Associate Professor and Director
S. Birnie-Lefcovitch


The degrees of Master of Social Work and Doctor of Philosophy are offered in Social Work.

Course work commences in the Spring Semester and is completed over five semesters. The program includes two Spring Semester residencies, at which time students must attend ON A FULL-TIME BASIS, and Fall and Winter semester courses which can be taken on or away from campus.

1. An applicant for admission to the Ph.D. program in Social Work must hold a Master's degree in social work, or equivalent professional social work degree as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee of the School of Social Work. All applicants should also have a minimum of three years post-B.S.W. practice experience. Applicants will be required to submit their score on the Miller Analogy Test.

2. All Ph.D. students in the social work program must complete at least 24 credit hours in regulation graduate courses. These include:

-    6 credit hours in foundation courses (Social Work 7010 and Social Work 7020)
-     6 credit hours in advanced practice courses (Social Work 7310, Social Work 7320); or 3 credit hours in advanced practice courses (Social Work 7310) and 3 credit hours on social work education (Social Work 7510)
-    9 credit hours on research (Social Work 7411, Social Work 7421, and Social Work 7431)
-    1 internship chosen from the Internships on Advanced Social Work Practice (Social Work 7910), Social Work Education (Social Work 7920), or Applied Social Work Research (Social Work 7930).

3. Comprehensive Examination

a) A candidate registered in a Ph.D. program in Social Work shall normally take the Comprehensive Examination in the fifth semester of the program and under no circumstances no later than seven semesters into the program. Failure to meet the above requirements will result in the candidate being required to withdraw from the program (See General Regulation H). Prior to proceeding to the Comprehensive Examination, candidates will normally have completed all required course work and must have completed 7010, 7020, 7411, 7421, and 7431.

b) The Examination Committee shall be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Director (School of Social Work). It shall consist of:

i.    the Director or delegate who shall occupy the Chair
ii.    the candidate's Supervisor
iii.    the Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate
iv.    three other members recommended by the Director (School of Social Work) and including one member from a social work-related field.

Including the Supervisor, no more than two members of the Examination Committee may be nominated from the candidate's Supervisory Committee. All members of the Examination Committee, including the Chair, but excluding the Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate, shall be voting members.

c) The Ph.D. Comprehensive in Social Work will consist of a written examination on two essay questions, developed by the Examination Committee in the subdiscipline of the student's program (see General Regulation H.2.c.). One question will concern applying critical thinking to social work theory within the context of the profession's history. The second question will concern a consideration of either the candidate's subdiscipline of social work practice or social work education within the context of theory, research, and social development.

d) The Ph.D. examination procedure shall be initiated by the candidate's Supervisor who will notify, in writing, the Director (School of Social Work) of the candidate's readiness. The candidate's Examination Committee will then be appointed according to section 3.b (above). The date of the meeting to determine the essay questions and the scheduling of the written examination will be determined by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The candidate will receive a written notice of this meeting and of the scheduled date for the examination. During the written examination, candidates will be given three hours to respond to each question.

e) The Examination Committee shall meet in camera to arrive at its conclusions. Evaluation of the candidate's response to questions will be based on the following criteria:

i.    demonstration of knowledge of social work theory, research, and issues relevant to the essay topic
ii.    coherency of presentation (i.e., cogent argumentation, sufficient referencing of statements, clear writing style).

f) The Chair shall report the results of the Examination to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The report will consist of one of the following decisions:

i.    the candidate has passed with distinction.

ii.    the candidate has passed.

iii.    the candidate should be permitted to attempt a second examination within six months of the first, according to General Regulation H. The Examination Committee may recommend that the candidate be re-examined orally or in writing. The student may state a preference for an oral or written re-examination.

iv.    the candidate has failed and will be required to withdraw from the program.

4. Ph.D. Thesis

a) A Supervisory Committee will be appointed for each student (see General Regulation I).

b) The candidate must submit a thesis proposal to the Supervisory Committee based on her/his own interest, and normally the proposal must be approved by the sixth semester of the program. The proposal will be circulated to the Supervisory Committee for critical evaluation. The Chairperson of the Supervisory Committee will inform the candidate within one month of its acceptance, rejection, or acceptance with recommended changes.

c) If the proposal is not acceptable, the candidate will normally be permitted a second attempt. The revised proposal must be submitted within a semester. Failure to resubmit within this time period will lead to termination of the candidate's program.

d) The thesis shall give evidence of the candidate's ability to carry out independent and original research, develop the necessary theoretical and methodological framework and analyses and present the findings in a scholarly manner.


The following courses that are offered during the spring semester residency will be offered every other year, as far as the resources of the School will allow:

7010. Philosophical and Historical Base of Social Work Practice (S*)
7020. Critical Thinking for Social Work Practice (S)
7310. Tutorial on Field of Practice (F** or W***)
7320. Tutorial in Advanced Social Work Practice (S)
7411. Philosophy of Science and Research Design (S)
7421. Qualitative Data Analysis (S)
7431. Quantitative Data Analysis (S)
7510. Social Work Education (S)
7910. Internship on Advanced Social Work Practice(F)
7920. Internship on Social Work Education (F)
7930. Internship on Applied Social Work Research (F)

*S = Spring Semester
**F = Fall Semester
***W = Winter Semester

Last modified on June 4, 2003 by R. Bruce

Up to Calendar Table of Contents

Back to Office of the Registrar's Home Page