Professional Practice Doctoral Program Accreditation

Professional Practice Doctoral Program Accreditation

CSWE and its Board of Accreditation (BOA) are currently piloting the accreditation of professional practice doctoral programs. For information regarding the pilot, please click here
CSWE’s BOA is currently recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit baccalaureate and master’s social work degree programs in the United States and its territories. Before the scope of accreditation can be expanded to include professional practice doctoral programs, the BOA must conduct a pilot of the accreditation process in accordance with CHEA requirements. 

What are professional practice doctoral programs?

Professional practice doctoral programs in social work prepare graduates to advance practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels as well as in higher education and/or professional leadership. Individual programs determine their own degree designation but most of these programs designate “DSW” as the degree awarded.
These doctoral programs educate master’s-level social work practitioners who are graduates of CSWE-accredited programs as doctoral level practitioner-scholars who will develop, translate, and advance social work practice knowledge; engage in systematic inquiry; and apply and disseminate research-informed knowledge, values, ethics, and skills in social work through practice, professional leadership, and teaching.

Accreditation Standards for Professional Practice Doctoral Programs

In June 2020, CSWE-BOA approved and adopted the Accreditation Standards for Professional Practice Doctoral Programs in Social Work for use during the accreditation pilot.

In 2023 an accredtiation standards writing committee, consisting of BOA and COEP (Commission on Educational Policy) representatives, was established and is working to develop draft post-pilot standards for constituent and public feedback. Opportunities for feedback on the draft post-pilot standards will be provided throughout 2024.