Social work is a dynamic profession concerned with the changing needs of people and society. To respond to such needs, the faculty, students, members of the practice community, and others regularly review the curriculum of the School of Social Work.
The MSW curriculum includes three distinct levels through which students progress toward the advanced degree in social work. Upon admission, students enter an Immersion experience followed by four courses that constitute the generalist foundation of social work practice. Students who have already achieved a Bachelor of Social Work degree may be granted a waiver of this Immersion/Foundation curriculum if they are offered Advanced Standing status.
The second level of preparation is the Intermediate curriculum which entails 5 courses that all students take in common, including a field practicum course of 320 hours for regular standing students. The purpose of the Intermediate curriculum is to prepare students with more breadth and depth in their knowledge base (theories that underlie social work practice). In addition, the Intermediate curriculum serves to advance their critical thinking and foundation practice skills for entry into very specialized fields of practice, or concentrations.
Following the Intermediate curriculum, students enter into concentration or advanced curriculum.
Immersion and Foundation Courses
(Advanced Standing students begin with these courses)
Advanced Standing students do not take the 555 Practicum and 516 Courses
Students who elect to practice in the health arena, apply the knowledge and skills of advanced social work practice to build and work effectively with multi-disciplinary teams that include physicians, nurses, dentists, psychiatrists and other health care professionals. Students learn the medical terminology to conduct bio-psycho-social assessments based on myriad disease entities and patient dynamics. As social workers, they understand how healthcare is financed in the United States, analyze how financial resources for healthcare affect individual patient care, and advocate for change that improves access for all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors.
Mental Health & Addictions Concentration
Students in this concentration assess mental health and addictions issues from person-in-environment, consumer focused, strengths-based, recovery-oriented, and other relevant perspectives. Competence in formulating intervention, prevention, or support and maintenance plans collaboratively with clients. Students gain preparation to serve as case managers, counselors, clinicians, and advocates for and with mental health and addictions consumers. Also, they are able to seek, discover, and evaluate relevant research studies and apply findings in evidence-based social work practice. Within the context of their practice, they conduct empirical evaluations of the effectiveness of interventions and services.