Students complete 16 courses and two practicum experiences. Coursework in the MSW program consists of several different content areas: theory, research, policy and practice. On the IU Northwest campus three specialization options for MSW students to complete the degree are available: Health, Mental Health and Addictions, and School Social Work.
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 program consists of 60 credit hours of study and fieldwork. The first 15 credits are referred to as the Foundation curriculum. The second 15 credits serve as a bridge to concentrations and are called Intermediate courses. The third group of credits provides a Concentration of study in health, mental health & addictions, or school social work. Although the school values knowledge gained from life experience, academic credit cannot be granted for non-academic activities.
Immersion and Foundation Courses (Completed during the First Year of the Program)
- SWK-S 501 Professional Social Work at the Masters Level: An Immersion
- SWK-S 502 Research I
- SWK-S 503 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
- SWK-S 504 Professional Practice Skills I
- SWK-S 505 Social Policy Analysis and Practice
Intermediate Courses (Completed during the Second Year of the Program)
(Advanced Standing students begin with these courses)
- SWK-S 513 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
- SWK-S 514 Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups II
- SWK-S 516 Social Work Practice II: Organizations, Communities, Societies
- SWK-S 517 Assessment in Mental Health and Addictions
- SWK-S 555 Social Work Practicum I (320 total hours)
Concentration Courses (Completed During the Third Year of the Program)
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. They 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 or other factors.
Mental Health & Addictions Concentration
Students in the MH&A concentration assess mental health and addictions issues from person-in-environment, consumer focused, strengths-based, recovery-oriented, and other relevant perspectives. They formulate intervention, prevention, or support and maintenance plans collaboratively with clients. They prepare 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.
School Social Work Concentration
Social workers in school systems function in an environment where the primary purpose is education and socialization. When primary and secondary school students exhibit behaviors and problems that impede their academic and social progress, they may benefit from interventions that social workers are prepared to deliver. The commitment to utilizing social workers in school settings ebbs and flows, often dictated by fiscal resources for education in general. Nonetheless, preparation of students to enter this field of practice remains a priority for the School of Social Work. Students who enter this field are prepared with clinical skills for working with children and adolescents and their families; with team-building skills for working with school administrators and teachers; and, community skills to garner the resources necessary to promote a safe, secure environment for those served in the school system.