Doctorate Program

Doctorate in Social Work

The PhD in Social Work, available in French only, prepares students to become autonomous and independent minded researchers and high-level professionals. Graduates will be equipped to analyze the relationships between the micro-level and macro-level dimensions of social work practice. They will be able to exercise a leadership role in their area of expertise and collaborate in direct intervention and policy development environments. They will also be able to contribute significantly, through the production of scientific knowledge, to the renewal of social work practice. The PhD program in Social Work also trains qualified specialists who aim to pursue a career in higher education and research.

General information and program requirements - Social Work - uOttawa Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Orientation and fields of study

The PhD program is focused on the critical and contextualized analysis of the practices of social intervention in the fields of health and family-childhood. According to this perspective, practices are considered as having been elaborated at specific points in time and in particular environments, with the aim of responding to social problems, which are in turn always historically situated. This consideration of context requires that practices be analyzed at the juncture of social structures and the action of social actors. Social work, which is founded on multiple sources of disciplinary knowledge, presents a privileged perspective through which to understand the dynamic interaction between the macro-social and micro-social dimensions of practice. Our Ph.D. program is specifically interested in these dynamics.

The fields of health and family-childhood are defined to accommodate a very wide variety of research interests and will be integrated in all courses offered at the PhD level. Candidates are invited to contact the Supervisor of Graduate Studies or professors at the School of Social Work to see how their research interests can fit into the PhD program. The fields are defined as follows.


The study of the social dimensions of social work intervention in the area of health is concerned with the issues arising from the definitions and meanings attributed to health and sickness (both mental and physical), from the social determinants of health and from the networks and organizations offering support and services.


This field of study concerns the social issues, interventions, social policies and research related to social work practice in organizations working with children, adolescents, young adults, families and the elderly; it takes into account age, social class, sexual orientation, ethnic and cultural belongings, abilities and geographical context. Both fields of study are aimed at encouraging a greater understanding of intervention in French language minority communities but are not limited to this purpose.

The School of Social Work of the University of Ottawa is partner of the International Thematic Network of PhD programs in social representations and communication (SoReCom EuroPhD World). The SoReCom EuroPhD World provides training and research opportunities at European universities in the paradigmatic area of social representations.

Apply for admission (The program is offered in French only)

Please consult the specific requirements for the Doctorate in Social Work (uOttawa Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies).

For further information, please contact Simon Lapierre, PhD, Supervisor of Graduate Studies, at 613-562-5800, extension 6392 or at

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