Clinical Social Work & Behavioral Medicine Certificate Program

Beginning in 2003, the Boston University School of Social Work and the Boston University School of Medicine’s program in Mental Health Counseling & Behavioral Medicine began offering a specialty program in Clinical Social Work & Behavioral Medicine. Behavioral medicine is an interdisciplinary field concerned with the development, integration, and application of behavioral and biomedical scientific knowledge and techniques to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of various complex illnesses and disorders. This certificate program expands the knowledge base for clinical social work practice by including specialized courses on behavioral neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and behavioral medicine/applied health sciences. This program is especially useful to clinicians who wish to practice effectively in interdisciplinary teams focused on emerging and chronic health issues such as HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, obesity and its complications, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and substance abuse. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to work effectively across disciplines using this new synthesis of knowledge and skills.

Structure of Program

This program is designed primarily for clinical majors, and requires a total of either 68 or 71 credits, 3–6 credits more than the 65 required for the MSW alone. During their MSW program, students take three courses at the School of Medicine in the following content areas: behavioral medicine/applied health psychology, psychopharmacology, and behavioral neuroscience. A fourth course is an elective which can be taken at either School and which relates to a student’s particular interests. An integrative group seminar meets three times yearly. The program is open to both full- and part-time students. Full-time students are required to take either one or two summer sessions between first and second year and will graduate with their class in the following May. The field placement process remains the same, but students are encouraged to choose placements in health or mental health care settings in which a behavioral medicine component may be integrated.

Admissions

The Admissions Process for the Certificate Program in Clinical Social Work and Behavioral Medicine (CSWBM)

Please note that there are two admission points into this program depending on when students want to begin their studies (First-year admission/Second-year admission). Full-time students wishing to begin their studies during their first year must apply by late October of their first semester and if accepted, will begin their course of studies in January of their first year. Full-time students may delay entry and begin their coursework at the School of Medicine in their second year, applying for admission to the program in February of their first year. In both cases, full-time students must take either 3 or 6 summer credits between first and second year if they wish to graduate with their entering class. Part-time students may apply any time and an individual program will be created for them.

Applying to the Certificate Program in Clinical Social Work and Behavioral Medicine

Interested students should complete the process described below:

  • Attend one of the Program Information Sessions
  • Submit a Program Application with résumé attached to the Program Director. Applications may be obtained outside SSW Room 221 on the CSWBM bulletin board.
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Be able to document the ability to do graduate-level work in science-related content (undergraduate coursework in some sciences or physiological psychology)
  • Be a full-time first-year student, able and willing to take one or two summer courses or be a part-time student able to attend classes at the School of Medicine in the coming year

Acceptance to the Program

You will receive a letter of acceptance to the program from Program Director Janice Furlong.

Participation in the Program

While in the program, students will enjoy academic advising from a SSW-based adviser, as well as program advising with the Program Director. Several times a year, students will meet as a group to discuss and support one another in integrating the Behavioral Medicine content to social work practice. Please be advised that the Boston University School of Medicine is located on the Medical Center Campus about three miles away. The BU Shuttle travels back and forth several times an hour and is free to BU students. Many students carpool or travel back and forth together.

Tuition and Financial Aid

There are additional costs associated with this program because students are required to take either one or two SSW summer courses between first and second years. For students who take two summer session courses at the School of Social Work, the cost of 6 credits would be $859 per credit, for a total of $5154, plus a $40 per session registration fee. Generally, students may obtain Stafford loans to cover the costs, since 6 credits is considered “half time.” For students who take one summer session course at the School of Social Work, the cost is again $859 per credit, for a total of $2577. One option in the summer for students taking less than 6 credits would be a non-Federal, credit-based loan. Students consult with the SSW Financial Aid office to work out a plan.

Certificates

Graduates of the certificate program are issued professional certificates, signed by the Dean of the School of Social Work, the Program Director for the Clinical Social Work and Behavioral Medicine Certificate Program, and the Program Director on the medical school campus.

Sample Program Plans for Full-time Students Considering First- or Second-year Admissions

Please note that part-time students will plan individually with the Program Director. Students who have tested out of Research 1 or any other required course and have an opening in their spring schedule should definitely apply first year to take advantage of the opportunity to do the Behavioral Medicine coursework in the best possible sequence. Be advised that the School of Graduate Medical Sciences makes changes to their schedules that can affect when courses are offered. They work hard to meet the scheduling needs of all students; however, CSWBM students must be prepared to alter their field schedules and other course selections to accommodate the GMS schedule as needed.

CSWBM Certificate First Year “Fast Track” Admission Sample Program Plan

(with at least two core courses taken at School of Medicine; one SSW summer session; total 68 credits)

Year 1/Semester 1/Fall

  • Intro to Clinical Practice (3 cr)
  • Intro to Macro Practice (3 cr)
  • Social Welfare Policy 1 (3 cr)
  • Human Behavior/Social Environment (3 cr)
  • Field Education 1 (3 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 15

Year 1/Semester 2/Spring

  • CP with individuals (2 cr)
  • CP with groups (2 cr)
  • CP with families (2 cr)
  • Social Welfare Policy 2 (3 cr)
  • Research I (3 cr)
  • SSW HB751 Human Neuropsychology (3 cr) (this counts as a SSW HB elective and also meets the CSWBM requirement for a neuroscience course) OR
    GMS MH 709 Neuroscience for Mental Health Professionals (3 cr) (taken at BU School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medical Sciences, on medical school campus)
  • Field Education 2 (3 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 33

Summer Term

(one course only)

  • Social Welfare Policy elective (Category A) (3 cr) OR
    Racial Justice (3 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 36

Year 2/Semester 1/Fall

  • Research 2 (3 cr)
  • Social Welfare Policy elective OR Racial Justice (3 cr)
  • GMS MH 810 Psychopharmacology (3 cr) (must be taken at BU School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medical Sciences, on medical school campus)
  • Adult Psychopathology (Category B) (3 cr)
  • Field Education 3 (2 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 52

Year 2/Semester 2/Spring

  • GMS MH 714 Behavioral Medicine/Applied Health Psychology (3 cr) (must be taken at BU School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medical Sciences, on medical school campus)
  • Professional Ethics (3 cr)
  • CSWBM-Related Clinical Elective** (3 cr)
  • Advanced Clinical Elective (3 cr)
  • Field Education 4 (2 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 68 (Degree & Certificate Granted)

** Clinical course must be “related” to Certificate Program but can be taken at either SSW or BUSM; will function as a Cat. C

CSWBM Certificate Second Year Admission “Regular Admission”

(with three core courses taken at School of Medicine, two SSW summer session courses, total 71 credits)

Year 1/Semester 1/Fall

  • Intro to Clinical Practice (3 cr)
  • Intro to Macro Practice (3 cr)
  • Social Welfare Policy 1 (3 cr)
  • Human Behavior/Social Environment (3 cr)
  • Field Education 1 (3 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits 15

Year 1/Semester 2/Spring

  • CP with individuals (2 cr)
  • CP with groups (2 cr)
  • CP with families (2 cr)
  • Social Welfare Policy 2 (3 cr)
  • HB required elective (3 cr)
  • Research 1 (3 cr)
  • Field Education 2 (3 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 33

Summer Term

(two courses)

  • Social Welfare Policy (Category A) (3 cr)
  • Racial Justice (3 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 39

Year 2/Semester 1/Fall

  • Research 2 (3 cr)
  • GMS MH 810 Psychopharmacology (3 cr) (must be taken at BU School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medical Sciences, on medical school campus)
  • CSWBM-Related Clinical Elective ** (Cat C) (3 cr)
  • Advanced Clinical Elective (3 cr)
  • Field Education 3 (2 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 55

Year 2/Semester 2/Spring

  • GMS MH 714 Behavioral Medicine/Applied Health Psychology (3 cr) (must be taken at BU School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medical Sciences, on medical school campus)
  • GMS MH 709 Neuroscience for Mental Health Professionals (3 cr) (must be taken at BU School of Medicine/Graduate School of Medical Sciences, on medical campus)
  • Professional Ethics (3 cr)
  • Adult Psychopathology (Category B) (3 cr)
  • Field Education 4 (2 cr)

Total Cumulative Credits: 71 (Degree & Certificate Granted)

** Course must be “related” to Certificate Program but can be taken at either SSW or BUSM; functions as Cat C.

TOTAL CREDITS: 71 (Degree & Certificate Granted)

** Course must be “related” to Certificate Program but can be taken at either SSW or BUSM; functions as Cat C.