PhD Program Committee

The PhD Program Committee typically meets biweekly throughout the academic year. Each year all currently enrolled PhD students elect a representative from among the current first-year cohort, and this representative functions as voting member of the PhD SC for 2 academic years. Thus, there are two student representatives at all times, one second-year and one third-year student.

The student representatives are responsible for keeping the PhD students informed of SC initiatives and decisions, for soliciting student opinions and concerns and bringing these to the SC, and for recruiting other students to serve on ad hoc committees constituted by the SC.

Since the PhD SC, like other school-wide standing committees, maintains an open-meeting policy, any PhD student or faculty member may attend any regularly scheduled meeting (with the exception of meetings devoted to admissions decisions regarding individual applicant or to discussion of individual student progress or student or faculty personnel issues). 

Copies of the minutes of all PhD Program Committee meetings are assembled in a file in the Doctoral Program Office. These may be reviewed in the office and checked out for copying upon request.

In addition to its regular business meetings, the PhD SC also periodically invites students and faculty to join an open “forum” or discussion on timely curricular or program issues. These discussions are scheduled in advance and announced so that any student or faculty member who wants to speak to an issue may plan to attend. 

Students serve on a variety of ad hoc committees throughout the year. Some of these are constituted annually (such as the Awards Committee), and some address specific issues being focused upon by the SC during a particular quarter or year.

PhD Awards Committee

The Doctoral Program Awards Committee is made up of at least two members of the Social Welfare Faculty (one from the PhD Program Committee and one other faculty member) and two elected student representatives. A necessary ingredient of this committee is a diverse representation of epistemological positions.

Committee Responsibilities:  Oversee process and decisions concerning any competitive awards to PhD students.  This involves any awards for which the school must rank applicants and submit a letter of nomination from the school.  The committee oversees any awards requiring internal competition or ranking. Those that are ongoing include the following examples: School of Social Work Dissertation Award, Magnuson Fellowship, Briar Award, Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship.

Student Advisory Council

The Student Advisory Council of the School of Social Work consists of elected student leaders who strive to create and build an ongoing relationship with the SSW Administration and Faculty to uphold the School of Social Work stated mission and values of promoting social and economic justice, both within the school and community. The SAC does this by facilitating communication between the student body and the SSW Faculty and Administration through advocacy, active engagement, and support. Representatives are elected from the bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs.

Faculty Adviser: Margaret Spearmon,

Graduate and Professional Student Senate

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate, established in 1967, is an advocacy organization for graduate and professional students at the UW. GPSS is composed of two representatives from each degree-granting unit at the University. There are approximately 200 senator positions available. Senators provide their colleagues with updates on crucial issues and may participate in ad hoc committees, running elections, organizing events, or testifying before the state legislature in Olympia.

The office is in HUB 300 (open during regular business hours and often beyond).

In addition to advocating student concerns, GPSS provides a variety of services to graduate and professional students. For example, in early spring, GPSS, in conjunction with Student Legal Services, puts on Tax Information Workshops and distributes information packets to help clarify complex tax rules. Workshops on other topics such as tenant-landlord law and campus-wide forums and colloquia are also sponsored by GPSS.

PhD Social Justice Committee (login required)

The primary focus of the social justice committee is to make real and vibrant the social work profession’s commitments to social justice within the University of Washington School of Social Work doctoral program. We aim to demonstrate our commitments to social justice and deepen our awareness of our scholarly and professional social justice values within the context of the doctoral program through four main efforts:

  1. To advance a systematic and consistent approach to training doctoral students in social justice content and through a just pedagogy by interrogating multiple social justice theoretical frameworks.
  2. To cultivate an environment where shared commitments to social justice are reflected in student-student, faculty-student, and faculty-faculty relationships.
  3. To design and implement an annual social justice orientation for doctoral students and faculty that will foster curricular, classroom, and relational outcomes consistent with the doctoral program’s social justice commitments to serve as the foundation for an ongoing and inclusive conversation around social justice in our scholarly community.
  4. To promote avenues of advocacy and allyship with similar efforts in the larger School of Social Work and UW communities.

School of Social Work Student Groups

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 
Only national organization serving needs of social work profession. Offers a wide range of professional services, benefits, and opportunities. Reduced rates for students, by degree level. 
State chapter: 8711 - 15th Avenue NW, Seattle, WA 98117
206-706-7084, 1-800-864-2078 (in state only) 
Chapter Website:
National address: 750 First Street NE, Ste 700, Washington, DC 2002-4241
Toll-free number for membership information: 1-800-638-8799

Research Projects

"Current Research" directory describes research projects of SW faculty. There are numerous individual research and training projects. Students may contact faculty to learn about the research, participate, or find positions as student help. "Current Research" is located in Resources Binder on reserve in Social Work Library.

Social Welfare Action Alliance (formerly Bertha Capen Reynolds Society)
National organization of social workers, carrying on a tradition of progressive, activist social work. Student memberships and journal subscriptions available.
Alumni Contacts:
Shelby Mooney, 206-285-2402, 
Marilyn Moch, 206-324-3063,
Membership Contact: SWAA, Columbus Circle Station, P.O. Box 20563, New York, NY 10023

SSW Alumni
Allows alums to stay involved with SSW while providing input for social workers of the future. 

UW Alumni Association 
Provides programming and events linking alumni and students. 
206-543-0540 or 1-800-AUW-ALUM

Additional Educational Opportunities

Social Work Continuing Education
Offers a year-round schedule of non-credit professional development programs. Contact the UW Extension for information. 
UW Extension at 5001 25th Ave. N.E., 206-543-2310,