44.37.1 Program of Study

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. one 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 student 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, students 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 Dean (School of Social Work). It shall consist of:

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

      2. the student's Supervisor

      3. the Dean of Graduate Studies or delegate

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

      Including the Supervisor, no more than two members of the Examination Committee may be nominated from the student'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 Examination in Social Work will consist of a written paper and an oral defence. In the paper, the student will contextualize the student's substantive area using theories that inform social work and develop a research design relevant to this substantive area. The student will demonstrate a contextualized and in-depth understanding of the philosophical and theoretical frameworks informing the student's substantive area, including major critiques from competing theoretical, philosophical and historical understandings. In addition, the paper will demonstrate a thorough understanding of relevant methodological considerations and a justification for the choices made within the research design. The student will identify an area of empirical research that may be undertaken and will prepare a written paper that includes: an introduction of the substantive area and a formulation of the research question; a literature review that is consistent with the question, and which both presents a critical evaluation of the theoretical and research literature and synthesizes this literature into the student's own theoretical framework; a research design for answering the research question, including a critical analysis of the chosen methodology as well as the methods of data collection, data analysis and ethical considerations. 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 Chair of the Ph.D. Program in the School of Social Work. The body of the paper will be no less than 50 pages and not more than 75 pages. It shall be defended orally. The student shall have 13 weeks to submit the paper for examination, following the comprehensive exam process approved by the Ph.D. Studies Committee.

    4. The Ph.D. examination procedure shall be initiated by the student's Supervisor who will notify, in writing, the Dean (School of Social Work) of the student's readiness. The student'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 student 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 Regulations, Ph.D. and Psy.D. Comprehensive Examination.

  4. Ph.D. Thesis

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

    2. The student must submit a thesis proposal to the Supervisory Committee based on the student's 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 student within one month of its acceptance, rejection, or acceptance with recommended changes.

    3. If the proposal is not acceptable, the student 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 student's program.

    4. The thesis shall give evidence of the student'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.

44.37.2 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

The information on this site has been extracted from the Official 2023-2024 University Calendar. While every reasonable effort has been made to duplicate the information contained in the official University Calendar, if there are differences, the official Memorial University of Newfoundland Calendar will be considered the final and accurate authority.

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