Psychosocial Oncology

Forty-one percent of Americans can expect to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.1 The high rates of cancer on local, national, and global levels and the potential shortage of oncology social workers are creating the demand for skilled practitioners. The psychosocial oncology specialization at the Kent School of Social Work meets the growing need for professionals in psychosocial oncology care. This program prepares social work students with the knowledge and competencies for addressing the psychosocial health needs of persons with cancer. They will learn how to apply clinical skills such as psycho-social assessments, counseling, leading family meetings, setting goals of care and making treatment decisions across the cancer continuum.

This specialization offers:

  • A one-year practicum in a cancer care setting or health care organization
  • Two psychosocial oncology practice courses & one course in: SW & Human Sexuality, Death & Dying, Spirituality & SW, or Intro to Epidemiology
  • Opportunity to participate in iCOPE, an interdisciplinary oncology palliative care curriculum
  • Distance-learning Courses
  • Certificate in Psychosocial Oncology
  • Assistance in securing a job after graduation

Program Requirements

  • SW647: Psychosocial Practice in Oncology I: Interpersonal Practice
  • SW648:  Psychosocial practice in Oncology II: Community Approaches to Promote Health Equity

One elective course from the following:

  • SW633:  Social Work and Human Sexuality
  • SW636:  Death and Grief
  • SW684:  Spirituality and Social Work
  • PHEP601:  Introduction to Epidemiology

Other course of interest—to be approved by chair.

2-day per week field practicum in a cancer care setting

Admissions Procedures

  • Submit a 2-3 page (double-spaced) essay discussing your interest in psychosocial oncology and how the specialization will further your educational goals.
  • Must be in good standing with Kent School MSSW Program and completed foundation MSSW curriculum requirements.
  • Submit an updated resume.
  • 60-hr current students: Complete the Application for Specializations during the December before your Advanced year.
  • 30-hr students: Submit specialization essay to Graduate Admissions Service Account when applying to the program.

Students must apply to specializations by December 15th during the December before their Advanced (final) year of study.


For more information, please contact the MSSW Admissions Office

E-mail MSSW Admissions