Course Descriptions

SW 719 – Social Work Practice: Theory Development and Analysis (3 credits)
In this course, students will examine how socio-political trends and essential theories of human behavior have influenced the development of social work practice approaches. Theoretical orientations and practice models will be examined through the lenses of historical significance, ontological and epistemological perspectives, sociopolitical relevance, values and beliefs, and empirical evidence of effectiveness. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate existing practice theories and approaches as well as engaging in new theory development.

SW 725 – Empirical Inquiry for Social Work Research (3 credits)
This first-year doctoral course provides students with an overview of the philosophical assumptions of empirical inquiry and the guiding methodologies (quantitative, qualitative) associated with the scientific method. Students explore the relationship between empiricism and ethics. Students articulate the reciprocal link between social work research and practice, theory, and policy.  

SW 729 – Theories of Organizations and Leadership in Social Work (3 credits)
Different theoretical perspectives on organizational and administration of human service delivery systems are examined in this course. Existing frameworks are explored for their underlying value assumptions and for their relationship to the state-of-the-art in research development and application to social work management and practice.

SW 733 – Qualitative Inquiry for Social Work Research (3 credits)
This course is the introductory doctoral course in qualitative research methods, and is a prerequisite for the advanced doctoral qualitative research course. This course emphasizes knowledge and skill development in qualitative research approaches and attendant methodologies in advancing social work practice.

SW 735 – Seminar in Dissertation Development I (3 credits)
Seminar in Dissertation Development I focuses on developing student expertise about a social issue relevant to social work practice through an in depth and critical review of the existing academic literature. Students will learn to critically examine social issues relevant to social work practice and existing solutions through a social justice lens with the aim of identifying and addressing existing gaps in the research. In this course students will develop a comprehensive and integrated review of the literature associated with an identified social issue relevant to social work. It is expected that this integrative literature review will directly inform the conceptual framework associated with students’ dissertation research.

SW 737 – Social Policy Analysis and Change (3 credits)
This course focuses on critical analysis strategies for application in policy development and policy reform. It examines methods of policy analysis and evaluation: policy impact assessment, determination of policy effects on populations, programs, and service systems. Students are encouraged to shape projects and assignments to their scholarship interests in anticipation of dissertation research.

SW 743 – Quantitative Research Design for Social Work (3 credits)
This doctoral course provides students with an in-depth understanding of the quantitative research process and the necessary components to design a quantitative study. This process includes a review of hypothesis and research question formulation, experimental and observation designs, measurement, sampling strategies and data collection.

SW 745 – Qualitative Methods and Analysis for Social Work Research (3 credits)
This course emphasizes knowledge and skill development in qualitative research approaches and attendant methodologies in advancing social work practice. SW 733 is the introductory doctoral course in qualitative research methods, and is a prerequisite for the advanced doctoral qualitative research course.

SW 747 – Quantitative Data Analysis for Social Work Research (3 credits)
This doctoral course provides students with an in-depth overview of quantitative data management and statistics that are used to produce quantitative social work research that focuses on advancing social work knowledge. Topics include linkage of statistics to hypotheses/ research questions, validity, descriptive and inferential statistics, and factor analysis. The use of SPSS as a software package to manage and analyze data is highlighted.

SW 753 – Social Work Education: Issues and Methods (4 credits)
This course extends the student’s proficiency beyond the traditional social work classroom to include an understanding of how adult learners learn, how to structure an educational unit, the imperative of competence in digital based education processes, as well as strategies for success at the traditional academic arena. This course provides theoretical background to enable the doctoral student to better understand and develop competency in social work education teaching tasks, as well as requisite skills for effective presentation of social work practice content. The goal of this course is to prepare doctoral students for leadership roles in social work education as well as practitioners who are adept at training methodologies, curriculum development, and presentation delivery at various levels. The course provides a unique opportunity for engaging with a senior social work education mentor who will assist the student in their development and demonstration of teaching an assigned educational unit through a four week mentorship that involves classroom practice and discourse around teaching experiences.

SW 771 – Seminar in Dissertation Development II (3 credits)
The Seminar in Dissertation Development II course is intended to prepare students to successfully engage in independent doctoral level social work research. This course is designed to facilitate the development of the first draft of the dissertation proposal, as well as to enhance students’ ability to engage in ethical, rigorous, independent research that attends to issues of social justice and advances the profession’s knowledge base. It is expected that upon completion of this course students will be prepared to begin to work seriously with their advisor or designated Chair on the final drafts of the dissertation proposal.

SW 775 – Social Work Teaching Practicum (3 credits)
Within a trauma-informed framework, this elective course provides students a supervised experience with a focus on gaining knowledge and skills for becoming social work educators. Curriculum development, teaching pedagogy, and supervision are seen as integral components of the practicum experience.

SW 780 – Research Practicum (3 credits)
This elective course provides opportunity for students to engage in independent research under the supervision and direction of a faculty member. Students identify the nature of the research practicum and how it will support the student’s overall research agenda toward the development of a dissertation proposal. The research practicum is designed to inform dissertation proposal development but does not replace any component of the dissertation proposal itself. Prerequisite: SW 753 – Social Work Education: Issues and Methods; Co-requisite: SW 771 – Seminar in Dissertation Development II.

SW 799– Continuous Matriculation (2 credits)
Students who have completed all course work, except their dissertation, are required to register for this course in each subsequent semester until the completion of all requirements for the doctoral degree. The semesters registered for Continuous Matriculation will not be excluded from the time limit for completion of the graduate program. Students will attend three, pre-designated dissertation research seminars that are designed to foster the students’ completion of the requirements for candidacy and provide additional ongoing structured support for the successful completion and defense of the dissertation.