Doctorate of Social Work (DSW)

The Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) is a prestigious degree that is a steppingstone to building your career. The DSW is an accelerated 45 credit program designed to be completed in two years, including two summer intensives. Classes are conveniently scheduled on the Brooklyn campus one evening per week. All classes are a hybrid of in person and online instruction. 

LIU's DSW is unique in that students choose from three areas of specialization:

  1. Teaching in the Academy: This track prepares you to become a professor of social work
  2. Advanced Practice Management: This track prepares you to build a successful private practice and to build your own social work business
  3. Organizational Leadership: This track prepares you to move up the career ladder in an organization

LIU's DSW distinguishes itself with a student-centered focus. We recognize that students lead busy lives and have numerous commitments. Our program is designed to fit your schedule and meet your needs while you earn a respected credential that is a career game changer. Come grow your career with the LIU Brooklyn DSW Program!


Applicants are required to have an MSW degree from an CSWE accredited program. Please note that this program does not lead to licensure.

Dr. Samuel Rosenberg, Ph.D., LCSW
Interim DSW Program Director 

Plan of Study

Fall I

SWK 810: Epistemology: Theories of Knowledge

This course will explore how evidence is established. Epistemology is the study of the development of knowledge and justification. Specifically, the course will explore the assumptions concerning human and social activities that lead certain theoretical claims of evidence, with a focus on social work.
3 credits

SWK 850: Research I

This course introduces students to the scientific method as a way of knowing and provides an overview of the research methods most commonly used in research relevant to social work profession. The course will cover quantitative and qualitative research. The core purposes of this course are to equip DSW students with the knowledge of research methods implicit in organizational leadership functions such as evidence-based management of human services organizations, evaluation of programs and direct practices, management of services tailored to unique practice communities, as well as teaching and professional training of social workers.
3 credits

SWK 820: Mentorship

This course will explore the functions of a mentor at the theoretical, administrative and educational levels in agency settings, higher education and autonomous practice. The multifaceted roles of the mentor as consultant, a trusted guide, a caring responsible adult and a positive role model will be studied from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Issues concerning ethical commitment, personal and professional interests and intersectionality in the areas of race, class, ethnicity, national origin, disability and sexual orientation will constitute major themes for the course.
3 credits

Spring I

SWK 830: Social Justice, Policy and Ethics

This course will engage students in a critical discussion of social justice, policy and ethics at the highest educational level of Social Work. Students will be challenged to increase their knowledge of diversity, social policy and ethical considerations at the advanced learner level. This course calls for the exploration of knowledge base conceptualizations aligned with skills needed to work towards justice at the Macro level. Humans’ rights as it pertains to the Code of Ethics in social work will be thoroughly examined and demonstrated during the semester. Students will be challenged to demonstrate skills needed to work towards justice. This includes understanding power and control, social constructions, and ethical considerations.
3 credits

SWK 840: Evidence Based Practice and Implementation Science

This course emphasizes use of current research evidence in Social Work to promote Evidence-Based Practice with individuals, families, organizations and communities. The concept of Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) was originally developed in the medical field and has subsequently been adopted by most disciplines in the health professions.  It provides foundational knowledge that supports students’ abilities to describe and interpret the scope of the profession, appraise new knowledge, create knew knowledge, and interpret and apply this knowledge to practice. EBP approach has been adopted by the Council on Social Work Education as a pivotal skill for the training of social workers. Evidence based practice stands in opposition to authority-based practice which relies on opinions and anecdotal accounts to justify a specific practice. An important component of EBP is Shared Decision-Making (SDM), a communication process by which clients and practitioners work together to make optimal care decisions that align with what matters most to each client. The course complements the research courses by providing student with the tools to assess internal and external validity of specific studies of specific practices.  
3 credits

SWK 835: Critical Imagination in Social Work

This course is inspired by the classic statement of the American sociologist C. Wright Mills in his book The Sociological Imagination. The foundation for the course introduces students to the conceptual understanding of the differences between “personal troubles” and “public issues”. Social work as a profession and social workers as practitioners re essential in providing services to individuals, families, communities and organizations in the present moment and the immediate future. As such, imaginative and innovative approaches must be developed to fulfill the mission of the profession in the areas of health, mental health, poverty, discrimination, climate change and food insecurity. The approach will allow students to conceptualize these challenges by developing an understanding of the “intersection of history and biography” and create novel and innovative interventions that identify the processes to advance the bio-psycho-social well being of client systems into the future.
3 credits


SWK 845: Diversity, Inclusion, and Implicit Bias

This course offers a multidimensional perspective on issues of diversity and bias within social service organizations and historically marginalized communities. The course will provide the opportunity for students to explore the multifaceted roles social work leaders engage in withing an ever-changing diverse world and workplace. The course allows students to explore how social work competencies and relevant theories on diversity can be applied to promote justice in decision making to address implicit biases, microaggressions, race relations, gender, gender identify, social policy development, individual and group dynamics within community and organizational structures.
3 credits

SWK 851: Research II

This course teaches students about use of the scientific method to develop, test and implement interventions and policies relevant to the social work profession, the areas of mental health and social services. The broad research approach most relevant to intervention development, testing and implementation is experimental clinical trials. Correspondingly, this course is dedicated to introducing doctoral students to the core principles of clinical trials such as manipulation, causality criteria, internal and external validity of trials, threats to validity and ways to address them, as well as quasi-experiments and natural experiments. The students will also learn the contemporary classification of randomized trial designs related to their purposes, such as pilot/feasibility/acceptability studies, Phase I and II RCTs to establish efficacy and effectiveness, Hybrid Trials and Implementation Trials to test effectiveness of both the interventions and the implementation strategies assuring their integration into service systems, including community-based health and human services organizations/agencies. The course will also cover single-system time-series designs appropriate for practice management and case monitoring. Doctoral students will learn about implementation science and particularly, barriers and facilitators to implementation of evidence-based practices in social work-related service systems, as well as implementation strategies to address these barriers and leverage facilitators, to assure the uptake of evidence-based practices. Particular emphasis will be made on trials conducted in the frame of community-based participatory research (CBPR) and a broader classification of research-practice partnerships.
3 credits

SWK 870: Capstone 1

Capstone 1 is the first of three sequential courses that position the student to meet the capstone graduation requirement. The capstone is the culminating project of the DSW and entails the production of a substantial report on original research or an independent investigation of a topic of significance to the field of study. The capstone project provides the student with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to clearly define a problem of significance to the social work profession, to articulate a theoretical framework that relates to their topic, to write a literature relevant to the problem, describe prior attempts to resolve the issue, and generate original ideas to address the issue. Students complete the capstone in the final semester of the program and participate in an oral defense it to a faculty committee chaired by the student’s mentor. In Capstone 1, the focus of the course is on the formulation of the capstone topic. Early formulation of the capstone provides direction and guidance for a research effort that will continue throughout the program.  As such the evolution the capstone begins in Capstone 1 with the formulation of the capstone and continues throughout the program, with subsequent capstone courses focused on refining and developing the project.
3 credits

Fall II

SWK 871: Capstone II

Capstone II is the second of three sequential courses that lead to a completed capstone and oral defense. Capstone 2 course provides students with the knowledge and skills to write a capstone proposal. In this course, students build upon the capstone formulation developed in Capstone 1. The objective of a proposal development process enables student to clarify and synthesize the conceptual framework formulated in Capstone I. At this level, students will be constructing the necessary foundation for the successful completion of the capstone. Proposals must have as their ultimate objective a contribution to the knowledge of the different areas of practice of social work. 
3 credits

Take the first two courses of your selected specialization area (specialization courses listed at the end) - both 3 credits

Take the two courses of your specialization area - both 3 credits

Spring II

SWK 872: Capstone III/Oral Defense

Capstone III is the final of three sequential Capstone courses. In this course, students complete their capstone project and present it in an oral defense. This course constitutes the culmination of the Doctoral program. As such, students pull together and synthesize the knowledge and skills acquired during two years of rigorous and intensive study offered by the curriculum. Capstone III builds on the foundation developed in Capstone I and II. In Capstone III, the student builds upon and expands the Capstone proposal. The student is expected to produce a scholarly report on a topic of significance to the social work profession. Students have a variety of options to choose from when deciding how to develop their capstone topic, including systematic/ scoping reviews, quantitative designs including intervention studies and surveys, qualitative studies, and data driven development of practice manuals. The final product may be in the form of a traditional chapter-style manuscript or one publishable article.  

Specialization 1: Advanced Practice Management

SWK 828: Healthcare Financing and Legal Issues in Practice Management

The course focus on understanding basic elements of the healthcare finance environment, the principles and practices of financial accounting, and the methods for analyzing and using financial accounting information for decision. Students will explore managerial accounting basics, such as cost classifications and profit analysis, and develop skills integral to the operating budget and planning process, including cost allocation, and forecasting. The course familiarizes students with the legal context for service provision. Students will learn the rules and regulations regarding business entities, the management of a not-for-profit entity, including the fundamentals of laws, rules, and regulations that govern the establishment of not for profits and private practice. It addresses including hiring and employment, ensuring that business practices are congruent with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Attention will be given to the NASW Code of Ethics and the NASW standards on clinical practice. Students will learn about health industry regulations that govern private practice, including HIPPA, telehealth compliance, malpractice, state specific licensing regulations, risk management practices, diagnostic coding, and ethical considerations.
3 credits

SWK 833: Management in Not-for-Profit, Public Administration, and Private Practice Settings

This course serves as a basis for the study of management, and the application of human services management competencies as it applies to non-profit organizations, public administration, and private practice settings, including group practice. Students will learn management theories and evidence-based models to enhance social work practice in health and human service organizations and non-traditional social work settings, including private practice. The purpose of this course is to develop important professional and theoretical knowledge, skills, values, and competencies that will enable students to apply knowledge and skills to scenarios that they may encounter as managers and independent practitioners.
3 credits

SWK 825: Health Care Delivery Systems

This course is an overview of the political, economic, social, and epidemiological characteristics of health and medical care. The forms of health services financing, organization, and delivery systems in the United States and other industrialized nations, processes of health and disease in individuals, families and communities, and the moral and ethical issues facing health-care decision makers. The course will address how economic and policy issues influence the delivery of quality care and paying for health care, particular attention will be paid attention to accessibility, Medicaid, Medicare, self-pay, and different types of insurance. Inequities in the delivery of services based on race, economic status, gender, disability, and religious affiliation constitute a major concern for the course.
3 credits

SWK 860: Supervision

While numerous definitions of supervision exist, for the purposes of this course, professional supervision is defined as the relationship between supervisor and supervisee that guides the development of the core competencies, skills, values, and ethics that provide the foundation for social work practice. The supervisor is responsible for providing direction to the supervisee, who applies social work theory, knowledge, skills, competency, and values and ethics in the practice setting. The supervisor and the supervisee both share responsibility for conducting their role in this collaborative process. The field of social work entails a multiplicity of areas of human behavior where personal and environmental processes intersect. Social workers utilize many theoretical frameworks and evidence-based practices to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The values and standards codified in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics (2021) provide the foundation for professional practice and for the supervisory relationship. This course prepares students for the role of supervisor in human service organizations with particular emphasis on supervision of social workers providing direct service to clients. Theoretical and technical approaches to the educational, administrative, and supportive functions.
3 credits

Specialization 2: Teaching Social Work in the Academy

SWK 818: Pedagogy of Higher Education

This is the first course in the teaching academy sequence. This course is designed to prepare students to be leaders in social work education and teaching. Students will develop knowledge of a variety of teaching philosophies, including constructivist, feminist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative, and integrative approaches to understand the underlying theory of learning and teaching. The course will then focus on developing effective teaching skills, with an emphasis on strategies for facilitating active, learner-centered, experiential teaching methods. Students will explore practical issues in teaching and learning in social work education, such as course preparation, engaging students in the first-class meeting, strategies for stimulating discussion, grading practices, and developing interactive learning activities to prepare students for professional practice. Students will apply knowledge of various teaching methods through in-class role play and experiential learning activities designed to encourage reflective teaching practices and developing themselves as social work educators.
3 credits

SWK 808: Teaching with Technology

This course is designed to learn essential strategies to integrate technology into the social work curriculum and create an engaging and interactive online learning environment. Core principles of online course development, including design, interaction and assessment will be explored. Students will learn to create and develop course content; design learning outcomes and link them to course learning outcomes; and design collaborative and interactive course assignments. Students will practice developing course learning modules, and applying innovative, techniques and technologies in both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. A variety of learning activities to elicit active, critical reflection, such as journaling and discussion board will be discussed. Students will learn effective online grading and student feedback practices. Students engage in experiential learning activities that reflect the online learning experience in a blended course platform. A focal point of the course is to guide students through the instructional process and become familiar with the standards and guidelines that produce effective online and hybrid learning.
3 credits

SWK 817: Syllabus Development

Building on knowledge of various pedagogical approaches in higher education, and methods of teaching with diverse technologies, this course focuses on syllabus design and development. Students will learn best practices in the development of an engaging, learner-centered syllabus, that is responsive to a diverse community of learners. The course examines the various stages of syllabus design, including: understanding the purpose and function of the course syllabus; formulation of clear learning goals and learning objectives; and, and implementation of evidence-based strategies to create effective assignments to support the attainment of student learning outcomes. Teaching methods and strategies that promote active learning, such as case studies, audio/visual material, and role-play activities will be examined. Emphasis is placed on learning the skills to plan and design a course syllabus that is grounded in the instructor’s teaching philosophy and pedagogical approach, as well as linked to the Council on Social Work Education’s 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards core competencies. Principles of course mapping, learner-centered syllabus design, inclusive pedagogy, active learning, and backward design will provide a framework for constructing an effective syllabus.
3 credits

SWK 816: Teach a BSW or MSW course

This course will engage students in a critical discussion and demonstration of social work education. This course calls for the exploration of knowledge base conceptualizations aligned with skills needed to teach at the Bachelors and Masters level. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills such as course design, grading rubrics, syllabus creation, lesson planning and teaching. This course prepares students for opportunities teaching at the adjunct level, and/or to applying to full time faculty positions.
3 credits

Specialization 3: Organizational Leadership

SWK 805: Theories of Leadership

This course centers on leadership theories employed in organizations and agencies to guide supervisors and leaders to deliver quality social services effectively and efficiently to employees, clients, community and stakeholders to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.

The course will present opportunities for doctoral students to examine and explore leadership theories, styles and skills in not-for profit, for-profit and private organizations and agencies.
3 credits

SWK 812: Conflict Resolution and Negotiation

Conflict is unavoidable in every organization. How to manage conflict is most important for social work leaders, clinicians and academicians. In many instances, the embrace of collaboration, mediation, compromise and the use of active listening are paramount to managing challenging issues.  In this course, doctoral students will examine psychological and structural factors influencing organizational, agency and community conflict. Through the use of role plays, video lessons, conflict resolution theories and negotiation skills, doctoral students will explore analytical and practice tools necessary to navigate mutually beneficial solutions and agreements to identify, reduce and resolve conflicts. In this course, students will apply social work practice skills at the micro, mezzo and macro levels to promote a timely responsiveness to unique and emerging conflicts impacting social, economic and environmental dimensions in local, regional, and global professional settings.
3 credits

SWK 826: Grant Writing

The overall goal of this grant application and submission course is to provide doctoral students with the advance skillset of developing projects and writing, submitting and further managing research and non-research grants. The course will familiarize the doctoral students with various leading federal and foundational funding agencies appropriate for a variety of projects related to social work profession. Particular emphasis will be on federal funding sources such as NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, AHRQ, and DOJ, as well as major foundations such as RWJ Foundation and Ford Foundation. The students will be trained to turn project ideas into potentially fundable grant proposals. They will learn about a variety of funding mechanisms and how to tailor one’s project ideas to the rigors and requirements of each funding mechanism.
3 credits

SWK 827: Program Evaluation

The overall goal of this Program and Practice Evaluation course is to provide doctoral students with an advance skill set of how to use rigorous research methods to evaluate effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness and acceptability of social work practice and programs. The course covers the methods, concepts, and principles of direct practice and program evaluation approaches in order for the doctoral students to become highly capable evaluators of direct practices, and human service programs, agencies and organizations contributing to evidence-based leadership and service management. The course builds on what constitutes a program, identifying the mission, goals, and social work role within a program, understanding the implications of the organizational history and context of a program, the types and purposes of practice and program evaluation designs, measurement and data collection options, ethical and cultural considerations in the design and implementation of program and practice evaluation, anticipating the possibly diverse interests of various stakeholders in evaluation, and assessing the evaluability of a program.  
3 credits


School of Health Professions