To ensure that incoming students receive the in-depth advising they need to develop a customized program of study, the Doctoral Committee selects an advisor for each student during the admissions process, matching theoretical and substantive interests. Students have the opportunity to work with several faculty members as their course of study evolves. Annually, students meet with advisors to complete an annual "self-assessment" in which they may track their substantive progress. The assessment focuses on developing expertise rather than meeting milestones so that conversations between student and advisor focus on intellectual and skill development.

Students participate in a variety of colloquia and workshops held by SSA and by other units of the University. A required, non-credit seminar is offered in their first year in the program to connect students with appropriate faculty and to develop the knowledge and skills needed to initiate and complete an independent research project. Students are exposed to cutting-edge research and scholarship in these forums. They also have the opportunity to present and refine their own ideas and receive feedback from leading scholars in the field.

Preparation for Teaching

The School offers training and teaching opportunities to develop as a teacher while still a student. Doctoral students may apply to SSA's teaching apprentice program. The teaching apprentice program is an unique two-year program where students work closely with a faculty mentor as their teaching assistant in year one, and then teach independently in year two. Teaching apprentices also help to develop teaching workshops throughout the year that are designed to prepare doctoral students for the academic job market. All doctoral students may participate in the workshops.

Career Services

SSA is one of few schools of social work with a full-time career services office. SSA's Director of Career Services, Michael Jogerst, Ph.D., provides career and professional development workshops and seminars for both master's and doctoral students. 

Each year, SSA Career Services assembles a resume book for all graduating doctoral candidates seeking academic appointments, and promotes this book to deans and directors of schools of social work.