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Advanced Curriculum M.S.W. Program - Portland

Practice Concentrations

Advanced Electives

Unrestricted Electives

During the winter term of the year in which students are enrolled in generalist practice courses, they select a concentration (Direct Human Services, Community Based Practice, or Social Services Administration and Leadership). The option chosen determines the required practice courses, selection of advanced HBSE and practice electives, and provides direction to learning experiences in the concurrent field placement. Students also take advanced coursework in research, human behavior in the social environment, social policy and social work practice. Assignments in these electives will support the student’s concentration. Each student must take Advanced elective course work in Human Behavior in the Social Environment and social work practice endorsed by their practice concentration. Additionally, students must take Advanced elective course work in Social Policy and Social Work Research.

Practice Concentrations

Advanced Direct Human Services Practice
Chair: Matt Modrcin

This advanced concentration (SW 533-535) is designed to prepare students for agency-based direct social work practice. The first course in the sequence SW 533 reviews the problem-solving process and introduces the process of constructing a frame of reference or model of practice. The evaluation of practice and theories for understanding individuals and how they both seek and resist change are considered. SW 533 emphasizes application of theories to the direct social work practice process and considers the importance of culture, strengths, and empowerment. The second course in the sequence, SW 534, addresses the family of origin perspective on family systems theory. The course provides advanced consideration of family centered practice and integration of other theories with family systems theory. SW 535, the Advanced Direct Human Services Seminar, integrates the material covered in the prior courses and results in the student’s development of a personal model of practice. Prerequisite: SW 532; co-requisite: SW 500.

Advanced Community Based Practice
Chairs: Ann Curry-Stevens and Bowen McBeath

This sequence of courses (SW 536-538) emphasizes the person-environment interplay with a focus on collaborative partnerships between local citizens, leaders, associations, and institutions. The courses discuss assessment, planning, and intervention at the family, neighborhood, and service delivery system levels. An assets-based, community development perspective to assist individuals, families and communities in identifying and meeting community needs is stressed. Working as a team, utilization of community resources and selection of appropriate intervention strategies are covered. Students in this concentration explore individual and community resilience while assisting in implementing local strategies that strengthen protective factors and lower risk factors for ethnically and culturally diverse families, schools, neighborhoods, and communities. Prerequisite: SW 532; co-requisite: SW 500.

Social Service Administration and Leadership
Chair: Laura Nissen

This advanced concentration (SW 580-582) prepares students to develop and manage the conditions, processes, and systems that support the effective delivery of services that benefit consumers. Program managers contribute leadership and vision to the ongoing process of providing high quality, effective, culturally appropriate services to consumers. Students in this concentration will be prepared to occupy diverse social work roles including leading and managing programs, teams, and work groups, supervising and supporting others, securing and coordinating resources, assessing consumer needs and developing programs, advocating for the needs of groups of consumers, collaborating with community agencies and consumer groups to
improve services and service delivery, and participating in the policy-making process. This course builds on the philosophy of consumer-centered management. Prerequisite: SW 532;
co-requisite: SW 500.


Advanced Electives

Advanced Research Electives
Chair: Kevin Corcoran

The advanced research courses build on foundation courses in research methods and data analysis. The courses may be specialized research courses that present advanced methods for analyzing quantitative data and/or qualitative data. Other courses may provide advanced research content integrated with advanced HBSE, or field of practice content. The prerequisite for these courses is SW 551, Data Analysis.

Advanced Human Behavior Electives
Chair: Vicki Cotrell

Students will select one course approved by their concentration which deals with Advanced Theories of Human Behavior. This advanced course provides an opportunity for students to explore current theoretical developments in the social and behavioral sciences that apply to social work practice and populations at risk. Courses will address specific areas of human development (Childhood and Adolescence, Late Adulthood) or specific topics with advanced theoretical content (e.g. Groups, Social Networks, Human Sexuality). The foundation HBSE courses (SW 540 and SW 541) are prerequisite for these courses.

Advanced Policy Electives
Chair: Ted Donlan

An integral part of the advanced curriculum is a 3-credit advanced policy elective. This elective focuses on a specific area of social welfare policy (e.g. health care, child welfare, juvenile or criminal justice) and provides the opportunity to study the intersection of policy and practice at some depth. At least one course assignment will be related to the individual student’s concentration. The foundation policy course (SW 520) is prerequisite.

Unrestricted Electives

A limited number of unrestricted (free) elective courses are available. Students should be aware that most of the elective courses have prerequisites for enrollment. Students are advised to consult the Projected Electives Grid on the School’s website, check the 'footnotes' on the PSU online Class Schedule or refer to either the PSU or SSW bulletin for prerequisite information.