Doctoral Coursework

The coursework in the doctoral program in social work covers 3 areas: core courses, research methods & statistics, and interdisciplinary electives. Upon completing coursework, students must complete a General Examination, and then complete and orally defend a dissertation (referred to as the "Final Examination" by the LSU Graduate School).

The following 5 courses comprise the 15 required credit hours of core social work courses:

SW 7200 Integrative Colloquium in Social Work I: Broad-ranging analysis and discussion of problems and issues in the social work profession. Focuses on problem definition and literature reviews.

SW 7201 Integrative Colloquium in Social Work II: Broad-ranging analysis and discussion of problems and issues in the social work profession. Focuses on research methods and design.

SW 7202 Issues and Research Problems in Social Policy: Issues and problems in social welfare policy; research focus on policy formulation. Focuses on research design of projects focused on policy-relevant questions.

SW 7204 Issues and Research Problems in Social Work Intervention: Social work intervention with individuals, families, groups, and communities; formulation and development of problem-solving research agendas. Focuses on research design of projects conceptualizing and testing interventions.

SW 7207 Integrative Seminar: An Integrative Seminar to develop research questions and hypotheses. and initial drafts of the dissertation proposal, including introduction, literature review, and methods sections.

A MINIMUM of 12 credit hours in research methods and statistical analysis.

Stats 1: Taken outside of department (e.g., POLI 7962, ELRC 7006)
Stats 2: Taken outside of department (e.g., POLI 7963, ELRC 7016)

Advanced Research Methods or Statistics
One additional research or advanced statistics course chosen in consultation with Chair or Advisor and related to dissertation research (e.g., ELRC 7280 [Applied Research, Measurement & Evaluation], ELRC 7243 [Qualitative Methods in Educational Research], ELRC 7220 [Educational Program Evaluation]).

SW 7206 Research Practicum
Supervised research experience; demonstration of collaborative and/or independent research.

A MINIMUM of 12 credit hours (4 courses) of elective, interdisciplinary coursework. With one exception regarding non-MSW students (described in next paragraph), electives should be in departments outside the School of Social Work. Students may consider courses in one or more of the following disciplines: Anthropology, Economics, Education, Finance, History, Human Ecology, Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Other disciplines not listed may also be considered with approval from the Director of the PhD Program or the Major Professor/Chair.

Students Without the MSW Degree
Students who are admitted to the program who do not hold the MSW degree must enroll in the 3-credit course, SW 7004, Human Diversity and Oppression.

Masters Level Courses as Electives
PhD students may enroll in masters level courses providing that additional depth and breadth of knowledge will be attained specific to students' research area of interest.

  • Students must discuss course requirements with Chair/faculty advisor prior to enrollment
  • Courses must be taught by a PhD-level instructor
  • Excluding SW 7004 (Human Diversity and Oppression), Master’s level courses must be in departments outside of the School of Social Work. 

Independent Studies
An Independent Study (IS) is an individual-instruction course. A student does not attend class on a formal basis, but instead works with an individual professor on a subject of interest. 

  • Each IS is worth 3 credit hours
  • A maximum of 6 credit hours of coursework may be IS
  • Prior to enrollment in an IS, a written plan of work must be submitted to and approved by the student’s Chair/ or Advisor
  • Written evidence of approval must be presented prior to registration

While preparing for and completing their General Examination and dissertation research, students may enroll in Dissertation hours. These credit hours permit students to work independently on their dissertation projects and students are assigned a P/F grade, not a letter.


Human Development & Family Science CONCENTRATION


PHD Student Handbook




Catherine Lemieux
PhD Program Director
3222 Huey P. Long Field House

EMAIL Dr. Lemieux