Office of the Registrar
School of Graduate Studies (2009/2010)
26.29 Social Work
  • Associate Professor and Director
  • S. Birnie-Lefcovitch
26.29.1 Doctor of Philosophy

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.

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

    1. 6 credit hours in foundation courses (7010 and 7020)

    2. 6 credit hours in advanced practice courses (7310, 7320); or 3 credit hours in advanced practice courses (7310) and 3 credit hours on social work education (7510)

    3. 9 credit hours on research (7411, 7421 and 7431)

    4. 1 internship chosen from the Internships on Advanced Social Work Practice (7910), Social Work Education (7920) or Applied Social Work Research (7930).

  3. Comprehensive Examination

    1. A candidate registered in a Ph.D. program in Social Work shall normally take the Comprehensive Examination no later than the seventh semester in the program. Prior to proceeding to the Comprehensive Examination, candidates must have completed all required course work and the internship.

    2. 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:

      1. the Ph.D. Program Co-ordinator who will serve as representative of the Director of the School of Social Work and who shall occupy the Chair

      2. the candidate's Supervisor

      3. the Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate

      4. three other members recommended by the Director of the School of Social Work. One of these normally will be on the candidate's Supervisory Committee.

      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.

    3. The Ph.D. Comprehensive in Social Work will consist of a written paper which has two main parts. The first part will contextualize the student's substantive area through a comprehensive analysis and discussion of its place in and development from social work theory and the profession's history. This part should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of competing theoretical frameworks and orientations in social work and should demonstrate appreciation for historical developments generally as well as specifically to the student's substantive area of interest. The second part of the paper will focus specifically on the student's substantive area. In consultation with the Examination Committee, the student will identify an area of empirical research that may be undertaken and will prepare a written statement that includes: an introduction and formulation of at least two related research questions; a literature review that is consistent with these questions, which presents a critical evaluation of the literature, and that synthesizes the literature into the student's own theoretical framework; two competing research designs for answering the research question and a critical compare and contrast that leads to an argument for one design over the other. The focus and content of the written work will be defined by the Examination Committee in consultation with the student, and will be approved by the Ph.D. Program Co-ordinator in the School of Social Work. The written product shall be no less than 50 pages and not more than 75 pages. It will be orally defended. The student shall have up to one semester (13 weeks) to submit the paper.

    4. 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).

    5. Following the oral defence, the Examination Committee shall meet in camera to arrive at its conclusions. Evaluation of the candidate will be based on the following criteria:

      1. demonstration of knowledge of social work theory, research, and issues relevant to the topic of inquiry in both the written and oral presentation.

      2. coherency of oral presentation and written paper (i.e. conceptualization, cogent argumentation, sufficient referencing of statements, clear writing style).

    6. The Chair shall report the results of the examination to the Dean of Graduate Studies in accordance with General Regulation Comprehensive Examinations, Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination, 4.

  4. Ph.D. Thesis

    1. A Supervisory Committee will be appointed for each student as indicated under the General Regulation Supervision.

    2. 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 end of the eighth 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

26.29.2 Courses

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