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MSW Course Listing

*Required Course

The following is a list of approved courses in the MSW program.  All courses are not offered every semester or every year.  Students will receive a schedule each semester that identifies the course offerings.  Students are also able to satisfy social work electives through taking approve courses in other graduate programs on campus and through the consortium.

A growing number of courses are offered online or as a hybrid courses (sessions online with some in class sessions).  Blackboard is used to support online, hybrid and many in class courses.

Foundation Courses

Provides the history, mission, philosophy, and evolution of social welfare policies and services that form the foundation of social welfare, specifically in relation to poverty, racism, and the needs of oppressed and marginalized populations from both a strengths and Black perspective using social policy frameworks and social work values and ethics.  Examines African American and other social welfare pioneer exemplars, their efforts to influence and change social welfare policy and services, and their influence on contemporary programs and services in select Fields of Practice. 

Builds on content in SWPS-213 by promoting understanding of and competence in application of policy frameworks for analysis, formulation, advocacy,  use of policy research  through assessing context, intent, process and the impact of organizational, executive, legislative, and judicial decisions to advanced social and economic justice. Examines use of diverse strategies to create planned change in organizations and larger social systems for direct, community, administration and policy practice.  Prerequisites: SWPS-213.

Examines human growth and development through the life cycle using biological, psychological, sociological, spiritual, and cultural perspectives.  Gives an introduction to: the family, the social systems model, personality theories and ego defense mechanisms. Emphasizes the various stages of lifespan development and understanding of biopsychosocial factors on human adaptation from conception through death. Promotes an understanding of the Black Perspective and how this perspective informs human development and behavior.  [Required for all students.]

Studies human behavior at the levels of small groups, the family, formal organizations, and communities.  Explores a range of empirically-based theories and knowledge of how a biological, sociological, cultural, spiritual, and psychological system determines the health and well-being of individuals, groups, and other social units in the society. The social systems model is used to integrate this content with the individual-level development content from the HBSE I course. This course includes content on the strengths perspective, empowerment, and the Black perspective in order to help students to understand the ways in which social systems impact the well-being of human beings and other social systems.  Prerequisites: SWHB-205.  [Required for all students.]

Provides knowledge and understanding of research as a scientific process including methodology, formulation of research problem, sampling, measurement, and data collection procedures. Focus is placed on comprehension of research literature, beginning skills in designing and implementing research projects, ability to identify and define problems, frame research questions, develop hypotheses based on previous research, select relevant research designs, develop sampling strategies, select statistical procedures, presentation and interpretation of research findings, and  comprehension of implication of research findings.

This course builds on Research Methods I (SWRS 201) enabling students to become better acquainted with how to evaluate practice. Enhances analytical skills necessary to assess the validity of research literature. Content areas related to quantitative data analysis include social work research code of ethics, use of SPSS and preparation of data for entry into SPSS, descriptive statistics, types of distributions, steps in hypothesis testing, inferential statistics, guidelines for test selection, bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques, analysis of qualitative data, and presentation, interpretation and reporting of findings.

Focuses on the foundation of social work practice and processes from a generalist practice framework introducing both micro and macro practice. Emphasis is placed on the introduction of social work knowledge, ethics, and values, promotion of social and economic justice, eco-systems, cultural competence, the problem-solving process and development of the client/consumer-worker relationship. Explores the relevance of practice-informed research and research-informed practice in working with diverse consumer populations, organizations and communities.  Concurrent enrollment in Field Education I (SWFI-201) required. [Required for all students]

Courses Required for Direct Practice Concentration

(Differential Foundation course, Practice Methods II)  Deepens understanding of concepts and principles introduced in SWDS 100, with emphasis on the assessment phase of the problem-solving process in direct practice.  Field education experiences and theoretical concepts are integrated with focus on understanding and application of interviewing skills, values and ethics, ecological and strength based approaches, and goal setting and termination. Interventional strategies dealing with individuals and families are introduced in addition to selected knowledge from small group practice.  Concurrent enrollment in Field Education II (SWFI-202) required [Required for Direct practice concentration.]  Prerequisites: SWDS-100.

(Advanced course, Practice Methods III) Develops advanced knowledge of social work planning and intervention strategies based on social work treatment theories and models for practice at the individual, family and group level.  Selected approaches for social work interventions are examined to determine the basic assumptions of the model, theoretical underpinnings, nature and depth of problem identification and assessment, procedures and processes appropriate for selected models, culturally competent application of the model, indications and contraindications for use, values and ethical considerations in intervention planning, and termination and evaluation. Concurrent enrollment in Field Education III (SWFI-336) required [Required for Direct practice concentration].  Prerequisites: SWHB-207, SWDS-100, SWDS-305.

(Advanced course, Practice Methods IV)  Integrates and expands knowledge, values and skills taught in previous courses. Emphasis is place on increasing knowledge and skills in making differential diagnoses for select clinical syndromes and selecting empirically-base, culturally appropriate treatment interventions and strategies. Develops understanding of neurotransmitters related to select clinical syndromes and knowledge of psychopharmacological medications for the treatment of clinical syndromes. Emphasis is placed on the identification and treatment of loss and grief issues that are most prevalent in fields of practice in urban settings and their relevance for diverse consumer populations. Concurrent enrollment in Field Education IV (SWFI-337) required. [Required for Direct practice concentration.]  Prerequisites: SWDS-305, SWDS-309.

(Advanced course) Builds upon knowledge gained in Human Behavior in the Social Environment courses. Focuses on theoretical perspectives and clinical knowledge of clinical assessment and diagnoses of childhood and adult disorders.  This is NOT a practice course with a focus on intervention.  Emphasis is placed on the historical construct of mental health service delivery and the effect of racism on theory and classification as well as contemporary nosology with emphasis on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-revised and theoretical constructs to understand abnormal behavior from a biopsychosocial, culturally diverse viewpoint. [Advanced second year elective for Community, Administration and Policy Practice majors] Prerequisites: SWDS-305 & SWFI-202.

Courses Required for Community, Administration, & Policy Practice Concentration

(Differential Foundation course, Practice Methods II)  Deepens the conceptual base introduced in SWDS-100.  Examines multilevel needs and strengths of diverse peoples, organizations, and communities. Focuses on community, organizational and administrative practice theories, assessment and approaches.  Uses conceptual and practice models and cases to understand use of relationship, power and influence in CAP (Macro) practice.  Explores leadership styles and roles as social workers in CAP (Macro) practice. Concurrent enrollment in Field Education II (SWFI-202) required [Required for Community, Administration and Policy Practice concentration. Prerequisites: SWDS-100.

(Advanced course, Practice Methods III)  Addresses in greater depth and specificity knowledge of the history, theoretical frameworks, and functions and skills for managing human service organizations and leading culturally diverse community groups, boards, and committee meetings.  Examines staff development, the role of social work supervision, collaboration and partnership development, team building, group decision-making and/or problem solving strategies and use of technology in administration practice. Includes a focus on social planning and budgeting processes for nonprofit organizations. Concurrent enrollment in Field Education III (SWFI-336) required [Required for CAP (Macro) Practice concentration.] Prerequisites: SWDS 100, SWPS 310.

(Advanced course, Practice Methods IV) Provides students with knowledge and skills in strategic planning for resource development, program planning, grant proposal writing, financial management, entrepreneurship, and community and institutional capacity building and multi-level fundraising. Emphasis is placed on the conceptualization process involved in planning for resource development, as well as creating an actual funding plan, identifying funding sources, critical analyzing of internal and external factors, designing comprehensive multi-level income streams, budget analyzing and utilizing different types of budgets for different purposes, proposal writing, and analyzing roles and role development of:  staff, boards, alliances/coalitions, stakeholders, and others.   Special attention is given to the unique experiences and challenges faced by organizations in African-American communities and other communities of color. Concurrent enrollment in Field Education IV (SWFI-337) required. [Required for CAP (Macro) Practice concentration.]  Prerequisites: SWPS-302 and SWPS 310.

Examines a range of historical and contemporary models of community organization practice methods, and values ethics, and skills involved in leadership roles.  Emphasizes strategies and tactics for empowering groups and organizations through planned change to promote social and economic justice.  [CAPP (Macro) majors must choose this course or Advanced Social Policy Analysis as their required elective.  Advanced second-year elective for direct service majors.]

Examines diverse models of social policy analysis used in the policy process.  Emphasizes the use of diverse policy analysis tools to understand and critique social policy.  Topic areas are determined by the professor teaching the course.  [CAPP (Macro) majors must choose this course or Advanced Community Organization as their required elective.  Advanced second-year elective for direct service majors.]

Advanced Research Course

(Advanced Course)  Builds on knowledge and skills of the core research courses, "Research Methods for Social Workers" and "Data Analysis for Social Workers." Course content provides advanced-level knowledge and skills that prepare students to develop, use, critically assess, and effectively communicate empirically-based knowledge in developing and evaluating practice and human service programs.  It develops skills in using key evaluative methods that measure the need, effectiveness, fairness, and efficiency of various interventions in achieving stated objectives and desired outcomes for various stakeholders with particular focus on at risk populations design and conduct evidenced-based interventions appropriate for their method of practice and specialized field of practice.  Prerequisites: SWRS-202.  [Required for all students.]

Fields of Practice Specializations Courses

(Advanced course) Focuses on the cyclical nature of criminal justice policies, elements of the systems, key legal decisions, and the meaning of this system for blacks and other minorities and persons of color and the role of social workers in the field of criminal justice. Emphasis is placed on understanding the theoretical basis of crime and crime causation.  One of six Field of practice specialization options.  May be taken as elective in second year in regular degree program, or second or third semester in Advanced Standing program.

(Advanced course) Critically examines  relevant literature for specific issues in the field of criminal justice related to the theories of crime, causation, judicial and institutional reform, racial equity, ethics, values, leadership, social justice policy, data analysis and offender reintegration.  Emphasis is placed upon analysis of populations in the criminal justice system; the impact/role of the African-American and other people of color as client(s) and/or practitioner(s) in the criminal justice system; and, the role of the social work profession in criminal justice as well as some of the current critical issues that impact the American justice system such as mandatory minimum sentences, disproportionate minority contact and restorative justice. Second of two required courses if Field of Practice option.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced Course) Focuses understanding the biology of aging, psychosocial issues, major sociological theories, death and dying and current social gerontology issues. Emphasis is placed on the impact of economic, cultural, and social forces on the aging process, the role of the social worker in geriatric settings, and implications of race, ethnicity, gender and class in understanding the elderly population. One of six Field of practice specialization options.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Examines the policies, programs, and services designed to deal with the problems of the elderly.  Provides a forum for analyzing and evaluating aging policies and programs and for gaining insight and knowledge about the roles of social work in the aging field; examines current research in the field of aging, and emphasizes the role of social work advocacy and empowerment of the elderly in impacting social policy change.   Second of two required courses if Field of Practice option.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Examines the state and condition of the family as an institution in American society focusing on social forces and practices that impinge upon the family.  Further analyzes relationships between policies, programs, and service delivery in promoting or impeding growth and development of individuals within families and the family unit as a whole. Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Continuation of SWPS-418, Family and Child Welfare I with focus on individual, familial, and societal forces that influence the welfare of children within the American society. Explores institutional delivery systems in which child welfare practice occurs. Examines current legal and administrative mandates that impact the development of child welfare policies through the lens of the Black Perspective. Second of two required courses if Field of Practice option.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Examines evidence-based mental health practice, the historical development of mental health services and the major roles played by social workers. Explores social policies that authorize, support and sanction mental health programs and examines emerging trends that authorize, support, and sanction social work practice, the institutional delivery systems, contributions, limitations, and the existing and potential alternatives for mental health services. Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Continuation of SWPS-424, Social Work in Mental Health Settings I.  Examines special populations in mental health systems as well as the quality and effectiveness of engagement, diagnosis and assessment, and effective interventions for specific. Emphasis is placed on the interplay of individual genetics, family circumstances, community environment, and larger societal policies as well as the roles of community organizer and advocate in achieving better outcomes for those with mental health problems.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Examines the social policy framework and trends that authorize, support, and sanction social work practice, the institutional delivery systems, the contributions, limitations, and the existing and potential alternatives for health care. Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Continuation of SWPS-427, Social Work in Health Care Settings I.  Covers issues relevant to the healthcare service delivery systems and micro and macro social work practice.  Examines a variety of healthcare settings and the role of social work in healthcare delivery systems as well as current issues pertinent to health care for a diverse consumer population.  Second of two required courses if Field of Practice option.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Provides knowledge and framework for understanding the experiences of displaced populations (immigrants, refugees, and victims of natural and manmade disasters, et al.) and analyzing their problems and their diverse needs.  The professional roles, responsibilities, and practice interventions of social work are presented and explored.  Major emphasis is placed upon commonalities as well as differences found among these groups at the international and national levels.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective.

(Advanced course) Continuation of SWPS-300, Social Work with Displaced Populations I. Analyzes social policies, programs, and intervention strategies utilized by service providers and institutions in response to the phenomena of displaced populations.  Discusses policy issues related to disadvantaged status and discrimination, availability and acquisition of services, and legal status and treatment of displaced populations.  Second of two required courses if Field of Practice option.  Advanced Field of Practice Specialization Course or Elective

Field Education Courses

(Foundation course)  First of four required Field Education courses in regular sixty (60) hour degree program.  Focuses on integration of foundation knowledge and practice skills for beginning generalist practice.  Requires completion of 233 clock hours, including ten (10) hours for Field Education orientation, 208 hours in assigned Field Education agency setting, and 15 hours in scheduled Field Education integrative seminars.  Concurrent enrollment in Practice Methods I course required.

(Differential Foundation course)  Second of four required Field Education courses in regular sixty (60) hour degree program.  First of three Field Education courses in Advanced Standing program.  Focuses on integration of differential foundation knowledge and practice skills.  Requires completion of 223 clock hours, for regular students, including 208 hours in assigned Field Education agency and 15 hours in scheduled Field Education integrative seminars.  Requires 233 clock hours for advanced standing students, including 10 hours for Field Education orientation, 208 hours in assigned Field Education agency, and 15 hours for scheduled Field Education integrative seminars.  Concurrent enrollment in Practice Methods II course required.  Prerequisites: SWFI-201

(Advanced course)  Third of four required field Education courses in regular sixty (60) hour degree program. Second of three required courses in advanced standing program.  Focuses on integration of advanced knowledge and practice skills in chosen Practice Method concentration and Field of practice specialization.  Requires completion of 272 clock hours, including 260 hours in assigned Field Education agency setting, and 12 hours in scheduled Field Education integrative seminars.  Concurrent enrollment in Practice Methods III course and Field of Practice I course required.  Prerequisites: SWFI-202

(Advanced course) Fourth of four required Field Education courses in regular sixty (60) hour degree program.  Third of three required courses in Advanced Standing program.  Focuses on integration of advanced knowledge and practice skills in chosen Practice Method concentration and Field of practice specialization.  Requires 272 clock hours, including 260 hours in assigned Field Education agency setting, and 12 hours in scheduled Field Education integrative seminars.  Concurrent enrollment in Practice Methods IV course and Field of Practice II course required.  Prerequisites: SWFI-336

Direct Practice Elective Courses

Examines core mechanisms of changes which cut across or are common to the various group therapy approaches and are intrinsic to group processes and functioning as well as those elements, which differ among the approaches. Explores such factors as membership composition, purposes, group structure, interventive techniques and evaluation procedures.  Examines various these approaches in relation to their relevance and applicability to the diverse populations currently receiving services in the myriad of agencies offering social work services.  Particular attention is given to the relevance of the various group approaches for African-Americans and other oppressed groups: ethnic groups of color, women, gay and lesbian clients, handicapped persons, children, and the elderly.

(Elective) This course is designed to examine and understand the impact of a child’s emotional and physical disabilities on family functioning and on the child’s own physical and emotional development.  Particular attention is given to understanding the role of the social worker in providing family and individual support with a school social work focus.

Prepares the social work student to enhance and extend knowledge of psychopharmacology.  Students will further develop their basic understanding of the study of and use of medications to treat psychiatric disorders. This is an elective course in the area of direct practice. This course can be taken after the completion of the foundation courses and the psychopathology course. This course reviews the historical, political, and ethical context of psychotropic medications in social work practice and provides a basic overview of neuroscience, pharmacology and psychopharmacology. The contemporary social work roles in medication management are debated and necessary skills for effective collaboration with clients, families and other mental health practitioners on medication-related issues are provided. A complementary focus will include the impact on people of color in the Diaspora from the Black Perspective.

Community, Administration and Policy Practice Elective Courses

(Elective)  Focuses on the process of conceptualizing, planning, budgeting, evaluating, and securing public and private resources to develop, fund, staff, and measure the effectiveness of programs to meet identified outcomes.  Examines types and methods of developing different models of social work entrepreneurship.

(Advanced course) Examines in depth, human services organizations as systems, external connections with environment, organizational culture, behavior, climate, reward systems, infrastructure, and effectiveness. Assesses and applies organizational development strategies and techniques to bring about planned change.

(Elective) Provides students with an in-depth examination of the status and plight of women in society and within the social work profession. Enhances knowledge and understanding of women's issues in relation to changing roles, sexism, racism, and empowerment from a global perspective. Explores historical and contemporary issues that govern society's view of women and the concomitant adverse effect on the lives of women.

(Elective) Examines basic concepts of social work supervision strategies and techniques. Examines ethical dilemmas, legal considerations and methods of engaging, training and evaluating a diverse workforce.

(Elective) Provides an understanding of the widespread use and misuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD).  Explores the dynamics of addictions as they are manifested at the individual, family, group and community levels.  Current theories of addiction are explored along with strengths-based methods of assessment, prevention, and intervention in a variety of state, local, and private addictions agencies.  Focus on the historical, biopsychosocial, and legal implications of drug abuse, including the controversial link between addiction and criminalization in the African American community.  The impact of drug policies on African Americans, other oppressed groups, and high-risk populations are examined within the context of empowerment, social justice and relevant concepts.

The course integrates environmental justice issues for social work research and practice with a multi-disciplinary focus on the environment.  Special emphasis is given to such issues as sources of environmental pollutants; health threats from environmental hazards; and the broader socio-impact.  In addition, it provides an overview of public policies, practice and other factors that create environmental disparities including discriminatory land use and residential patterns.

(Elective) Examines definitions, cycle, and theories regarding the causation and myths of intimate partner violence.  Domestic violence is examined among diverse populations, including teen dating violence and older populations, diverse racial and ethnic groups, and among immigrant communities. Issues regarding the health, mental health, and criminal justice and child welfare implications of domestic violence are examined. Strategies to address domestic violence at the direct service, community, faith-based, and international levels are explored.

This course examines the history and context of international social development. It explores the significance of globalization and how to engage diverse public and non-governmental organizations. Special attention is given to African and Caribbean countries. The social and economic justice implications of international social development are also discussed, along with human rights and the unique experiences of women globally.

Research Elective Courses

(Research Elective) Preparation of a scholarly research paper on a topic related to the concentration of the student which integrates research knowledge of social work practice, human behavior and the social environment, and social welfare policy and services. Prerequisites: SWRS-202.

Human Behavior & the Social Environment Elective Courses

(Elective) Offers an introduction to selected, empirically based biological, sociological, cultural, psychological theories and research on human sexuality.  Focuses on sexual development throughout the life span (childhood to old age) with consideration given to perspectives (historical and current) and treatment of sex and sexuality. Examines the relationship between human sexuality, physical and emotional disability, service delivery, societal attitudes and values, and the impact of discrimination, oppression and economic injustice.

(Elective) Explores race, class and gender as interrelated biological, social, psychological, historical and power-based constructs using social work values and ethics as undergirding principles. Examines theories and models of racial and multicultural identity and adaptation, and worldview formation. Focuses on feminism, male role studies, sexual identity, spirituality, diversity, cultural competency in relation to social policy and social justice.

Independent Study Courses

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest. 

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest.

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest.

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest.

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest.

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest.

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest. Students participate in a series of sessions that acquaints them with the travel destination.  Additionally they participate in programmed activities during travel, including debriefings.  Students prepare journals and briefings to faculty and other students that focus on the linkage with social work.

Study under the guidance of a faculty member with special competence in an area of interest. Students participate in a series of sessions that acquaints them with the travel destination. Additionally they participate in programmed activities during travel, including debriefings. Students prepare journals and briefings to faculty and other students that focus on the linkage with social work. Additionally, students prepare a major paper (8-12 pages) addressing an aspect of the travel that relates to their field of practice specialization.