The doctoral program in social work and social research at Bryn Mawr College is designed to support the development of leaders in social work education and research. Effective leaders must be skilled at knowing how to ask the right questions, gather evidence systematically, and interpret it critically and with sophistication. In addition, they must communicate effectively, presenting ideas persuasively for a variety of audiences. At the GSSWSR, doctoral education in social work focuses on the development of these skills in the context of a rigorous examination of social and behavioral theory. Founded during the tumult of Progressive Era reform, the program has a long and distinguished record; indeed, the very first doctoral degree in social work awarded by a college or university in the United States was awarded at Bryn Mawr in 1920.
Doctoral education at Bryn Mawr is demanding; it is also rewarding. The School has a productive, multidisciplinary faculty whose members work closely with students in small classes. Additionally, doctoral students have many opportunities to work with faculty and graduate students in other departments at Bryn Mawr College. While admission is highly selective, the environment is friendly and supportive. The concern with strengthening a caring society as a whole is reflected in a caring community at Bryn Mawr in which people value each other yet insist on intellectual growth and critical exchange.
The curriculum reflects the School’s commitment to academic rigor, innovation, and leadership. Sophisticated training in behavioral and social theory, research methodology, and data analysis has been present since the School’s founding. Bryn Mawr was among the first doctoral programs in social work to offer formal instruction in clinical research. Today, in addition, training in qualitative analysis complements multivariate statistical instruction. A faculty of renown scholars brings intellectual excitement to the classroom as well as a commitment to addressing the pressing questions, problems and dilemmas confronting the United States and the international community. Doctoral students come from all over the world and have been awarded Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, fellowships from foreign governments and the Council on Social Work Education.