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Practice Doctoral Program Accreditation Update, August 2019

A Practice Doctorate Committee formed shortly after the CSWE Board of Directors passed this motion (Board minutes, 3/5/2016) in March:

  • Accreditation of Practice Doctoral Programs in Social Work
    • President Coffey presented an overview of the number of activities related to discussing and examining the issues of practice doctorates over the last ten (10) years. A motion was made to The Board requesting that the Commission on Accreditation move forward with developing a process for the accreditation of practice doctoral programs consistent with existing CSWE processes. It was noted that the process will need to be done in a quality way and will need support and staffing to move forward with the implementation process. The motion was seconded and accepted. (Unanimous)

The Practice Doctorate Committee (see here for the list of committee members) worked over the last 3 years to gain input from all sectors of the membership. The result was a draft set of standards and a process for the Commission on Accreditation (COA) to consider in anticipation of piloting accreditation of practice doctoral programs in fall 2019.

At its June 2019 meeting, the COA determined that questions remained about the impact of either accrediting or not accrediting these programs and therefore voted not to move forward. Instead, the COA formed a subcommittee to articulate the remaining questions and identify the sources and/or process to answer them. This subcommittee will present its findings to the full COA at its October meeting. We will provide an update to programs following that meeting. If you have questions, please contact Mary Kurfess, director of CSWE Accreditation at


Practice Doctoral Program Accreditation Documents