Feb 22, 2020  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Social Work, Ph.D

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Ph.D. Degree

The School of Social Work offers a Ph.D. degree in Social Work in the field of Social Justice.


To be eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program, applicants are normally required to have:

  1. a completed MSW degree with an average of at least an A-. (Applicants with Master’s degrees in other subjects must be able to demonstrate substantial knowledge of the social service/ social welfare field and have experience of working in justice and equity- seeking services or organizations);
  2. a completed graduate level course in social research methods; and
  3. demonstrated interest and experience in critical approaches to policies, practices and knowledge-building in social work.

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of their qualifications and the alignment of their interests with the research interests and availability of faculty.

Applications should be made to the School of Social Work prior to January 15th for admission the following September.


The curriculum has three main components:


A Ph.D. candidate admitted without Master’s level courses in epistemology (*737) and in critical analysis of practice/policy (*700 or *701) will be expected to complete these courses in addition to the requirements of the doctoral program.

Candidates may be required to complete courses beyond the minimum course requirements of the program in order that they achieve the breadth of perspective required by the program and are sufficiently prepared for their research.

Course requirements

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to complete a minimum of six post-MSW courses.

Two elective courses

Students will be encouraged to take at least one of their elective courses in another department in order to profit from the interdisciplinary opportunities at McMaster.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination is designed to evaluate the breadth of students’ knowledge of debates and developments in contemporary scholarship in social work and social justice. Ph.D. candidates are required to situate their anticipated research topics in a wide and critical review of related theory and research, and to demonstrate their capacity for the integration of ideas and their skills in scholarly inquiry and writing.


Students will be required to submit a thesis and defend it during a final oral examination.

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