Graduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice

The Center on Trauma and Adversity, led by faculty co-chairs Drs. Jennifer King and Megan Holmes, has developed a Graduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice. The certificate is intended to prepare students to engage in trauma-informed practice in the following areas:

  • Actively recognize the impact of trauma symptoms and disorders
  • Take into account this impact’s detrimental effects
  • Provide students with the trauma-informed and evidence-based skills necessary for effective trauma intervention
  • Prepare for the impact of the work on self, as well as the organization and the systems within which they are operating

Importance of Trauma-Informed Practice

Over the past 20 years, a convergence of research on neuroscience, epigenetics, adversity and toxic stress has established that exposure to trauma and toxic stress adversely affects the health and well- being of children, youth, adults and communities. Research has demonstrated irrefutable evidence that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence and parental substance use are traumatic or stressful events that lower an individual’s capacity to cope or adapt to future stressful events and affect the health and well-being of children, youth, adults and communities. Trauma also manifests at the community level—symptoms appear in the social-cultural, physical/built, and economic environments and are barriers to solutions to promote healthy, safety and well-being.

Whether students plan to pursue direct practice or community practice-focused positions post- graduation, with children or adults, in healthcare settings, schools or community mental health agencies—they are likely to encounter trauma and adversity in the populations they serve. The Graduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice allows for focused and integrated training in evidence- based models designed to address differential responses to trauma alongside the important course and fieldwork necessary for their chosen concentration and specialization areas.

Coursework Requirements

A total of 15 credit hours is required for the Graduate Certificate in Trauma-Informed Practice, which includes 9 credit hours of required course work and 6 credit hours of elective courses selected from a list of approved electives.

3 Required Courses – 9 credit hours

SASS 547: Problems Identification, Screening and Assessment Diagnosis

SASS 550: Trauma Informed Social Work Practice: Child and Family

SASS 554: Trauma Informed Practice with Adults

2 Elective Courses selected from the list of approved electives – 6 credit hours

SASS 500: Community Trauma and Resilience: Trauma Informed Social Work Practice

SASS 500: Mindfulness in Social Work Practice

SASS 500: Violence: Social Work & Public Health Perspectives

SASS 518: Death, Grief and Loss

SASS 536. Individual Research Practicum (With Trauma-Informed Practice Certificate Chair, instructor, and research sequence chair approval, an individual program of supervised research experience focused on trauma may be undertaken. This course allows the student to tailor a program of applied research to a specific trauma practice issue or program.)

SASS 555. Women's Issues

SASS 580: Social Work Practice in Mental Health: Children and Adolescents

SASS 582: Social Work in Child Abuse and Family Violence

SASS 583: Social Work Practice in Mental Health: Adults

SASS 598 Independent Study (With Trauma-Informed Practice Certificate Chair and instructor approval, an individual study in Applied Social Sciences involving trauma-specific programs of reading, research, and special projects may be undertaken. This course allows the student to tailor a program of study to a specific trauma.)


For more information, contact faculty co-chairs, Dr. Jennifer King or Dr. Megan Holmes.