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Curriculum – Joint MSW/PhD

MSW Curriculum

The MSW portion of the Joint MSW/PhD program offers two tracks—an Advanced Curriculum for students who hold a BSW earned within the past five years from a CSWE-accredited program, and a Foundation track for those who do not.

Advanced Curriculum

Students in the Advanced Curriculum must earn 22 credits. The required courses are:

11 credits of Field Instruction (722/821/822)
8 credits of Social Work Practice Methods (711 or 713/811* or 915/820)
6 credits of Social Work Research (951 and 961 [substituting for 793 and 794])
6 credits within selected area of concentration (753/931)
6 credits of electives

Professional Foundation

Students admitted into the graduate social work program without having earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited social work program within the past 5 years are required to fulfill the Professional Foundation prior to Advanced Curriculum course work (see below for exemptions). The purpose of the Professional Foundation is to orient students to the profession and to provide a knowledge, values and skills base in preparation for the Advanced Curriculum. Course work in the Professional Foundation is not included in the 34 Advanced Curriculum credits required for completion of the MSW degree. The Professional Foundation courses are:

604 Social Systems and Social Work Practice
662 Methods of Social Welfare Research
665 Cultural Diversity and Social Work
705 Individual Behavior and Social Welfare
708 Social Work Methodology I
709 Social Work Methodology II
721 Field Instruction I
750 Social Welfare Policy Development and Implementation

Exemptions

Students who have, within the 5 years preceding admission, completed course work which substantially duplicates Professional Foundation courses may apply to the Chair of the Social Work Department for an exemption from the relevant courses. Exemption examinations are also offered on a scheduled basis for these courses. Exemption of the field experience (721) may be permitted under special employment experience circumstances and only by permission of the Director of Field Programs. Students interested in securing an exemption should request course exemption forms upon notification of admission to the program.

All requests for exemptions must be made at the time of initial enrollment. Exemption requests will not be accepted following the end of the first semester of coursework.

PhD Curriculum

The program’s curriculum is structured around seven content domains:

1. knowledge building,
2. specialization content,
3. methods of inquiry and analysis,
4. skills proseminars and practicum experiences,
5. electives,
6. preliminary examination
7. requirements relating to the doctoral dissertation.
8. additional requirements relating to the doctoral dissertation.
Example Course Schedule – Students without a BSW Degree

A typical schedule showing classroom-course requirements for the Joint MSW/PhD is shown in the table below. This example applies to students who have a bachelors degree in a field other than social work.

Example Course Schedule – Students without a BSW Degree

A typical schedule showing classroom-course requirements for the Joint MSW/PhD is shown in the table below. This example applies to students who have a bachelors degree in a field other than social work.

 
Year 1 – Students Without a BSW Degree
Credit
Fall SocWrk 604 - Social Systems and Social Work Practice 3
  SocWrk 705 - Individual Behavior and Social Welfare 3
  SocWrk 708 - Social Work Methodology I 3
  SocWrk 750 - Social Welfare Policy Devel. and Implementation 2
 
Total
11
Spring SocWrk 662 - Methods of Social Welfare Research 3
  SocWrk 665 - Cultural Diversity and Social Work 3
  SocWrk 709 - Social Work Methodology II 2
  SocWrk 721 - Field Instruction I 3
 
Total
11
Summer SocWrk 711 - Direct Social Work Practice I 3
  SocWrk 722 - Field Instruction II 3
  SocWrk 753 - Psychopathology 3
 
Total
9

 

 
Year 2 – Students Without a BSW Degree
Credit
Fall SocWrk 901 - Philosophy of Science 3
  SocWrk 961 - Statistics I – Introduction to Statistical Methods 4
  Elective 2-3
  SocWrk 991 - Proseminar in Research Ethics 1
 
Total
10-11
Spring SocWrk 931 - Specialization Seminar – Theories of Poverty and Social Welfare Policy for Children and Families 3
  SocWrk 951 - Quantitative Research Methods 3
  SocWrk 962 - Statistics II - Applied Multiple Regression Analysis 3
  GRAD 803 - Proseminar – Methods of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 1
 
Total
10
Summer SocWrk 811 - Direct Social Work Practice II 3
  SocWrk 821 - Field Instruction III 4
  SocWrk 820 – Seminar in Social Work Practice 2
 
Total
9

 

 
Year 3 – Students Without a BSW Degree
Credit
Fall SocWrk 822 – Field Instruction IV 2
  SocWrk 932 – Specialization Seminar – Research and Processes of Individual Change across the Life Span 4
  SocWrk 963 - Statistics III – Measurement Methods & Related Multivariate Statistics 3
  Elective 2-3
 
Total
11-12
Spring SocWrk 945 -  Specialization Seminar – Family and Long-Term Care across the Life Course 3
  SocWrk 952 - Qualitative Research Methods 3
  SocWrk 964 - Statistics IV - Advanced Statistical Methods 3
  SocWrk 991 - Proseminar in Grantwriting 1
  SocWrk 999 - Teaching Practicum 1
 
Total
11

For a different view showing the combined MSW and PhD curriculum for students who do not have a MSW degree, click here.

Example Course Schedule – Students with a BSW Degree
A typical schedule showing classroom-course requirements for the Joint MSW/PhD is shown in the table below. This example applies to students who hold a BSW degree earned within the past five years from a CSWE-accredited program.

 
Year 1 – Students with a BSW Degree
Credit
Fall SocWrk 711 - Direct Social Work Practice I 3
  SocWrk 722 - Field Instruction II 3
  SocWrk 961 - Statistics I - Introduction to Statistical Methods 4
  SocWrk 991 - Proseminar in Research Ethics 1
 
Total
11
Spring SocWrk 821 - Field Instruction III 4
  SocWrk 931 - Specialization Seminar – Theories of Poverty and Social Welfare Policy for Children and Families 3
  SocWrk 951 - Quantitative Research Methods 3
  SocWrk 962 - Statistics II - Applied Multiple Regression Analysis 3
 
Total
13
Summer SocWrk 811 - Direct Social Work Practice II 3
  SocWrk 820 - Seminar in Social Work Practice 2
  SocWrk 822 - Field Instruction IV 4
 
Total
9

 

 
Year 2 – Students with a BSW Degree
Credit
Fall SocWrk 753 - Psychopathology 3
  SocWrk 932 - Specialization Seminar – Research and Processes of Individual Change across the Life Span 3
  SocWrk 963 - Statistics III – Measurement Methods & Related Multivariate Statistics 3
  Elective 2-3
  GRAD 803 - Proseminar – Methods of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 1
 
Total
11-12
Spring SocWrk 945 -  Specialization Seminar – Family and Long-Term Care across the Life Course 3
  SocWrk 952 – Qualitative Research Methods 3
  SocWrk 964 - Statistics IV - Advanced Statistical Methods 3
  SocWrk 991 - Proseminar in Grantwriting 1
 
Total
10

 

 
Year 3 – Students with a BSW Degree
Credit
Fall SocWrk 901 - Philosophy of Science 3
  Elective 2-3
  SocWrk 999 - Teaching Practicum 1
 
Total
6-7

For a different view showing the combined MSW and PhD curriculum for students who have a MSW degree, click here.

Course of Study

A minimum degree of 43 graduate credits beyond the masters degree are required, at least 36 of which must be earned in residence at UWM.

In consultation with the major professor and as soon as possible after admission, each student designs a program of study to gain the knowledge and skills appropriate to his/her educational goals.  All programs of study must include the following:

1. Foundation Knowledge Building  (3 credits)
Content in this area focuses on the basic principles of scientific inquiry on which the knowledge base of social work rests. Within this area, all students must complete:

SocWrk 901 – Knowledge, Theory, and Philosophies of Science

2. Specialization Seminars (9 credits)
The curriculum includes three areas of specialization: Addiction and Behavioral Health, Applied Gerontology, and Family and Child Welfare.  Each student must select at least one of these areas in which to concentrate. In consultation with the major professor, a student may also choose to develop expertise that spans more than one area.

Content in these three specialization areas is presented in the form of specialization seminars. All students must take at least three specialization seminars within the department.
Examples of specialization seminars offered within the department include:

  • SocWrk 931 - Theories of Poverty and Social Welfare Policy for Children and Families (Family and Child Welfare specialization)
  • SocWrk 932 - Research and Processes of Individual Change across the Lifespan (Addiction and Behavioral Health specialization)
  • SocWrk 945 - Family and Long-Term Care across the Life Course (Applied Gerontology specialization)

3. Methods of Inquiry and Analysis (19 credits total)
Content in this area comprises a set of required courses in methods of social/behavioral research and statistics. Students are expected to enter the program with at least a basic background in both methods and statistics and may need to satisfy prerequisites before proceeding to required courses.
In the area of research methods, all students must complete:

  • SocWrk 951 - Quantitative Research Methods
  • SocWrk 952 - Qualitative Research Methods

In the area of statistics, all students must complete:

  • SocWrk 961 – Introduction to Statistical Methods
  • SocWrk 962 – Applied Multiple Regression Analysis
  • SocWrk 963 – Measurement Methods and Related Multivariate Statistics
  • SocWrk 964 – Advanced Statistical Methods

In cases where any of the above courses are not available during the student’s course of study, students may choose from an approved set of alternatives offered in other departments or campuses. Approval for such an exception must be secured from the major advisor prior to enrolling.

4. Skills Proseminars and Practicum Experiences (4 credits minimum)
Courses in this area focus on acquainting students with specific skills useful in scholarly endeavors and for teaching at the post-secondary level. All required courses are worth 1 credit. All students must complete the following four courses:

  • SocWrk 991 - Proseminar in Research Ethics
  • SocWrk 991 – Proseminar in Grantwriting
  • SocWrk 999 - Practicum in Social Work Education
  • GRAD 803 – Proseminar – Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

It is expected that all students will be assigned to responsibilities as teaching assistants for at least one semester, and the SocWrk 999 practicum course should be completed in that same semester under the supervision of the faculty memer to whom the student is assigned as a teaching assistant. It is also expected that all students will be assigned to responsibilities as research or project assistants for at least one semester.

5. Electives (2-3 credits)
These credits provide an opportunity for students to take content of interest within the social work department or in other departments on campus that offer graduate-level courses relevant to the student’s educational goals. Elective options within the department include the completion of additional specialization seminars beyond the required total. Students may also complete this requirement by taking additional research methods or statistics courses within or outside the department, or they may take theory or basic-knowledge courses in other departments that are at the graduate level and are approved by their advisor and the social work Ph.D. program coordinator.

Preliminary Examination

All students must pass a preliminary examination subsequent to successfully completing all required course work and prior to being admitted to doctoral candidacy. In consultation with the student’s advisory committee and with the approval of the Doctoral Program Committee, one or a combination of the following formats will be required:

  • one or two substantive papers that demonstrate competence in the student’s specialization area, meet criteria established by the committee, and are suitable for publication in a respected journal in the field.
  • examination constructed by the student’s advisory committee;

Regardless of format, the qualifying exercise is comprehensive and integrative, reflective of the student’s individual course of study, and requiring independent work beyond the course requirements.

Dissertation Proposal Defense
All students must successfully complete an oral defense of their dissertation proposal to determine their preparation for independent research. The defense must be completed successfully within four years of initial enrollment.

Dissertation
Students who have passed the Preliminary Examination and have submitted a one-page preliminary dissertation proposal are formally admitted to doctoral candidacy. In accordance with Graduate School policies, students must then register for three research or thesis/dissertation credits each semester until the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School. To meet the requirements for the dissertation, the candidate must complete an original independent research project that adds meaningfully to the existing body of knowledge in social work. It should be of a caliber that warrants publication in respected journals in the field.

Dissertation Defense
As the final step toward the degree, the candidate must pass an oral examination before his/her doctoral committee in defense of the dissertation. The examination may also cover general topics relevant to the student's area of study. This requirement may not be completed until all other degree requirements are satisfied.

Time Limit
It is expected that most students will complete all degree requirements within six years of initial enrollment in the doctoral program. All requirements MUST be completed within ten years from the date of initial enrollment.

For additional information on Graduate School Ph.D. requirements, see the Ph.D. section of the Graduate Faculty and Student Handbook.