The MSW advanced curriculum (30 credits) allows students to examine in greater depth a practice modality (Concentration) and field of practice (Specialization). The advanced curriculum builds on the generalist content of the foundation year. MSW Advanced Standing students will complete a 34.5 credits program.
The MSW foundation curriculum is generalist, in that it familiarizes the student with the breadth of social work. Students take 30 credits worth of course and field work. Courses cover content in human behavior and the social environment, research, social welfare policy, and social work practice.
A concentration involves two practice courses, taken concurrently with an advanced field placement, and a research course.
I. Clinical Practice Concentration
This concentration is designed to prepare students to engage in social work in a clinical capacity with individuals, families, and groups, and to apply research skills in planning and evaluating clinical work. Guiding frameworks include feminist, strengths-based, and systems-focused interventions drawing from psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, social learning, and solution-focused theories. These frameworks are applied to all direct social work practice situations with differential use regarding the presenting problem, culture, social class, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Students will develop practice techniques in each model. They will also learn to apply the diverse roles of clinical social worker (counselor, case manager, educator, group facilitator, collaborator, advocate, and therapist) in their careers.
II. Management and Planning Concentration
This concentration prepares students for advanced practice roles in public, nonprofit, and other human services organizations. Course and field work address: planning, program development, organizational governance, policymaking, resource development, financial management, human resource development, policy analysis, program evaluation, organizational theory and models. Issues pertaining to values and ethics and culturally competent practice are woven throughout these topics so that students acquire the tools for effective leadership in the twenty-first century. Advocacy, evaluation, and social change practice in human service agencies and related organizations are also emphasized.
The requirements for this concentration include two practice courses related to management or planning, a field placement which provides an opportunity to develop skills in management/planning practice, a course in financial management, and a practice research course focusing on program evaluation.
III. Practice with Communities and Policy Arenas
This concentration educates students on issues at the community and policy levels. Its objective is to train social workers who will contribute to creating the requisite social, political, and economic conditions to help communities meet their needs and achieve their full potential. This concentration emphasizes engagement with the institutional, political, and public aspects of community life.
Students will learn the history, models, and methods of community organizing, community development, social movements, and social and economic policy development. They also will acquire the skills of strengths-based community assessment and the ability to select and apply appropriate models and methods of effecting change based on multidimensional assessments and project goals. Career opportunities include research settings, traditional and nontraditional agencies, community-based membership organizations, community organizing initiatives, government and elected officials offices, unions, and other policy arenas.
Advanced curriculum specializations apply an advanced generalist social work framework to a given field of practice. A specialization is comprised of a human behavior and social environment (HBSE), a policy, and a practice course. The advanced year field placement should be in the students area of specialization.
I. Children and Families
The focus of the specialization is at risk children and families. The risks may be those resulting from intra-psychic, interpersonal, and/ or social factors, such as poverty, racial and other forms of oppression, maltreatment, or family conflict. The specialization considers a range of services from prevention to remediation with particular attention to the development of culturally relevant services for children and families.
II. Health and Mental Health
This specialization prepares students for practice in the rapidly changing fields of health and mental health. Students are introduced to the societal and professional forces that help shape the field of health and mental health care, the evolving roles of social work within these areas, and the positive contributions they can make to improving the system and promoting the well being of all members of society.