Methods: We conducted a case file review of non-duplicated records of social work PhD candidates (n=56; 70% female; avg. age=31.9 [SD=5.7; range=22-52 years]; 70% US residents; 43% Caucasian/White; 11% African American/Black), entering the job market Fall 2007-Spring 2016, from a private, Midwestern, research-intensive School of Social Work. Case files included publically-available biobooks (candidate CVs), which were supplemented and verified with student records. Pair-wise correlation matrices (using Pearson’s r and Spearman’s rho (rs) and Bonferroni corrections for multiple tests, as appropriate), and one-way ANOVAs conducted in SPSS 24.0 described associations among selected demographic (gender, country of residence, international and US, race/ethnicity), academic (master-degree type, GRE scores), and research productivity (publication authorship, conference presenter, and PI of externally-funded grant) variables at admission (i.e., pre-admission) and research productivity and time-to-degree at candidacy (i.e., post-admission). This project received IRB review determination (10/27/2016).
Results: Nearly 90% had a MSW degree and averaged 4.1 years post-master degree experience (SD=4.8; 0-23 years). G.R.E. percentiles varied widely, yet averaged nearly 80% (verbal), 60% (quantitative), and 70% (analytical). The PhD completion rate was near perfect (99.98%), with the majority averaging completion within 5.2 years (SD=1.0; 3.0-8.8). Having a MPH/other degree was the only variable associated with (a shorter) time-to-degree (r =-.289; p=.033). These candidates averaged less than one publication, presentation, or grant as PI. Notably, average productivity increased significantly by candidacy, with increases in publications to 5.3 (SD=4.6; range=0-34), presentations to 6.1 (SD=4.8; range=0-19), and grants to 1.2 (SD=1.3; range=0-7). Overall research productivity was most strongly associated with pre-admission research productivity (rs=.440; p=.001) type (r=.308; p=.022), specifically having publications (rs=.329; p=.013) and presentations (rs=.381; p=.004), but not grants as PI (rs=.101; p=.459). This presentation will further detail a number of individual significant findings in paired comparisons for both pre- and post-admission productivity including those for race/ethnicity and having scientific presentations (African American/Black vs. not reporting) and grants (International vs.US/Caucasian/white students;); and G.R.E. analytical subscores (vs. verbal and quantitative) and grants as PI.
Implications: Prospective applicants to R1-located social work PhD programs may benefit from obtaining research experience yielding co-authored publications and presentations prior to admission. Additionally, such social work PhD programs are encouraged to provide research-related supports early and throughout a student’s program tenure, thus enabling students’ efforts to enter the academic and research job market with increased research productivity.