Doctoral Program Courses

New Curriculum Changes Beginning Academic Year 2018-2019

This is an exciting time to begin your doctoral work at the Mandel School.  Our faculty has just approved exciting changes to our curriculum that will be implemented beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year.  New courses are being added in advanced research methodology and statistics as well as more opportunities for elective coursework.  We have developed a new integrated research seminar that provides a link between your coursework and your doctoral dissertation.  In addition to the traditional doctoral dissertation format, we now offer a three-paper dissertation option.

SASS 608 – Philosophy of Science and Theory Building (3 credits, required)

This is a required foundation course. The nature of theory is examined. Inductive and deductive methods for knowledge building are reviewed. Course content draws from the philosophy of science as well as empirical and phenomenological research.

SASS 609 – Theories of Social Welfare and Social Justice (3 credits, required)

This is a required course required for all students. Theories of social welfare and social justice are examined. Course content draws from moral philosophy, economics, political science, psychology, and social welfare theory and provides students with a broad orientation to the field of theoretical social welfare.

SASS 610 – Theories of Human Behavior: Macro and Micro-Dimensions (3 credits, required)

This is a required foundation course and is designed to help students acquire a critical and reflective approach to theory in social work research and practice.  This course provides a broad overview of theoretical perspectives at the individual, group, community, organizational and/or societal levels and addresses major theoretical perspectives used in social work and social welfare research.

 SASS 613 – Advanced Research Design (3 credits, required)

This foundation course in research methods is required of all students.  It is a prerequisite to the quantitative and qualitative courses.  Topics covered include operationalization of variables, threats to validity, and experimental, quasi-experimental, and non-experimental research design.

SASS 614 – Models of Qualitative Research (3 credits, required)

This course introduces students to the principles, approaches, methods, and analytical techniques utilized when conducting qualitative research in the social sciences.  Five models of qualitative research design and methodology are studied, including narrative analysis, case study, ethnography, and grounded theory and phenomenology. This course is designed to provide students with the tools to critically evaluate as well as to enhance the academic rigor or “quality” of qualitative data.

Prerequisite:  SASS 608, SASS 613

SASS 615 – Social Statistics and Data Analysis (3 credits, required)

This foundation course (or its equivalent) is required of all students. Content includes descriptive and inferential statistics for univariate and bivariate analyses, and the use of electronic data processing technology to manage and analyze data.

Prerequisite: SASS 613

SASS 616 – Applied Regression and the General Linear Model ( 3 credits, required)

This is the second required course in the research methods sequence for MSASS doctoral students.  At the end of this course, students will be able to apply ordinary least squares regression and logistic regression in the analysis of social science data.  They will learn to formulate research questions and hypotheses, specify statistical models, carry out the appropriate analyses, interpret their findings, and communicate their results clearly and effectively.

Prerequisites: SASS 613, SASS 615

SASS 617 – Specialization Seminar (3 credits)

This course is a graduate-level seminar; students and instructor share in the responsibility for presenting information and constructive criticism on the material.  Topics include the selection and description of a social welfare topic, the theoretical explanations of that topic and the development of a focused, empirically-based literature review resulting in research questions and hypothesis.

SASS 618 – Measurement Issues In Quantitative Research (3 credits, required)

This course covers the operationalization of social science concepts and development of quantitative methods for their measurement. Issues covered include index and scale construction, validity, reliability, questionnaire design, factor analysis, measurement error, and missing data.

Prerequisites: SASS 613, SASS 615, SASS 616

SASS 619 – ♦NEW♦ Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) (3 credits)  

This advanced-level course covers theoretical and methodological considerations and preliminary data screening necessary to ascertain whether SEM would be an appropriate technique; statistical assumptions and strategies for assessing and remedying possible violations; use of SEM to conduct confirmatory factor analysis; use of SEM to test structural models, including mediation models; advanced models (e.g., multiple-group, longitudinal, dyadic, to be determined by student interests); how to critique SEM analyses and identify common problems; statistical power; and best practices for reporting SEM analyses and results.

Prerequisites: SASS 613, SASS 615, SASS 616

SASS 620 – Intervention Research for Social Work Practice (3 credits)

This course provides a critical overview of the major theories and the body of research informing contemporary social work practice.  Theories will include the foundational, such as psychodynamic, ego-psychological, ecological and systems, along with trans-theoretical and post-modern theories.  The course will integrate a discussion of the history of scientific inquiry in social work, particularly focusing on practice or intervention studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.  Criteria for evaluating individual studies and the evidence base in specific practice areas will be included, along with material on the current state of Evidence-Based Practice.

Recommended Preparation: SASS 610

SASS 621 – Social Welfare Policy (3 credits)

This course focuses on the critical review and application of policy analysis frameworks related to social welfare policy.  The conceptual, historical, ideological, and political foundations contributing to the development, formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of social welfare policies will be critiqued.  Social welfare policies intended to ameliorate social ills (e.g., poverty, education, housing) will be analyzed using policy analysis frameworks in a critical and comparative fashion.  Policy alternatives to respond to current and future social problems will be critically discussed for feasibility, viability, and economic effects.

Recommended Preparation: SASS 610

SASS 622 –  Designing Mixed Methods Research (3 credits)

This advanced doctoral-level seminar is designed to introduce students to the principles, methods, and analytical techniques utilized when conducting mixed methods research in social work and social welfare. The course is designed to provide substantive methodological content for various phases of the research process accompanied by experiential learning opportunities.

Pre-requisites: SASS 608, SASS 613, SASS 614, SASS 615

SASS 623 –  ♦NEW♦ Research Synthesis & Systematic Review Methodology (3 credits) 

The purpose of this course is to develop student’s methodological skills in how to conduct a systematic literature review and train students on how to analyze, integrate, and synthesize a body of literature. This course will provide advanced skill development of systematic review methodology and will combine didactic sessions with in-class laboratory sessions. Students will conduct their own systematic review resulting in a final product of a systematic literature review manuscript that is ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

 SASS 630 – Seminar in Social Work Education (3 credits, required)

This seminar examines the structure and content of social work education within the context of higher education in American society.  Emphasis is placed on curriculum design and course development.  The course also is designed to help students develop a strategic approach to teaching based on learning theory.  Finally, attention is given to current issues and future directions for social work education.

SASS 631 – Job Seekers Seminar (3 credits)

This course will prepare doctoral students for a successful academic job search. The course is designed to provide students with knowledge about the job search process including application material, conference interviewing, campus visits, and negotiation process. Students develop application material, fine-tune interviewing and presentation skills, and develop a strategy for a successful first year as an assistant professor.

SASS 632 – Research Project (3 credits)

This course provides students with the opportunity to work with specific faculty engaged in research studies either on an individual or group basis.

Prerequisites: SASS 614 and SASS 615

SASS 635 –Advanced Quantitative Methods:  Special Topics (1-3 credits; elective)

This course is designed to provide opportunities for doctoral students to learn advanced. cutting-edge quantitative methods. The course content will vary depending on the expertise of the instructor and education needs of the student.

Prerequisites: SASS 613, SASS 615, SASS 616, SASS 618, or permission of the instructor.

SASS 637 – Independent Reading (1 to 3 credits)

This is an individual reading course permitting students to select areas of interest and pursue these interests with specific faculty.

SASS 638 – ♦NEW♦ Integrative Research Seminar (1 credit)

This seminar will create an active learning community to prepare developing scholars of social welfare to enter an increasingly transdisciplinary research landscape. Using a range of formats (e.g. invited speakers, discussion panels, and student working sessions) the course is designed to respond to challenges that doctoral students are experiencing, enhance integration of methods and theory, and address topics that are beyond the normative bounds of standing courses or project activities. The aim is to foster scholarly development, collegiality, peer mentorship, and a cross-cohort community for doctoral students.

SASS 701 – Dissertation Ph.D. (1-18 credits)

This course is intended for students who have passed the qualifying examination and are actively working on their dissertation.

Prerequisite: Predoctoral research consent or advanced Ph.D. candidacy milestone.