Since September 1987, a doctoral program has been offered by the Laurier Faculty of Social Work. The PhD program provides students with opportunities for advanced scholarship and professional growth and prepares graduates for leadership roles in fields such as higher education, research and specialized practice in governmental or private human service organizations. Beginning in September 2011, students have been admitted to a part-time PhD program.
Students study in one of two fields: Studies in Social Work Practice, or Critical Social Policy and Organizational Studies.
The field Studies in Social Work Practice encompasses a wide variety of practice issues and diverse practice settings. Students apply quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to the study of service fields such as health and illness, mental health, child welfare, addictions, corrections, disabilities, seniors and immigration. Students explore paradigms essential to understanding the practice relevance of, for example, feminism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, social change, global studies, post-modernism, and self and subjectivity. Students engage in critical reflection of social work practice from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives.
The field Critical Social Policy and Organizational Studies draws upon scholarship in policy development, advocacy for social justice, and administration to guide PhD students through a critical analysis of current policy and organizational issues. Students develop research questions from their professional or personal experience that focus on the production and/or reproduction of oppression using socialist, feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial, critical disability, anti-homophobic, and other critical perspectives.