UB launching new online Doctor of Social Work degree

Aug 30, 2018

The University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work is just a year away from launching a new doctoral degree program. But unlike its longstanding PhD program, the new degree will be taught fully online.

Nationwide, only 15 schools offer a Doctor of Social Work degree program. UB will be the 16th when the new program launches in Fall of 2019. It’s Director, Clinical Assistant Professor Louanne Bakk says the school submitted an application to start the program a few years ago, and received approval for it this past April. But there’s still work to do over the course of the coming year.

Louanne Bakk, Clinical Assistant Professor and DSW Program Director at the University at Buffalo
Credit University at Buffalo

“Developing the protocol for students, thinking about things such as orientations that the students will be attending, more fully considering which faculty will be teaching in year one, year two, and year three,” said Bakk.

The program came about with the help of previous graduates of the School of Social Work, who were surveyed about their interest in a new advanced degree program and how they’d want it delivered.

“The preference really was towards us having an online doctorate,” said Bakk.

With a course load of 39 credits, the DSW will take three years of part-time work to complete. Bakk said it will use state-of-the-art digital technologies to deliver course content online only.

The degree is targeted towards social work practitioners who are already licensed and experienced. Bakk said its for those that want to “strengthen their ability to bridge research and practice” for use in clinical and practical settings. The degree will emphasize both care that takes into account previous trauma and a human rights perspective.

Bakk said development of the DSW follows a trend being seen across other medical disciplines of creating “Doctor of” degrees in pharmacy, psychology, physical therapy, nursing, and nutrition.

Interested students can apply starting September 1.