A National Survey of Graduate Education in Psychopharmacology: Advancing the Social Work Perspective on Psychiatric Medication


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Social workers’ unique skills and professional perspective can contribute to improved practices in psychopharmacology, yet it is unclear how social work programs prepare students for this area of practice. This study examined instruction of psychopharmacology through a national Web-based survey of MSW program directors and instructors of psychopharmacology content (n = 171). Nearly two-thirds (63.7%) reported their program integrates psychopharmacology usually into one or two existing courses, whereas 20.5% indicated their program offers a stand-alone course. Lack of faculty expertise and having no room in the current curriculum structure were identified as the top barriers for programs not offering any psychopharmacology content. The profession’s critical, social justice, empowerment, client-centered, and systems perspective appears to ground the teaching of psychopharmacology in social work programs.

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