The Institute for Clinical Social Work

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Now accepting applications for Fall 2018 Reduced application fee until January 1


ICSW is pleased to offer its acclaimed, accredited Clinical Ph.D. program in a Distance Learning format. ‘Distance Learning’ is not online education: our students meet in real-time with their fellow classmates and their instructor, via live video, plus come to ICSW’s Chicago campus twice a semester for a weekend of classes. Distance Learning students enjoy the same faculty guidance and attention as Onsite students. And on graduation day, all students find themselves better equipped to address the challenges of clinical social work in the twenty- first century.


Program Overview

  • Classes meet online in the evenings for a total of five online meetings per semester
  • Twice each semester, online students attend live onsite classes at our Chicago campus where they work with faculty members and onsite students
  • Coursework is spread over four years, making the curriculum manageable for practicing clinicians
  • Complete five classes per semester; intensive onsite classes are held each summer
  • Communicate regularly with assigned faculty advisor
  • Online access to the Robert Morris Thomas Jefferson Library’s physical and digital holdings and other electronic resources
  • Online technology required: software (provided by ICSW), an up-to-date computer system, high-speed internet access, a webcam, and an audio headset

Academic Curriculum

Distance Learning students follow the same curriculum as students in the on-site program except that most of the class sessions are held online in “real time” seminars. Students take a total of five classes each semester — each class requires 16 hours of instruction. Distance Learning students complete 12 hours of instruction online, and the remaining four hours are completed at the ICSW campus during two weekends each semester. Weekend classes are scheduled in advance and meet all day on Saturday and continue through Sunday morning. Full-time students will have approximately five hours of class each week, divided into two semesters, from October through June.

The Clinical Practicum

Distance Learning students complete their clinical consultation online using our teaching platform or another video conference system such as Skype. These meetings are arranged by students with their consultants at a mutually agreeable time. Students are also expected to meet with their consultants in person during the weekend classes.

The Research Practicum

For Distance Learning students, the research consultation is offered online using our teaching platform or another video conference system such as Skype. These meetings are arranged by students with their consultants at a mutually agreeable time. Students are also expected to meet with their consultants in person during the weekend classes.

Student Advising

Like On-site students, when entering our program, each Distance Learning student is assigned an academic advisor and a first clinical consultant, and then a committee chair when they begin the dissertation process. Distance Learning students meet with these advisors online using our teaching platform or another video conference system such as Skype, or in-person when attending weekend classes.


Admissions Criteria

The admission guidelines for the Distance Learning and the Onsite doctoral programs are the same — applicants must submit the same documentation and meet the same admissions criteria as Onsite applicants. Distance Learning students will also be expected to attend an Onsite orientation held in August.

Applicants to the Distance Learning program must meet two additional criteria:

  • Live outside of a 150-mile radius from Downtown Chicago. Students who have work, family, or religious commitments that make commuting to the Onsite program impossible are encouraged to apply to the distance program.
  • Competence with computer and internet-based technology.