The Penn DSW curriculum begins with a two-semester foundation that spans clinical theory and research. These synchronous online core courses engage students in high level learning that challenges them to think methodically, critically, and creatively about social work theory and practice.

DSW students had this to say about the core curriculum:

Enlightening and intellectually stimulating … thoroughly engaging … fascinating readings.

Faculty were incredible guides in our journey toward developing our clinical and academic point of view.

Broadened my thinking to consider the influence of politics, culture and society on the evolution of theory and practice.

Stimulating and relevant … thought-provoking … really challenged my thinking and assumptions.

Opened the floodgates of theoretical and practical learning in clinical social work.

Made research fun and exciting, something I didn’t think could be possible.

Challenging yet thoroughly enjoyable … a great combination for learning.

In the final two years of the program, the courses cover the following content areas: Theory-based Practice Approaches; Group Dynamics and Trauma; Issues and Interventions with Particular Populations; Teaching, Supervision, and Leadership; Ethics, Electives, and Dissertation Seminars; and Professional Development Seminars.

Specific courses include: Relational Social Work; CBT with Diverse and Under-served Populations; Psychodynamic Diagnosis; Relational-Cultural Theory; Group Dynamics; Trauma-informed Theory and Interventions for Classic and Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders; Organizational Stress and Trauma; Interventions with Inner City Youth; Substance Abuse Treatment: The “Highs’ and the Lows; Psychotherapy with Couples; Perspectives on Child Welfare; Social Work Practice with Sexual Issues; Biases and Disparities in Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment; Teaching Social Work Practice; Pedagogy; Leadership for Change; Social Work Supervision; Ethics, Dissertation Seminars, and Electives.