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To enter candidacy and begin work on the dissertation, students must satisfy the following prerequisites:

  1. First complete the core curriculum and, subsequently, pass a comprehensive written exam;
  2. Select a dissertation committee and develop a dissertation proposal; and
  3. Obtain approval of their dissertation proposal from their dissertation committee as well as the University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects. Only when these requirements have been satisfied may data collection begin.

Candidates for the PhD in social work must maintain continuous enrollment, successfully defend their dissertation proposal within three years of finishing coursework, and complete their dissertation no later than seven years after initial enrollment in the program.