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Foundation Curriculum

SW 511 Field Placement & Seminar (12 credits)
This course is the 9-month agency-based field practicum and concurrent field seminar where students apply social work knowledge and develop social work practice skills. The supervised field practicum and weekly field seminar facilitate students’ application of social work practice skills, the integration of theoretical content and the development of critical thinking skills.  This course is a core component of the MSW curriculum, allowing students to apply knowledge gained in their social work courses in real world practice settings.

SW 540 Human Development Thru the Lifespan (3 credits)
Presents and critiques basic knowledge of human development from conception to late adulthood in the context of individuals and families, and identifies relationships between theoretical frameworks and the bio-psycho-social-spiritual environment. Provides students with the skills to organize information about human dynamics using developmental frameworks, while still stressing the multi-causal and bi-directional nature of behavioral outcomes.  

SW 541 Societal, Community and Organizational Structures and Processes (3 credits)
Social theories are used to provide students with conceptual frames for analyzing how actions of service users and social work practitioners are constrained as well as empowered by societal, community, and organizational structures and processes. Implicit assumptions, values, and ideologies associated with the social construction of such conceptual frames and the consistency of this knowledge with social work values and ethics are critiqued.  Theories addressing the behavior and change process of communities and organizations are applied and evaluated according to the degree of empirical support.

SW 539 Social Justice in Social Work (3 credits)
This course will explore social justice and oppression based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, (dis)ability, and social class; models for intergroup relations; the historical context of group relations; and cultural variables significant to ethic, racial and culturally minoritized populations.  It will also examine social, political, and cultural processes as they affect intergroup and intra-group relations.  The course will also explore the role of the social worker as border crosser, cultural learner, and agent of change. 

SW 520 Social Welfare History and Policy (3 credits)
This course addresses social welfare and the policy making process; and it explores the values and ethical choices affecting the process. It examines historical and contemporary issues and their impact on social work profession and social welfare. The course highlights relations among social problems, social policies, and social practice s as means for promoting social justice.

SW 530 Skills for the Helping Process – Individuals and Families (3 credits)
This course focuses on helping students to develop engagement, assessment, and intervention skills for work with individuals and families. Students will complete a biopsychosocial assessment, learn how to work collaboratively with service users to define goals, and how to select and facilitate relevant interventions.

SW 550 Research & Evaluation I (3 credits)
Introduction to research in social work.  Stresses the importance of research to social work practice and policy.  Introduction to qualitative and quantitative social work research, group designs, single system designs, and evaluation of programs and of practice.  Introduction to critical consumption of research, and ethics of social work research.  Considers scientific method, systematic inquiry, relation of theory to research, problem formulation, measurement, sampling, design, and data collection. Emphasizes connections between (a) social work research and (b) social and economic justice, cultural sensitivity and inclusion, and diversity.

SW 515 Skills for the Helping Process - Groups (3 credits)
This course focuses on helping students to develop assessment and intervention skills for working with client, organizational, and community groups. Students will assess types and stages of groups, roles, and group dynamics, and develop a group proposal. Students will learn how to begin, facilitate, and end a group.

SW 532 Advocacy and Empowerment (3 credits)
This course builds the advocacy skills of students to form purposive and equitable partnerships with service users, their communities, and organizations, including skills in both case and cause advocacy. It also aims to provide students with insights into the ways they can include empowerment-based practices in their micro, mezzo and macro work. Since building the power of individuals and communities is founded upon a healthy critique of the role of the professional social worker as the “expert,” some theoretical knowledge about such epistemic shifts needs to be incorporated.

SW 551 Research & Evaluation II (3 credits)
This course focuses on techniques of quantitative data analysis and introduces methods of qualitative data analysis. It also focuses on interpreting and using results to improve social work practice including program evaluation. The course covers descriptive statistics, probability theory and hypothesis testing, and inferential methods. Emphasizes connections between (a) social work research and (b) social and economic justice, cultural sensitivity and inclusion, and diversity. Prerequisite: SW 550