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Welcome to the PhD Program at the College of Social Work!

At the University of South Carolina, our PhD program in social work is distinguished by its emphasis on community-engagement, trans-disciplinarity (i.e., team science), and leadership for social change. Each year, we invite a small, selective group of scholars to join us.

As an up-and-coming College of Social Work, we’re pleased to offer PhD students a personal touch. It often begins when we arrange a connection with one or more faculty members who share your interests. We offer an annual PhD Open House each fall for you to visit the campus, learn about our curriculum, and meet some faculty members and current PhD students. After the program begins, the first year of coursework includes a weekly Professional Seminar designed to support and accelerate your transition to academia. The second year includes a hands-on Proposal Writing Seminar to assist you in applying for a research grant. In the second or third year, you complete a Teaching Practicum with an experienced instructor and a Research Practicum with an experienced researcher. We want to see you succeed, and we offer extensive resources to help. In addition, you’ll find numerous opportunities across the university campus.

As a member of the University of South Carolina community, you will have access to the diverse and innovative faculty within our College of Social Work and across the university. College of Social Work faculty members have research collaborations with public health, psychology, business, pharmacy, computer science, medicine, education, nursing, engineering, and more. Some of these collaborations extend across the United States and around the world (including Korea, Vietnam, India, West Africa, China, and Central America). Our faculty has been recognized for their contributions to research, teaching, policy, program development, and community engagement.

Furthermore, many of our faculty members are carving out unusual niches in social work research and education. Check out their faculty bios. You just might find a unique fit with your own interests. For example, we have faculty members conducting social work research on food security, youth and college sports, robotics and the elderly, religious congregations, kidney dialysis, refugee resettlement, community violence, interprofessional education, parenting children with autism, Buddhism and social work, and social entrepreneurship as well as research in more familiar social work settings such as child welfare, mental health, the military, criminal justice, and schools. Many of our faculty members conduct community-engaged research. Others use the nationally known SC Data Warehouse, a data set that uses unique anonymous identifiers to link clients across all major federal and state programs in South Carolina (including health, behavioural health, education, social service, Medicaid, and criminal justice).

Please explore the information on our web site about our curriculum, research and funding opportunities, and current faculty members and PhD students. Note the FAQs that anticipate many of your questions. Then, let me know if you have further questions.

We look forward to working with you! Our PhD program will both nurture and challenge you. You will find endless opportunities for research, teaching, and leadership as you connect with scholars from many disciplines and various corners of the world.

We welcome you to apply!

Terry A Wolfer, MSW, PhD
Professor & PhD Program Coordinator


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