What is the difference between a DSW and a PhD in Social Work?

The key difference between the DSW and PhD is in their orientation towards post-graduate employment.

Generally, PhD programs prepare students for careers in academia as researchers or research-based professors, often on the tenure track. The DSW primarily prepares students for continued employment in the social work field as administrative leaders or high-level practitioners, although the DSW will still qualify graduates for university-level teaching and may, in some cases, be considered equivalent to a PhD for hiring purposes.

For more information on the relationship between DSW and PhD Social Work degrees in university teaching, applicants may find this article from the Journal of Social Work helpful.

Additionally, the Tulane DSW takes three years to complete with continued employment. Tulane PhD programs generally take anywhere from five to seven years and require full-time student status.

Are there any scholarships available for DSW candidates?

The Tulane School of Social Work does not offer any scholarships to DSW students. Applicants may be eligible for third party scholarships.

What does it cost to attend the DSW Program?

Exact tuition rates will vary annually, and will depend on the exact number of credits for which a student is registered. Students will typically take 27 credit hours each year for the first two years of school, and two credits in their final year.

Does the DSW Program offer fellowships or assistantships to defray the cost of tuition?

The DSW Program does not offer any full-tuition fellowships or assistantships for students.

Typically, doctoral fellowships are awarded to "residential" students, meaning those students who attend class full-time during the day and work on campus (typically as Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants) in exchange for their fellowships. Because the DSW is geared to accommodate working professionals, these kinds of fellowships are unavailable.

However, to accommodate students who are employed full-time in the profession, classes are scheduled to meet on weekends.

DSW students may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program or other tuition forgiveness through the National Health Services Corps.

Is there financial aid available?

All DSW students are eligible to apply for aid through Tulane's Office of Financial Aid. Aid packages will vary by student, so interested applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid directly.

The School of Social Work may offer limited supplementary support to a small number of candidates, but all students should make their own arrangements to cover the costs of attending the program.

Do I have to do a research-based dissertation?

No, the DSW program does not require a research-based dissertation as a component for graduation. Instead, students will be required to complete an advanced clinical project, which will be developed in collaboration with a faculty supervisor and may take many forms, most commonly an article for publication relating to the student's area of practice.

Is this an online program?

Flexible courses are offered through the Online DSW Program. We require on-campus students to attend all classes in person. However, courses are scheduled to fit the constraints of full-time employment, and the majority of coursework is to be completed by the student outside of class in consultation with other students and faculty mentors, which may include a significant online component.

Where are you located?

The DSW program is available online and at two Tulane University campuses: New Orleans, La., and Biloxi, Miss. On-ground students must apply for one of the two campus locations and are required to complete their coursework on that campus.