Are DSW degrees fully funded? Here are the best-paid doctorate programs in social work.

Sometimes, you might want a higher degree but can’t afford to pay for the program.
Students are often looking for ways they can access funding for their programs. While some people are fortunate to get scholarships, some have to fund their education alone.

Fully Funded PhD Programs in Social Work

With the cost of education climbing almost annually, it becomes daunting for students to pay for doctorate programs. While people can use student loans to fund their education, that is not a parkwalk.

The ideal option for most people is to look for schools offering fully funded programs. They need to weigh the options and sign up for the program.

Yeah, that came out so easy when it may not be that easy. That notwithstanding, many schools are still offering fully funded programs for students who may be interested.

Interestingly, a doctorate in social work (DSW) is one such program that is fully funded.

What does it mean to have a fully funded DSW Program?  

The phrase “fully funded” may sound ambiguous for some people. Let’s break it down a bit.

A fully funded DSW program means students admitted into the program get access to full tuition and sometimes get stipends to cover their living expenses for a certain period of their program.

The schools provide the students with tuition fees and extra finance to help them care for themselves during the program.

The school’s stipends often don’t cover the student’s living expenses throughout the program. Sometimes, the grants only last for the program’s first two to three years.

Getting a fully funded doctorate program isn’t always as easy as getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Many universities don’t offer fully funded doctorate programs.

Does the Full-Funded DSW Program have a Different Curriculum?

Allen and Mike attend the same school and are in the same DSW program. While Allen is a fully-funded scholarship student, his buddy Mike pays for his tuition.

Does this mean Allen and Mike will not take the same classes? Will the school treat Allen’s coursework differently from Mike’s? Does being a scholarship student make the curriculum different?

Well, the answer to these questions is no. The curriculum for both students remains the same. Allen will not learn separately from his friend Mike because one is fully funded while the other is not.

They will learn and sit for the same examinations if their programs are similar. If we make their curriculum different, does that not mean segregation?

Doing that defeats the aim of the scholarship – equal access to education and educational services.

Schools Offering Fully Funded DSW Programs

Students interested in graduate research in social work can access schools with fully funded DSW programs.

University of Alabama, AL

The University of Alabama runs a fully-funded doctorate program in its school of social work. Here, the students receive training in scholarly research in social work and education.

The curriculum prepares students to be in academia and equips them with skills for social work research using theory and research methods. They also go through courses on critical evaluation of policies and practices in social work.

The University of Alabama is responsible for three years of funding for your doctorate program. During the three years, students will receive stipends to cover their living expenses, health insurance, and tuition.

The School of Social Work provides financial aid to the students through research assistance, fellowship or grants, and graduate teaching.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University is one of the universities in the United States that offers students a fully-funded doctorate in social work program.

The school has a curriculum to prepare students for leadership and administrative roles.

The social work program at Michigan State University also has an interdisciplinary curriculum. What does this mean? Students at Michigan State University don’t just focus on courses in social work.

They also take a course in social science or other disciplines.

Students have to complete these courses within five years. Interestingly, they get fully funded throughout the five years. One condition applies for total funding during the five years – the student must remain in good academic records throughout the five years.

New York University, NY

The New York Silver School of Social Work is a fully-funded doctorate program at New York University for all students who meet its requirements.

The program is designed to prepare students for research and education around social justice. It also focuses on the health and well-being of communities facing social injustice, systemic politico-social, and socio-economic marginalization.

Students who make it into the program get research fellowships.

The research fellowship includes full waivers for tuition and registration fees. They also get student health insurance and living expenses stipends for the period of their program.

Sometimes, part-time students in the doctorate program also get support, but it is usually on a case-by-case basis.

University of Southern California

Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is the accredited faculty to admit students into the University of Southern California social work program. The school offers a fully-funded DSW program for eligible students.

Students in this program receive financial support for their tuition and other fees. The total amount the school provides for admitted students in the fully-funded DSW program is at least $200,000.

Interestingly, students benefiting from the fully-funded DSW program at the University of Southern California may also qualify for fellowships, research support, teaching support, and grants.

The Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work courses are customizable to meet students’ interests.

The program is highly research-oriented, and only students in good academic standing will continue to benefit from its fully-funded program.   

University of Michigan, MI

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has an accredited school of social work with a fully-funded doctorate social work program.

The school runs an interdisciplinary program that includes social work and social science. Students in this program get a multidisciplinary degree in social outcomes and any of the program’s four social science fields.

The University of Michigan provides its fully-funded doctorate program in social work through fellowship awards, graduate student instructorships, and graduate student research positions.

The program runs for five years and is fully funded throughout the five years.

The university employs a curriculum that uses scientific, social, and behavioral research to address social challenges.

One exciting thing about the fully-funded doctorate in social work at the University of Michigan is that students enjoy different funding packages.

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is one of the few universities in the US offering a fully-funded doctorate in social work.

The university has a limited number of students that can access its fully-funded doctorate programs. Only six to eight eligible students are admitted for a fully-funded DSW program.

At the University of Pittsburgh, the curriculum prepares students for leadership roles. The focus is on research, social policy, social work education, planning, and administration.

The program runs for four years. The school employs students in their first, second, and third years at the University of Pittsburgh as teaching fellows or faculty assistants.

These students also get financial support every summer while in the program. The support the fully-funded DSW program students receive includes full tuition and stipends for their living costs during the program.

Boston College, Massachusetts

The Boston College School of Social Work offers interested students a fully-funded, full-time doctorate program in Social Work.

The curriculum focuses on giving students research skills and getting them ready for independent research for their dissertation. Students spend four years in the program, divided into two years for different years.

Students spend the first two years acquiring research skills, using the remaining two years for scholarly research. Students in this program are fully funded and get a doctoral fellowship worth more than $200,000 for the period of the program.

The school offers students annual living stipends. They also get health insurance during the program and also conference support.

Boston University

Boston University School of Social Work provides a multi-year funding package for up to five years for students admitted into the fully-funded DSW program.

The students get research assistantships, tuition scholarships, and teaching assistantships. Boston University provides these supports as stipends paid each academic year – usually eight months.

The university also provides other sources of funding for students, which they will have to apply for before they can access the funding.

University of South Carolina

Students who apply and are admitted into the University of South Carolina’s School of Social Work fully-funded program may get stipends, research assistantships, and tuition remission.

These financial supports usually run for up to three years of full-time study. The school also offers its fully-funded DSW program through fellowships and classroom and field teaching.

Individuals can also arrange for research assistantships with the faculty they want.

All students applying for a fully-funded DSW program in any of these universities must apply accordingly and submit their applications early before the deadline day.

Applying for a fully-funded DSW program in any available school does not automatically qualify you for the scholarship or grant. The schools reserve the right to reject or accept your application.