Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Program Goals



Our mission is to educate and train doctoral students to be independent scholars who conduct rigorous social work research and deliver effective teaching strategies to future social workers. The Ph.D. Program at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work builds on its clinical reputation by preparing doctoral students to create and evaluate practice-informed, client-centered interventions and policies that impact practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.  Doctoral students are trained in these practice-informed approaches to understand and respond to the complex social, racial, and economic justice issues that impact the most marginalized and oppressed in our society. The doctoral program reflects the social justice mission of our university by training doctoral students to engage in reflective and intentional study to become scholars who transform themselves, their community, the profession, and their world.

Program Goals

The specific goals of the Ph.D. Program at the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago and consistent with national goals as outlined in the Group for Advancement of Doctoral Education https://www.gadesocialwork.org/  are to prepare professionals for:

  • Scholarship and research in areas that include but are not limited to theory building, the effectiveness of practice interventions, and program evaluation.
  • Academic teaching in the content areas of theory, practice, research, and policy.
  • The advancement of the social work profession in a context that is global, and multi-cultural, requiring and addressing global-based human rights violations and inequalities.
  • Leadership in the profession’s commitment to remedying the growing and profound inequality with a commitment to policies, practices, and research that remedy those inequalities and their immediate negative effects on vulnerable populations.
  • Inter-disciplinary scholarly work through course electives taken outside the SSW (School of Social Work) to enhance student’s learning toward the completion of their dissertation


At the completion of the program, doctoral students in the Ph.D. program should be able to demonstrate the following competencies as practice-informed researchers and teachers in the field of social work.

History of the Profession and its Influence on Current Practice, Policy, and Research

  • An advanced understanding of the history and current issues of the social work profession, including their relevance for policy, practice, research, and theory development
  • An advanced understanding of the social work profession in a social-economic-political global and multicultural context that addresses human rights violations and inequalities


  • An advanced understanding of the purpose, use, and misuse of theories across the micro, mezzo, and macro continuum of social work
  • Ability to understand the evolution and integration of theory as it applies to practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  • An advanced understanding of how theory influences the shape and design of research, its analysis, and its interpretation
  • Ability to critically analyze theories to contribute to the development and operationalization of theories that best address social problems


  • An understanding of multiple quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.
  • Advanced skills in a particular methodology as demonstrated in dissertation work.
  • Skills and experience in data analysis and preparation of data for dissemination, such as with conference presentations and manuscript submissions.
  • Capabilities as an independent research scholar, able to contribute to a body of knowledge in one’s area of interest.


  • Skills in academic teaching such as syllabus development, delivery methods, assignments, organizational methods, and grading criteria in both in-person and online formats
  • Developing a personal pedagogical style and teaching strategies for the classroom to develop and maintain an inclusive classroom tailored to the learning styles of diverse students and their intersectional identities
  • Develop a portfolio of teaching experience across content areas
  • Realize, recognize, and manage personal fallibility, vulnerability, and positionality as the instructor of a course.

Organizations, Leadership, and Social Change

  • Theorize and evaluate how macro practice methods are used to advance social change and social justice
  • Identify how interdisciplinary theories relate to power, representation, political and civic participation, critical consciousness, and youth development
  • Critically analyze when, why, and how progressive theories of social change can create synergy or conflict
  • Understand the evolution and development of service delivery within organizations