The program has several significant features. Research training, both formal and experiential, is at the core of the program. Flexibility is provided to help students attain in-depth competence in a substantive area of social welfare.
Students progress from a common foundation in both policy and practice toward a high degree of individualized specialization. This common foundation emphasizes the acquisition of analytic tools needed to understand, appraise and advance knowledge in social welfare. With these analytical tools, the students select a specific area of specialization and develop expertise in that area. Considerable emphasis is placed on the individualized instructional relationship between students and faculty mentors.
The learning process involves more than classroom instruction. Students are expected to work closely with faculty in their roles as scholars and researchers. The program is interdisciplinary and students are encouraged to use the rich learning resources of the entire University.
Doctoral students come with diverse academic backgrounds and levels of preparation and may want to enroll in selected MSW courses that can fill in gaps in knowledge needed to pursue advanced work. Students demonstrate their acquired expertise by producing scholarly work (e.g. the publishable scholarly paper) rather than through merely completing a set of courses. While the program requires completion of a limited set of courses, the emphasis is on acquisition of knowledge, and students who demonstrate possession of such knowledge on the basis of prior work and proficiency examinations may be exempted from specific course requirements.
Full-time students usually will be expected to enroll in twelve units of study each quarter. Although diversity of backgrounds makes it difficult to predict, students are expected to complete the program in about four to five years.
There are approximately two years of coursework and then the dissertation. Those in the combined MSW/Ph.D. program usually require an additional year.
Year 1 Courses: The Craft of Social Work Scholarship (229a, 229b, 229c), Scientific Inquiry (249a, 249b, 249c) Statistics (Sociology 201a, 201b), Outside Course (Theory, Statistics or other)
Year 2 Courses: In addition to a year-long research Internship (286abc), Students choose from a variety of courses in or outside of the Luskin School to fulfill theory (3 courses total), methods (3 courses total) and advanced statistics requirements (3 courses total including the first year courses).
Year 3 Courses: Independent Study (596b), Dissertation Seminar (258)
Year 4 Courses: Independent Research (599)