Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Teaching activities and contents

The first year is mainly devoted to deepening the study of Social work theory, in connection with sociology, economics, moral philosophy and law. During the first year, PhD students are invited to identify their research project and to choose a supervisor within the teaching staff. They will also have to choose a second supervisor, who may not be part of the teaching staff.

In the following two years students will define in detail and realize the research that they will defend in their doctoral thesis. It may concern Social work area or in Social welfare policies area.

Teaching contents activities will cover:

1) Theory of sociological thought, with particular reference to phenomenological approaches
2) Social work theory and methods

2.1) General Issues: history of social work and caring professions; comparative social work; social work ethics; main international social work approaches: critical, anti-oppressive, constructive, evidence-based, relational; principles and methods of social work education; intercultural sensitivity in helping relationships.

2.2) Relational Social Work: theoretical foundations; techniques for analyzing and guiding social coping networks in a range of problematic areas, even in multicultural contexts; relational practices in social work education, community work, social services planning, etc.

3)Social policies and personal social services policies, including their connections with social and anthropological phenomena, psychological dynamics and psychopathologies related to poverty, disadvantage, marginalization, stigma.

4) Public, private and criminal law, with particular reference to vulnerable people (children, disabled, substance addicted, mental health patients, etc.), to restorative justice and community justice, to social workers’ and social care services’ duties.

5) Social research methods and techniques: qualitative research, quantitative research, mixed methods; social work participatory research; evaluation studies for social care assessment; action research for welfare innovations; social work literature review: aims and methods;

6) Research ethics in welfare and social work.

The teaching activities consist of lectures, individual study planned with the student’s tutor, students’ written and oral presentations, group discussions led by teachers, with particular attention to the international scene. In addition, structured exercises will be carried out with peer review process, in order to develop skills for scientific writing, both in Italian and in English.

Lectures of non-Italian teachers will be in English. Doctoral thesis can be written in English or Italian. PhD students will participate in Relational Social Work Research Center activities and they will be involved as observers or collaborators in teaching activities for undergraduate social work students.