Degree Requirements: Master's degree
Completion Time: 3 - 4 years
Earned Credits: 60
In addition to the core curriculum of the Ph.D. in Integrative Social Work program, students have the opportunity to pursue one of the two following specializations:
- Integrative Community Studies Specialization
- Integrative Gerontology Studies Specialization
The Ph.D. in Integrative Social Work program is intended to prepare students to begin or advance their careers in a variety of professional settings. Graduates will be ready to contribute to the academic knowledge base in the field of social work through enhanced leadership and research skills. Furthermore, this Ph.D. program develops advocates and leaders in a mindfulness-based, person-centered, and evidence-informed perspective on social work and community health.
Following the completion of this degree program, graduates will possess the following skills necessary to be effective within this professional field.
- Examining and analyzing the traditional community and societal values of the social work profession and their application to the changing landscape of the 21st century
- Explaining the influence of social policy and public health programs on general health and well-being and the implications for individuals, organizations, and communities
- Applying multicultural competencies and diversity awareness and supporting health equity and social justice in health care, society, and law
- Engaging, assessing, and intervening with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
- Critically evaluating methodologies, apply published research, and conduct independent research to investigate contemporary issues with community and society
- Assessing and synthesizing evidence, theories, and informed practices and interventions in integrative social work
Integrative Community Studies Specialization
Graduates in the integrative community studies specialization will make positive changes in social services and health care as organizational consultants and administrators in nonprofit and for-profit organizations. They may seek research and academic positions—enhancing approaches to community health—or advance along their existing path in such careers in health care administration, program development, grant writing, and social work.
Integrative Gerontology Studies Specialization
Graduates in the integrative gerontology studies specialization will pursue careers in a variety of fields as administrators, policymakers, academics, and consultants. Graduates may develop new public health programs addressing the community needs of aging populations, serve as consultants to health care organizations to better meet the needs of the chronically ill and those with terminal conditions, lead and supervise research within community-based programs serving older populations, or teach at the university level.
This program is a low-residency degree program, with most course work completed online. New students in the Ph.D. in Integrative Social Work will attend a four-day residential conference in California or Houston called the Mind-Body-Spirit Integration Seminar. This seminar immerses students intensively in mind-body-spirit practices and techniques and involves significant self-awareness and discovery. Students will also attend a two-day residential conference on mindfulness and compassion-based leadership. Students may also select elective courses requiring additional residential conference training.
Students will attend web-based videoconferences as part of many of their classes. Attendance and participation in videoconferences are essential components in classwork, and any student unable to attend all videoconference sessions must develop a plan with the course instructor for compensatory learning.
Foundations of Integrative Social Work
This course presents foundational models and concepts for integrative social work. There are a number of competing paradigms, including:
- Integrative health care and integrative mental health care
- Inter-professionalism and multidisciplinary care
- Patient-centered and person-centered social work
- A holistic, mind-body-spirit approach
- Lifestyle medicine
- Mindfulness and compassion-based approach
This course also examines the difference the various models make for the professional practice of social work, including clinical, administrative, and consultation work and teaching in social work education.
Integrative Social Work and Aging Populations
This course is designed to enhance both direct practice and leadership skills in gerontology. Course participation will enable the integrative social work student to become highly skilled holistic practitioners in the development of students’ understanding of the aging process and to provide them with the skills relevant to practice with or on behalf of the elderly and their family members in community settings as developing professionals who will lead supporting agencies and research to serve older adults.
Integrative Social Work in Palliative and End-of-Life Care
This course is designed to enhance both direct advanced administrative, practice, leadership and research skills with populations served in palliative care and end-of-life settings. Course participation will enable integrative social work students to become highly skilled holistic practitioners in the development of students’ understanding of palliative care and the end-of-life process. This course aims to provide students with the skills relevant to practice with and on behalf of these populations and their family members, in the community as developing professionals who will lead supporting agencies, and to perform the innovative research that will contribute to sustainable physical and social environments as well as just public and institutional policies.
Disaster, Trauma, and Crisis Intervention
The number of federally declared disasters—including both natural disasters and other traumatic events—increased 40% from 2000 to 2015 (FEMA, 2016). This course overviews the role of social work as a profession in the preparation and planning for potential disasters, which can serve to reduce the negative effects of disaster. Social workers contribute to the development of family, organizational, and community response plans. Social workers play a major role in emergency responding, providing support and interventions for victims of disaster and for the health care workers and caregivers who are also affected by the trauma of disaster. Social workers provide self-care training, crisis intervention, trauma resolution, and referrals for long-term services. Social workers also play a role in research on disasters and the effectiveness of disaster intervention and trauma resolution programs.