Social Work

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The mission of Howard University School of Social Work is to prepare graduates for advanced professional practice at local, national and international levels for the solution of human problems and to become leaders in their communities: and to prepare doctoral graduates for research, the professoriate, and leadership in the global community.  We are dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge through discovery, research, partnerships, innovative process and other scholarly educational endeavors of the faculty, staff, students and alumni. Graduates are expected to become architects of liberating structures in culturally diverse families and communities by The Black Perspective – our six guiding principles, affirmation, strengths, diversity, vivification, social justice, and internationalization. Our students engage in critical thinking that uses these principles along with other theories including intersectionality, critical race theory, symbolic interaction, and more.  Leadership in advocating for the needs of individuals, families and communities is our hallmark. We offer the MSW program, the MSW/Ph.D. program, the Ph.D. program (this program is for students who already have a MSW), the MSW/MDiv program, the MSW/MBA program, the MSW/MPH program, and the newly added Online MSW program. Visit for more information of the school and our MSW programs.

The Ph.D. Program in social work is research oriented and interdisciplinary in nature. It prepares graduates for leadership positions as academicians and researchers, educators, policy makers and senior level administrators. Specialization areas include Family and Community, Health and Mental Health, International Development as well as other student and faculty agreed upon areas. Our program provides a focused and highly personalized student learning process with a knowledgeable and caring faculty.  Students are challenged to grow as scholars and encouraged to use their experience as social workers to be exceptional in their scientific inquiry and examination. Students attend important functions with faculty and often present at professional conferences. Quality mentorship is a critically important part of our program. We are especially proud of our alumni and the contributions that they are making both nationally and globally. They are leaders in the field and staunch advocates for social justice and the eradication of injustice in all of its forms. 

Doctoral education at Howard University began in the 1970s.  We are the first HBCU to have a doctoral program in social work. Originally, we offered the DSW degree (research doctorate) and in the late 1990s began offering the PHD degree under the auspices of the Graduate School. The first DSW was offered in May, 1980 and the first PhD in May, 1997. The DSW degree is no longer offered.

Recent HUSSW Dissertation Topics


“The Direct Effect and Contributing Factors of Vicarious Trauma on Children” (S. Howard)

"Freedom from The Darkest Years: Reintegration of Sex Trafficking Survivors, A Phenomenological Study" (J. Orme)


"The Impact of Multiple Types of Child Maltreatment on Pregnancy Outcomes” (K. Atkinson)

"Medical Home Adequacy for Youth Receiving SSI during Pre-Transition” (A. Davis)

"Exploration of Romantic Relationships among African-American Former Foster Care Youth” (G. Jones, Jr.)

"Understanding Correlates of Stigma and Coping Strategies among Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study” (S. Sultana)

"The Social Workers’ Perspective: Financial Literacy, Education, Practice and Policy” (S. Younger)


No Graduates


"School Social Workers’ Perceptions of Microaggressive Experiences of Black High School Students: A Qualitative Analysis” 
(T. Newton)

"Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care: The Relationship Between Trauma Exposure, Social Support, and the Outcomes of Economic Well Being” (S. Waites)


"Factors Influencing the Imposter Phenomenon in Black Social Work Ph.D. Students Attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities” (L. Hogg)

"Soy de Aquí y de Allá: Exploring how HBCU’s contribute to Afro-Latine Students’ Identity Development and Mental Health” 
(N. Munoz)

"Health Locus of Control, HIV-Related Stigma, Mental Health, Quality of Life, and Social Support in Perinatally HIV-Infected Adults” 
(A. Wilbon)

"The Invisibility of Vulnerability: A Phenomenological Investigation of Black Women’s Experiences of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” (A. Zonicle)

Dean FAQ

Message from the Dean of the School of Social Work

Sandra Edmonds Crewe

At Howard University we have a long-standing commitment to excellence in graduate social work education.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) states that “Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster average for all occupations. Increased demand for healthcare and social services will drive demand for social workers…”   To meet this growing demand, social work faculty, researchers and scholars are needed.  Thank you in advance for your pursuit of a degree that will make a difference in the world.  Collectively, we have made many changes, however, there is more to be done. I look forward to you joining our family and adding to the cadre of doctoral alumni who are shaping lives. 

Read the message from the Dean

Sandra Edmonds Crewe                  
Dean and Professor of Social Work
All credentials must be sent to:
Howard University Graduate School 
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
2400 Sixth Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20059


image of Sandra Crewe
Office of the Dean, Social Work
Sandra Crewe


Professor of Social Work

Center for Women, Gender and Global Leadership

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Soleman Abu-Bader
Social Work Program
Soleman Abu-Bader

Director of Doctoral Education

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Chanel Banks


- Chanel Banks, Howard University'17, Master's of Social Work, White House Initiative on HBCUs Ambassador

The Howard University School of Social Work has not only taught me to affirm the strengths of the populations I serve, but to also affirm my own strength. Howard cultivated an environment that challenged my self-doubts and strengthened my skills in macro practice. My educational growth has been phenomenal, and I truly cherish Howard for affording me the opportunity to understand the powerful impact I bring to social work.