The Institute for Clinical Social Work

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Chicago, Hyde Park, and Online

Program Overview

ICSW’s doctoral program, offered onsite or distance, is a three year course of study designed for working clinicians. Our curriculum is strategically designed to blur the lines between the classroom and students’ own practice settings, enabling students to use their own cases as a basis for learning. After completion of coursework, students experience incomparable support at every step of the dissertation process.

Coursework incorporates advanced clinical practice, theoretical study, and research experience.


  • Three years of coursework for full-time students (total of 76 semester credit hours)
  • Classes meet on alternating weeks
  • Students take courses in a small cohort model
  • Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters
  • Part-time option available with the approval of the Dean

Program Learning Outcomes

Advance the student’s knowledge and capacity for scholarly and critical examination of the theories that inform the psychodynamic tradition of clinical social work practice.

Advance the student’s capacity to apply psychodynamic theories and relevant techniques to the practice of clinical social work and the diversity that it encompasses.

Clinical Practicum
Provide students with an opportunity to explore their own cases in real depth, and over time, with their instructors as experts and individual consultants so that the course work and clinical consultation intersect for the student’s benefit as a clinician.

Develop the student’s capacity to rigorously and ethically conceptualize and critically examine problems/issues relevant to clinical social work, and to conduct and defend an original project of scholarly research.

Research Practicum
Develop and successfully defend a scholarly, original, rigorous, comprehensive, and ethical dissertation that will contribute to clinical social work knowledge and practice.

Distance Learning Option

ICSW offers our accredited PhD in Clinical Social Work program in a Distance Learning format. In the Distance Learning program our students meet in real-time with their fellow classmates and instructors, via live video. Students are also required to come to ICSW’s Chicago campus twice a semester for weekend classes.

Program Details

  • Classes meet online on alternating weeks
  • Twice each semester, distance students attend onsite classes at our Chicago campus
  • Minimum technology requirements: an up-to-date computer system, high-speed internet access, a webcam, and an audio headset