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PhD Degree

Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy shall:

1) Complete at least ten half-courses, or their equivalent, approved by the SGS:

a) 5 PhD required courses:
SWK 6301H Intermediate Statistics and Data Analysis (half-course)
SWK 6302H Epistemology and Social Work Research (half-course)
SWK 6307H Designing and Implementing Qualitative Social Work Research
SWK 6308H Designing and Implementing Quantitative Social Work Research
SWK 7000H Doctoral Thesis/Comprehensive Seminar (half-course – CR/NCR).

NOTE: SWK 4506H is a prerequisite for SWK 6301H. Students must either take SWK 4506H or pass an equivalent competency exam with a grade of at least B+. SWK 4506H does not count as one of the required courses. Students who demonstrate competency in any of the required courses can be exempted and will substitute alternate courses. Course instructor will determine competency.

b) 5 graduate elective half-courses (or equivalent) at least one of which is taken at the Faculty of Social Work, and at least one of which is taken in another graduate department at the University of Toronto. Elective courses are primarily substantive in nature but can also be methodological. They are selected by the students based on the focus of their research, with multiple interdisciplinary options.

NOTE: Non social work degree PhD students admitted into the program are encouraged to take a social work theory course.

2) a) Following completion of the course work, students are required to satisfactorily complete a Comprehensive Paper, which typically corresponds to the original theoretical framework of their thesis.

b) Subsequently, students develop a Thesis Proposal with guidance from their Supervisor and committee members. Once the proposal is approved by the committee, students move on to the status of PhD Candidates (equivalent to ABD = all but dissertation).

3) Students then conduct a Thesis which shall constitute a distinct contribution to knowledge in the field of social work and must be based on research conducted while registered for the PhD Program. A thesis should have a coherent topic with an introduction presenting the general theme of the research and a conclusion summarizing and integrating the major findings. Nonetheless, it may contain a collection of several papers. The collection of papers may be expanded or supplemented by unpublished material, scholarly notes, and necessary appendices. In all theses, pagination should be continuous; there should be a common table of contents and an integrated bibliography for the whole thesis. The student shall successfully defend the thesis at a final oral examination which is administered by SGS.

4) Students must have an adequate knowledge of a language other than English if an additional language is deemed essential for satisfactory completion of research for the thesis. The Faculty is responsible for ensuring that an acceptable certificate of language competence is deposited with SGS.

Good Standing Requirement and Progress through the PhD Program.

a) Students are expected to be available on a full-time basis during the course of their PhD Studies. Students are required to register for each successive fall session on a full-time basis following their first session of registration unless granted a leave of absence. The minimum period of registration in each academic year is three consecutive sessions.
b) To remain in ‘good standing,’ PhD candidacy must be completed within 3 years of entry into the program. Flex-time students are required to achieve candidacy by the end of fourth year.
c) Full-time students must complete the requirements for the degree within six years following admission to the program. Please note guaranteed funding covers 5 years only. Flex-time students must complete requirements within eight years following admission.
d) PhD students may apply to their Graduate Coordinator for a one-session to three-session leave during their program of study for (i) serious health or personal problems which temporarily make it impossible to continue in the program, or (ii) parental leave by either parent at the time of pregnancy, birth or adoption, and/or to provide full-time care during the child’s first year. The guaranteed funding time-frame is then adjusted accordingly.

If at the end of six years, a full-time student has not completed writing the thesis, the student may apply for an extension of up to one year during which time the thesis must be completed and defended. Beyond six years a PhD candidate goes into lapsed status, but may apply at any time for reinstatement for the purpose of presenting and defending the thesis (final oral examination).

In exceptional circumstances, a degree candidate who has failed to complete all the requirements for the degree within the period specified in the degree regulations may be considered for extensions (a maximum of four one-year extensions for doctoral students) provided that the graduate unit concerned so approves. To apply for an extension, the candidate must present to the graduate unit concerned the causes for the delay and evidence that the remaining degree requirements may be completed within the period of the extension request.

For additional information on procedures and policies refer to the PhD Manual.