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Earn a Specialized Doctorate in Social Work

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Choose a DSW concentration to Enhance Your Skillset as a Professional Social Worker.

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Specialize Your Degree and Increase Your Impact

Pursuing a concentration within your Doctorate in Social Work degree based on your current and future social work goals will expose you to multiple pathways to creating change more quickly.

In addition, a specialty area improves your employability. As you complete one of the four concentrations required to earn your doctoral degree, you will develop not only specific knowledge, but a unique skillset that will help employers see how you can contribute to their organization, engender respect from your peers, help you stand out in a competitive job market and potentially help set you up for a higher paying career.

Note that your concentration year requires completion of five courses, of which three are specific to the concentration content and two are specific to your capstone.

Choose An Area of Focus

Social Work Education

100% Online

3 Concentration Courses

9 Concentration Credit Hours

The concentration in Social Work Education (SWE) prepares students to engage with the unique challenges of social work education, including the dynamic and political nature of the field. Graduates of this program are equipped to develop curriculum grounded in Council in Social Work Education (CSWE) and National Association of Social Workers (NASW) accreditation standards and competencies, understand the diverse needs of students, and disseminate innovative ideas in a wide variety of contexts.

Be Part of a Tradition of Service

100% Online

3 Concentration Courses

9 Concentration Credit Hours

The concentration in Military Behavioral Health (MBH) provides focused training in the mental health needs of members of the military and their families. With a grounding in neuroscience, assessment, and evidence-based practice, you’ll learn to provide high-quality, culturally sensitive behavioral health services to military populations.

The University of Kentucky has a longstanding tradition of supporting service members and is home to the unique Military Behavioral Health Lab. The MBH curriculum is built on the University of Kentucky College of Social Work’s extensive expertise in working with military populations.

Developing Critical Understanding of Social Work

100% Online

3 Concentration Courses

9 Concentration Credit Hours

The Clinical Social Work (CSW) concentration is for students who want to move beyond a pragmatic, conceptual understanding of theory and interventions to think critically about social work practice.

CSW graduates are empowered to consider why social workers use certain interventions and contribute to the advancement of those interventions. By studying neuroscience, trauma, and other key factors, you will become an advanced practitioner or leader in the field.

Become a 21st-Century Leader in Social Work

100% Online

3 Concentration Courses

9 Concentration Credit Hours

The Administrative Leadership (LDR) concentration lays the foundation for a leadership role in social work practice. Coursework for the concentration encompasses both the human aspects of management roles, such as workforce development and shaping organizational culture, and the technical aspects, such as using technology and managing finances. This concentration will equip you to manage staff, engage with communities and funding sources, and empower you to make a real difference.

The LDR curriculum draws from business, marketing, communication, technology, and education to equip leaders for the full range of responsibilities they will encounter.

Career Outlook: Social Work Specialties Expand Your Career Options

The Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) degree prepares graduates to move up in their careers and qualify for the most advanced jobs within the social work profession. By choosing a DSW with a specialty in Social Work Education, Military Behavioral Health, Clinical Social Work or Administrative Leadership, you can become a coveted resource in the fast-growing social work field and be well-equipped to address society’s most complex needs. Social workers with a doctoral-level degree can attain careers in areas such as top-level administrators, planners, policy analysts, independent private practice clinicians, educators, and program evaluators.

When choosing a concentration and courses that interest you while learning essential skills in a variety of growing fields, you’ll prepare yourself for a wide range of in-demand career options. Upon completing your DSW, you’ll be fully equipped to further your career in an area you’re passionate about.

To further your skills and knowledge in the social work profession, visit our Careers and Salaries page.

Careers and Salaries

Why Choose UK Online?

Join the Big Blue Nation

Joining the online DSW at UK means joining a tradition of excellence where you can build your career with confidence—all while learning online at your own pace. With experienced faculty, and thoughtfully-designed curriculum, we make sure you graduate ready and exceptionally prepared for advanced real-world practice.

How to Apply

Applying to UK’s online DSW is as simple as creating an online account, submitting transcripts from the institute where you completed your MSW degree (conferred), letters of recommendation, and other supporting materials, then paying your $50 application fee.

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