Ph.D. (Social Work)

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

Stream Social Studies
Course Type Ph.D
Duration 2 Years

Ph.D. Social Work or Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work is a Doctorate Social Work Degree Course. Social Work refers to any of various services designed to aid and uplift the poor, aged and needy. Thus, Doctorate in Social Work is structured to provide social work education and social research. The degree holder of a Ph.D. is conferred the title of ‘Doctor’ even though in the conventional sense he is not. The Duration of the programme varies depending upon the institution; the Minimum duration is 2-3 years from the date of registration and Maximum is 5-6 years. The minimum qualifications and other eligibility criteria for admission are mostly the same as for part time students. Ph.D. is a broad-based course involving a minimum course credit requirement and Research Thesis. One can also pursue Ph.D. through distance learning programs, example – Madras School of Social Work. Distance Learning Ph.D. meets the needs of students who are unable to attend on-campus classes. Distance Learning Doctoral Degrees however have less value as compared to Full-time Ph.D. The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is awarded to a candidate who, as per these regulations, has submitted a thesis based on original and independent research in any particular discipline/inter-disciplinary that makes a contribution to the advancement of knowledge, which is approved by suitably appointed examiners as required.

The National Council of Professional Social Work in consultation with the Universities, including IGNOU and NAPSWI (National Association for Professional Social Workers in India) takes decision for the promotion, maintenance, co-ordination of standards of education, training, research and practice. It lays down guidelines in respect of minimum qualifications for persons to be employed as social work professional and lays down guidelines for granting recognition to the institution as well as existing courses and for starting new courses for social work education and training, including the minimum eligibility criteria for admission.

Doctor of Philosophy Employment Areas

Educational Institutes

Human Services Industry

Publishing Houses



Philosophical Journals

Research Institutes

Consultancy Services

Law Firms

Doctor of Philosophy Job Types

Lecturer & Professor

Human Services Worker

Novelist, Writer or Editor


Philosophical Journalist



Development and Test Engineer

Electrical Product Design Engineer

Engineering Technologist

Independent Consultant


A Master’s degree in Social Work is required to gain admission to a doctoral program. In some subjects, doing a Masters in Philosophy (M.Phil.) is a prerequisite to start Ph.D.

In cases, where the admission at the M.Phil. has been conducted through an entrance examination and course work has been prescribed at the M.Phil. level, such M.Phil. candidates when admitted to the Ph.D. programmes shall not be required to undertake entrance examination or course work and it shall be considered to have complied with the UGC (Minimum standards and procedure for award M.Phil./Ph.D. Degree).

In other cases, where a candidate has done M.Phil. from one university and moves to another university for Ph.D., the new university may give credit and exempt for the course work done in the previous university. However, such a candidate will have to appear in the entrance test as applicable to a fresh candidate directly joining Ph.D. This procedure will apply in case of those candidates who have also obtained Ph.D. degree from abroad.

For some prestigious Universities, a candidate is required to qualify the all India level examination such as ‘National Eligibility Test for Lectureship (NET) conducted by University Grants Commission. Candidates appearing in the final year of qualifying degree examination are eligible to apply, however, they must submit attested copies of qualifying degree certificates/final transcripts.

Admission is offered based on an interview held usually a month before the commencement of the semester for which admission is sought. The interview may be supplemented by a written test, if necessary.

Normally all candidates in Ph.D. program are required to be resident on campus. Candidates sponsored from reputed research organizations, who are conducting their Ph.D. work co-advised by a reputed guide at their organization, may be eligible to complete their Ph.D. off campus. Only for such sponsored candidates, the minimum residency requirement is 1 semester, during which they will need to complete the course requirements. However, frequent visits to the Institution where admission has been taken is still normally required.

Note: Though most of the Institutes offering follow the above Eligibility Criteria, there are certain changes or additions as far different as different institutes are concerned.