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PhD Program :: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions about the PhD Program in Social Welfare at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Is financial support available?

We work with students to locate funding within the University and outside sources to ensure support for the first 2-3 years in the program.  The support may involve research or teaching assistantships or fellowships; these may be for the 9-month regular school year or 11-month period, include a tuition waiver and health benefits as part of a salary (one-half time; 20 hours per week).

Do you have a part-time program?

Because of the nature of our program and curriculum structure we strongly recommend full-time, in-residence status. Students may, however, elect to extend their first year of course work. Course work in the first year is intensive and prescribed. After the core-courses are completed the student may select interdisciplinary courses from across campus as part of their program of study.

Is there a statistics pre-requisite?

Students entering the PhD program must have successfully completed an undergraduate level statistics course within the last 5 years. It is not necessary to have met this prerequisite to apply, but it must be satisfied prior to entering the program.

Is the GRE required?* If so, what are the score requirements?

The GRE is not required.

Is the TOEFL required? If so, what are the score requirements?

Students who speak English as a second language are required to submit evidence of fluency in English as measured by the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination.

Is an MSW required?

Applicants are required to have a Master of Social Work degree from a CSWE accredited school/program, or related Master’s degree.  Prerequisite courses in social work will apply for non-MSW students.  Applicants with MSW degree from foreign countries are required to get their master’s degree approved by the International Social Work Degree Recognition and Evaluation Service of the Council on Social Work Education, which can be found here.  Students are urged to obtain 2 years post-MSW experience in social work which will allow them to teach social work practice courses at a CSWE-accredited school of social work upon graduation.

Is practice experience required for admission?

In the USA, doctoral programs in social welfare prefer that incoming students have practice experience. This is partly related to a Council on Social Work Education requirement that those teaching MSW practice courses have a minimun of 2 years post-MSW social work practice experience. We seek applicants who understand the theory and practice aspects of the social work profession, and the issues and questions that social work researchers need to address.

Do you provide advanced clinical practice training?

Our program emphasizes knowledge development through training in research, scholarship and teaching. Some research roles provide opportunity to build practice experience; however, our program is not designed to teach advanced practice skills and is not appropriate for persons seeking advanced clinical training

Must I have research experience and publications?

While it is not necessary that an applicant already have extensive research experience it is important that the personal statement and letters of reference provide evidence of a potential for independent meaningful social welfare research. Prior involvement in research activities and participation in writing and publication of such activities is a plus; however, most students do not enter doctoral studies with this background.

What teaching training opportunities do you provide?

Teaching preparation opportunities are available through the teaching practicum with designated graduate faculty after the first year of study. We strongly support relevant, informed teaching practices; our university instructional support provides support in this area. Teaching and research practica are available and designed with students’ needs in mind.

How long does it take to complete the degree?

Generally, students enrolled full-time find that it takes 4-5 years to complete this program. The median completion time is 6 years with 53% graduating within 6 years.

What is the job market like for your graduates?

Our graduates have fared well in the job market, taking positions at major universities on the continent, research positions within state agencies, and private sector social welfare.

What are your faculty research interests?

Our graduate faculty have a wide range of research interests. Please read the Graduate Faculty Research section of this webpage.

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