PhD Social Work is a 2-3 year doctorate course in Social Work. This course is specially designed for professionals for advancement in their profession and in their careers. This is a research-based course where the candidates usually work in a specific area. They conduct their own research on the problems residing in our society.
Check out the top PhD Social Work Colleges in India.
The course usually covers topics like Quantitative Scientific Methods, Survey of Research Methods in Social & Behavioral Science, Integrating Public Policy Issues, Outcomes into Social Work Research, Doctoral Teaching Practicum, and Dissertation direction. Candidates opting for the course should have a passion for research and aspire to present at conferences or publish their findings in respected journals
The duration of the program varies depending upon the institution. The minimum duration is 2-3 years from the date of registration and the maximum is 5-6 years. The minimum eligibility is a master’s degree in Social Work from a recognized college or university or its equivalent exam.
PhD Social Work admissions are done on the basis of the candidate's performance in a relevant entrance test, followed by a round of counseling. Institutes also offer direct admission to candidates who have work experience of 5 minimum years in the field of social work. The average tuition fee charged for PhD Social Work programs in India ranges between INR 1,000 to INR 2,00,000.
Some of the top colleges and institutes which provide admission to PhD Social Work are as follows:
|India Today 2020 Ranking||Name of the College||Admission Criteria||Average Annual Fee||Average Salary|
|1||Tata Institute of Social Sciences - TISS, Mumbai||Research Aptitude Test (RAT)||INR 44,667||INR 6,00,000|
|3||Delhi University, Delhi||Entrance Test||INR 20,600||INR 4,50,000|
|4||Madras School of Social Work, Chennai||Merit-Based||INR 16,680||INR 5,00,000|
|5||Loyola College, Chennai||PhD Entrance Test||INR 18,000||INR 3,50,000|
|7||Christ University, Bangalore||PhD Entrance Exam||INR 30,000||INR 4,00,000|
One can also pursue a PhD through distance learning programs. Institutes like Madras School of Social Work, IGNOU, etc offer distance learning in PhD Social Work. IGNOU is especially known for distance learning education only and also stands best in this field.
Distance Learning PhD meets the needs of students who are unable to attend on-campus classes. However, they have less value as compared to Full-time PhD. The course fees for distance education ranges from INR 16,000 to INR 60,000.
Such postgraduates can work as a Lecturer/ Professor, Social and Community Service Manager, School, and Career Counsellor, Social and Human Service Assistant, etc. The average salary of the candidates in this field is around INR 4,50,000 per annum.
PhD Social Work Admission Process
- Admission in most of the colleges/universities is based on the Entrance Exam conducted by the university. The exam is further followed by a personal interview including profile assessment, research work/proposal, and work experience.
- Few universities/colleges, instead of conducting an entrance exam, also call the candidates directly for the interview on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying examination.
- The distance learning institutes like IGNOU admit students based on the entrance exam known as IGNOU OPENMAT. The applications for the same are available twice a year for every course. Candidates can choose to apply according to their convenience.
- Colleges like the University of Madras, Madras School of Social Work, etc. conduct admission based on merit i.e, the marks scored in the master’s degree programs.
- Also as per the UGC Regulations 2016, those who have qualified UGC-NET / UGC-CSIR NET/ SLET / GATE/teacher fellowship holder (KSET, SET, etc.) or have passed M.Phil Programme shall be exempted from the Entrance Examination. These candidates should take only a Research Skill Assessment Test along with their Personal Interview.
Entrance Based Admission
Some of the top institutes like TISS Mumbai, Delhi University, Loyola College, and Christ University offer admission on the basis of Entrance Tests. The exams are usually conducted at the university level or they select on the basis of State/ National Level Entrance Exams. Here are the steps of the admission process through entrances.
- Step 1: The candidates will have to apply for the entrance exam by filling up the application form, uploading the documents, and paying the application fees.
- Step 2: The candidates can download the admit card and sit in the entrance exam.
- Step 3: The results will be declared and the institutes accepting the particular exam will release their cut-off list.
- Step 4: Candidates who cleared the cut-off, can apply to the institutes.
- Step 5: The institute will call the candidate for a personal interview.
- Step 6: Candidates who were able to clear the interview, can enroll after document verification.
PhD Social Work Eligibility
The candidates taking admission in PhD Social Work should fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria, that includes:
- A Master’s degree in Social Work is required to gain admission to a doctoral program. In some subjects, doing a Masters in Philosophy (M.Phil.) is a prerequisite to start PhD
- M.Phil students will also be exempted from the entrance exams.
- For some prestigious Universities, a candidate is required to qualify the all India level examination such as ‘National Eligibility Test for Lectureship (NET) conducted by University Grants Commission.
PhD Social Work Entrance Exams
Research entrance exams are being conducted by various colleges/universities in India for PhD Social Work. Students are granted admission based on the score obtained in the entrance exams or qualifying exam, followed by an interview. Dates of some universities are as follows:
- UGC NET: National Testing Agency on behalf of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will be conducting UGC NET after June to determine the eligibility for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and for Lectureship (LS) / Assistant Professorship’ in Indian universities and colleges.
- TISS RAT: The Research Aptitude Test, conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences - TISS, Mumbai, for admission into all the 4 TISS campuses.
- DUET: The entrance exam conducted by Delhi University mid-year, for admission in PG and Research programs.
- Loyola College PhD Test: The Research Admission Test conducted by Loyola College, Chennai in the month of July.
- Christ University PhD Exam: The Research Admission Test conducted by Christ University, Bangalore in the month of June.
|Entrance Exams||Mode of Exam||Application Deadline||Exam Date|
|UGC NET||Online||June 30, 2020||To be announced|
|TISS RAT||Online||January 17, 2020||February 14, 2020|
|DUET||Online||June 2020||To be announced|
|Loyola College PhD Entrance Test||Online||July 2020||July 2020|
|Christ University PhD Entrance Exam||Online||June 8, 2020||June 13, 2020|
How to prepare for PhD Social Work entrance exams?
To start the preparation for PhD Social Work entrance exam, the candidates should be aware of the syllabus and the exam pattern and then prepare according to it.
- Exam Pattern: Various universities have different exam patterns but the most common one has been divided into two papers i,e. Paper 1 and 2. The syllabus of paper 1 is common for all the subjects whereas Paper 2 syllabus will be based on the subject that the candidate chooses.
- Important Topics: The syllabus may differ for various exams but knowing the common topic that is usually included for PhD Social Work exams may help the candidates to prepare for various exams. Some of the common topics are:
|Nature and Development of Social Work|
|Society, Human Behavior and Communities|
|Social Work with Individuals and Groups|
|Social Work with Communities and Social Action|
|Research in Social Work: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches|
|Administration, Welfare and Development Services|
|Social Policy, Planning and Social Development|
|Indian Constitution, Social Justice, Human Rights, and Social Work Practice|
|Areas of Social Work Practice|
How to get admission in a top PhD Social Work College?
To get admission in top PhD Social Work colleges, the following points must be kept in mind:
- You can secure a place in a good college/institute if your qualifying examination scores are exceptional.
- Also, your performance in entrance exams, conducted by different universities or state / national bodies, should be good enough to clear the cutoffs.
- General Aptitude, General English, General Awareness, and subject matter knowledge is essential.
- Strong academic background, research work, and professional work experience help in securing the seat in a renowned institute.
- Keep a track of eligibility, course cut-off, the application process, application deadline, application fee, and other updates in newspapers, official websites, educational magazines, etc. so that you don’t miss any college offering PhD Social Work.
- Entrance examination preparation should be started as early as possible so that you have enough time to polish your general knowledge and quantitative skills.
- Practice as many papers and questions to increase time management skills during entrance exams.
PhD Social Work: What is it About?
PhD Social Work is a vast field of study. Few basic points about the course have been mentioned below for a better understanding:
- PhD Social Work is a research-based course of 2-3 years but it may extend up to 4-6 years depending on the effort the candidates put on their dissertation.
- The candidates pursuing the course will have to choose an area of specialization to conduct proper research. The research will be based on the real-world issues affecting our society.
- The course will cover everything from individual case management or service delivery practices to human service system reform.
- The aim of the PhD course is to develop leaders who will advance the practice of social work through research or by educating others.
- The institutes offer very limited seats for PhD courses, and thus they are usually sponsored by the government or by the institute through scholarships.
- The students learn to find and utilize both the quantitative and qualitative data in order to understand and communicate about human experience and to make more informed decisions.
PhD Social Work Course Highlights
Some of the major highlights of PhD Social Work along with the duration, eligibility, admission process, course fee are given below:
|Course Level||Doctorate Degree|
|Duration of the Course||3-6 years|
|Eligibility||Master Degree / M.Phil in a related subject|
|Admission Process||Entrance exam and personal interview|
|Average Course Fee||INR 1000 to 2 lacs|
|Average Starting Salary||INR 2 lacs to 8 lacs|
|Top Job Areas||Educational Institutes, Human Services Industry, Publishing Houses, Newspapers, Magazines, Philosophical Journals, Research Institutes, Consultancy Services, Law Firms, etc.|
|Top Job Positions||Lecturer & Professor, Social and Community Service Manager, Schoo,l and Career Counsellor, Social and Human Service Assistant, Health Educator and Community Health Workers, Teachers and Researchers, Human Services Worker, Novelist, Writer or Editor, Journalist, Philosophical Journalist, Researcher, Scientist, etc.|
Why study PhD Social Work?
Prospective scholars, educators, or researchers, in social work generally go for social work PhD programs because of the following reasons:
- PhD Social Work course teaches different services intended to help poor people and matured and to expand their welfare.
- Social Work is both an expert and scholarly course whose region of study is planned for enhancing the personal satisfaction of an individual, group, or community having a place with a weaker segment.
- PhD Social Work trains individuals who are now working or want to work in the Development and Welfare segments.
- PhD helps a candidate to become a Social Worker and perform in different capacities. Social workers perform interventions by policy, research, direct practice, community organizing, and teaching.
- PhD is especially for the individuals who need to put in a couple of years more as an understudy. People who need to seek a career as a college professor or researcher in a field can enroll in any of the colleges or institutes offering a doctor of philosophy degree.
PhD Social Work vs PhD Sociology
Both these courses are of 3-6 years, but PhD Sociology is different from PhD Social Work on the basis of its purpose, course structure, job prospects, salary, etc, as shown below in the following table.
Check out the top PhD Sociology Colleges in India.
|Parameters||PhD Social Work||PhD Sociology|
|Overview||Social Work is both an expert and scholarly course whose region of study is planned for enhancing the personal satisfaction of an individual, group, or community having a place with a weaker segment.||Sociology as a subject including many diverse topics relating to humans and human society, sociological topics such as crime, religion, family, State, division of race, social class, culture, social stability, radical change, etc.|
|Average Fees||INR 1,000 to 2 lacs||INR 4,000 to 5 Lacs|
|Duration||3-6 years||3-6 years|
|Eligibility||Master Degree / M.Phil in related subjects||Post-graduation / M.Phil in Arts|
|Admission Process||An entrance exam, followed by personal interview||An entrance exam, followed by personal interview|
|Top Colleges||Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Delhi University, Delhi
Chennai Christ University, Bangalore
|Christ University, Bangalore
Presidency University, Kolkata
Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur
Jadavpur University, Kolkata
|Job Roles||Educational Institutes, Human Services Industry, Publishing Houses, Newspapers, Magazines, Philosophical Journals, Research Institutes, Consultancy Services, Law Firms, etc.||College Professor, Sociologist, Political Scientist, Policy Analysts, Management Consultants, Social Workers, Survey Researchers, Pollsters, Human Resources (HR) Representatives, Public Relations Specialists, Guidance Counselors, among others such.|
|Average Salary||INR 2 to 8 Lacs||INR 4 to 15 Lacs|
PhD Social Work Top Colleges
Listed below are some of the top institutes offering the course in the country with the corresponding locations and fees charged by them.
|India Today 2020 Ranking||College Name||City||Average Annual Fee||Average Salary|
|1||Tata Institute of Social Sciences - TISS||Mumbai||INR 44,667||INR 5,00,000 - INR 600,000|
|2||Rajagiri College Of Social Sciences||Cochin||No fees charged (Sponsored by the government)||INR 2,50,000|
|3||Delhi University||Delhi||INR 20,600||INR 4,00,000 - INR 4,50,000|
|4||Madras School of Social Work||Chennai||INR 16,680||INR 4,00,000 - INR 5,00,000|
|5||Loyola College||Chennai||INR 18,000||INR 3,00,000 - INR 3,50,000|
|7||Christ University||Bangalore||INR 30,000||INR 3,00,000 - INR 4,00,000|
|9||Banaras Hindu University - BHU||Varanasi||INR 3,256||-|
|11||Manipal Academy Of Higher Education||Manipal||INR 59,000||-|
|13||Central University Of Rajasthan||Ajmer||INR 24,055||-|
|14||Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University||Udaipur||INR 42,300||-|
A comparison of the top colleges offering PhD Social Work has been mentioned in the table below. The comparison has been done on the basis of ranking, course fees, eligibility, admission process, and salary.
|Parameters||TISS, Mumbai||Christ University, Bangalore||Madras School of Social Work, Chennai|
|Overview||TISS was established in 1936 and approved by NAAC, UGC. It offers several undergraduate, postgraduate, and research courses.||Christ University was established in 1969 and approved by NAAC, UGC. It is the first indigenous Syrian Catholic religious congregation in India.||Madras School of Social Work is affiliated to the University of Madras. It was established in 1952 and approved by NAAC. It also offers various UG, PG, and research courses.|
|India Today Ranking 2020||1||7||4|
|Eligibility||55% marks (50% for SC/ST & PWD) in Master’s degree or GPA of 3.5 in the discipline of Social Science or Allied discipline.||55% marks in PG degree with an M.Phil degree. Those students who have passed CSIR NET/ JRF/ GATE or SLET will be exempted from the requirement of M.Phil degree||Completed post-graduation in social work or other relevant domains.|
|Admission Process||Research Aptitude Test (RAT) followed by Performance in Academics, Work Experience, Statement of Purpose & Interview||Entrance test conducted by the university followed by academic score and an interview||Merit in the qualifying degree examination|
|Average Annual Fees||INR 44,667||INR 30,000||INR 16,680|
|Monthly Fellowship Stipend||INR 3,000 - 5,000||INR 8,000||-|
|Top Recruiters||Hindustan Times, Midday, Piramal Healthcare,| Reliance | Teach For India, The Hindu, The Times Of India, The Indian Express, etc.||L&T Komatsu, Schneider Electric, GAAR, Bharat Electronics, Hope Foundation, CRY, Make A Wish, etc.||Cognizant, TVS Srinivasan Services Trust, Mphasis, Ashok Leyland, Ernst & Young, SYNTEL, etc.|
PhD Social Work Distance Learning
A large number of students every year go ahead with PhD through distance education. Some of the top options are IGNOU, Christ University, etc.
- The minimum PhD course duration from distance is 3 years and the maximum duration is 6 years.
- In order to pursue a PhD from a distance, the eligibility and the admission criteria are the same
- Admission is offered to students on the basis of merit.
- There is no age limit set for the aspirants eager to pursue this course from distance.
- IGNOU is one of the renowned institutes offering distance learning education in various courses including PhD Social Work. It has been helping the working professionals to continue with their education along with having a job, since 1985. They usually conduct online classes and keep sending the study material regularly.
Tabulated below are some of the universities offering PhD Social Work Distance Education.
|Name of the Institute||Location||Duration||Average Annual Fees|
|Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)||New Delhi||Min 2-3 years and Max. 5-6 years||INR 16,600|
|Christ University||Chennai||Min 2-3 years and Max. 5-6 years||INR 60,000|
|Venkateshwara Open University||Naharlagun||Min 2-3 years and Max. 5-6 years||INR 49,000|
PhD Social Work Syllabus
The program comprises both course and research work; the amount of coursework one should undergo depends on the candidates' past background and the research one is engaged in. Basically, the program includes:
- Qualifying Examination
- Preparation of Research Proposal
- Thesis Work
The PhD Social Work course syllabus is based on the curriculum followed by colleges/universities in India. The syllabus may slightly differ based on the universities.
|Semester I||Semester II|
|Social Work – History and Ideologies||Management of Developmental and Welfare Services|
|Work with Individuals and Families||Social Work Research and Statistics|
|Work with Groups||Social Work Practicum – II|
|Work with Communities||Social Work Practicum – III|
|Human Growth and Development||Communication and Counselling / or Gandhian Approach to Welfare and Development|
|Social Work Practicum – I||Personal and Professional Growth / or Population and Environment|
|Semester III||Semester IV|
|Human Resource Management||Employee Relations and Legislation|
|Social Work Practicum – IV||Mental Health and Psychiatric Social Work|
|Social Work with Tribal and Rural Communities/ or Organisational Behaviour and Organisational Development||Major Project|
|Preventive and Social Medicine and Medical Social Work/ or Rehabilitation and Aftercare Services||Social Work Practicum – V|
|Social Policy, Planning, and Development / or Legal System In India||Social Work Practicum – VI|
|-||Human Resource Development and Employee Wellness / or Case studies|
PhD Social Work Books
Candidates can refer to the following renowned books for the preparation of PhD Social Work:
|UGC NET or SET JRF and LS Social Work||Fazle Kibria|
|UGC NET JRF SET Social Work||Achaldendra Kumar|
|Social Work for UGC NET||Nitesh Dhawan|
PhD Social Work Job Profiles & Career Prospects
The field of social work has over various career options. It totally depends on the area the candidate wants to work. The jobs are usually in the sectors where the need of development and improvement is highly required.
- They can work as government employees and work for the betterment of society. Such jobs may include identifying issues at macro and micro levels and finding solutions to solve them. The issues include poverty, addiction, physical and mental health problems, and family issues.
- The graduates can also work for NGOs and work to solve a specific issue.
- They can work for private companies. The private companies usually hire such graduates to manage their CSR programs.
- They can do jobs as a Lecturer/ Professor, Social & Community Worker, Researchers, Social Activist, Writer/ Editor, Journalist, Philosophical Journalist,Scientist, etc.
Some of the job options available to PhD Social Work are mentioned below along with the description and salary.
|Job Position||Job Description||Average Annual Salary|
|Social and Community Service Managers||Social and community service managers are responsible to coordinate and organize social service programs and community organizations. They are in charge of managing staff that provides social services to the public.||INR 2 to 3 lakh|
|School and Career Counsellors||School counselors are responsible to help candidates develop social and academic skills and succeed in school. Career counselors take responsibility to assist people with the method of making career decisions by helping them grow skills or choose a career or educational program.||INR 2 to 4 lakh|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||Social and human service assistants are responsible for providing client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as rehabilitation, psychology, and social work. They are in charge of assisting other workers, likewise social workers, and they empower clients to find benefits or community services.||INR 5 to 6 lakh|
|Health Educators and Community Health Workers||Health educators are in charge of teaching people about behaviors that promote health. They are responsible to develop and implement strategies to enhance the health of peoples and communities. Community health workers are responsible to collect information and discuss health problems with members of specific populations or communities.||INR 3 to 4 lakh|
|Researchers||Researchers are in charge of conducting research in government or private organizations or in institutes, university or college departments.||INR 4 to 6 lakh|
PhD Social Work Scope
- The working area for social workers is very vast. They work with populations from newly born to elderly people. They serve their services to individuals, families, and communities.
- The social worker can work in different areas like Hospitals, Clinics, Health Industry, Education Sector, NGOs, Human Rights Agencies, Old Age Homes, Disaster Management Departments, etc.
- Nowadays the social care centers are opening every year at various places, thus the demand for social workers is also increasing. The PhD holders can get employed where the need for a child and family social worker is needed.
- Social Workers can also find job opportunities in international organizations like UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, and other organizations with similar working strategies. These organizations look for social workers for their projects and developmental projects and they also pay well for social workers.
- As for government jobs, professionals in the field of social work can find job opportunities in government community development projects. Government organizations in India offer job opportunities to social workers in tribal welfare, women welfare, and child welfare programs and these professionals can find job opportunities in other government sector organizations as well.
Ques. Can a student pursue PhD Social Work through Distance Education?
Ans. Yes, distance mode of education is offered by a few universities in India, but the duration and curriculum may vary from the regular one.
Ques. What is the status of the application processes? Are those extended because of COVID 19 outbreak?
Ans. The registration processes and exams have been affected because of a nationwide lockdown in India due to the COVID 19 outbreak. The exact exam schedule can be obtained from official college websites.
Ques. How many times a year PhD admission takes place?
Ans. It depends on the university norms. Most of the universities conduct PhD admissions twice a year, based on the vacancies. However, few universities also conduct admissions more than twice a year.
Ques. What is UGC NET?
Ans. UGC NET is a national level entrance examination for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Eligibility for Lectureship (LS)
Ques. How many attempts for UGC NET?
Ans. There is no limit on the number of attempts for the NET (JRF) exam. Students can keep appearing for the exam till the age of 28 years for general and for SC/ST/Persons with Disability(PwD)/ female applicants till the age of 33 years and 31 years in case of OBC (Non-Creamy Layer).
Ques. Difference between CSIR NET and UGC NET?
Ans. The CSIR NET conducted for the Science stream, including Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Earth Atmospheric Ocean and Planetary Sciences.Whereas the UGC NET is conducted for all the other streams.
Ques. Are the PG final year students eligible for PhD Social Work?
Ans. Yes, the final year PG students can be eligible, but that depends on the eligibility criteria of different universities. Some universities require post-graduate work experience, while some don't.
Ques. Do one compulsorily need to appear for University Research Entrance Tests and Interviews?
Ans. As per the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil/PhD Degrees) Regulations 2016, those who qualify UGC-NET (including JRF) / UGC-CSIR NET (including JRF) / SLET / GATE/teacher fellowship holder (KSET, SET, etc.) or have passed M.Phil Programme shall be exempted from the Entrance Examinations. However, the candidates need to appear for a Personal Interview on the basis of qualifying exam criteria.
Ques. What are the areas of employment for PhD Social Work holders?
Ans. They can get jobs in Educational Institutes, Human Services Industry, Publishing Houses, Newspapers, Magazines, Philosophical Journals, Research Institutes, Consultancy Services, Law Firms, etc.
Ques. What are the top universities to pursue PhD Social Work abroad?
Ans. The University of Strathclyde, The University of Western Australia, York University, Carleton University, University of Essex, University of Manchester, University of Gloucestershire, University of Warwick, etc.