Rutgers DSW students will recieve hands-on teacher training from Rutgers School of Social Work faculty and regional and national practitioners. The Rutgers DSW curriculum is designed to help students:
- Recognize the links among theory, research, practice, and policy
- Engage in critical thinking and analysis
- Directly apply scholarly knowledge to various clinical practice contexts
- Tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity and view these elements as part of the process of knowledge development
- Be socialized to scholarly processes and practices
- Develop clinical expertise with a particular population or in an substantive area
Rutgers DSW Program sample curriculum*
*Please note the following is an example only. Courses are subject to change.
Advanced Clinical Practice with Individuals, Groups, and Families
The core focus of the DSW program centers on working with students who are already skilled clinicians. Nevertheless, DSW education builds upon student professional clinical experience by providing advanced practice courses that focus on therapeutic interventions, approaches, and practices with individuals and families. Students also learn about emerging theories of childhood, trauma, and clinical decision-making. Faculty are national and international leaders in their area of practice and focus instruction on enhancing student strengths as clinicians in their own environments.
All first year DSW students are required to complete a clinical case study manuscript that explicates a unique approach to the practice of social work or an area of clinical social work that has been neglected by existing peer-reviewed research or theoretical literature. Following the literature review modules, students receive instruction in writing the case study narrative and framing it within the context of a literature review, as well as relevant theories, therapeutic orientations, and applicable practice details. Students are encouraged to submit the final product to a peer-reviewed journal for publication consideration.
Diversity and Social Justice
Social justice is at the heart of social work practice, and during these uncertain and turbulent times, we train social work leaders who are thoughtful, sensitive, well-trained scholars who are informed and attuned to the experiences of people across cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and different levels of ability. Furthermore, students are exposed to the practice of advocacy in an increasingly fractured society. In diversity and social justice classes, students learn from seasoned clinicians, authors, and professors who practice and teach from an empowerment perspective.
Ethics in any profession set the norms and expectations that guide practice in ways that minimize risk of harm to clients and the general public. Throughout the curriculum, ethical issues are addressed and students take special ethics workshops in which they describe and resolve ethical dilemmas. As future leaders in the field, they are expected to take the lead in understanding and explicating the importance and complexity of ethical decision-making.
In the first year of study, students are provided with a guided and in-depth introduction to scholarly writing and publication by way of literature review coursework. Students review search techniques, learn the basics of experimental design, practice critiquing articles for strengths and limitations, and work toward synthesizing multiple sources to provide an articulate and comprehensive literature review as an essential component of the case study.
All third-year students will create a multimedia project (MMP) in which they broadly disseminate their specific area of professional practice on the internet. Student MMPs are constructed with the goal of engaging a specific audience such as family caregivers, other clinicians, and/or other allied professionals such as doctors or teachers. Students utilize the most current and cutting-edge tools available in web design and receive both technical and clinical education to ensure that the finished product is engaging, scholarly, polished, and professional. Students will receive coursework in audio interviews, shooting video with audio, podcasting, web design, and more. Click here to view multimedia projects from past students.
All second-year students must complete a qualitative research paper consisting of interviews with 5-7 individuals inspired by a research question that arose from the student’s area of professional social work practice and knowledge of the extent literature in that area. All projects must be approved by the Rutgers University Institutional Review Board. Students will receive intensive instruction in developing research questions, creating interview guides, recruitment, data collection and analysis, and writing up findings in a scholarly paper for potential publication.
In keeping with the leadership mission of the program, all students participate in courses taught by faculty with extensive experience in supervision and administration across a variety of state and national agencies, non-profits, and clinical settings. Students also attend December supervision training in order to receive their New Jersey State Supervision Certification.
All DSW students will get coursework in teaching pedagogies. Some students may already have experience teaching in a university setting, however, they will benefit from reflecting and building upon their teaching experiences, struggles, and successes. Courses are taught by a variety of experienced clinical faculty and are rooted in theories of pedagogy, classroom presentation and management, and the lived experience of teaching social work students.
Students are taught how to identify, engage, and critically analyze theory and take coursework on various theories including but not limited to, feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory, phenomenology, existentialism, and symbolic interactionism. They are encouraged to ground their portfolio projects in theory that is either covered in the curriculum or any other theory in which they have become well-versed.