The Catholic University of America


Earn the highest degree in the social work profession-The Ph.D.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded by The Catholic University of America as the mark of the highest academic achievement in preparation for active scholarship, research, and leadership in the social work profession. The doctoral program is committed to imbuing students with the knowledge, skills, and vision to promote human rights and social justice. It seeks to further the development of the profession through scholarly research, theory building, and leadership, so that it may increasingly serve society in the prevention, intervention, and ultimate alleviation of social problems as well as in the enhancement of social well-being.

Ph.D. Program Goals

Grounded in the content of the curriculum, doctoral graduates are prepared to:

  1. Contribute to the critique, transformation, and dissemination of knowledge for the profession in response to existing and emerging social problems.
  2. Apply humanistic values, ethical principles, and philosophical and theoretical perspectives to the understanding and alleviation of these problems.
  3. Promote and enhance the role of social work in society by assuming leadership and research roles in clinical practice, administration, social policy analysis, and social work education. 

Contact Information

Professional MSW social workers considering doctoral program education are invited to contact Joseph Shields, Ph.D. Program Chair, to discuss their questions or schedule an appointment at 202-319-5474 or


PhD Student Handbook

Full-Time and Part-Time Curriculum Options

PhD Graduates - 2013