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The coursework at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work is designed to provide doctoral students with an engaging and formative PhD experience while preparing them to become leaders within their areas of interest. It combines the vast resources and rich research environment of New York City with the personalized classroom mentoring and individualized research training offered by NYU’s distinguished faculty.

Core curriculum. The core curriculum consists of 12 required courses, four electives, and four semesters of NYU Silver’s mentored research practicum (described below). All required courses are offered through the Silver School of Social Work. A minimum of two electives must be taken outside of the School.

For their first two years, full-time students typically enroll in four courses during the fall and spring semesters. During this time, full-time students additionally complete approximately 20 hours per week of research assistance as part of the mentored research practicum. Summer and winter electives are also available.

The mentored research practicum provides doctoral students with hands-on research experience under the guidance of NYU Silver’s distinguished faculty mentors and operates as a bridge between classroom learning and the program’s real-world dissertation requirement. Specifically, the practicum is designed to equip students with applied research skills so that they may become better prepared to undertake their independent dissertation research. Students complete this mentored research work throughout the coursework phase of the curriculum (typically the first two years). Although practicum learning activities differ according to each research project and in accordance with students’ individualized learning needs, students generally engage in at least two of the following tasks:

  • Research planning (e.g., writing grant applications, recruiting and collaborating with research sites, developing study protocols).
  • Study design (e.g., developing and writing the design, choosing study measures, conducting power analyses);
  • Study implementation (e.g., entering the field, creating codebooks and participant databases, refining study protocols, recruiting and screening participants);
  • Data collection (e.g., interviewing, conducting observation, entering data into statistical or qualitative software, running preliminary analyses);
  • Data analysis (e.g., qualitative coding and analysis, statistical analyses of data);
  • Interpretation of findings (e.g., creating tables and graphs, writing conclusions and implications of findings); and
  • Dissemination (e.g., co-authoring or authoring papers, producing and presenting scholarly presentations and posters at professional conferences).

The optional teaching practicum is designed to provide students with mentored opportunities to gain teaching experience within the School's MSW and BS programs. During the one-semester practicum, students will prepare course materials, lecture, lead discussions, and/or grade assignments. In order to teach as adjuncts in the Silver School's MSW program, students must satisfactorily complete both this practicum and the course Teaching and Learning in Social Work, which are normally offered concurrently.



All Silver doctoral courses are taught by senior faculty who are experts in research methods, statistics, and social work discipline courses. Below is a listing of required and elective courses typically offered during the academic year:

  • Philosophy of Science and Knowledge Development (PHDSW-GS.3050)
  • Methods of Inquiry (PHDSW-GS.3049)
  • History of Social Work and Social Welfare (PHDSW-GS.3048)
  • Social Policy Analysis (PHDSW-GS.3059)
  • Introductory Statistics (PHDSW-GS.3028)
  • Quantitative Methods (PHDSW-GS.3027)
  • Qualitative Methods (PHDSW-GS.3032)
  • Social Science Theories & Social Work (PHDSW-GS.3053)
  • Social and Behavioral Intervention Research (PHDSW-GS.3064)
  • Theories of Clinical Practice (PHDSW-GS.3057)
  • Teaching and Learning in Social Work (PHDSW-GS.3033)
  • Dissertation Proseminar (PHDSW-GS.3013)
  • Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Research Design and Applied Data Analysis (PHDSW-GS.3067)
  • Structural Equation Modeling I (PHDSW-GS.3068)
  • Advanced Topics in Structural Equation Models (PHDSW-GS.3069)
  • Research and Statistical Analysis for Large-Scale Secondary Data (MSWEL/PHDSW-GS.2149)