Online Social Work Degree: Doctorate (DSW)

Social Work

College of Social Work

Program Overview

If you are searching for your DSW online academic "home", look no further than the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Doctor of Social Work online doctorate program. This clinical practice program is for experienced mental health practice social workers (post-MSW/MSSW) who are interested in advancing their clinical knowledge and becoming scholar-practitioners. Our online social work degree at the doctoral level will prepare you to become a leader in clinical practice.

Credit Hours


Cost Per Credit Hour*

In-State $700 + possible fees

Out-of-State $775 + possible fees

Residency Requirement

One week per summer on the Knoxville campus

Testing Requirements


*Cost per credit hour is an estimate based on maintenance and university fees. Some programs may have additional course fees. Please contact your department for additional information on any related fees, and visit Tuition and Fees in Detail at One Stop.

two men talking to each other while sitting

Become a Scholar-Practitioner in Social Work & a Leader in Your Community

The post-MSW/MSSW Doctor of Social Work (DSW) in clinical practice program is for experienced mental health practice social workers interested in advancing their clinical knowledge and becoming scholar-practitioners. Scholar-practitioners are research-literate, innovative translators of research into practice and serve as strategic social service leaders in their communities.

DSW Program Goals:

  1. The program will train students to understand and critically apply knowledge from neurobehavioral science and research informed advanced clinical practice to address the socio-emotional and physical health of the community, with particular focus on including under-resourced groups.
  2. The program will mentor students to demonstrate the evidence-based practice process through designing and executing a research project, with particular consideration of conducting anti-oppressive research.
  3. The program will instill in students the ability to translate research evidence into anti-oppressive advanced clinical and leadership practice settings.

The curriculum is focused on advanced clinical practice, clinical research, and advanced practice leadership. The DSW Program is designed to prepare students who are experienced master’s level social workers for advanced clinical practice and advanced practice leadership. The DSW Program also has some pedagogical components that support practitioners interested in academic careers, but it is not intended to prepare students for academic careers as researchers. Geared toward working professionals, the DSW is an intensive accelerated program that enables students to satisfy all degree requirements in three years without career disruption. The program is designed for maximum flexibility and allows for the development of advanced clinical skills in a student’s current area of practice, including mental health, trauma, substance abuse, gerontology, child welfare, developmental and physical disabilities, military and veteran’s social work practice, and emerging areas of clinical social work practice.

Featured Courses

Here are just a few of the courses you will take during the Doctor of Social Work program:

SOWK 607: Neuroscience for Clinical Practice

Provides a neuroscience framework for understanding lifespan development, trauma, addictions and other mental health disorders, psychotropic medications, and attachment.

SOWK 620: Clinical Research & Applied Statistics

Explores the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods and applied statistics in clinical research.

SOWK 619: Individual/Group Practice with Diverse Populations in Complex Systems

Examines adaptive evidence-based practice with individuals and groups in service delivery for complex, diverse & multi-problem populations.

SOWK 610: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Reviews theoretical underpinnings of CBT (behavioral, social learning, cognitive, acceptance-based / mindfulness), development of case conceptualizations, and technique development

woman talking to computer on headset

Featured Story

New and current Social Work Doctoral students meet in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the programs Orientation and Residency Week.

two online doctoral students meet at residency week

DSW Orientation and Residency Week

Ready to Advance Your Knowledge and Light the Way?


The Class of 2022

The UT Department of Social Work hosts an in-person ceremony for 2022 graduates of the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program with a concentration in Clinical Practice and Leadership.

social work graduation class posing together
people sitting at table during ceremony