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PhD in Social Work Courses

SWGS 7004—Philosophy of Science
This course examines theory and theory development and their roles in social work. The focus is on social work epistemology, salient issues in social work theory, and the critical appraisal of ways of knowing.

SWGS 7605—Social Work Education
This course examines the principles, policies, philosophies, and processes of learning and teaching in social work. It reviews the historical evolution of social work education and develops implications for classroom and field instruction.

Social Work Practice

SWGS 7007—The Evidence Base for Social Work Practice
This course reviews and critically appraises the evidence base for social work practice theory. Topics covered include the nature of evidence, theories of change, research on social work's effectiveness, and frameworks for the analysis of social work practice theory.

SWGS 7005—Theories of Social Work Practice
This course explores, critically examines, and compares the major theories of social work practice with individuals. It covers the historical contexts in which theories emerged, their underlying assumptions, and their empirical support.

SWGS 7008—Seminar in Family and Group Work Theory and Research
This course parallels in format and structure with SWGS 7005. In it, students examine the major theories of group work and family practice, the evidence base for practices, and innovations in practice, research, and theory.

Social Policy

SWGS 7781—Poverty, Race, and the Disenfranchised
This course provides an overview of US social policies. It reviews the evolution of American social welfare policies, social welfare theories, and examines the condition, conceptual framework and empirical evidence of policies that target poverty in the US.

SWGS 7782—Implementation of Social Policy
Drawing on theories of implementation and innovation, this course provides an in-depth examination of policy implementation in different fields of practice. It focuses on factors that promote and hinder policy implementation, as well as the historical contexts in which major policies have been implemented.

SWGS 7783—Seminar in Policy Analysis
Using available frameworks for policy analysis, this course encourages students to critically analyze existing policies. It considers the implications of these analyses for the study of policy development, implementation, and evaluation.

Social Research Methods

SWGS 7700—Observational Research Methods
This course examines methods used in descriptive research including descriptive research designs, principles of causality, sampling, data collection, and ethical issues.

SWGS 7710—Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Design
This course examines experimental and quasi-experimental designs, experimenter and statistical controls, threats to internal and external validity, and strategies for analyzing significance and effectiveness of outcomes.

SWGS 7720—Measurement
This course examines quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection in social work research. Among the topics covered are scale construction, case studies, qualitative approaches to data collection, and use of existing records. Data analysis is linked to principles of measurement and measurement theory.

SWGS 7730—Data Management and Analysis
This course covers topics related to data management and analysis including using data files, calculating sample size, preparing data analyses plans, and maintaining the quality of one's data at each phase of the research enterprise.

SWGS 7003—Qualitative Research Methods
This course explores the conditions under which qualitative research methods are desirable and feasible, the nature of qualitative information, and the relationship between the researcher and the research subject. Methods of qualitative research, as well as the process of developing inferences from findings are examined.


SWGS 7012—Statistics I
This course introduces the statistical techniques most common in social research. Topics covered include descriptive and inferential statistics, levels of measurement, parametric and nonparametric statistics, significance testing, t-tests, chi square analysis, correlation analysis, and one-way ANOVA. SPSS statistical packages are used in the course.

SWGS 7002—Statistics II
Building on SWGS 7012, this course covers such topics as ANCOVA, MANCOVA, linear regression methods, logistic regression, and an introduction to path analysis. The course links theory, statistics, hypothesis testing, and measurement. Students are expected to be proficient in the use of SPSS statistical packages.

Advanced Seminars

SWGS 7791, 7792, 7793
Concurrent with or following their advanced year research methods and specialization courses, all students take three advanced seminars. A faculty member with expertise in children and families, gerontology, or mental health research leads each seminar. The purpose of the seminars is to expose students to current research issues and methods in these substantive areas. In the process of examining such topics as the state of knowledge in each field, debates and controversies, research design, and emergent policy and practice themes, students are helped to develop and refine their research and scholarly interests in ways that lead to dissertation ideas.