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Dr. Lisa Reyes MasonThe University of Tennessee College of Social Work offers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree with a major in social work. Our goal is to train researchers and educators who can work in a variety of settings to develop and disseminate knowledge about interventions, programs, and policies that will be used by professional social workers. We aim to foster an understanding and appreciation of the scientific method, to improve and extend the knowledge base of social work, and to develop leaders in social work research, education, and practice. (Pictured is Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason, PhD Program Director)

Students who go through our PhD program will receive extensive training in research methods and statistics and will critically examine issues relevant to social work practice at both the micro and macro levels. Students also gain preparation for university teaching, including online teaching and best practices for using technology in the classroom. The program includes foundation courses, advanced seminars, electives, professional development, and dissertation research.

A cornerstone of the PhD program is strong mentoring relationships between students and faculty. Working closely with a faculty mentor, students will become thoroughly familiar with the professional literature in their selected area and will conduct empirical research that contributes to the knowledge base of social work. We have on our faculty some of the most outstanding social work researchers and scholars in the country. Our PhD program faculty are dedicated to producing outstanding social work scholars and educators.

The PhD program is closely linked with the Center for Behavioral Health Research and the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service, two renowned and well-established centers for social work research excellence and service to the public. The centers work on research and evaluation in such areas as the structure and coordination of services, at-risk children and families, substance use disorders, child welfare, organizational change, and measurement and assessment.

PhD students have multiple opportunities to publish research, present at national conferences, and develop their skills as social work educators. Graduates of our PhD program work in a variety of settings. Many are now on the faculty of social work programs around the country, and we have several graduates on faculty at universities in other countries. We also have graduates working in such settings as psychiatric hospitals and state agencies.

We encourage you to visit our program and talk with our PhD program faculty about your educational and professional goals. For more information, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.


Contact the PhD Program

Program Director: Lisa Reyes Mason, PhD,

Administrative Support Assistant III - Knoxville Campus, Ali Giecek,

PhD Program
The University of Tennessee
College of Social Work
301 Henson Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-3333
(865) 974-6607



More on the PhD Program:

Admissions Information

Degree Requirements

Video on the Doctoral Programs

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