Location

The majority of courses require students to apply the concepts they’ve learned to a social work setting. Students must be working or volunteering in a professional setting that will allow the student the ability to apply coursework for the duration of the program.


Courses are offered online. Students are required to have access to a computer with a high-speed internet connection.

Send me info about this program.

Fill out the form below to learn more.

All form fields are required unless otherwise noted.


Student Spotlight

Inspiring stories of success from students and alumni.

Take a look at some of our UA Online stories.

See All Stories

Contact Us

Program Information

Thanh Tran
Admissions Counselor
(800) 467-0227

Admissions Information

UA Online
(800) 467-0227