Trauma Certificate Program

The field of trauma has exploded in the last decade with advances in neurobiology, increased attention to evidence-based and evidence-informed intervention in trauma, and more widespread recognition of trauma in the general population. Because trauma is a critical emerging and rapidly evolving field, social workers need integrated up-to-date training in working with diverse populations who are affected by wide ranging traumatic experiences, including chronic interpersonal and/or community violence, natural disasters, combat trauma, and terrorism. The Trauma Certificate Program has been conceptualized with these contemporary issues in mind. Program students will learn to analyze conceptualizations of trauma and traumatic impact, to apply current principles of intervention and program planning, and to consider the larger social, cultural and political forces at work which shape both exposure to and recovery from traumatic experiences. An important theme of the Program is professional self-care, including the implementation of agency responses that are supportive of self-care.

The Trauma Certificate Program is designed for social work students who are interested in gaining specialized training and knowledge in the field of traumatic stress and trauma-informed social work practice. Students in the program select an advanced field placement related to trauma, complete a set of courses focused on trauma-informed practice at multiple levels, and participate in an advanced seminar facilitated by a core of faculty with trauma expertise. Students also will be paired with a BU graduate of the TCP and a faculty mentor to support ongoing professional development within the program and beyond.

Students are invited to apply to the Trauma Certificate Program in their first year (or first term of completed field work for part-time students) with completion of courses and field work in the final year of the MSW. Trauma Certificate students will graduate with specialized knowledge in trauma-focused intervention at multiple levels of social work practice. The school awards a certificate of completion to students who complete the required courses and trauma-focused field placement.

Students in the TCP will enroll in the following courses during the year of their advanced field placement.

A.    Trauma-Specific Courses

  1. HB: Foundations for Social Work Practice in Trauma
  2. CP804: Trauma-Informed Clinical Practice with Children and Adolescents OR CP803: Trauma-Informed Clinical Practice with Adults (BOTH RECOMMENDED)
  3. Advanced Seminar in Trauma Practice (not for credit but required)

B.     Electives

The course menu below is offered as a guideline for TCP program planning. As elective offerings continue to expand, the possible course selections may be modified. Students will work with the program director to finalize individual program plans.

Policy Elective (1)

  1. WP703 International Social Policy – required if you are specializing in immigrants and refugees or other international focus
  2. WP707 Social Welfare Policy and Programs on Children
  3. WP710 Family Law and Children’s Rights
  4. WP711 Substance Abuse Policy
  5. WP770 Urban Poverty

HB/CP Electives (2-3)

  1. CP794 Clinical Intervention with Children
  2. CP795 Cognitive & Behavioral Therapy
  3. CP801 Clinical Practice with Adolescents in Social Contexts
  4. CP807 Clinical Practice with Older Adults
  5. HB743 Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants
  6. HB751 Human Neuropsychology (STRONGLY RECOMMENDED)
  7. HB741 Family Violence in Society

C.    Field Placement Requirements

All TCP students must elect an advanced field placement that includes significant practice with or on behalf of clients, communities, or populations experiencing trauma.  Students must notify the Program Director of their advanced placement when they receive it. The placement must include trauma-related work, and the student’s schedule must accommodate TCP course and meeting requirements.

Applications are due March 7, 2014. The application template is available via email from Professor Ellen DeVoe ( Please email Dr. DeVoe or stop by her office with questions or for more information.