Doctoral Coursework

The coursework in the doctoral program in social work covers 3 areas: core courses, research methods & statistics, and interdisciplinary electives. Upon completing coursework, students must complete a General Examination, and then complete and orally defend a dissertation (referred to as the "Final Examination" by the LSU Graduate School).

The following 6 courses comprise the 18 required credit hours of core social work courses:

SW 7200 Social Research Methods I (formerly "Colloquium"): Introduction to social science research and research proposal development.

SW 7201 Social Research Methods II (formerly "Social Research Methods"): Advanced methods for conducting social science research and developing research proposals.

SW 7202 Issues and Research Problems in Social Policy: Issues and problems in social welfare policy; research focus on policy formulation. Focuses on research design of projects focused on policy-relevant questions.

SW 7204 Issues and Research Problems in Social Work Intervention: Social work intervention with individuals, families, groups, and communities; formulation and development of problem-solving research agendas. Focuses on research design of projects conceptualizing and testing interventions.

SW 7207 Integrative Seminar: An Integrative Seminar to develop research questions and hypotheses. and initial drafts of the dissertation proposal, including introduction, literature review, and methods sections.

SW 7208 Theories in Social Work: Critical analysis and discussion of the epistemological, philosophical, theoretical, empirical, and practical foundations of social work. 

A MINIMUM of 15 credit hours in research methods and statistical analysis.

Stats 1: Taken outside of department (e.g., POLI 7962, ELRC 7006)
Stats 2: Taken outside of department (e.g., POLI 7963, ELRC 7016)

Additional Research Methods & Statistics Courses
Research methods or advanced statistics courses chosen in consultation with Major Professor or Advisor, taken outside of department, and related to dissertation research (e.g., Applied Research, Measurement, and Evaluation [ELRC 7280], Advanced SEM [MKT 7558], Longitudinal/Spatial Analysis [SOCL 7213].  

Qualitative research methodologies strongly recommended; taken outside of department (e.g., ELRC 7243, MC 7014). 

SW 7206 Research Practicum
Supervised research experience; demonstration of collaborative and/or independent research. No more than 6 hours per semester. Can be taken for up to 9 credit hours.

A MINIMUM of 6 credit hours (2 courses) of elective, interdisciplinary coursework. Social Work Pedagogy and Teaching (SW 7205) is available to students who desire to teach and it is offered within the department.

With an additional exception regarding non-MSW students (described in next paragraph), electives should be in departments outside the School of Social Work. Students may consider courses in one or more of the following disciplines: Anthropology, Economics, Education, Finance, History, Human Ecology, Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Other disciplines not listed may also be considered with approval from the Director of the PhD Program or the Major Professor/Chair.

Students Without the MSW Degree
Students who are admitted to the program who do not hold the MSW degree must enroll in the 3-credit course, SW 7004, Human Diversity and Oppression.

Independent Studies
An Independent Study is an individual-instruction course. A student does not attend class on a formal basis, but instead works with an individual professor on a subject of interest that is not taught in a core, research-related, or elective course. 

  • Each Independent Study is worth 3 credit hours
  • A maximum of 6 credit hours of coursework may comprise an Independent Study
  • Prior to enrollment in an Independent Study, a written plan of work must be submitted to and approved by the student’s Major Professor or Academic Advisor. SW 7905 corresponds to SW practice, whereas SW 7906 corresponds to SW policy.
  • Written evidence of approval must be presented prior to registration

While preparing for and completing their General Examination and dissertation research, students may enroll in dissertation hours. These credit hours permit students to work independently on their dissertation projects and students are assigned a P/F grade, not a letter grade.

After successfully completing their General Examination, students must enroll in at least 15 credit hours of SW 9000 (dissertation) hours before they can be considered for graduation.


Human Development & Family Science CONCENTRATION


PHD Student Handbook




Catherine Lemieux
PhD Program Director
3222 Huey P. Long Field House

EMAIL Dr. Lemieux