We change people's lives, we help people heal from the horrific things that happen in human existence. The value of this is priceless.

Want to build knowledge, skills and credentials in a specialized area above and beyond a master’s degree? The Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Trauma-Informed Practice is a 15-credit hour residential based graduate program to further your clinical knowledge through a comprehensive, specialized curriculum of applied skills in trauma intervention. The CAS in Trauma-Informed Practice is structured for clinicians, mental health professionals, and practitioners from allied disciplines to expand their knowledge and skills in the field of trauma response and intervention. Trauma-informed practice is based on an understanding of the vulnerabilities or triggers of trauma survivors that traditional service delivery approaches may exacerbate so that these services and programs can be more supportive and avoid re-traumatization.

Why this degree makes a difference in society today…tomorrow…

The CDC statistics on abuse and violence in the United States are sobering. They report that one in four children experiences some sort of maltreatment (physical, sexual, or emotional abuse). One in four women has experienced domestic violence. In addition, one in five women and one in 71 men have experienced rape at some point in their lives — 12% of these women and 30% of these men were younger than 10 years old when they were raped. This means a very large number of people have experienced serious trauma at some point in their lives. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente assessed associations between childhood trauma, stress, and maltreatment and health and well-being later in life. ACE scores were found to be highly correlated with serious emotional problems, health risk behaviors, social problems, adult disease and disability, mortality, high health care and other costs, and worker performance problems. Higher scores were also significantly correlated with liver disease, chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, heart disease, autoimmune disease, lung cancer, depression, attempted suicide, hallucinations, the use of antipsychotic medications, the abuse of substances, multiple sex partners, and increased likelihood of becoming a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. Effective trauma treatment is crucial to break cycles of violence and to improve the quality of life for victims.

Sample Courses

Courses are designed to help students gain knowledge and emerging skills in the area of trauma-informed assessment and intervention, including the ability to match interventions appropriately to the type(s) of trauma experienced. Sample courses include:

  • Family Therapy with Complex Trauma
  • Treatment of Complex Trauma with Individuals
  • Applied Neuroscience in the Human Services
  • Spirituality in Therapy
  • Psychopathology
View all course requirements and electives

Why a CAS is Important

Students consider CAS programs to advance or complement an existing skill set, or to develop a new one. For some students, CAS programs are helpful stand-alone options to enhance an advanced clinical degree they already have. For others, supplementing a master’s program with a CAS generally entails coursework that matches M.A. or M.S. requirements. With little to no additional time or financial investment required, pairing a master’s degree and a CAS simultaneously is appealing. Take for example, a student in Falk College’s MFT or M.S.W. programs.

What’s the advantage of earning a CAS credential and a master’s degree?

Graduate certificates are important when pursuing a master’s degree because they can give you a leg up on employment once you graduate. You build knowledge, skill and credentials in a specialized area of interest above and beyond the master’s degree without extending your time at Falk. And when you graduate with a master’s degree and a Certificate of Advanced Study, the CAS letters next to your M.A., M.S., M.S.W. or MFT on your new business cards are a valuable addition.

What’s Next

A Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) complements a M.A. in marriage and family therapy degree and other masters degrees, not to mention their marketability after graduation, with additional knowledge, skills, licensing and credentials in a specialized area. Additional licensing and credentialing strategically positions students in the counseling and mental health fields. Students wishing to pursue a university level-teaching career can further pursue a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy.


Clinicians working with trauma often work in private practice, government organizations, non-for-profits, and health organizations. They have to be skilled individuals to provide effective and empathetic support. The role is particularly important because the after-effects of trauma can go on indefinitely if not dealt with. Sample career positions include:

  • Trauma Informed Specialist
  • Director Trauma Informed Early Care
  • Trauma Informed Care (TIC) Consultant
  • Crisis and Trauma Counselor or Therapists
  • Crisis Response Clinician
  • Psychotherapist for Trauma Recovery

Tuition and Financial Aid

New reduced 2023-24 tuition for graduate students:

Graduate programs were reduced from $1,872 to $1,139 per credit hour for the 2023-24 academic year! This reduced pricing is for both new and current students. With few exceptions, the reduced rates can not be combined with other funding awards and are not applicable toward prior semesters’ tuition. For questions about the new tuition pricing, please contact Falk Admissions.

Getting Admitted

Completed bachelor’s degree, minimum GPA of 3.4. Prefer experience in the field of trauma or enrollment in or completion of a master’s degree in an allied field. GRE’s not required. An admissions committee consisting of members of Marriage & Family Therapy, Social Work and Public Health faculty will consider requests for exceptions to the admissions requirements. A completed bachelor’s degree, minimum GPA of 3.4, or enrollment in or completion of a master’s degree in an allied field is required. GRE’s are not required. For the completion of a CAS, a student must be matriculated in the certificate program for at least one semester prior to the semester of graduation. Matriculation may not be backdated. Graduate students must earn a minimum average of 3.0 for work comprising the program for the degree or certificate and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8. A maximum of three credits from a combination of transfer and/or external examinations/extra-institutional and experiential learning will be accepted toward a CAS. Apply Today!

Learn More:

For additional admissions information, contact the Office of Admissions at falk@syr.edu, or fill out our online form: Get more information!

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