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Social Work

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Kutztown, PA 19530

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Doctorate in Social Work

DSW Degree

Doctor of Social Work (DSW) Program Vision   

The Kutztown University Doctor of Social Work program prepares graduates for innovation and leadership roles and cultivates a diverse advanced-degreed workforce to meet emerging needs and challenges in modern social work practice and academia.  Our practice doctorate graduates are competent, qualified, ADEI-trained visionary leaders who are on the frontlines of eliminating oppression of all forms, effecting lasting multi-systemic change, and advancing the social work profession 

DSW Program Mission   

The KU DSW program provides rigorous and affordable advanced education with extensive faculty mentorship to:   

1) prepare pedagogically and ADEI-trained, competent social work educators with direct practice experience who are ready and qualified to teach on collegiate level;   

2) develop social work scholars who can critically evaluate evidence and are savvy in generating and using evidence for social innovation, strategic thinking, policymaking, program development, and designing culturally relevant, client/student-centered approaches;   

3) cultivate visionary, ethical, and transformative leaders and empower them for effecting positive multi-systemic change using the anti-oppressive and anti-racist perspective;  

4) build a diverse advanced-degreed workforce by striving to increase the participation of underrepresented and oppressed groups in doctoral education and organizational leadership.   

Our Commitments 

By modeling teaching and mentorship practices that are rooted in ADEI and universal design principles, we are committed to creating inclusive and supportive learning environment that values diversity, promotes the exchange of ideas and critical thinking, and fosters interdisciplinary collaboration to develop innovative solutions for complex social challenges.  

We are committed to centering an anti-racist, diversity, equity and inclusion framework in all the operations of our practice doctorate program from employing a diverse DSW advisory board, to using holistic application and admission approach, to immersing our graduates in applied ADEI training for inclusive teaching practices and building equitable organizations.  

We strive to help full-time career social work professionals to fulfill professional aspirations, advance careers, and leave a lasting legacy by enhancing their capabilities as leaders, scholars, educators, entrepreneurs, and innovators.  It's Good to be Golden! 

Leadership and Education

The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program prepares academicians who are able to lead, and leaders who are able to teach. The KU DSW program is one of the few programs in the country that emphasizes leadership and education.

Pursue your passion for social justice through enhanced leadership, and the transformative opportunity to explore and develop yourself as a scholar and practitioner.

Sample Career Options

  • College or University Faculty
  • Human Services Administrator
  • Non-Profit Director
  • Leadership Positions in Health Care
  • Management Careers in Human Services
  • Researcher

For information on the admissions process, contact the Graduate Admissions Office 610-683-4190 or graduate@kutztown.edu.

For specific program information, contact Dr. Juliana Svistova at svistova@kutztown.edu.

Nicole Ukaegbu graduation picture Fall 2023

Nicole Ukaegbu:

“The DSW program at Kutztown University was phenomenal. [It] provides learning opportunities within the coursework that prepares doctoral students to teach in the classroom... outlines theoretical approaches in leadership that professionals can utilize in practice.... [and] provides supportive faculty that cares about your career development.”

  • Admissions Requirements and Deadlines
    • Application
    • Official transcripts from all previous colleges or universities
    • Resume/CV
    • Five page statement addressing current state of knowledge in social work regarding a social phenomenon of interest
    • Three page personal statement addressing why DSW, why now, why KU's program
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Minimum of two years of post-MSW clinical experience


    Fall semester: May 1st

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Social Work Doctorate (DSW)
    1. Students will engage in systemic inquiry that adheres to scholarly conventions.
    2. Students will use and critically evaluate advanced level evidence-based practice.
    3. Students will develop and disseminate practice-relevant knowledge through a variety of channels, including but not limited to: teaching, scholarship, professional presentations, mentoring, and administration.
    4. Students will demonstrate leadership in social work practice and education.
    5. Students will develop and maintain substantive expertise in one or more areas of social work practice.

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