Doctor of Philosophy in Social Welfare
The purpose of the doctoral program is to prepare students for leadership in social work education, research and the field of social welfare. The doctoral program advances the School's mission to generate, transmit, and apply knowledge regarding the relationship between social problems and effective professional practice. In particular, the program encourages advanced level scholarly inquiry to enhance knowledge through an understanding of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander and Asian cultures of our communities, state and the Pacific Region.
The doctoral program is designed to provide sufficient structure to allow students to progress smoothly through the program and, at the same time, provide the flexibility and rigor that are the hallmarks of doctoral education. The organization of the curriculum is divided into core required courses to ensure that all students are equipped with comparable basic knowledge; specialization work, in which students largely design their own curriculum; electives; a dissertation design requirement; and the dissertation. The PhD in Social Welfare requires 39 hours of course credit excluding dissertation credits.
Brief Overview of Program Requirements
This overview provides a framework of the PhD in Social Welfare requirements. Students are responsible for reviewing the information provided in this manual and on the University of Hawai`i Graduate Division website (please see the UH Graduate Division Site Map http://www.hawaii.edu/graduate/sitemap.htm) regarding the program and degree requirements for the PhD in Social Welfare.
The PHD Program strongly recommends full-time residency, defined as 8 or more credits per semester for the first two years. Part-time students (less than 8 credit hours per semester) who have not completed the core requirements must take at least 6 credits per semester. Doctoral students are required to earn a total of 46 graduate-level credits which does not include dissertation research credits (SW 800). Students are encouraged to remain in residence while working on the dissertation.
The first year of the program is heavily prescribed. Students normally take the Qualifying Examination at the end of the first year, which covers the content of the first-year courses in research methods, theory, and policy. All core courses must be completed prior to taking the Qualifying Examination. Students must pass the Qualifying Exam before entering the specialization process.
Students may begin discussing formation of their specialization committee with the PhD Chair prior to passing the Qualifying Examination. However, the specialization committee is not official until students pass their Qualifying Examination.
Students are required to take Teaching and Research Practica any time after completing the Qualifying Examinations.
In the specialization phase, students have more flexibility in selecting courses based on their substantive and research interests. Students confer closely with their specialization chair and members of their specialization committee to select courses relevant to their scholarly objectives.
After the specialization courses are successfully completed, students take the SW 755 Specialization Integration Seminar to research and write the integration seminar paper. This paper serves as the foundation for the Comprehensive Examination (or Dissertation Proposal Paper).
Once the Comprehensive Examination paper is approved by the studentís Doctoral Committee, the Oral Comprehensive Examination is scheduled, typically at the end of the second year or beginning of the third year. When the Comprehensive Examination is passed, students advance to candidacy.
Completion and successful defense of the dissertation are required before the PhD is conferred. It is the studentís responsibility to develop a plan in order to fulfill the stated requirements.
 UH Graduate Division policies website is the primary source cited in this document.
Core Required Courses
The core program is comprised of a series of required courses that all students must take. These core courses are in the areas of logic of inquiry, research and statistical methods, policy analysis and program development in social work, and analysis and development of knowledge in social work. The core courses provide intensive and extensive knowledge of social work's use of the existing social science knowledge base, appropriate research methodologies, and analytic strategies of relevance to the field of social welfare. The purposes for these core courses are to:
- Provide knowledge unique to social work and social welfare;
- Provide a framework for integration of knowledge, particularly the knowledge obtained from courses in other university units;
- Provide the basic training necessary for empirical research and scholarship; and
- Ensure that some of the unique components of the program, such as cultural perspectives, concerns of the people of Hawai'i and the Pacific, and a focus on research and knowledge development are integrated into the curriculum.
The core curriculum of the PhD program consists of the following six required courses:
SW 651 Introduction to Quantitative Methods (3)
SW 750 Analysis & Development of Knowledge for Social Work (3)
SW 751 Research Design and Cross-Cultural Applications (3)
SW 752 Qualitative Research: Philosophical, Methodological and Analytic Approaches (3)
SW 654 Multiple Regression in Behavioral Research (3)
SW 731 Social Policy Analysis (3) Specialization Work
The studentís individualized specialization is the key focus of the doctoral curriculum. The studentís specialization emphasizes social workís commitment to the careful study of human/social problems, and the development and evaluation of policies and programs designed to prevent or remediate social problems. In particular, the specialization allows students to plan programs of study consistent with their career goals. Students select one human/social problem relevant to social work as a focus for their specialization.
Each plan provides a focus on the developmental work that needs to be done in a social/human problem of the studentís choice. By providing a critical methodological and substantive education, the PhD program will produce social work scholars who will possess the requisite expertise to make significant contributions to state, national, and international efforts to resolve major social welfare problems.
Students are required to complete at least two elective courses. One elective must be in the area of research methods and statistics, and the second elective in program evaluation. These courses must be chosen from the list of approved electives. These elective courses are intended to reinforce each student's knowledge in any of the core or specialization areas.
The dissertation design requirement includes a dissertation seminar or at least one Directed Reading and Research course (SW 699). This requirement will integrate and focus the studentís learning in the specialization area, as it is related to the dissertation research, and facilitate the studentís movement toward the dissertation.
Prerequisites and Course Sequencing
Entering students who have not completed a masterís level social policy course will be required to take SW 630 Social Welfare Policy and Services or its equivalent before enrolling in SW 731 Social Policy Analysis. Entering students without an MSW will be required, in their first semester, to complete SW 699 Directed Reading and Research for 1 credit, on the social work profession, social work history, contemporary issues, and the nature of social work practice. SW 640 Introduction to Scientific Methods and Principles in Social Work or its equivalent is a prerequisite for SW 651 Introduction to Quantitative Methods. SW 651 is a prerequisite for SW 654 Multiple Regression in Behavioral Research. All required core courses must be completed before the qualifying exam.
When a student has completed all the required core courses and determines, with his or her faculty advisor, that he/she is ready to take a qualifying exam, he/she will notify the Chair of the doctoral program. If the student has an incomplete, or "I" grade, for any of the core courses, s/he is not elegible to take the qualifing exam. The qualifying exam will be offered once each year, within the first month that the faculty are officially ďon dutyĒ in the fall semester.
The qualifying exam subcommittee will consist of SSW faculty who taught courses in the core curriculum. This committee will be responsible for creating and grading the qualifying exam. Other graduate faculty in the specific content area shall be invited to serve on the committee. A draft of the qualifying exam will be presented to the PhD program committee for review. The qualifying exam subcommittee will determine the scheduling and duration of the exam.
The exam committee will be given two weeks to grade exams and one week to develop recommendations for the students (e.g., retake the exam if student ďfailsĒ; take additional prescribed courses if student "conditionally" passes, etc.). Exams are to be graded without knowledge of the test-taker's identity.
The qualifying exam will be a written exam consisting of questions pertaining to all areas of the core curriculum. Exam questions will be developed to test studentsí ability to integrate and apply knowledge within and across areas covered in the core curriculum. Students must complete all parts of the the exam and no part(s) of the exam can be delayed.
Students who fail the exam, or part of the exam, will have the option of retaking the failed part of the exam. Students who fail the exam, or part of the exam twice will not be permitted to remain in the program.
The results of the Qualifying Exam are reported to the Graduate Division on Student Progress Form I, Doctorate Student Progress Form I - Pre Candidacy Progress. Doctorate Student Progress Form I, Form II, and Form III are available online through the Graduate Division Website.
Doctoral Committee and Comprehensive Examination
The doctoral committee conducts the comprehensive examination and approves the dissertation research proposal and the dissertation itself. To form this committee, the student is advised to first seek a graduate faculty member who will serve as chair of the doctoral committee. The committee must consist of at least five members of the graduate faculty. The majority of the committee must be from the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work and at least one faculty member must be from another field of study. The chair of the committee must be from the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work and both the chair and outside member must be full members of the regular graduate faculty. After establishing the committee, the student must complete an internal form, the Doctoral Committee: SSW Approval Form, and submit it to the chair of the PhD program. The chair of the PhD program recommends to the dean of the Graduate Division appointment of the doctoral committe.
An oral comprehensive exam is required. The purpose of this exam is to ascertain the studentís comprehension of the specialization area and the studentís readiness for dissertation research. Thus, this exam will cover the studentís area of specialization as well as a dissertation proposal consisting of the first two chapters of the dissertation (the statement of the problem, review of the literature, research design and method). As described above, the doctoral committee conducts the comprehensive examination. Passing this exam includes approval of the dissertation proposal. The chair of the PhD program reports the results of the examination to the Graduate Division on Student Progress Form II, Advance to Candidacy.::BACK TO THE TOP::
Doctoral Dissertation and Final Examination
The doctoral dissertation is a scholarly document resulting from original and independent research. The dissertation is a major undertaking that reflects the highest standards of scholarship and makes an original and significant contribution to knowledge and practice in the field of social welfare and/or the profession of social work.
Work on the dissertation is conducted under the approval and direction of the doctoral committee. When the dissertation proposal has been approved by the doctoral committee, Graduate Division must be notified on Student Progress Form II, Advance to Candidacy. The student may then register for SW 800 Dissertation Research during the next registration period. The student must be registered in SW 800 during the entire term in which the work for the degree is completed.
The chair of the doctoral committee should provide primary direction regarding research methods, preparation of results, and the writing of the dissertation. The chair and the student are jointly responsible for informing the committee members about the progress of the research and the dissertation.
A majority of the doctoral committee members, including the committee chair, must approve both the dissertation and the examination on the dissertation. The chair of the doctoral committee must ensure that the final form of the dissertation, including revisions agreed upon, is acceptable to a majority of the committee.
The student must submit copies of the completed dissertation at least four weeks prior to the date of the final oral examination (dissertation defense).
Other requirements for the dissertation include the following:
- Presentation and Defense of Dissertation Proposal. The student must present the dissertation proposal to the doctoral committee during the comprehensive examination.
- Original Research. Dissertation research promotes the integration of conceptual issues, knowledge of a social problem, research design, and promotes the skills necessary for empirical research. Therefore, all dissertations must involve original research conceptualized by the student, and the collection and analysis of data.
- APA Guidelines. The content and style of both the dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself must conform to the most current edition of the APA publication guidelines. Dissertations must also conform to Graduate Division guidelines.
- Human Subjects Approval. Human subjects approval for the dissertation research must be obtained from UHMís Office of Research Services before data from human subjects can be collected.
- The doctoral committee members express their approval on the signature page of the dissertation and on Student Progress Form III, Final Examination and Approval of Dissertation.
Final Examination (Dissertation Defense)
The final examination is primarily a defense of the dissertation but may also cover related subjects. This examination is required of all candidates for the doctoral degree. The examination is oral and is conducted by the full doctoral committee. A majority of the doctoral committee members, including the committee chair, must vote ďPass,Ē otherwise the student fails. Notice of the final oral examination must be published on News@UH, the newsletter of the University of HawaiĎi system, and is open to the public. The chair of the PhD program reports the results of the final examination on Student Progress Form III, Dissertation Evaluation, after all other requirements for the degree have been fulfilled.
Part-time students are defined as students who are enrolled in the PhD program for less than 8 credit hours per semester. The program recognizes the benefit of having people who are employed while being engaged in doctoral studies and will endeavor to make courses available to part-time students.
Part-time students who have not completed the core must take at least 6 credits per semester. Summer courses, if offered, can be counted against this total. Students who do not meet this requirement will be required to seek an official leave of absence from the program. Directed reading hours may be counted in this total. Students who do not meet this requirement will be required to seek an official leave of absence.
For more information, please review the information on this site, or contact Jennifer Kishida, MSW and PhD Program Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 956-3831.::BACK TO THE TOP::