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.

Foundation Courses

Regular standing students start in the foundation courses.

Concentration Courses

Advanced standing students start in the practice area courses and do not take the 555 practicum.

The purpose of the Concentration curriculum is to prepare students with more breadth and depth in their knowledge base (theories that underlie social work practice). In addition, the Concentration curriculum serves to advance their critical thinking and foundation practice skills for entry into very specialized fields of practice, or concentrations.

Practice Area

Following the Concentration curriculum, students enter into Practice Area curriculum.

  • Health

    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.

    • A 3 credit hour social work elective is required.
  • Mental Health & Addictions

    Students in this practice area 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.

    • Choice of one
  • School Social Work

    School social workers are certified educators and licensed mental health professionals who hold a minimum of a master’s degree in social work with a specialization in school social work practice. School social workers’ training includes specialized preparation in cultural diversity, trauma, systems theory, social justice, risk assessment and intervention, consultation and collaboration, and clinical intervention strategies to address the mental health needs of students. By serving as a link between the family, school, and community, they work to remedy barriers to learning created as a result of poverty, inadequate health care, and neighborhood violence. School social workers often focus on providing supports to vulnerable populations of students that have a high risk for truancy and dropping out of school, such as homeless or foster children, migrant populations, students transitioning between school and treatment programs or the juvenile justice system, or students experiencing domestic violence. They work closely with teachers, administrators, parents, and other educators to provide coordinated interventions and consultation designed to keep students in school and to help their families access the school and community supports needed to promote student success.

Detailed Sample Degree Map