Graduate Catalog

Doctorate of Social Work (DSW)

Program Overview

The Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) Program is designed to provide MSW practitioners with a practice focused degree that elevates their capacity for leadership roles within the profession. The curriculum provides students with expertise knowledge and skill in trauma informed and trauma responsive social work practice, service delivery, and administrative leadership. The curriculum also prepares students to become producers and disseminators of practice-based knowledge for both the professional practice community and Schools of Social Work.

Mission of the School of Social Work

The mission of the Barry University School of Social Work is framed by the core values, ethics, and commitments of the social work profession and Barry University mission. Within a culturally diverse framework, the School is committed to educating social workers for professional social work practice that is informed by context and characterized by competence, skills of leadership, quality, the quest for social and economic justice in local and global communities, and dedication to continuous professional growth and development.

DSW Program Goals

The DSW Program is committed to educating doctoral level leaders in the areas of practice, organizational administration and management, and the preparation of the next generation of BSW and MSW social work practitioners. Graduates will demonstrate skill at conceptually and theoretically framing, investigating, and analyzing complex systems, social problems, human behaviors, and intervention outcomes through a trauma-informed lens. Additionally, graduates will develop and disseminate practice relevant knowledge through a variety of channels (scholarship, peer-reviewed conference presentations, and teaching). The program also strives to produce graduates committed to the promotion of social justice in ways that assist individuals, families, groups, communities, and larger societies in maximizing their potential and well-being. 

The DSW Program is guided by the following five (5) academic goals. Graduates are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate expertise in advanced trauma-informed and trauma responsive social work practice.
  2. Utilize empirical knowledge to guide practice, service delivery, and social work education.
  3. Demonstrate advance competence in social justice advocacy.
  4. Demonstrate leadership in human service organizations, social work practice, and policy making.
  5. Develop and disseminate practice relevant knowledge through a variety of channels (scholarship, peer-reviewed conferences, and teaching).

Program of Study

The DSW. Program is a part-time program that requires at least 46 credit hours of concentrated graduate study and the production of a referred-journal quality manuscript. Students are expected to complete the required coursework over three academic years; enrolling in two courses per semester (fall, spring, summer). Students are expected to complete all requirements and successfully submit their manuscript for evaluation within three academic years from the start of program. The program is tri-semester; courses are delivered fall, spring, and summer, for a total of eight consecutive semesters. 

For additional information regarding the DSW Program curriculum click here.


Core Performance Standards for Admission, Progression, and Graduation

Barry University School of Social Work seeks to create and maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect, accessibility and acceptance among all who attend or work here. Faculty, staff, and students all play an important role in the process. The guidelines and administrative determinations detailed in the School of Social Work DSW Program Handbook are rooted in the belief that there is a responsibility to graduate students that demonstrate and emulate professional conduct, professional ethics, and practice competency as discussed in the Schools Core Performance Standards and the NASW Code of Ethics.

Statement of Cultural Values

The School is committed to creating a professional learning environment that fully embraces and respects cultural and intellectual diversity among students and faculty.

Faculty-Student Scholarship and Community Service

The School fully endorses student-faculty collaboration for the purpose of advancing leadership and scholarly and professional growth. Opportunities for student scholarship and participation in community service are imbedded in the School’s extrinsic and intrinsic curriculum. The School provides limited scholarships to students to support oral presentations at national referred conferences.

Faculty Advisement

Mentoring and advising in the DSW Program is student-centered and concerned with each student’s academic progress and professional development. During their coursework, each doctoral student is academically advised by the Director of Doctoral Studies. Informal mentoring with faculty members is encouraged.

International Students

Students from other countries are encouraged to apply for admission to the DSW program.

Admission Requirements

The DSW Program seeks to admit MSW practitioners who demonstrate, through their professional practice experience, the ability to successfully complete doctoral studies. More importantly, the DSW Program seeks to admit social work practitioners who demonstrate commitment to the advancement of social work practice and social justice with micro through macro systems utilizing a trauma informed and trauma responsive lens. The admissions process has been designed to give each applicant an opportunity to validate his/her readiness to meet the educational challenges and expectations of the program. The Admissions Committee (made up of doctoral faculty and the Director) is charged with selecting candidates who demonstrate the best potential of being successful in the program.

The Doctoral Program Requires


A master’s degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program.

Practice Experience

A minimum of three years post-masters’ practice experience.

Strong Academic Performance

Applicants are expected to have a minimum, graduate-level grade point average of 3.5. Applicants with a graduate-level grade point average between 3.3 and 3.49 may be considered, on an individual basis.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE is not required for admission into the doctoral program.


An official transcript from each college or university previously attended. Official transcripts are those that are sent in sealed envelopes directly from the registrar of the originating colleges/universities to the Barry University School of Social Work. The transcripts must be in sealed envelopes from the issuing institutions to be considered “official.”


Three (3) professional references. References should be from colleagues and/or supervisors who know of the applicant’s work and professional performance. No more than one reference from an academic source should be submitted.


Applicants should prepare a four (4) page written response/discussion to the following questions: 1) What is your motivation for applying for doctoral study at this time?; 2) How does your professional experience inform your research interests?; and 3) What are the ways in which, you imagine, this program might advance your career?



An updated resume that include public and/or professional employment service, professional memberships, publications, and conference/training presentations is required.


Application Fee

Online applications are preferred. A $60.00 non-refundable fee must be paid at the time of application. This fee is waived for persons who are Barry University alumni.

Dates and Deadlines

The DSW Program admits students in the fall of each academic year.  The application for admission for the DSW Program is currently open.


Only students in good standing who were granted a Temporary Withdrawal from the DSW Program may be considered for re-admission.

  1. Students who are returning to the program within two (2) years of executing a temporary withdrawal may return to the program.
  2. Returning students must have an interview with the Director of Doctoral Studies before the student may register to continue in the program.
  3. Students who are returning to the program after two (2) years of absence must complete and submit the “Application for Readmission” form to the School of Social Work, Director of Admissions. The form can be obtained from the Admissions Office at the School of Social Work. The Doctoral Program Committee will review applications for readmission and make a determination. If re-admitted, any courses or course equivalences taken five years prior to the date of readmission must be re-taken.
  4. On an individual basis, applicants may be requested to submit additional information to update the School on their activities, progress, and professional or academic development during their hiatus from the DSW program prior to a decision being rendered.
  5. Students terminated from the program for other than an egregious breach of Core Performance Standards and the professional codes of ethics may re-apply for admission. To re-apply for Program admission, a student must submit a new application and pay all associated fees. The Doctoral Program Committee will review applications for readmission and make a determination. If admitted, the student must meet with the Director of Doctoral Studies and develop a matriculation plan. Failure to comply with this plan, gives cause for termination and the student is considered ineligible for readmission.


Readmission to the program is not guaranteed.

Transfer of Credit

Following acceptance into the Barry University School of Social Work DSW Program, an applicant may request up to six (6) credits be accepted as transfer credits from another accredited doctoral program. Only those courses not applied to other degrees, in which a student has earned grades of “B” or better, have been completed not more than five (5) years before enrollment in the DSW Program, and are comparable and appropriate to the Program may be considered for transfer credits. Students must submit the application for transfer credits prior to beginning their coursework within the School of Social Work. Students will not be allowed to transfer credits after beginning classes at the School of Social Work.

Financial Aid

Both Barry University and the School of Social Work administer financial aid programs. Financial aid consists of loans, scholarships, assistantships, and selected tuition discounts. Students seeking financial aid must apply each academic year. Barry University administers loan based financial aid while the School of Social Work administers scholarships, assistantships, and tuition discounts. To request information regarding loan based financial aid please contact the University’s Financial Aid Office at (305) 899‑3664 or 3978 or (800) 756‑6000 extension 3664 or 3978.

School of Social Work DSW Program Financial Assistance

Tuition Discounts

The tuition amount for the DSW Program is already discounted. No additional Barry University or School of Social Work tuition discounts may be applied.

Graduate Assistantships

The School of Social Work offers a limited number of assistantships and is dependent upon faculty making a request for an assistant. Research and teaching assistants are generally appointed for ten hours per week. Assistants work with faculty members on a variety of projects and assist with teaching responsibilities or research activities. Students wishing to be considered for a Graduate Assistant appointment must complete an application and submit it to the School of Social Work Office of Student Services. Assistantship course equivalency reimbursement is determined by the scope and nature of the assigned workload. Students enrolled in Continuous Matriculation are not eligible for graduate assistantships. Please note that additional criteria for eligibility may be required to participate in the Graduate Assistantship Program.

The School of Social Work supports the investment of providing tuition reimbursement support to our students through graduate and research assistantships. therefore, the tuition reimbursement protocol is as follows:

  • Students working up to ten (10) hours per week will be reimbursed up to 80% of a 3-credit hour course per semester.
  • Students working between eleven (11) and seventeen (17) hours per week will be reimbursed 100% of a 3-credit hour course per semester.
  • Students working the allowed maximum of eighteen (18) hours per week will be reimbursed at 100% of two (2), 3-credit courses per semester for a maximum total of six (6) credits.

For additional details about the Graduate Assistantship Program, please contact the School of Social Work's Operations Manager at 305-899-3937

Scholarships and Tuition Waivers

The School of Social Work administers limited tuition scholarships. Scholarship awards are made to students who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. 

The Dr. Beulah Rothman Memorial Scholarship is named for the first Director of the PhD Program at Barry University who was a nationally renowned social work educator and group work scholar. The Scholarship financially supports the education of matriculating doctoral students whose course of study focuses on social work practice with groups.

The Dr. Neta Kolasa Scholarship is named for Dr. Neta Kolasa, an MSW alumna of Barry University, who has served as a member of the University Board of Trustees and as a generous philanthropist in the South Florida area.  The Scholarship financially supports the education for matriculating students whose course of study demonstrate a focus on developing leadership values and skills in the areas of social work practice intervention, research competence, human service administration, and/or social policy change.

Barry University does not ordinarily offer financial assistance for international doctoral students. All international students entering Barry in F-1 visa status must prove adequate funding to meet their expenses.

Other Sources for Funding

Additional sources of pre-dissertation and dissertation support are administered by government and professional agencies such as NIMH, NIDA, NIAAA, HUD, CSWE, and the Florida Education Fund (FEF). These are awarded competitively to students enrolled in social work and other doctoral programs and each requires its own application procedure. Information on the Florida Education Fund’s McKnight Fellowship for African American applicants ( and the Council on Social Work Education’s Minority Fellowship programs ( can be found on their respective web sites.

Additionally, foundations, civic and professional organizations, social welfare agencies, and employee reimbursement plans are all potential sources for funding. Applicants and students may want to personally check with local organizations regarding availability of scholarships or grants. Many computerized scholarship data bases also exist to help locate information on alternative sources for funding.

Grading Policy

Doctoral Courses Are Graded on A Pass/Fail (Credit/No Credit) Basis.

CR (credit/pass) assumes strong performance at the A or B level. NC (no credit/fail) assumes weak performance at a C level or below and the course must be re-taken at the point at which it is offered again.

I (incomplete) may be granted at instructor discretion, in the event of an unavoidable circumstance that precludes the student’s completing the course, such as a health crisis. Incompletes are given only when a small portion of the course work is not completed by the end of the semester and the instructor approves an extension of time to complete assignments. The grade of Incomplete will not be used to provide extended time for students to finish assignments or to re-do unsatisfactory assignments and must be cleared within two weeks of the subsequent semester. Incompletes unsatisfied after the identified due date will automatically become a grade of NC.

W (course withdrawal). The university publishes dates by which graduate students can withdraw from a course without incurring a NC/fail. Students considering course withdrawal are expected to consult with the instructor and their advisor and, if a decision to withdraw is made, requisite paperwork must be completed and signed by the advisor and student. If a student is enrolled in only one course, course withdrawal results in withdrawal from the program and the university. As with courses earning a NC, a required course from which a student withdraws must be re-taken at the point at which it is offered again.


The DSW Program is a part-time, online program that is convenient for working professionals. The core curriculum is designed to provide students with expertise in linking social work practice theory to conducting practice-outcome research, utilizing research for policy making decisions, executive leadership in human service organizations and the dissemination of practice knowledge to the social work community through scholarship and conference presentations.  education, leadership, research methods, and social work theory. The program requires a minimum of 46 credit hours of graduate study, plus the production of a referred-journal quality manuscript.. The curriculum consists of ten 3‑credit hour courses and one 4-credit hour course. Students must be enrolled in at least six hours of course work each semester. Two, eight (8) week courses are offered each semester (fall, spring, and summer).  Each course consist of asynchronous components to be engaged by the student prior to the weekly, 90 minute synchronous session with the course professor. The 90 minute synchronous sessions are held on Saturday mornings and student attendance is mandatory.  It is expected that students will complete class requirements in three academic years.

Residency Seminar Courses

The culminating product for the DSW degree is the submission of a journal article manuscript for review. To prepare students to become producers and disseminators of practice-based knowledge through publication in refereed, professional journals, students enroll in Residency Seminar I in the 3rd semester of the first year of course work and in Residency Seminar II in the 3rd semester  of the 2nd year of course work.

The Residency Seminar I course engages students as active participants in determining a practice area within which they might publish and an exploration of potential professional journals along with manuscript journal guidelines in which they might publish. Students will be required to attend (at their own expense) a 20-hour, campus-based experience at a predetermined time in the course. During that time, students will interact with publishing faculty, journal reviewers, and journal editor review board members about their writing agenda and plans for their first manuscript. At the conclusion of this course, students will produce a review of the professional literature along with a conceptual outline for a publishable paper.

The Residency Seminar II course engages students in active development of the conceptual outline from Residency Seminar I into the first draft of a journal manuscript that the student will also present at the DSW Symposium which will be part of their campus-based experience.  Students will be required, again, to attend (at their own expense) a 20-hour, campus-based experience at a predetermined time in the course. During that time, students will provide an oral and visual presentation of the first draft of the manuscript to an audience of their peers and designated publishing faculty who will provide constructive feedback.

Final products from the successful completion of Residency Seminar I and Residency Seminar II courses serve as the foundation for the culminating product required for completion of the degree.


Academic residency requirements stipulate that students enroll in a minimum of 6 credits each semester until they complete required course work. Following that, students enroll in a minimum of 2 credits each semester until successful completion of all degree requirements. Failure to register for two consecutive semesters will result in automatic termination from the program.

Progression Requirements and Continuous Matriculation

The Doctoral Committee reviews the progress of students who have not completed the degree at the end of the spring semester of the 3rd academic year from the time of admission. As a result of the review, the Committee may recommend additional course work and/or enhanced academic support systems. At the end of the third year, with the exclusion of a leave of absence approved by the Dean of the School, the Doctoral Committee will review the status of student, in consultation with the Program Director.

Continuous Matriculation

Students who have completed the course sequence but need to successfully complete their journal manuscript will be required to maintain an active status in the program. These students are expected to enroll in SW 799 – Continuous Matriculation in the semester following the completion of coursework. Students who are unable to achieve a successful evaluation of the submitted manuscript and the end of the first enrollment in SW 799 will be required to meet with the Program Director regarding his/her continuation in the Program. Failure to register for Continues Matriculation for two consecutive semesters will result in automatic termination from the program.

Graduation Requirement

The requirements listed below must be met in order to apply for graduation

  • Successful completion of all required courses.
  • Successful review of submitted manuscript.
  • Completion and submission of the Graduation Application online to Registrar by the deadline date posted by the Director of Doctoral Studies in congruence with the Office of the Registrar and University policy. Students are able to register online after they receive graduation authorization from the Director of Doctoral Studies. The student is advised to retain a copy of the submitted graduation application for their records.