Program

Social Work - 1744

Program Summary

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Contact: Dr Jan Breckenridge

Campus: Sydney

Career: Research

Typical Duration: 3 Years  

Typical UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC Per Semester: 12

Max UOC Per Semester: 24

Min UOC For Award: 144

Award(s):

Doctor of Social Work (Research)

View program information for previous years

Program Description

The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) is a postgraduate research degree available for social workers. It provides the opportunity to combine postgraduate coursework study directly related to an area of advanced social work practice with doctoral research that builds social work knowledge, leading to the presentation of a doctoral thesis. The degree consists of one-third coursework (equivalent to one year full-time, Year 1) and two-thirds research (equivalent to two years full-time, Years 2 and 3). The length of the doctoral thesis is typically 50,000-60,000 words. There is a choice of specialised coursework study in three programs offered by the School of Social Sciences: the Master of Counselling Social Work (8930), the Master of Development Studies (8939), and the Master of Policy Studies (8248).

Program Objectives and Graduate Attributes

Advanced professional practice in the discipline of social work involves the continuous development of knowledge for practice. Leadership in social work requires experience, in-depth advanced practice study and sophisticated research skills.

In this program, in-depth advanced practice study is achieved in the specialised coursework component, which builds on foundational social work education and the experience gained through professional practice. This advanced practice study provides the basis for a contribution to social work knowledge through empirical or conceptual research. The thesis study component of the program develops the sophisticated research skills necessary for an original and significant contribution to social work knowledge. The DSW program as a whole prepares experienced practitioners for research and practice leadership in the discipline of social work.

Graduates of this program will have
  1. a substantial body of knowledge in one area of advanced social work practice, including knowledge generated through their own original research
  2. substantial knowledge of research principles applicable to a selected field of advanced social work practice.

Program Structure

The DSW is designed as a three year full-time equivalent program, structured as one-third coursework (equivalent to one year full-time, Year 1) and two-thirds research (equivalent to two years full-time, Years 2 and 3). The coursework must be completed prior to the thesis research study. The 48 UOC coursework will be taken within the Master of Counselling Social Work OR the Master of Social Development OR the Master of Policy Studies. The program of study should be approved by the relevant Masters Convenor and the DSW Program Convenor. In the research component, which is 96 UOC, students undertake supervised research leading to the production of a thesis.

Enrolment in the coursework component is part-time for coursework in the Master of Counselling Social Work (this program is not available on a full-time basis), and may be completed part-time or full-time for coursework within the Master of Social Development or the Master of Policy Studies. Enrolment in the thesis component may be part-time or full-time.

Academic Rules

1. Award of the Degree

The degree of Doctor of Social Work may be awarded by the Council on the recommendation of the UNSW School of Social Sciences Higher Degree Committee (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) to a candidate who after satisfactorily completing a qualifying program comprising 48 units of credit in the Master of Counselling Social Work OR the Master of Social Development OR the Master of Policy Studies has through the submission of a thesis based on his or her research made an original and significant contribution to knowledge in the field of Social Work.

2. Qualifications / Program Entry Pathways

There are 3 requirements for admission to the DSW degree and all 3 requirements must be met
  1. A social work qualification established by eligibility for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers, or membership of an equivalent overseas professional social work association
  2. A minimum 2 years post-qualifying professional social work practice experience
  3. A first or upper-second class (Distinction) thesis research Honours degree (minimum thesis wordlength: 10,000 words) OR a Masters (Coursework) degree with a distinction average and a significant research component, minimum equivalent 18 unit of credit content, consisting of methodology training and a stand-alone research project.

Standard entry pathway and alternate qualifying and Advanced Standing entry pathways

There are three pathways to admission to the DSW.

The standard entry pathway: Applicants who meet all 3 admission requirements may be admitted to the DSW through the standard entry pathway, completing both coursework and research study within their enrolment for the DSW as detailed above.

The qualifying program Advanced Standing entry pathway: This pathway is designed for social workers who do not immediately meet Admission Requirement 3, ie. do not have a research honours qualification or equivalent. Here the pathway to the DSW is through enrolment in, and completion of, an advanced practice Masters prior to applying for DSW admission. The Masters coursework must contain at least 18 UOC research training, including methodology training and a stand-alone project, and the results achieved should be at distinction average. In this qualifying program entry pathway, students are admitted with Advanced Standing and 48 UOC course credit for the coursework component, and move directly to the 2-year thesis study component of the DSW. Suitable UNSW Masters programs include the Master of Counselling Social Work (8930), the Master of Development Studies (8939), the Master of Policy Studies (8428) and the Master of Criminal Justice and Criminology (9285).

The Advanced Standing Masters pathway: Where applicants for the DSW meet all entry requirements, and have completed at another university a post-qualifying coursework masters that is assessed as relevant to an area of advanced social work practice, admission with Advanced Standing and 48 UOC coursework credit is available.

3. Enrolment

(1) An application to enrol as a candidate for the degree shall be made via the Apply
Online function on myUNSW.

(2) In every case before making the offer of a place the Committee shall be satisfied that
initial agreement has been reached between the School of Social Science (SoSS) and
the applicant on the provision of adequate facilities to be prescribed and that these are in accordance with the provisions of the guidelines for promoting postgraduate study within the University.

(3) The candidate shall be enrolled as either a full-time or part-time student.

(4) A candidate will present the thesis for examination no earlier than three years full time equivalent from the date of enrolment for the degree. Students who wish to submit earlier may seek approval from the Higher Degree Committee.

(5) The candidate must complete the course work component as an internal student; that is on campus. He or she may undertake the research as an internal student or as an external student who is not in attendance at the University except for such periods as may be prescribed by the Committee.

(6) An internal candidate will normally carry out the research on a campus or at a teaching or research facility of the University except that the Committee may permit a candidate to spend a period in the field, within another institution or elsewhere away from the University provided that the work can be supervised in a manner satisfactory to the Committee. In such instances the Committee shall be satisfied that the location and period of time away from the University are necessary to the research program.

(7) The research shall be supervised in accordance with the Supervision Policy. This will consist of at least two supervisors (either joint supervision or lead and secondary supervision). Lead supervisors will be members of the academic staff of the School of Social Science (SoSS), Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) or the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) or under other appropriate supervision arrangements approved by the Committee.

4. Progression

(1) The progress of the candidate will be monitored by the Committee throughout the candidature.

(2) The enrolment of all candidates is subject to confirmation.
(a) In addition to a progress review, the first annual review must include consideration of the confirmation of candidature.
(b) Satisfactory progress, as assessed in accordance with the university procedures for confirmation of candidature between six and nine months after enrolment, is required in order for the candidature to be confirmed.
(c) The confirmation period may be extended for the purpose of re-assessment as per 4.4(c) but the full confirmation period may not be extended beyond fifteen months for full-time candidates or thirty months for part-time candidates.

(3) Following the confirmation review:
(a) the progress of all candidates must be assessed at least annually at subsequent reviews in accordance with the University procedures for reviewing the progress of higher degree research candidatures.
(b) re-enrolment in each year of the degree is conditional upon approval of the Committee following the annual review of candidature.

(4) As a result of the review process, including the confirmation review and subsequent reviews, the Committee will determine to:
(a) confirm the candidature and approve re-enrolment (following the confirmation review), or
(b) continue the candidature and approve re-enrolment,(following subsequent reviews), or
(c) approve re-enrolment for the purpose of re-assessment of the candidature within a specified timeframe and according to prescribed conditions and/or criteria that will be provided to the candidate in writing, or
(d) transfer the candidature to a Masters Degree (Research), or
(e) take such other action regarding the candidature as it considers appropriate.

(5) Where the progress of a candidate towards the completion of the degree is unsatisfactory, the Committee may:
(a) approve re-enrolment for a three month period for the purpose of re-assessment of the candidature against prescribed conditions and/or criteria that will be provided to the candidate in writing; and/or
(b) require the candidate to show cause as to why that candidature should not be terminated. In such cases, the candidate must be given written notification of the reasons for the unsatisfactory progress and must be provided with the opportunity to make a written submission to the Committee; and/or
(c) terminate the candidature, where, in the opinion of the Committee, the candidate does not show good cause.

5. Thesis

(1) On completing the program of study a candidate must submit a thesis embodying the results of the investigation. The length of the thesis shall normally be not more than 60,000 words.

(2) The candidate may request in writing to the Graduate Research School, UNSW Kensington at the time of submission of the final library copy an embargo on its public availability for a period of up to two years.

(3) The candidate will give in writing to the Graduate Research School, UNSW Kensington six weeks notice of intention to submit the thesis.

(4) The thesis must comply with the following requirements:
(a) it must be an original and significant contribution to knowledge of the subject;
(b) the research work described must have been completed during the period of enrolment for the degree;
(c) it must be written in English;
(d) it must reach a satisfactory standard of expression and presentation;
(e) it must consist of an account of the candidate’s own research with all research performed conjointly with other persons fully acknowledged and inclusion of a statement of the candidate’s contribution to the conjoint research.

(5) The candidate must not submit as the main content of the thesis any work or material that has previously been submitted for a university degree or other similar award.

(6) Three copies of the thesis must be presented in a form that complies with the requirements of the University for the preparation and submission of theses for higher degrees.

6. Examination

(1) There shall be not fewer than two examiners of the thesis, appointed by the Committee, at least two of whom shall be external to the University unless the Committee is satisfied that this is not practicable. The number of examiners appointed will be in accordance with the Thesis Examination Procedures. In line with this policy, two external examiners will be appointed however, an additional examiner may be appointment if deemed appropriate.

(2) At the conclusion of the examination each examiner shall submit to the Committee a concise report on the thesis and shall recommend to the Committee that:
(a) The thesis merits the award of the degree, or
(b) The thesis merits the award of the degree subject to minor corrections as listed being made to the satisfaction of the Head of School, or
(c) The thesis requires further work on matters detailed in the examiner's report. Should performance in this further work be to the satisfaction of the Committee, the thesis would merit the award of the degree, or
(d) The thesis does not merit the award of the degree in its present form and further work as described in the examiner's report is required. The revised thesis should be subject to re-examination, or
(e) The thesis does not merit the award of the degree and does not demonstrate that resubmission would be likely to achieve that merit.

(3) If the performance at the further work recommended under (2)(c) above is not to the satisfaction of the Committee, the Committee may permit the candidate to re-present the same thesis and submit to further examination as determined by the Committee within a period specified by it but not exceeding eighteen months.

(4) The Committee shall, after consideration of the examiners' reports and the results of any further work, recommend whether or not the candidate may be awarded the degree. If it is decided that the candidate be not awarded the degree the Committee shall determine whether or not the candidate be permitted to resubmit the thesis after a further period of study and/or research.

Fees

For information regarding fees for UNSW programs, please refer to the following website:  UNSW Fee Website.

Further Information

Prospective students are strongly advised to make contact with a potential supervisor and the UNSW Graduate Research School before applying for research study at the University. Further information about the DSW program can be found by emailing a query via enquiries.grs@unsw.edu.au.

Area(s) of Specialisation