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Learning Goals

The learning goals of the Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare focus on preparing students as professional scholars who will make a significant contribution to social work research and evaluation. These goals are met in the classroom, through the First and Second examinations, and through the dissertation.

  1. Broad and Specialized Knowledge in the Discipline. Students develop broad knowledge of the field through required courses. The structure of the program emphasizes theory and research at the micro, macro, and organizational unit of analysis. Equally important, exposure to qualitative and quantitative structures of inquiry offers broad overview research methods. Students develop specialized expertise through access to electives in related disciplines to deepen their relationship to bodies of literature and their thinking associated with emergent inquiry.

  2. Oral and Written Communication Skills, Other Skills, and Experience Appropriate to the Discipline. Most core courses include written assignments, formal oral presentations, and participation in debates and class discussions. Through community meetings and professional development seminars students to learn about resume development, pathways to publication, interviewing for a teaching positions and employment at professional organizations. Teaching experiences help students refine their oral communication and pedagogical thinking.

  3. Professional Ethics. We weave professional ethics into various parts of the curriculum. Issues related to the protection of human subjects are discussed in research methodology classes. When preparing Institutional Review Board applications students systematically address the tensions between their inquiry and violation of human subject’s rights. Questions relevant to the uses of technology and emergent ethical questions are also discussed in both our organization theory and method classes.

  4. A Substantial and Original Contribution to Their Field. The program structure strives to enhance our students’ desirability as candidates for academic positions, because their scholarship represents current vexing and complex problems in social welfare. This also leads to a high success rate for publication in peer review journals and conference presentations. In addition, a number of our graduates have published their dissertations as books.