Social Policy and Social Work – Field of study catalogue MU
Social Policy and Social Work
“We learn to discover, in a detached and systematic manner, how modes of assistance respond to problems, troubles, and needs of people who are caught in a vicious circle with the society around them.”
The mission of doctoral studies in Social Policy and Social Work is to educate scholars who are interested in researching as well as conceptualizing assistance to people who have difficulties in the reciprocal relationships with the society around them or with conditions of their life in contemporary society. This mission is relevant when one describes assistance in the context of social work interventions in clients' living situations, in social service policy measures, in modifications of conditions for giving aid within an organization, or in social policy programs; or when research is devoted to demonstrating living situations and social problems, and conceptualizing, implementing, and evaluating specific measures or types of measures; or when research is devoted to situations, problems, and arrangements concerning different levels (international, national, regional, local) of social problems as well as levels in organization, or safety nets, or even on the individual case level etc. The objective is to educate cutting-edge specialists in promoting the aforementioned mission by independent investigation, evaluation of existing measures or creating new ones, management of their implementation, or everyday coordination of reciprocally interacting measures.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- master the research tools necessary for the complex investigation of social problems, difficult living situations, and solutions thereby;
- independently analyze different aspects of solutions to social problems and difficult living situations using advanced research tools;
- design proposals, programs, projects and analyses of solutions to social problems and difficult living situations;
- demonstrate the ability to coordinate research and policymaking in state, nongovernmental, public or commercial organisations, after gaining relevant practical experience;
- show mastery of current knowledge and skills related to the field of his or her dissertation;
- demonstrate skill in making conceptually sound, methodical decisions in the field of social policy and social work.
Graduates of the doctoral program in Social Policy and Social Work are well prepared for research and academic institutions, public administration, and social policy, social work, and social services organizations. They often become researchers, project and program designers, or teachers in such organizations. As designers of solutions to social problems and as developers of ways to help people grapple with difficult living situations, they work at various levels (national, regional, local). Moreover, they also may become consultants or experts in political, administrative, or non-governmental organizations, in their home country or abroad.
The student is obliged to meet the following preconditions before he or she registers for the defense of his or her dissertation and the final oral exam:
1) Obtain 240 credits (henceforth “ECTS”) for courses in the doctoral studies program in Social policy and Social Work;
2) Of these 240 ECTS, 135 ECTS must be for required courses devoted to the preparation of dissertation, i.e., submission of an approved, well-reasoned research question in the first semester; submission and defense of the conceptualization of the research question in the sixth semester; submission of the dissertation at the end of the standard duration of doctoral studies (i.e. in the eighth semester); the publishing of an academic article devoted to conceptualizing of the research question during the standard duration of doctoral studies.
3) Obtain 52 ECTS for elective courses concerning theory and research methodology among the 240 obligatory ECTS;
4) Obtain 67 ECTS for optional courses among the 240 obligatory ECTS;
5) Spend one semester within the standard duration of doctoral studies at a foreign institution, during which the student will focus on consultation and preparation of dissertation;
6) Publish at minimum two academic articles, the arguments of which become a part of the dissertation.
7) Pass the relevant examination of English language abilities (or submit equivalent certification).
This aspect is not required for doctoral studies in Social Policy and Social Work. It is possible to gain optional ECTS for research activities devoted to using theoretical or methodological knowledge or skills relevant in terms of the dissertation in solving practical matters of social work or social policy.
Doctoral studies in Social Policy and Social Work end upon successful completion of 1) the dissertation defense and 2) an oral state examination.
1) The dissertation and its defense is assessed by five-member Committee, which takes into its consideration reviews by two reviewers. The statements by the reviewers are known to the candidate before the defense. One reviewer and two committee members will be experts in the field employed outside Masaryk University. The Committee and reviewers take into account the following criteria:
a) A clear formulation of the research question and the author's clear argumentation regarding the relevant approach to answering this question. This particularly means precise reasoning in conceptualization, operationalization, research methodology, validity of findings validity, etc.;
b) Demonstration of extensive knowledge and a complex understanding of the theories and concepts recognized by the international community of the subject area and relevant in terms of the research question;
c) An adequate interpretation of findings in the context of the theories and concepts relevant for the research question;
d) Answering the research question by the author;
e) An exposition of the practical implications that is consistent with the research question, the conceptualization used, and the new research results by the author.
2) The Final State Examination consists in answering a question designed by the examination committee after consulting opponents. The question requires the student to further expound on one of the issues in theory or methodology that concerns the dissertation and has not been discussed sufficiently during the course of the defense. This question asks for broader argumentation of the issue, which goes beyond its elaboration inside the dissertation.