Dissertation Process — Doctor of Social Work

Once doctoral students have successfully completed the clinical internship, and passed the clinical oral and comprehensive exam, they may begin the dissertation process. Students will secure a dissertation chair and form a dissertation committee that will consist of the dissertation chair and two others who have been chosen by the student, accepted the committee assignment and approved by the chair of the D.S.W. program.

Students will then embark upon the clinical dissertation. This includes successfully completing the four-course research sequence, developing a successful clinical dissertation proposal, securing university Institutional Review Board approval, gathering and analyzing data, and defending the completed clinical dissertation.

Students will work closely and under the guidance of their dissertation chair to develop the clinical dissertation proposal, which will ultimately be orally presented to the dissertation committee. Once approved, students must secure Institutional Review Board approval for research on human subjects and may proceed to gather data. Once all data has been gathered and analyzed and the clinical dissertation has been written, students will present an oral defense of their study to the committee and public.

Students must enroll in four credit hours of dissertation supervision upon the successful completion of the research course sequence. They may take all four credit hours at one time in the summer semester of their third year, or enroll in two credit hours each in the summer and fall semesters of the fourth program year. If students have not successfully completed the dissertation process by the end of the fall semester of the fourth year, they will receive an 'X' grade for their final two dissertation supervision credit hours. Students may continue the dissertation process while they carry the 'X' grade, but they must complete the dissertation no later than their fifth year in the program.

Students must complete the D.S.W. in Clinical Social Work program within five years. In rare circumstances, students may apply for a one-year extension to complete the dissertation in six years. While carrying the 'X' grade and completing their dissertation, students will be charged a semester dissertation fee.