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DSW Degree Requirements and Curriculum

DSW Curriculum Requirements

The following courses are required for all students. Courses are listed below in the expected sequence of the DSW curriculum. Students must complete the courses listed above DSW Research Project I, before writing and defending the DSW Research Project I paper. Students must complete all courses listed below the DSW Research Project I course before defending DSW Research Project II paper.

SOWK 607 Neuroscience for Clinical Practice (3)

Using a developmental framework, this introductory course will provide an overview of brain structure and function across the lifespan and associations with cumulative risks, adverse childhood experiences, social determinants of health, and enriching environmental experiences. We will review the neurobiological stress response, epigenetics, neurocognitive and affective development, the neural circuitry of various mental health conditions, and the impact of treatment.

SOWK 609 Epistemological Processes and Methods in Advanced Social Work Practice (3)

Examines the foundations of knowledge that inform research questions and processes as a DSW practitioner-scholar. Introduction to methods that incorporate anti-oppressive frameworks into research and practice. Explores tools to find and critically evaluate resources. Designs tailored interventions to meet the needs of under-resourced populations.

SOWK 615 Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology (3)

Examines psychopharmacological interventions for psychopathological conditions across the lifespan.

SOWK 620 Clinical Research and Applied Statistics (3)

Explores the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods and applied statistics in clinical research.

SOWK 610 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I (3)

Reviews theoretical underpinnings of CBT (behavioral, social learning, cognitive, acceptance based / mindfulness), development of case conceptualizations, and technique development.

SOWK 614 Relational and Interpersonal Psychotherapies (3)

Provides a survey of relational and interpersonal approaches to psychotherapy, with an emphasis on attachment relationships, psychodynamic treatments, and contemporary interventions. Requires written case conceptualization, integration of sociocultural concerns, and live demonstration of key techniques.

SOWK 624 DSW Research Project I (3)

Selection of a research topic, preparation of a literature review, identification of a research question(s), development of a research proposal, and presentation of an oral defense of the research proposal.

SOWK 622 Translational Research (3)

Examines methods for implementing practice evaluations of evidence-based practices in clinical settings.

SOWK 625 DSW Capstone II (3)

Preparation of a publishable paper reporting the results of student’s clinical research study. Student defends their paper at an oral defense.

SOWK 618 Trauma Focused Interventions (3)

Presents current bio-ecological research findings that inform our understanding of trauma. Emphasis is placed on understanding biopsychosocial influences on the incidence, course and treatment of acute stress and PTSD, and the differential effect of these factors on diverse populations at risk. The course focuses on the acquisition of diagnostic skills as they relate to comprehensive social work assessment of adults, adolescents and children. Assessment and interventions skills will be taught for specific types of trauma, e.g. rape, war, natural disasters. Evidence-based interventions to treat victims of trauma will be presented.

SOWK 616 Advanced EBP with Addictions and Co-occurring Disorders (3)

Examines the biopsychosocial/cultural factors associated with addictive behaviors and co-occurring mental health disorders. Focus is placed on case-conceptualization, assessment, and evidence-based interventions for multiply diagnosed clients.

SOWK 617 Clinical Management (3)

Examines principles of leadership and management; Management practice (employee supervision and evaluation; conflict resolution); Strategic planning; Program design and development; Financial management (budgeting, cost/benefit analysis); Resource development; and Informatics.

SOWK 621 Clinical Leadership, Supervision & Consultation (3)

Presents knowledge and skills for effective management of clinical teams and clinical supervision.

SOWK 611 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy II (3)

Advanced practice course that covers specific protocols and CBT interventions for specific disorders.

SOWK 623 Emergent Interventions with Complex Populations (3)

Presents a review and exploration of emergent and cutting-edge intervention methods and clinical skills.

SOWK 625 DSW Research Project II (3) 

Conducts and completes the research project defended in SOWK 624 (DSW Research Project 1). This includes preparation of a publishable-quality journal-style paper based on the research project.

The residence for the Doctor of Social Work is defined as four consecutive semesters with a minimum of 6-credit hours of enrollment per semester. Students will be admitted to candidacy after completing the period of residence and successfully writing and defending the DSW Research Project I publishable paper. This tangible and deliverable academic product is derived from the student’s practice experience and immersion in the research literature. See DSW Research Project I course description. The DSW Research Project I paper is the comprehensive exam for the DSW program. It is reviewed and evaluated by the student’s academic committee. The academic committee for DSW Research Project I and DSW Research Project II projects is composed of a minimum of three doctorally-prepared faculty. One committee member may be a doctorally-prepared faculty member from another academic unit, or external to the university who holds special expertise relative to the DSW Research Project I and II projects. The oral defense for both DSW Research Project I and DSW Research Project II may be conducted either via online, interactive video or during face-to-face meeting of the academic committee and the student. In case of failure of either examination, the student may request a retake. The result of the second examination is final.

Advanced evidence-based practice in clinical social work is based on a dynamic and rapidly evolving theoretical, empirical and clinical practice literature. As such, DSW comprehensive exam must be taken within three years, and all requirements must be completed within five years, from the time of a student’s first enrollment in the DSW program.