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Online Master of Social Work

Online MSW Course Requirements

Help Individuals, Couples, Families, and Groups Overcome Challenges in Clinical Settings

 

The online Master of Social Work degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota welcomes professionals from diverse backgrounds. Our Advanced Standing track is 30 credits and is offered to those with a bachelor’s degree in social work. The Traditional track is a 60-credit program that allows professionals from different educational backgrounds to enter the program and, ultimately, the field of social work.

Time to Completion

  • Traditional track: Five consecutive semesters for full-time students and ten consecutive semesters for part-time students
  • Advanced Standing track: Three consecutive semesters for full-time students and five consecutive semesters for part-time students

Traditional Track - Generalist Courses (30 credits)

  • In tracing their corresponding historical trajectories, this course examines the assumptions, values, and events that have shaped social welfare policy in the United States and the social work profession. Social work values, principles, and ethics are grounded in the social, economic, political, and cultural contexts from which they evolved. Social welfare policy is examined within its historical context with particular attention given to the legacies of poverty, racism, sexism, and heterosexism.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Compare the distinctive attributes of contemporary social work professionals within the social work profession’s historical evolution and the societal context in which it continues to evolve
    • Identify and govern one’s own values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in congruence with the professional values and ethics of social work as outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics
    • Evaluate how social work policies and functions at all practice levels serve to stimulate or impede the advancement of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
    • Identify inherent injustices, biases, and barriers in social work functions at all practice levels
    • Design and promote ethical responses to societal injustices by drawing on the profession’s rich legacy of fomenting social change
    • Examine the successes and failures of existing and developing social policies in protecting human rights and promoting the dignity and worth of all individuals
    • Apply social work ethics, values, and its legacy of leadership in creating positive and progressive social change at all levels of society

  • This course provides the foundation for social work with individuals and families. Utilizing frameworks such as ecosystemic theory, cultural context, and a developmental lens, students learn basic concepts and methods for engagement, assessment, and intervention. Students also learn basic skills for evaluating interventions and reflecting on the social worker’s professional role and use of self in clinical relationships with individuals and families.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify reflective skills and facilitate self-assessment of values and core beliefs as relevant to engagement with individuals and families
    • Develop a critical understanding of the potential impact of diverse developmental experiences
    • Compare theories of clinical practice
    • Articulate basic tenets of clinical social work theoretical models as they apply to engagement with individuals and families
    • Practice basic social work methods and techniques for responsively and effectively engaging with individuals and families across diverse communities and contexts

  • This course provides the foundation for social work practice with groups, organizations, and communities as vehicles of change to promote individual and community well-being. Students learn the principles and processes of group work, group facilitation, leadership skills, and strategies to apply group work principles toward collaboratively identified outcomes.

    Utilizing frameworks such as ecosystemic theory and models of collective action, students critically reflect on the ethical use of self as an essential resource to engage and sustain participatory collaborative action within and among diverse constituencies.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify the NASW Code of Ethics standards and relevant laws and regulations that promote or impinge upon participatory action
    • Examine how group facilitation and leadership skills are used to engage, support, and sustain varied forms of group work, including participatory collaborative action, among diverse stakeholders
    • Analyze the relationship between the profession’s commitment to democratic participation in group decision-making and one’s developing professional social work identity
    • Summarize information on the work of groups actively responding to specific economic, social, racial, and cultural factors that affect community well-being
    • Propose and comparatively evaluate strategies by which a group, organization, or community can advocate for policy or practice change to promote human rights and social justice
    • Produce clear, coherent, accurate, and inclusive oral and written communication about the processes and outcomes of group work for internal and external audiences
    • Demonstrate appreciative curiosity to understand how interpersonal dynamics and contextual factors may strengthen and potentially threaten group cohesion and efficacy
    • Identify, collect, and present relevant information to support the work of groups, organizations, or communities in establishing priorities for action
    • Articulate the unifying values, goals, and expectations of the members of a group, organization, or community to balance self-determination and interdependence in a sociocultural context
    • Explain how the contribution of professional social work knowledge or experience can enhance the capacities of group members or the group as a whole to achieve its goals
    • Critique the range of strategies that may be required to negotiate, mediate, and advocate between group members and on behalf of a group’s articulated goals
    • Articulate how informal and formal procedures and rules function to limit or enhance interdependence, inclusion, and self-determination within and between groups, organizations, or communities
    • Appraise the role of self-advocacy groups in establishing, monitoring, and changing definitions of success embedded in practice, program, and policy outcomes
    • Determine practice outcome evaluation methodologies that value the cultural strengths, expertise, and perspectives embedded in groups, organizations, and communities
    • Infer short- and long-term practice improvement goals that participatory action groups may adopt based on relevant practice or program evaluation findings

  • This course is the first of two courses exploring human development and behavior across the lifespan. Consistent with social work principles, human behavior and interactions are examined through person-in-environment and strengths-based perspectives. In this foundational course, students acquire knowledge of multiple theories of human bio-psycho-social development as well as major conceptual frameworks for understanding human interactions within families, groups, organizations, and communities.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Summarize major theories of human behavior, including ecological, systems, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, and lifespan developmental frameworks, as well as the usefulness of each theory in building effective engagement with client populations
    • Analyze how privileged ideologies, theories, and social narratives contribute to implicit biases that hamper engagement with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities across the broad spectrum of human diversity
    • Illustrate the strengths and limitations of each theory of human behavior in assessing the strengths and needs of clients and constituencies
    • Examine how the conceptualization of each client population’s relative strengths and needs is altered by the theoretical perspective through which it is viewed
    • Analyze how each framework studied influences intervention strategies and tactics
    • Interpret how each theoretical framework of human behavior provides benchmarks for successful social work practices with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
    • Summarize the cumulative influence of theoretical conceptualization in social work practice, including early engagement with clients, assessing client strengths and needs, providing appropriate intervention, and evaluating the effectiveness of those interventions

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment II investigates the impact of culture, economics, and discrimination across a range of intersectional privileged and marginalized identities, and how this relates to human development, behavior, and interactions within society. This investigation utilizes previously introduced developmental theories and conceptual frameworks and presents new theories and models designed to embrace human diversity and promote social justice.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Articulate a fundamental understanding of the strengths, challenges, and lived experiences of individuals marginalized in society (due to culture, race, ability, age, economics, gender, sexuality, religion, privilege, etc.)
    • Examine the privileged narratives and ideologies in society and how those narratives and ideologies can foster implicit bias within all levels of social work practice
    • Identify current and historical patterns of socially-sanctioned bias and injustice embedded with social structures, social policies, and systems of social welfare and control
    • Assess the impact of positional and cultural power and privilege in building trust and engagement within marginalized communities
    • Identify the underlying context of assumptions, ideologies, history, and values in which each theoretical framework of human behavior in the social environment
    • Evaluate the suitability of each theoretical framework to assess the strengths and needs of individuals, families, and groups of people whose assumptions, ideologies, history, and values differ from the framework’s foundational assumptions, ideologies, history, and values
    • Examine social work practices developed within the socio-cultural context of specific marginalized populations
    • Analyze the positive and negative impact of individual social work practices and policies on the communal health and functioning of marginalized client groups

  • This course builds upon the foundation of HBSE I and II and introduces a biopsychosocial framework for typical, atypical, and pathological development throughout the lifespan. The concepts of mental health, mental illness, and diagnosis are explored using theory and historical and current contextual factors. This course also focuses on clinical assessment, case formulation, and diagnostic processes utilizing criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and other relevant tools.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify ethical standards, best practices, and decision-making models relevant to the provision of mental health assessment and diagnosis
    • Demonstrate professional social work writing standards for case formulations, diagnostic assessments, and treatment plans using a collaborative, strengths-based, and developmentally informed perspective
    • Culturally contextualize the constructs of mental health symptoms, and examine the role of historical trauma, inequity, and other factors in the privileging of certain social norms of behavior
    • Develop a critical understanding of the impact and power of the social worker’s role in mental health diagnosis, including client access to services, stigma, and other negative consequences of diagnosis
    • Identify strategies for promoting client self-determination throughout the diagnostic and treatment planning process
    • Demonstrate formulation of individual and systemic intervention goals which honor client self-determination, are culturally responsive, and integrate client strengths, preferences, and needs
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the DSM-5 diagnostic categories, diagnoses, and criteria while discussing relevant historical, cultural, social, and contextual factors in establishing and utilizing the DSM-5 as a clinical instrument and medical model of mental health diagnosis
    • Within the context of diagnosis and treatment planning, identify effective interventions for individuals, including advocacy for client needs within broader systemic contexts
    • Apply a client-centered, culturally responsive framework to evaluate goals, objectives, and interventions in mental health treatment planning

  • The profession of social work is built upon practice-informed research and research-informed practice. This class will provide students with an understanding of how to design a research project, both single subject and larger subject, from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Students understand how to read research on best practices, using their knowledge of research to critically analyze the research and apply it to their practice. They will also learn how to bring practice knowledge into social work research.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Evaluate the value and impact of questions posed in published research for the practice community and clients
    • Develop research questions that recognize and distinguish between pathology and various social conditions, such as poverty, social inequality, and person and environment language
    • Examine the complementary relationship between qualitative and quantitative research findings about social work assessment, intervention, or other practice questions
    • Articulate procedures to ethically and systematically generate data during in vivo social work assessment and intervention processes
    • Reflect on the importance of personal agency in professional development generally and in guiding practice-related research inquiry specifically
    • Scale research design for self-directed practice inquiry and improvement

  • This course introduces major social welfare policies and programs through a human rights lens as they affect universal access to human dignity and well-being in a pluralistic society. Students learn about the synergistic relationship between policy development and micro-, mezzo-, and macro-level social work practice. Students also learn common approaches to formulate, analyze, and evaluate policy options in collaboration with constituents and colleagues.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Analyze the tensions and ethical dilemmas inherent in professional practice around policies or programs that perpetuate or respond imperfectly to the historic effects of oppression, discrimination, and trauma
    • Differentiate between evidence about the general effectiveness of a policy and evidence about the effectiveness of the policy in a specific cultural context
    • Organize information from individuals, organizations, or groups to describe how proposed policies or policy changes may differentially affect diverse community members’ social, economic, and environmental conditions
    • Use policy proposals and related evidence to predict the impact on client and constituency well-being at the local level
    • Use policy proposals and related evidence to predict the local level’s impact on access to and delivery of social services
    • Select advocacy strategies that maximize capacities for self-determination and self-advocacy and promote accountability to policy-affected clients and constituencies
    • Map complementary pathways from social work practice research to specific policy changes, and from specific policies to practice adaptations
    • Examine how a false dichotomy between social work practice and policymaking related to social, economic, and environmental issues has contributed to or perpetuated the historic effects of oppression, discrimination, and trauma

  • Students in the generalist curriculum serve and learn for a total of 400 hours in an assigned supervised professional practice setting to acquire a broad understanding of the field of social work, recognize and use generalist principles and concepts, and assess and then select intervention methods to meet individual, group, family, and community needs. The concurrent Integrative Field Seminar uses an appreciative inquiry approach to focus on generalist social work practice, emphasizing issues of diversity, ethics, social advocacy, social change, and social, economic, and environmental justice. The seminar integrates theory and evidence-based practice knowledge with students’ first-hand application of knowledge and skills as they encounter social work roles, values, and ethics in the field.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Adapt oral and written communication to meet client capacities for language, literacy, and speech
    • Demonstrate initiative to acquire from clients, colleagues, and community partners an appreciative working knowledge of the history and culture of the host agency and of the clients and communities it serves
    • Identify the influence of social, economic, and environmental justice factors, including the agency’s intervention strategies, in bio-psycho-social-spiritual and ecological case analyses
    • Generate a meaningful research question about social work practice situated within a problem statement and a summary of relevant research frameworks relevant to the host agency and its constituencies
    • Recommend advocacy opportunities based on a systematic scan (or SWOT analysis) of active policy issues at the organization, community, state, and federal levels that could affect the host agency and its constituencies
    • Demonstrate the dispositions of acceptance, curiosity, empathy, optimism, and positive regard consistently in verbal and nonverbal communication with diverse client systems
    • Constructively engage client systems in gathering information, interpreting facts or patterns, and making decisions about services and service providers in relation to identified needs or goals
    • Exhibit empathy and persistence to establish and sustain trust during the assessment process
    • Model tolerance for ambiguity in the process of change and intervention
    • Commit to intervention tasks and roles that fully span, and respect the limits of, (the scope of practice that corresponds to) the placement role in the host agency
    • Recognize and critique the influence of mezzo- and macro-level forces on the institutionalization of definitions and measures of therapeutic outcomes
    • Advocate for the adoption of definitions and measures of therapeutic outcomes of unique value in specific sociocultural contexts

  • NOTE: Students will choose either this course OR MSW 649.

    Students in the generalist curriculum serve and learn for a total of 400 hours in an assigned supervised professional practice setting to acquire a broad understanding of the field of social work, recognize and use generalist principles and concepts, and assess and then select intervention methods to meet individual, group, family, and community needs. The concurrent Integrative Field Seminar uses an appreciative inquiry approach to focus on generalist social work practice, emphasizing issues of diversity, ethics, social advocacy, social change, and social, economic, and environmental justice. The seminar integrates theory and evidence-based practice knowledge with students’ first-hand application of knowledge and skills as they encounter social work roles, values, and ethics in the field.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Adapt oral and written communication to meet client capacities for language, literacy, and speech
    • Demonstrate initiative to acquire from clients, colleagues, and community partners an appreciative working knowledge of the history and culture of the host agency and of the clients and communities it serves
    • Identify the influence of factors related to social, economic, and environmental justice, including the agency’s intervention strategies, in bio-psycho-social-spiritual and ecological case analyses
    • Generate a meaningful research question about social work practice situated within a problem statement and a summary of relevant research frameworks relevant to the host agency and its constituencies
    • Recommend advocacy opportunities based on a systematic scan (or SWOT analysis) of active policy issues at the organization, community, state, and federal levels that could affect the host agency and its constituencies
    • Demonstrate the dispositions of acceptance, curiosity, empathy, optimism, and positive regard consistently in verbal and nonverbal communication with diverse client systems
    • Constructively engage client systems in gathering information, interpreting facts or patterns, and making decisions about services and service providers in relation to identified needs or goals
    • Exhibit empathy and persistence to establish and sustain trust during the assessment process
    • Model tolerance for ambiguity in the process of change and intervention
    • Commit to intervention tasks and roles that fully span, and respect the limits of, (the scope of practice that corresponds to) the placement role in the host agency
    • Recognize and critique the influence of mezzo- and macro-level forces on the institutionalization of definitions and measures of therapeutic outcomes
    • Advocate for the adoption of definitions and measures of therapeutic outcomes of unique value in specific sociocultural contexts

  • Students in the generalist curriculum serve and learn for a total of 400 hours in an assigned supervised professional practice setting to acquire a broad understanding of the field of social work, recognize and use generalist principles and concepts, and assess and then select intervention methods to meet individual, group, family, and community needs. The concurrent Integrative Field Seminar uses an appreciative inquiry approach to focus on generalist social work practice, emphasizing issues of diversity, ethics, social advocacy, social change, and social, economic, and environmental justice. The seminar integrates theory and evidence-based practice knowledge with students’ first-hand application of knowledge and skills as they encounter social work roles, values, and ethics in the field.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Adapt oral and written communication to meet client capacities for language, literacy, and speech
    • Demonstrate initiative to acquire from clients, colleagues, and community partners an appreciative working knowledge of the history and culture of the host agency and of the clients and communities it serves
    • Identify the influence of factors related to social, economic, and environmental justice factors, including the agency’s intervention strategies, in bio-psycho-social-spiritual and ecological case analyses
    • Generate a meaningful research question about social work practice situated within a problem statement and a summary of relevant research frameworks relevant to the host agency and its constituencies
    • Recommend advocacy opportunities based on a systematic scan (or SWOT analysis) of active policy issues at the organization, community, state, and federal levels that could affect the host agency and its constituencies
    • Demonstrate the dispositions of acceptance, curiosity, empathy, optimism, and positive regard consistently in verbal and nonverbal communication with diverse client systems
    • Constructively engage client systems in gathering information, interpreting facts or patterns, and making decisions about services and service providers in relation to identified needs or goals
    • Exhibit empathy and persistence to establish and sustain trust during the assessment process
    • Model tolerance for ambiguity in the process of change and intervention
    • Commit to intervention tasks and roles that fully span, and respect the limits of, (the scope of practice that corresponds to) the placement role in the host agency
    • Recognize and critique the influence of mezzo and macro-level forces on the institutionalization of definitions and measures of therapeutic outcomes
    • Advocate for the adoption of definitions and measures of therapeutic outcomes of unique value in specific sociocultural contexts

Traditional Track - Clinical Courses (21 credits)

  • Clinical Methods I prepares social work clinicians to execute the essential clinical tasks of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation competently and effectively in practice with individuals. Students learn fundamental psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and post-modern approaches to each of these clinical tasks. Throughout the course, a multicultural lens is applied to identify implicit biases or inherent theoretical assumptions that might impact the responsiveness and effectiveness of each approach across a broad cultural spectrum. Through the use of self-reflection, a strengths-based perspective, and social work professional values, students learn to select and apply clinical methods that best match each client’s needs and context.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of theoretical frameworks and practice methods in terms of their responsiveness to each individual client’s cultural context and values
    • Deepen understanding of effective, culturally responsive, and theory-informed relational skills to engage individual clients in the co-creation of a therapeutic change alliance
    • Using the three central theoretical frameworks presented, create strengths-based and client-empowering clinical assessments and diagnostic formulations of behavior, concerns, and mental illness within individual clients
    • Identify basic intervention techniques for therapeutic work with individual clients within psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and postmodern theories that are relevant to a range of presenting clinical concerns

  • Clinical Methods II equips social work clinicians to execute the essential clinical tasks of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation competently and effectively in practice with families and client groups. Clinical methods from psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and postmodern approaches are examined through a multicultural lens to identify implicit biases or inherent theoretical assumptions that might impact their responsiveness and effectiveness across a broad cultural spectrum. Through the use of self-reflection, a strengths-based perspective, and social work professional values, clinicians learn to select and apply clinical approaches that best match the client populations’ needs and context.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of various practice methods in terms of their responsiveness to cultural needs and values
    • Locate shared outcomes and values as points for joining in a therapeutic alliance with the client group or family
    • Locate corporate strengths and shared values of the client group or family
    • Identify individual strengths of group members and the roles each play within the family or group system
    • Select assessment methodology within a framework responsive to the client group’s needs by maintaining a strengths-based and culturally responsive systems perspective
    • Analyze how diagnostic and clinical formulations of individual pathology are most effectively utilized in understanding individuals within a group or family
    • Select treatment interventions that position each member of the group or family as a co-owner of the client system’s strengths, values, and goals
    • Engage all members of the client system in the evaluation process of the interventions used, allowing individuals to assess the clinical work through a lens comprised of personal and corporate values, cultural considerations, and mutually agreed-upon outcomes

  • This course provides an in-depth examination of the history and current guiding statements on values and ethics in the social work profession. Students grapple with ethical issues commonly encountered in various dimensions of social work practice including direct practice and leadership. This course adopts an intersectional approach and the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics as the common frame of reference. Intersections to be explored include personal and professional value systems; value conflicts and ethical dilemmas; ethical standards, workplace or program policies, and the law; frameworks for ethical decision making; the ethical imperative of self-care; and the roles of supervision and communities of practice as resources for development, support, and guidance in the development of practice wisdom.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Articulate a personal ethical worldview and evaluate its consonance with the profession’s ethical standards and other ethical decision-making references, such as the law and social welfare program policies
    • Generate informed consent protocols that appropriately address the dual purposes of participation in social work intervention, practice research, and program evaluation
    • Demonstrate an ethic of engaged pluralism to unite constituencies who identify a common need but who seek solutions-oriented to diverse religious or ethical worldviews
    • Identify opportunities to involve client systems in interpreting the ethical dimensions of their situations, and to balance safety and self-determination in resolving ethical dilemmas at various levels of social work practice, including direct practice and leadership
    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks to discuss how a recent court decision, or a proposed law or policy change, either poses or resolves a challenge to ethical social work practice
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of provider/supervisor self-regulation and self-care in attuned and ethically sound clinical social work practice
    • Critically examine the role of the leader in influencing organizational structure and culture through the lens of social work ethics
    • Evaluate and ethically provide critical feedback for social work practitioners

  • This course explores children and families within the context of clinical social work practice. Theoretical concepts such as Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development are integrated into this course as a foundation to conceptualizing and assessing children and their families. Students will have an opportunity to utilize a multisystemic approach that addresses multiple determinants of children’s wellbeing and family functioning. Students are also introduced to several models for intervention with children and families, including play therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, child-centered family therapy, and group work.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Learn the implications of diversity and difference in practice with children and families at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels, and apply a developmental lens to case formulation
    • Build self-awareness of, and critically reflect on, internalized socio-cultural assumptions and values regarding parenting, family structure, and the meaning of child behavior
    • Gain proficiency in assessment of child and family-specific mental health symptoms and diagnoses, and awareness of contextual factors such as bias and systematic disparities which influence the impact of mental health diagnosis and access to appropriate and timely mental health treatment
    • Acquire knowledge of engagement and intervention strategies with children, and their families which are culturally-responsive, empowering of families, and appropriate for a range of developmental differences and client preferences
    • Identify and reflect on the particular skills and competencies necessary for social work with children and families by integrating theory, recent research, and best practice standards

  • This course aims to address and process issues and experiences from the students’ field placement experiences. Students develop critical reflections of their placement sites and also of their developing skills and identities as social workers. The course integrates past and current program curriculum content, including theoretical perspectives and relevant policy concerns. Students engage in case consultation addressing clinical and systems issues encountered during placement.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks, including the NASW Code of Ethics, to case-based and systemic issues in their field placement setting
    • Use facilitated peer consultation and instruction to apply reflection and analysis to field placement experiences to build self-awareness of biases, values, strengths, and areas of growth
    • Integrate observations and experiences with theories and social policy coursework content to conduct thoughtful assessments of field placement sites’ social work practices regarding advancing human rights and advocating for equity and justice for the populations they serve
    • Integrate case material and facilitated peer consultation with theoretical frameworks and reflection on the use of self to identify impactful and culturally responsive client engagement and intervention strategies
    • Integrate curriculum content regarding program evaluation with field placement experiences to create a critical analysis of site program processes and outcomes

  • The purpose of this course is to address and process issues and experiences from the students’ field placement experiences. Students develop critical reflections of their placement sites and also of their developing skills and identities as social workers. The course integrates past and current program curriculum content, including theoretical perspectives and relevant policy concerns. Students engage in case consultation addressing clinical and systems issues encountered during placement.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks, including the NASW Code of Ethics, to case-based and systemic issues in their field placement setting
    • Use facilitated peer consultation and instruction to apply reflection and analysis to field placement experiences to build self-awareness of biases, values, strengths, and areas of growth
    • Integrate observations and experiences with theories and social policy coursework content to conduct thoughtful assessments of field placement sites’ social work practices regarding advancing human rights and advocating for equity and justice for the populations they serve
    • Integrate case material and facilitated peer consultation with theoretical frameworks and reflection on the use of self to identify impactful and culturally responsive client engagement and intervention strategies
    • Integrate curriculum content regarding program evaluation with field placement experiences to create a critical analysis of site program processes and outcomes

  • This course aims to address and process issues and experiences from the students’ field placement experiences. Students develop critical reflections of their placement sites and also of their developing skills and identities as social workers. The course integrates past and current program curriculum content, including theoretical perspectives and relevant policy concerns. Students engage in case consultation, addressing clinical and systems issues encountered during placement.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks, including the NASW Code of Ethics, to case-based and systemic issues in their field placement setting
    • Use facilitated peer consultation and instruction to apply reflection and analysis to field placement experiences to build self-awareness of biases, values, strengths, and areas of growth
    • Integrate observations and experiences with theories and social policy coursework content to conduct thoughtful assessments of field placement sites’ social work practices regarding advancing human rights and advocating for equity and justice for the populations they serve
    • Integrate case material and facilitated peer consultation with theoretical frameworks and reflection on the use of self to identify impactful and culturally responsive client engagement and intervention strategies
    • Integrate curriculum content regarding program evaluation with field placement experiences to create a critical analysis of site program processes and outcomes

  • This course provides a foundation for self-directed, integrative professional development in social work. In this course, learners integrate social work practice knowledge, skills, and identity in an agency-based intervention proposal grounded in the literature and integrated with their field experience. Learners synthesize evidence about practice strengths and growth needs, propose an intervention to achieve a clear practice improvement goal and apply best practice and research principles in the evaluation of the process. This course culminates with the completion of a Capstone paper and a research presentation showcasing the learner’s social work practice knowledge and skills and their ability to integrate these in a real-life practice setting.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Incorporate research skills and the professional community to develop a bibliography of appropriate resources from published and expert practitioner sources
    • Situate one’s mastery of practice knowledge, skills, or attitudes as contributions to the social work profession
    • Demonstrate professional tolerance for ambiguity in practice and the requisite problem-solving skills relevant to these situations.
    • Apply professional writing skills for a scholarly audience and purpose, including drafting and editing
    • Synthesize scholarly, evidence-based resources, using discipline specific citation style
    • Construct a professional self-care plan aimed at enhancement of well-being and sustainability in the profession

Traditional Track - Electives (9 credits): Choose Three

  • This course explores the impact of substance use disorders and addictive behaviors on the behavioral and mental health of individuals, families, and groups. Students gain a historical perspective on trends, attitudes, criminalization, and treatment of individuals struggling with addiction. Special emphasis is given to the impact of systemic poverty, racism, and oppression in understanding the prevalence and maintenance of addiction within specific marginalized communities.

    At an individual level, students gain insight into the correlation between the experience of trauma and the development of addiction. Recovery models — both harm-reduction and abstinence-based — include a broad range of interventions, such as psychological, behavioral, pharmacological, spiritual, and self-help programs.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify the presence of unjust biases related to discrimination and oppression in existing clinical models and interventions and work toward eliminating such injustices on all levels of social work practice (G2f)
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the roles oppression, discrimination, trauma, and injustice play in the development of addictive behaviors and utilize these insights in selecting appropriate interventions and treatment targets
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of evidence-based practices relative to cultural responsiveness and oppression
    • Exhibit social work values of human dignity and respect by advocating for clients who experience injustice or discrimination in participating in societal structures, the judicial system, and accessing appropriate mental and physical health services
    • Identify the potential impact of policy on clients facing addiction and advocate for those who lack the opportunity to advocate for themselves
    • Exhibit an awareness of the impact of positional power on the therapeutic alliance when working with involuntary clients by maximizing opportunities for client self-determination
    • Articulate an understanding of the neuroscience of addiction, including the ways that negative early childhood experiences and developmental traumas contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to addictive behavior
    • Describe the neuropathways impacted by addictive substances and behaviors along with effective coping strategies proven to interrupt addictive patterns within these pathways
    • Demonstrate the necessity of collaboration between professionals and shareholders involved in a client’s continuum of care in order to provide effective treatment

  • This advanced elective course explores the impact of trauma on individuals, families, and groups. Students develop an understanding of the impact of trauma on an individual’s development of self. Students differentiate between the needs of an individual experiencing acute trauma from those experiencing distress rooted in a trauma history and select appropriate interventions based on these needs.

    Special attention is given to the impact early childhood trauma has on healthy attachment and the ramifications of attachment on selecting appropriate interventions. By utilizing a rudimentary understanding of neuroscience, students gain insight into the function of memory, dissociation, somatization of trauma, and the treatment modalities best suited for clinical work with clients based on their individual presentation and personal strengths. This course also explores how trauma victims are impacted by the cultural and societal values of their environments.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Recognize the presence of transference/counter-transference dynamics that frequently arise in clinical work with trauma and practice critical examination of the use of self within clinical interventions (G2e)
    • Identify and respond effectively to the systemic and historical trauma of oppression, discrimination, injustice, and poverty, choosing interventions tailored to a client’s comprehensive experience of trauma
    • Utilize assessment skills that identify the broad range of symptoms and psychological sequelae related to traumatic experiences
    • Select intervention strategies that privilege matching a client’s current capacity to manage safety and tolerate distress
    • Through self-awareness and clinical consultation, identify trauma-related issues outside the clinician’s scope of practice and make appropriate referrals as necessary
    • Articulate the differences among acute trauma, developmental trauma, single event trauma, and complex trauma in clinical assessment and intervention

  • This advanced elective course exposes social work students to the social, cultural, political, and spiritual implications of poverty, with special emphasis on families, neighborhoods, and communities characterized by persistent and resistant poverty. Students examine the major philosophical, conceptual, and theoretical frameworks used to define, measure, and interpret poverty in the context of increasing income inequality. Students explore historic trends in and the current scope of poverty across various demographic groups, and how social institutions such as the child welfare system, criminal justice and legal systems, the family, faith communities, health and mental health systems, schools, and workplaces can be resources for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of poverty and its adverse effects on individual, family, and community well-being.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Propose constructive responses to ethical issues and professional dilemmas commonly faced in social work practice with or on behalf of low-income constituents
    • Engage constituents in the use of formal and informal data to develop multidimensional (economic, political, and social systems) models of the causes of poverty at the community level
    • Compare and contrast the relative merits of policies and programs directed at poverty reduction
    • Articulate the significance of poverty as a social work practice issue
    • Demonstrate empathic appreciation of the stigma, discrimination, insecurity, and social exclusion often associated with identifying as, or being labeled as, poor
    • Analyze organization or community climate for inclusion to identify opportunities to reduce explicit and implicit marginalization and to increase implicit and explicit inclusion of community members living in poverty
    • Differentiate between poverty as a socioeconomic situation and the research-indicated adverse effects on biological, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social functioning commonly associated with poverty
    • Facilitate client and constituent self-directed engagement in community action related to social welfare policies, programs, and services aimed at poverty reduction
    • Engage with funding mechanisms and processes related to federal and state income support and health care programs to identify and challenge embedded stereotypes about and the material vulnerability of individuals, families, and communities characterized as poor
    • Compare and contrast competing and complementary frameworks used to name, measure, and interpret the significance of poverty in relation to definitions of wellness, intra- and interpersonal functioning, and therapeutic outcomes

  • This course is designed to give students an in-depth knowledge and understanding of social work practice in schools by helping them acquire knowledge, values, and skills appropriate for advanced practice work within primary and secondary school settings. In the school setting, the social worker is a pupil personnel support team member whose function is to facilitate pupils’ maximum use of educational opportunities. The multiple roles of the school social worker are explored, and special attention is given to the use of evidence-based practice modalities. The course examines the many issues facing children, families, and schools, and the content prepares students to work collaboratively with these diverse groups to build effective early childhood and K-12 learning environments.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Examine and describe relevant educational policy impacting the effective facilitation of school social work practice (G5b)(S5b)
    • Apply NASW, legislative and regulatory standards and requirements to their work within the educational environment (G1a)
    • Develop strategies of communication, collaboration, and consultation with parents, faculty, staff, and administration
    • Utilize strategies of professional development, continued education, and evaluation of current practices and standards within the field of school social work
    • Synthesize research to inform practice in choosing appropriate interventions for students

  • This course provides a framework to promote culturally competent, ethical, and spiritually-sensitive practice that recognizes diverse expressions of spirituality. The spiritually-sensitive approach affirms a multitude of expressions of religion and spirituality, including the formal and informal ways that we find purpose and meaning in life.  The course explores the ways in which religious and spiritual identities  impact all dimensions of biopsychosocial identity. Students will explore implications for clinical treatment, including assessment, trauma-informed intervention, and collaborative practice with spiritual support systems. Consideration regarding the impact of spiritual and religious systems in relation to diversity (e.g. by gender, social class, ethnicity and culture, and sexual orientation) will be included.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Explore religious and spiritual diversity through the lens of culturally-sensitive practice
    • Develop a framework for spiritually sensitive practice that is consistent with professional ethics, self-determination and issues of justice
    • Demonstrate understanding of the spiritual dimension in the biopsychosocial model as important in developing a holistic understanding of individuals throughout the treatment process
    • Develop skills necessary to assess the role of spirituality in the lives of clients
    • Generate strategies to incorporate spirituality in the intervention process, including intentional collaboration with spiritual support systems
    • Investigate  the research on the relationship between spirituality and coping, loss, healing and other aspects of well-being
    • Identify the supportive and oppressive role that religion and spirituality have historically played regarding issues of diversity, inclusion, exclusion and trauma

Advanced Standing Track - Required Courses (24 credits)

  • This course builds upon the foundation of HBSE I and II and introduces a biopsychosocial framework for typical, atypical, and pathological development throughout the lifespan. The concepts of mental health, mental illness, and diagnosis are explored using theory and historical and current contextual factors. This course also focuses on clinical assessment, case formulation, and diagnostic processes utilizing criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and other relevant tools.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify ethical standards, best practices, and decision-making models relevant to the provision of mental health assessment and diagnosis
    • Demonstrate professional social work writing standards for case formulations, diagnostic assessments, and treatment plans using a collaborative, strengths-based, and developmentally informed perspective
    • Culturally contextualize the constructs of mental health symptoms, and examine the role of historical trauma, inequity, and other factors in the privileging of certain social norms of behavior
    • Develop a critical understanding of the impact and power of the social worker’s role in mental health diagnosis, including client access to services, stigma, and other negative consequences of diagnosis
    • Identify strategies for promoting client self-determination throughout the diagnostic and treatment planning process
    • Demonstrate formulation of individual and systemic intervention goals which honor client self-determination, are culturally responsive, and integrate client strengths, preferences, and needs
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the DSM-5 diagnostic categories, diagnoses, and criteria while discussing relevant historical, cultural, social, and contextual factors in establishing and utilizing the DSM-5 as a clinical instrument and medical model of mental health diagnosis
    • Within the context of diagnosis and treatment planning, identify effective interventions for individuals, including advocacy for client needs within broader systemic contexts
    • Apply a client-centered, culturally responsive framework to evaluate goals, objectives, and interventions in mental health treatment planning

  • Clinical Methods I prepares social work clinicians to execute the essential clinical tasks of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation competently and effectively in practice with individuals. Students learn fundamental psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and post-modern approaches to each of these clinical tasks. Throughout the course, a multicultural lens is applied to identify implicit biases or inherent theoretical assumptions that might impact the responsiveness and effectiveness of each approach across a broad cultural spectrum. Through the use of self-reflection, a strengths-based perspective, and social work professional values, students learn to select and apply methods approaches that best match each client’s needs and context.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of theoretical frameworks and practice methods in terms of their responsiveness to each individual client’s cultural context and values
    • Deepen understanding of effective, culturally responsive, and theory-informed relational skills to engage individual clients in the co-creation of a therapeutic change alliance
    • Using the three central theoretical frameworks presented, create strengths-based and client-empowering clinical assessments and diagnostic formulations of behavior, concerns, and mental illness within individual clients
    • Identify basic intervention techniques for therapeutic work with individual clients within psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and postmodern theories that are relevant to a range of presenting clinical concerns

  • Clinical Methods II equips social work clinicians to execute the essential clinical tasks of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation competently and effectively in practice with families and client groups. Clinical methods from psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and postmodern approaches are examined through a multicultural lens to identify implicit biases or inherent theoretical assumptions that might impact their responsiveness and effectiveness across a broad cultural spectrum. Through the use of self-reflection, a strengths-based perspective, and social work professional values, clinicians learn to select and apply clinical approaches that best match the client populations’ needs and context.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of various practice methods in terms of their responsiveness to cultural needs and values
    • Locate shared outcomes and values as points for joining in a therapeutic alliance with the client group or family
    • Locate corporate strengths and shared values of the client group or family
    • Identify individual strengths of group members and the roles each play within the family or group system
    • Select assessment methodology within a framework responsive to the client group’s needs by maintaining a strengths-based and culturally responsive systems perspective
    • Analyze how diagnostic and clinical formulations of individual pathology are most effectively utilized in understanding individuals within a group or family
    • Select treatment interventions that position each member of the group or family as a co-owner of the client system’s strengths, values, and goals
    • Engage all members of the client system in the evaluation process of the interventions used, allowing individuals to assess the clinical work through a lens comprised of personal and corporate values, cultural considerations, and mutually agreed-upon outcomes

  • This course provides an in-depth examination of the history and current guiding statements on values and ethics in the social work profession. Students grapple with ethical issues commonly encountered in various dimensions of social work practice including direct practice and leadership. This course adopts an intersectional approach and the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics as the common frame of reference. Intersections to be explored include personal and professional value systems; value conflicts and ethical dilemmas; ethical standards, workplace or program policies, and the law; frameworks for ethical decision making; the ethical imperative of self-care; and the roles of supervision and communities of practice as resources for development, support, and guidance in the development of practice wisdom.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Articulate a personal ethical worldview and evaluate its consonance with the profession’s ethical standards and other ethical decision-making references, such as the law and social welfare program policies
    • Generate informed consent protocols that appropriately address the dual purposes of participation in social work intervention, practice research, and program evaluation
    • Demonstrate an ethic of engaged pluralism to unite constituencies who identify a common need but who seek solutions-oriented to diverse religious or ethical worldviews
    • Identify opportunities to involve client systems in interpreting their situations’ ethical dimensions, and balance safety and self-determination in resolving ethical dilemmas at various levels of social work practice, including direct practice and leadership
    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks to discuss how a recent court decision or a proposed law or policy change poses or resolves a challenge to ethical social work practice
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of provider/supervisor self-regulation and self-care in attuned and ethically sound clinical social work practice
    • Critically examine the role of the leader in influencing organizational structure and culture through the lens of social work ethics
    • Evaluate and ethically provide critical feedback for social work practitioners

  • This course explores children and families within the context of clinical social work practice. Theoretical concepts such as Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development are integrated into this course as a foundation to conceptualizing and assessing children and their families. Students will have an opportunity to utilize a multisystemic approach that addresses multiple determinants of children’s wellbeing and family functioning. Students are also introduced to several models for intervention with children and families, including play therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, child-centered family therapy, and group work.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Learn the implications of diversity and difference in practice with children and families at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels, and apply a developmental lens to case formulation
    • Build self-awareness of, and critically reflect on, internalized socio-cultural assumptions and values regarding parenting, family structure, and the meaning of child behavior
    • Gain proficiency in assessment of child and family-specific mental health symptoms and diagnoses, and awareness of contextual factors such as bias and systematic disparities, which influence the impact of mental health diagnosis and access to appropriate and timely mental health treatment
    • Acquire knowledge of engagement and intervention strategies with children, and their families which are culturally-responsive, empowering of families, and appropriate for a range of developmental differences and client preferences
    • Identify and reflect on the particular skills and competencies necessary for social work with children and families by integrating theory, recent research, and best practice standards

  • This course aims to address and process issues and experiences from the students’ field placement experiences. Students develop critical reflections of their placement sites and also of their developing skills and identities as social workers. The course integrates past and current program curriculum content, including theoretical perspectives and relevant policy concerns. Students engage in case consultation addressing clinical and systems issues encountered during placement.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks, including the NASW Code of Ethics, to case-based and systemic issues in their field placement setting
    • Use facilitated peer consultation and instruction to apply reflection and analysis to field placement experiences to build self-awareness of biases, values, strengths, and areas of growth
    • Integrate observations and experiences with theories and social policy coursework content to conduct thoughtful assessments of field placement sites’ social work practices regarding advancing human rights and advocating for equity and justice for the populations they serve
    • Integrate case material and facilitated peer consultation with theoretical frameworks and reflection on the use of self to identify impactful and culturally responsive client engagement and intervention strategies
    • Integrate curriculum content regarding program evaluation with field placement experiences to create a critical analysis of site program processes and outcomes

  • The purpose of this course is to address and process issues and experiences from the students’ field placement experiences. Students develop critical reflections of their placement sites and also of their developing skills and identities as social workers. The course integrates past and current program curriculum content, including theoretical perspectives and relevant policy concerns. Students engage in case consultation addressing both clinical and systems issues encountered during placement.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks, including the NASW Code of Ethics, to both case-based and systemic issues in their field placement setting
    • Use facilitated peer consultation and instruction to apply reflection and analysis to field placement experiences to build self awareness of biases, values, strengths, and areas of growth
    • Integrate observations and experiences with theories and social policy coursework content to conduct thoughtful assessments of field placement sites’ social work practices regarding advancing the human rights and advocating for equity and justice for the populations they serve
    • Integrate case material and facilitated peer consultation with theoretical frameworks and reflection on use of self to identify impactful and culturally responsive client engagement and intervention strategies
    • Integrate curriculum content regarding program evaluation with field placement experiences to create critical analysis of site program processes and outcomes

  • This course aims to address and process issues and experiences from the students’ field placement experiences. Students develop critical reflections of their placement sites and also of their developing skills and identities as social workers. The course integrates past and current program curriculum content, including theoretical perspectives and relevant policy concerns. Students engage in case consultation, addressing clinical and systems issues encountered during placement.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Apply ethical decision-making frameworks, including the NASW Code of Ethics, to case-based and systemic issues in their field placement setting
    • Use facilitated peer consultation and instruction to apply reflection and analysis to field placement experiences to build self-awareness of biases, values, strengths, and areas of growth
    • Integrate observations and experiences with theories and social policy coursework content to conduct thoughtful assessments of field placement sites’ social work practices regarding advancing human rights and advocating for equity and justice for the populations they serve
    • Integrate case material and facilitated peer consultation with theoretical frameworks and reflection on the use of self to identify impactful and culturally responsive client engagement and intervention strategies
    • Integrate curriculum content regarding program evaluation with field placement experiences to create a critical analysis of site program processes and outcomes

  • This course provides a foundation for self-directed, integrative professional development in social work. In this course, learners integrate social work practice knowledge, skills, and identity in an agency-based intervention proposal grounded in the literature and integrated with their field experience. Learners synthesize evidence about practice strengths and growth needs, propose an intervention to achieve a clear practice improvement goal and apply best practice and research principles in the evaluation of the process. This course culminates with the completion of a Capstone paper and a research presentation showcasing the learner’s social work practice knowledge and skills and their ability to integrate these in a real-life practice setting.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Incorporate research skills and the professional community to develop a bibliography of appropriate resources from published and expert practitioner sources
    • Situate one’s mastery of practice knowledge, skills, or attitudes as contributions to the social work profession
    • Demonstrate professional tolerance for ambiguity in practice and the requisite problem-solving skills relevant to these situations
    • Apply professional writing skills for a scholarly audience and purpose, including drafting and editing
    • Synthesize scholarly, evidence-based resources, using discipline specific citation style
    • Construct a professional self-care plan aimed at enhancement of well-being and sustainability in the profession

Advanced Standing Track - Electives (6 credits): Choose Two

  • This course explores the impact of substance use disorders and addictive behaviors on the behavioral and mental health of individuals, families, and groups. Students gain a historical perspective on trends, attitudes, criminalization, and treatment of individuals struggling with addiction. Special emphasis is given to the impact of systemic poverty, racism, and oppression in understanding the prevalence and maintenance of addiction within specific marginalized communities.

    At an individual level, students gain insight into the correlation between the experience of trauma and the development of addiction. Recovery models — both harm-reduction and abstinence-based — include a broad range of interventions, such as psychological, behavioral, pharmacological, spiritual, and self-help programs.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Identify the presence of unjust biases related to discrimination and oppression in existing clinical models and interventions and work toward eliminating such injustices on all levels of social work practice
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the roles oppression, discrimination, trauma, and injustice play in the development of addictive behaviors and utilize these insights in selecting appropriate interventions and treatment targets
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of evidence-based practices relative to cultural responsiveness and oppression
    • Exhibit social work values of human dignity and respect by advocating for clients who experience injustice or discrimination in participating in societal structures, the judicial system, and accessing appropriate mental and physical health services (
    • Identify the potential impact of policy on clients facing addiction and advocate for those who lack the opportunity to advocate for themselves
    • Exhibit an awareness of the impact of positional power on the therapeutic alliance when working with involuntary clients by maximizing opportunities for client self-determination
    • Articulate an understanding of the neuroscience of addiction, including the ways that negative early childhood experiences and developmental traumas contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to addictive behavior
    • Describe the neuropathways impacted by addictive substances and behaviors along with effective coping strategies proven to interrupt addictive patterns within these pathways
    • Demonstrate the necessity of collaboration between professionals and shareholders involved in a client’s continuum of care in order to provide effective treatment

  • This advanced elective course explores the impact of trauma on individuals, families, and groups. Students develop an understanding of the impact of trauma on an individual’s development of self. Students differentiate between the needs of an individual experiencing acute trauma from those experiencing distress rooted in a trauma history and select appropriate interventions based on these needs.

    Special attention is given to the impact early childhood trauma has on healthy attachment and the ramifications of attachment on selecting appropriate interventions. By utilizing a rudimentary understanding of neuroscience, students gain insight into the function of memory, dissociation, somatization of trauma, and the treatment modalities best suited for clinical work with clients based on their individual presentation and personal strengths. This course also explores how trauma victims are impacted by the cultural and societal values of their environments.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Recognize the presence of transference/counter-transference dynamics that frequently arise in clinical work with trauma and practice critical examination of the use of self within clinical interventions (G2e)
    • Identify respond effectively to the systemic and historical trauma of oppression, discrimination, injustice, and poverty, choosing interventions tailored to a client’s comprehensive experience of trauma
    • Utilize assessment skills that identify the broad range of symptoms and psychological sequelae related to traumatic experiences
    • Select intervention strategies that privilege matching a client’s current capacity to manage safety and tolerate distress
    • Through self-awareness and clinical consultation, identify trauma-related issues outside the clinician’s scope of practice and make appropriate referrals as necessary
    • Articulate the differences among acute trauma, developmental trauma, single event trauma, and complex trauma in clinical assessment and intervention

  • This advanced elective course exposes social work students to the social, cultural, political, and spiritual implications of poverty, with special emphasis on families, neighborhoods, and communities characterized by persistent and resistant poverty. Students examine the major philosophical, conceptual, and theoretical frameworks used to define, measure, and interpret poverty in the context of increasing income inequality. Students explore historic trends in and the current scope of poverty across various demographic groups, and how social institutions such as the child welfare system, criminal justice and legal systems, the family, faith communities, health and mental health systems, schools, and workplaces can be resources for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of poverty and its adverse effects on individual, family, and community well-being.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Propose constructive responses to ethical issues and professional dilemmas commonly faced in social work practice with or on behalf of low-income constituents
    • Engage constituents in the use of formal and informal data to develop multidimensional (economic, political, and social systems) models of the causes of poverty at the community level
    • Compare and contrast the relative merits of policies and programs directed at poverty reduction
    • Articulate the significance of poverty as a social work practice issue
    • Demonstrate empathic appreciation of the stigma, discrimination, insecurity, and social exclusion often associated with identifying as, or being labeled as, poor
    • Analyze organization or community climate for inclusion to identify opportunities to reduce explicit and implicit marginalization and to increase implicit and explicit inclusion of community members living in poverty
    • Differentiate between poverty as a socioeconomic situation and the research-indicated adverse effects on biological, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social functioning commonly associated with poverty
    • Facilitate client and constituent self-directed engagement in community action related to social welfare policies, programs, and services aimed at poverty reduction
    • Engage with funding mechanisms and processes related to federal and state income support and health care programs to identify and challenge embedded stereotypes about and the material vulnerability of individuals, families, and communities characterized as poor
    • Compare and contrast competing and complementary frameworks used to name, measure, and interpret the significance of poverty in relation to definitions of wellness, intra- and interpersonal functioning, and therapeutic outcomes

  • This course is designed to give students an in-depth knowledge and understanding of social work practice in schools by helping them acquire knowledge, values, and skills appropriate for advanced practice work within primary and secondary school settings. In the school setting, the social worker is a pupil personnel support team member whose function is to facilitate pupils’ maximum use of educational opportunities. The multiple roles of the school social worker are explored, and special attention is given to the use of evidence-based practice modalities. The course examines the many issues facing children, families, and schools, and the content prepares students to work collaboratively with these diverse groups to build effective early childhood and K-12 learning environments.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Examine and describe relevant educational policy impacting the effective facilitation of school social work practice (G5b)(S5b)
    • Apply NASW, legislative and regulatory standards and requirements to their work within the educational environment (G1a)
    • Develop strategies of communication, collaboration, and consultation strategies with parents, faculty, staff, and administration
    • Utilize strategies of professional development, continued education, and evaluation of current practices and standards within the field of school social work
    • Synthesize research to inform practice in choosing appropriate interventions for students

  • This course provides a framework to promote culturally competent, ethical, and spiritually-sensitive practice that recognizes diverse expressions of spirituality. The spiritually-sensitive approach affirms a multitude of expressions of religion and spirituality, including the formal and informal ways that we find purpose and meaning in life.  The course explores the ways in which religious and spiritual identities  impact all dimensions of biopsychosocial identity. Students will explore implications for clinical treatment, including assessment, trauma-informed intervention, and collaborative practice with spiritual support systems. Consideration regarding the impact of spiritual and religious systems in relation to diversity (e.g. by gender, social class, ethnicity and culture, and sexual orientation) will be included.

    Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

    • Explore religious and spiritual diversity through the lens of culturally-sensitive practice
    • Develop a framework for spiritually sensitive practice that is consistent with professional ethics, self-determination and issues of justice
    • Demonstrate understanding of the spiritual dimension in the biopsychosocial model as important in developing a holistic understanding of individuals throughout the treatment process
    • Develop skills necessary to assess the role of spirituality in the lives of clients
    • Generate strategies to incorporate spirituality in the intervention process, including intentional collaboration with spiritual support systems
    • Investigate  the research on the relationship between spirituality and coping, loss, healing and other aspects of well-being
    • Identify the supportive and oppressive role that religion and spirituality have historically played regarding issues of diversity, inclusion, exclusion and trauma

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