Established in 1964, the goal of the PhD program is to prepare advanced clinical scholars and practitioners to contribute to knowledge about clinical social work theory and practice. The PhD program is designed to train leaders in advanced clinical social work who will take positions as social work educators, researchers and scholars, clinical supervisors and consultants, and advanced practitioners, and also will serve as stewards of the profession. Like the master's program, the PhD program is wholly concentrated on graduate education in clinical social work. Graduates of Smith's PhD program are well represented nationally and internationally on faculties of schools of social work, among leading clinical social work practitioners, and in a variety of other leadership roles in the profession.
Within the broad goal of preparing advanced clinical social work practitioners/scholars, the educational objectives of the PhD program are:
- to prepare fellows to contribute to the development and dissemination of knowledge about clinical social work practice;
- to prepare fellows to design and undertake research and scholarship on practice;
- to advance the capacity of doctoral fellows for critical thinking in relation to the knowledge, values and skills relevant to the practice of clinical social work and research on clinical practice;
- to refine and further develop fellows' clinical skills with the goal of helping them achieve and conceptualize an advanced level of clinical and research competence;
- to prepare leaders to promote the social work profession's values of commitment to serving diverse, vulnerable and oppressed populations to enhance social justice; and
- to recruit and support a culturally diverse community of scholars who advance the PhD program's objectives.