The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Certificates and Licensure Programs

Certificate Programs

Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program

The University of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program (VSW-CP) trains University of Tennessee College of Social Work MSSW students in the four areas of Veterinary Social Work:

  • The link between human and animal violence
  • Grief and loss
  • Animal assisted interactions
  • Compassion fatigue management

The program offers a comprehensive foundation in veterinary social work topics focusing on the knowledge and skills needed to integrate animals into social work practice in ethically sound ways and in keeping with the values of the social work profession.

The vision of VSW-CP is to produce professional social workers knowledgeable in the practice and skills necessary to help people through human animals relationships in a variety of settings and through a variety of micro and macro practice methods.

Veterinary Social Work Oath

Specializing in veterinary social work, I pledge my service to society by tending to the human needs that arise in the relationship between humans and animals. From a strengths perspective and using evidence-based practice, I will uphold the ethical code of my profession, respect and promote the dignity and worth of all species, and diligently strive to maintain mindful balance in all of my professional endeavors.

The VSW-CP is delivered in an on-line format. Although delivered on-line, students will also attend four face-to-face weekend retreats in Knoxville, Tennessee. Additionally, students will complete field practice training in settings that focus on or accommodate human-animal relationships.

Below is a presentation (with audio and approximately 5 minutes in length) of the Certificate Program, done by Dr. Elizabeth Strand:

Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program from Elizabeth Strand on Vimeo.

How to apply

In order to complete the VSW-CP you must be a University of Tennessee College of Social Work MSSW student. If you are not already a student at the UT College of Social Work, you will need to apply for the College's MSSW program. Please click here to get information about the application procedure.

Once you are accepted as a MSSW student in the UT College of Social Work, you will then write a one-page letter expressing your intention to complete the VSW-CP. This letter should be sent via email to:
Elizabeth B. Strand, Ph.D., LCSW
Associate Clinical Professor
Director, Veterinary Social Work
University of Tennessee
College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Strand will then contact you for a brief overview discussion about the program and a brief exploration of your goals and expectations for completing the certificate.


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