Note: Not all courses are offered every semester or every academic year.
* = approved as a diversity course
SOWK 600—Social Welfare and Social Policy [3 credits]
This course provides students with a foundation understanding and appraisal of social welfare policies and programs in the United States, and the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped their development. It introduces core concepts to provide both an understanding of the political process and the analytic skills needed to further the achievement of social work goals regarding social policies and programs. The course also reviews the development of the social work profession and its influence on social welfare policies through advocacy, social action, research, and social reform.
SOWK 630—Social Work Practice with Individuals [3 credits]
This course uses an ecological systems perspective and generic problem solving model to provide students with theory, knowledge, and a value base for purposeful, culturally competent, and sequential intervention with individuals of diverse backgrounds. Generalist skills taught in this course are interviewing, problem identification, problem-exploration, formulating the problem-to-be worked, data gathering, differential assessment, planning, intervention, termination, and evaluation. Initial exposure to finding evidence-based practices for our work with individuals, families and groups will be introduced. Self-awareness and conscious use of self are emphasized.
SOWK 631—Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations [3 credits]
This course stresses beginning skills and knowledge for practice within social service organizations, networks and communities, the context in which all social work practice occurs. Understanding and intervening in the environment are skills consonant with the ecological perspective that provides focus for the foundationcurriculum. This course stresses that social system malfunctions and inequities are important sources of individual and familial distress. The nature and dynamics of diverse communities and social service networks are explored.
SOWK 632—Social Work Practice with Groups and Families [3 credits]
This course is designed for foundation students to learn about dynamics and basic procedures for direct practice with groups and families. The course first presents an ecological perspective on groups in clinical and organizational settings, explores group typologies, formation, composition, and development, and teaches concepts of group structure and process. The course then furnishes a foundation on social work practice with families, with emphasis on family structure and dynamics as well as beginning techniques for intervention with families. Note: SOWK 630 and 631 will be taken concurrently with SOWK 635 in the fall and SOWK 632 will be taken with SOWK 636 in the spring.
SOWK 635, 636—Foundation Field Practicum I and II [3 credits each semester]
The Field Practicum is the signature pedagogy of the MSW program. It provides the framework for knowledge and skill development through immediate application of theoretical knowledge presented in the classroom to real situations presented by individuals, groups or service delivery systems. The practicum helps students learn to shape human services in ways that respond to broad social welfare needs and issues through various forms of intervention. Attention is directed to what is currently known and practiced, to the preparation of students for change in the knowledge base and organization of services, and for reflection on the practice curriculum. Students should have knowledge of, and an opportunity to develop competence in, service delivery that reflects their understanding of the particular needs of minorities, women, and people of various ethnic backgrounds. The practicum aims to integrate the entire Foundation Curriculum. The practicum teaches a common core of knowledge and principles of social work practice in which students are guided by the values and ethics of the profession.
SOWK 645—Human Behavior and the Social Environment [3 credits]
This course will provide a foundation for social work practice through an understanding of the major theories of individual and family functioning that encompasses biophysical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions. Specific attention will be paid to the roles that culture and cultural identity play in human development and to what constitutes “normal” behavior. Students will master the central concepts of theories that provide the basis for many assessment and intervention tools used in social work practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations.
SOWK 670—Social Work Research [3 credits]
This course provides a solid foundation in social work research, with a special emphasis on evidence-based practice. As both consumers and producers of research, social workers need to understand core research concepts. This course prepares students to evaluate critically the wealth of research and evidence available to inform practice. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to critique a research report evaluating a clinical or macro program or practice of personal interest.
ADVANCED POLICY COURSES (Prerequisite: SOWK 600)
Course selections are determined by the student’s concentration and specialization.
SOWK 704—Social Work and the Law [3 credits]
Social Work and the Law is an introduction to the structure and operations of the legal system as it affects social work practice. The course covers several areas closely related to social work: family and domestic matters, child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, education, and advocacy. Emphasis is on analyzing legislation and court decisions as social policy. The focus includes legal issues relating especially to minors, women, people of color, and other disempowered groups. The course also provides an overview of legal issues bearing upon professional responsibility (such as malpractice, privileged communications, and confidentiality) and offers an introduction to the development of skills used in courtroom testimony.
SOWK 706—Mental Health and Social Policy [3 credits]
This course examines the growth of community mental health in the United States and its relationship to sociological and psychological approaches to various communities and cultural groups. Approaches to mental health, mental illness, problems of service delivery, professional roles, and the possibilities and problems of community mental health are discussed.
SOWK 708—Integrated Behavioral Health Policy [3 credits]
This course is an introduction to U.S. health and behavioral health care policies and programs. The course is designed to prepare students to analyze, develop, and implement health and behavioral health policies across a range of settings, including prevention/promotion services, primary care, acute care, chronic care, and long-term care. It examines the financing and organization of health and behavioral health systems, including the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped their development. Particular attention will be paid to evidence-based models that aim to integrate physical and behavioral health services.
SOWK 710—Legislative Processes in Social Welfare [3 credits]
This course has two basic purposes. The first is to provide students with an understanding of American legislative processes with particular reference to the social welfare policy formulation system. The federal system of policy and legislative process also will be examined. The second aim is to develop an appreciation and understanding of the range of social work involvement in the policy/legislative process. Throughout the course, attention is given to the role of human service advocacy organizations active in influencing social welfare legislation and the role of social workers in social action. The course is also offered as SWOA 710 for those wanting an advanced macro methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the designation chosen (Advanced Policy or Macro methods).
SOWK 713—Social Policy and Health Care [3 credits]*
This course is designed to prepare students to assess and understand the impact of American medical and health service programs and policies on human well-being. It has several purposes: (1) to understand the political process through which health service delivery policy evolves; (2) to provide students with background on the organization of health care services so that they have some understanding of the origins and current directions of health care programs; (3) to understand the relationship of medical care and health care programs to other community programs and their impact on various communities; and (4) to enable students, as future social workers, to assess and evaluate program directions and proposals for change.
SOWK 715—Children and Social Services Policy [3 credits]*
This course identifies challenges contemporary American families are experiencing and presents strategies for developing policies and services to meet these challenges. It not only examines specific policies and services that most affect families but also considers broader questions concerning power and its distribution, allocation of resources, and the role of government in promoting individual and family well-being. The theme of advocacy on behalf of children and families at all levels is stressed throughout the course. This course will help students build on the knowledge of the evaluative concepts of social policy analysis developed in prior research and policy courses.
SOWK 718 —Equality and Social Justice [3 credits] *
This course focuses on variations in the structure of opportunity and outcomes within the U.S. It will examine the concepts of social equality and inequality, equity (or justice) and injustice and the forms they may take in the realm of social policy. Attention will be given to: (1) the effects of diverse values, perspectives, and ideologies on conceptualizations of social equality and social justice; (2) operational definitions of these conceptualizations; (3) the antecedents and consequences of equality/ inequality and equity/inequity as variously defined; and (4) the implications of the above for social work and social welfare, particularly in the policy arena. Current levels and manifestations of inequality in the U.S. will be assessed by critically reviewing the historical data on inequality using various alternative measures. Comparative analyses of research on inequality in the U.S. will be used as a basis for examining debates about the relative costs and benefits of particular levels of inequality and about the trade-offs between equality and other social goods. Key research issues and gaps in knowledge will be identified.
SOWK 720—Comparative Social Policy [3 credits]*
The course provides an overview of global social welfare policies and programs, and the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped their development. The course introduces core concepts relating to global human rights and social justice to provide both an understanding of the political process and the analytic skills which will further the achievement of social work goals regarding social work programs and policies. The course also reviews the contemporaneous progress of international social work organizations in responding to global initiatives.
SOWK 721—Housing, Homelessness, and Social Policy [3 credits]
This course will prepare students to assess and understand the use value and exchange value of housing, and the dialectic between social policies and human well being, with a focus on shelter in its many manifestations. “Home is where the heart is”, so Pliny the Elder opined. What then of the hearts of our neighbors living in barely habitable housing, repeatedly facing eviction, or without any housing at all? In this course, students will (a) reflect upon the concepts of social justice and social change and their relationship to housing, social policy, and participation; (b) examine the processes through which housing and homelessness services are financed, constructed, maintained, and evolve; (c) study the relationships among housing, health, human growth and development, neighborhoods, and communities; (d) develop sufficient knowledge of the background and context of housing and homelessness services in the U.S. so that they might predict and influence future directions of these goods; (e) understand the relationships between housing markets on the one hand, and policies and programs serving the poor and the disadvantaged on the other hand; (f) evaluate program changes and proposals for reform in the institutions providing housing, related services, and financing; (g) become familiar with the context of housing provisions/financing and homelessness services in other nations; and (h) investigate the role of social workers as service providers and change agents in access to emergency shelter, homelessness services, and housing.
SOWK 725—Work, Well-being and Social Policy [3 credits]
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the major socio-economic issues and trends influencing employee well-being and workplace programs from an empirical and analytic framework, and to introduce U.S. social policies and workplace programs that address employee health, well-being and safety and that directly intersect with Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). The course briefly reviews the history of social services provided in the workplace and offers a comprehensive review of the various delivery points for human services in the workplace, including but not limited to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), worklife and occupational health/medicine. Specific subjects such as mental health and substance abuse, work-life, workplace violence and crisis, diversity and inclusion, globalization and more will be explored with their respective policy implications. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace based on gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability, age, employee work status, caregiving status and any other protected classes of workers will be discussed with their appropriate policy questions.
SOWK 726—Aging and Social Policy [3 credits]
This course examines a variety of social welfare policies that affect the rights and interests of older adults. These include policies related to economic security, health, long term care, and elder justice. Building on the foundation policy curriculum, the course reviews the policy-making process with a discussion of the influence of legislative sanctions and case law in establishing aging policy in the U.S. The focus of the course is on critical analysis of the key assumptions driving policy and policy change, as well as enhancing skills in policy messaging and advocacy.
SOWK 729 —Justice at the Intersection of Social Work and the Law [3 credits - offered every other year]
Increasingly, social workers and lawyers are asked to collaborate within the legal system-from the inception of a case to after a case is resolved through court and extrajudicial processes. This advanced policy course provides an opportunity for law and social work students to explore together the promises and challenges of work that draws on the expertise of both professions. The class will meet alternately at the School of Social Work and the School of Law. It will critically explore the professional ethics and training for each profession and their workplace and institutional responsibilities in a variety of settings. It will also examine the different professional conceptions of justice, and how these may be illustrated across settings. Students will work independently and in teams to explore these issues.
ADVANCED RESEARCH COURSES (Prerequisite: SOWK 670) Course selections are determined by the student’s concentration and specialization. Research curriculum online at https://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/academics/curriculum-overviews/research-curriculum/
SOWK 772—Research: Program Evaluation [3 credits]
This is an advanced research class in which concepts and approaches for evaluating social intervention including social work practice, programs, and policies, are considered. Previously acquired research knowledge is built upon for elaborating on the conceptual, methodological, and administrative aspects of evaluation research. The comparative analysis approach used for the development of practice knowledge, as well as for the utilization of evaluation studies, is given attention. The course focuses on use of empirically based methods to enhance social work practice. Students will consider the theoretical and ethical aspects of an evaluative approach to treatment and examine the policy implications of professional participation (or lack thereof) in evaluation processes.
SOWK 777—Research in Child Welfare [3 credits]
The purpose of this advanced research course is to provide the student with an opportunity to explore critical research questions, methods, and results that are related to the child welfare service delivery system. Under federal requirements to report on outcomes of child welfare programs, social workers face a persistent challenge to improve the scientific knowledge that guides practice and policy in this field. This course focuses on the evaluation of interventions in child welfare, by measuring outcomes of child welfare programs. A goal of this course is to draw the logic between research findings and the development and evaluation of child welfare programs, practice, and policy.
SOWK 781—Actionable Research: Results-based Accountability and Empowerment Evaluation [3 credits]
SOWK 781 is an advanced research course primarily designed for students in or planning to be in macro practice roles (such as human service or nonprofit administrators, program managers, supervisors, evaluators, community planners, developers, and organizers, and policy practitioners). This course emphasizes results-based accountability (and empowerment evaluation) methods and processes. The RBA methodology, currently used at the national, state, local and community levels in the United States and abroad, is used to improve results among whole populations and to improve results among the consumers of specific programs, agencies and service-delivery systems.
SOWK 783—Qualitative Cross-Cultural Research [3 credits]*
Qualitative research methods are an important part of social work practice. Each student independently conducts a qualitative research project from beginning (formulation of a research question and planning) to end (submission of a written research report). An ethnocultural study population and a cultural question for study are selected by the student for the project.
SOWK 789—Faculty Initiated Independent Research Project [1-6 credits]
The instructor-initiated advanced research course involves student participation in research activities under the instructor’s direction and supervision. Opportunities are provided for students to engage in hands-on research activities which contribute to a faculty member’s program of research. See specific course descriptions offered each semester in the course schedule.
SOWK 790—Student Initiated Independent Research Project [1-6 credits]
The student-initiated independent research course provides an opportunity for students with advanced research abilities to pursue a research topic of personal interest that cannot be addressed in the existing MSW curriculum. This course requires a faculty mentor and a written proposal that is approved by the research sequence as methodically sound. It must also be approved by the chair of the student’s concentration and specialization. To be eligible to propose an independent research course, the student must have earned a grade of “A” in SOWK 670, and must have some hands-on research experience. Approval submission deadlines are: March 1st for fall semester; October 1st for spring semester.
ADVANCED HUMAN BEHAVIOR COURSES (Prerequisite: SOWK 645)
SOWK 765—The Nature of Health and Illness [3 credits]
A bio-psychosocial model of health and illness is developed in this course, where biological, psychological, social, cultural, and environmental factors and their interactions are explored. A framework of individual and family development is used to study common diseases throughout the life span.
SOWK 766—International Social Welfare [3 credits] *
This advanced human behavior course introduces students to international social work globally and/or transnational work in the United States or abroad through an understanding of the major theories of individual and family functioning that encompasses biophysical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions. Specific attention will be paid to the role that culture and cultural identity play in human development and contextual factors that define what is considered “normal” behavior. Students will master the central concepts and core ideas of theories that provide the conceptual base for many tools of intervention utilized in international social work as well as with refugee, immigrant, migrant individuals and families at the local level.
SOWK 767—Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) - Breaking the Cycle [3 credits]
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant societal problem, which has persisted despite determined efforts to eradicate it through legal and therapeutic methods. In this course, the student will be introduced to the basics of IPV, as well as a number of different theories which have been used to explain it. Issues related to victims, batterers, and the effects of exposure to IPV on children will be examined in detail. Against this backdrop, we will explore various strategies for “breaking the cycle”. Both clinical and policy options will be addressed.
CLINICAL METHODS COURSES (Prerequisites: SOWK 632 and SOWK 636 unless otherwise specified) At least one clinical methods course must be taken concurrently with each semester of advanced clinical field practicum.
SWCL 700—Advanced Clinical Interventions [3 credits] (Prerequisites: SOWK 630, 631 and SOWK 635)
This required clinical methods course advances students’ ability to work directly with adult individuals from diverse populations using evidence and theoretical models to inform clinical practice. Major skills to be acquired are how to make comprehensive psychosocial assessments, treatment plans, and facilitate interventions for clients based on evidence and theoretical models. The specific models of clinical practice addressed in this course are: cognitive, behavioral, solution-focused, narrative, psychodynamic, and motivational interviewing. The development, maintenance, and termination of the therapeutic alliance will be explored from different theoretical perspectives. Multi-cultural applications for practice will also be incorporated. Attention will be given to developing students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to apply ethical standards to clinical practice.
SWCL 703—Family Therapy [3 credits]
Working with families requires a conceptual base in understanding the importance of transactions and patterns among family members and development of practice application in family therapy techniques with diverse populations. This course extends knowledge in current theory about family interaction and methods of direct intervention in families of various composition, traditional and nontraditional. Among the various theoretical perspectives examined, special emphasis will be placed on structural, strategic, and brief models.
SWCL 704—Integrated Behavioral Health Practice [3 credits]
This course is designed to provide the students with extensive knowledge of the integration of treatment for health, mental health and substance use disorders. Students will develop competence in the implementation of this integration in a variety of practice settings. Further, students will develop competence in assessment, treatment planning, and implementation through awareness and understanding of the most modern, empirically based and accepted treatments for a variety of health, mental health, and substance use illnesses. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to gather and analyze information, make accurate diagnoses based upon that information, assess positive and negative factors affecting treatment decisions, develop an appropriate and contemporary treatment plan and present it in a form consistent with current practice in the Behavioral Health Professions.
SWCL 705—Clinical Social Work With Addictive Behavior Patterns [3 credits]
This course is designed to teach the clinical social work student the following major content areas: 1) current scientific understanding of substance use disorders (SUDs), 2) diagnostic indicators of SUD(s) (DSM 5), 3) drug classifications, routes of drug administration, and intoxication effects for select commonly abuse substances, 4) example evidence-supported screening and assessment instruments, 5) example evidence-supported interventions for treating SUDs, 6) the impact of factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, co-occurring disorders, and health disparities on treatment access and outcomes, and 7) the application of social work values and ethics in the delivery of SUD-related services.
SWCL 710—Advanced Group Methods [3 credits]*
The aim of this advanced group methods course is to deepen students’ understanding of group dynamics, theories, and methods, with special emphasis on the group-as-a-whole. Course content includes using research and theory to plan for and facilitate groups with different populations and in different settings. The meanings of group experience for members of oppressed groups will be stressed. Specific readings and assignments will focus on group treatment for members of groups who have and are suffering discrimination, exclusion, lack of resources and stigmatization because of ethno-racial background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality and/or age.
SWCL 712—Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals Experiencing Acute, Chronic, and/or Life Threatening Conditions [3 credits]
This course focuses on the roles and functions of social workers in a rapidly changing health care industry. A strengths-based, family-centered and culturally aware approach to assessment and intervention is presented and used as the organizing framework for this course. We explore a range of advanced practice interventions, from prevention and health promotion activities (e.g., motivational interviewing in primary care) to crisis intervention in acute care and end-of life scenarios. We also critically evaluate how ethical dilemmas and the interprofessional environment influence the implementation of these interventions.
SWCL 714—Clinical and Public Health Perspectives in Child and Family Health [3 credits]
The course examines maternal and child health with a life course perspective. The course builds upon theory and policy introduced in the health specialization courses and emphasizes social work services to women, children, and adolescents within the context of the family. The curriculum examines a variety of issues affecting the health and well-being of mothers and children. Students examine the cultural diversity inherent in our nation’s families and the richness these differences bring to our communities. In pursuit of this discovery, the course focuses on both maternal and child health within a historical context and the utility of social work practice methods in the provision of services to this population. A strong emphasis is placed on exploring issues with difficult to reach MCH populations and use of evidence-based interventions employing a public health perspective.
SWCL 715—Mindfulness, Stress Reduction and Self Care [3 credits]
The psychological, physiological, and sociocultural aspects of stress will be taught in this advanced clinical methods course. In addition, traumatic stress, attachment behaviors, and changes in brain structure will be addressed in the first part of this course. During the second part, selected stress management techniques will be explored cognitively and experientially.
SWCL 720—Art Therapy in Clinical Social Work Practice [3 credits]
This course explores the principles and techniques of art therapy and considers the usefulness of art therapy in providing alternatives and supplements to the customary verbal methods of intervention. Ways of working with clients at various stages of the life cycle–childhood through old age–and with clients who are on different levels of psychosocial dysfunctioning are examined. Issues in art therapy are explored both cognitively and experientially.
SWCL 722—Cognitive Behavioral Therapies [3 credits] (Additional Prerequisite: SWCL 700)
The course is an introduction to Cognitive and Behavior Therapy as it applies to the practice of Clinical Social Work. Students will be introduced to the foundation principles of CBT through a review of basic principles of learning including operant and respondent conditioning and observational learning and how these principles are applied in behavior change. In addition, students will learn approaches to differential reinforcement, generalization of responding and self control techniques that maintain newly acquired behaviors.
SWCL 723—Couples Therapy [3 credits]
In this course, students will learn to assess and treat troubled couple relationships as they are seen in clinical social work practice. They study how couples’ relationships vary over the life cycle and how couples from diverse backgrounds seek assistance. They learn to focus on strengths as well as problems in couple relationships. The course is taught from a comparative theoretical viewpoint.
SWCL 724—Clinical Social Work With the Aging and Their Families [3 credits]*
A foundation for clinical social work practice with the aged and their families or caretakers from various cultural and community backgrounds is offered. Primary attention is given to formulating assessments from a conceptual framework and devising appropriate interventions. The focus is the aged person in dynamic interplay with the family and other social systems.
SWCL 726—Clinical Social Work With African-American Families [3 credits]*
The overall objective of this course is the presentation of a conceptual framework for understanding and treating the wide range of social problems confronting African- American families. The course is presented from the nondeviant perspective, acknowledging the experiences of African-American families with enslavement, oppression, and institutional racism. Emphasis is on the application and use of clinical knowledge and skills in the assessment/ diagnosis and formulation of treatment intervention with African-American individuals and families.
SWCL 727—Clinical Practice With Families and Children in Child Welfare [3 credits]
This course focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and service needs of families and children in the child welfare system. The course examines issues and builds practice skills related to family support services, child maltreatment, substitute care, and permanency planning. It considers family events within their ecological context and works to build sensitivity to various family forms and cultural patterns. Skills that are emphasized include: engaging families as partners, interviewing, assessing risk and safety, assessing the child and family, planning and delivering effective treatment, evaluating change and risk reduction, and deciding when to close the case.
SWCL 730—Clinical and Evidence-Supported Practices for Individuals in Recovery from Serious Mental Illness [3 credits]* (Additional Prerequisite: SWCL 744)
This course is designed to enhance a student’s understanding of how to practice effectively with clients with chronic mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, major mood disorders, and personality disorders. Areas of practice include working in psychosocial rehabilitation programs, designing and implementing treatment plans, designing and implementing case management strategies, and interdisciplinary work with psychiatrists and nurses in community mental health centers and inpatient psychiatric wards.
SWCL 738—Financial Stability for Individuals, Families, and Communities [3 credits]
This course examines barriers to and opportunities for the financial stability of individuals, families, and the impact of low wealth in communities. The course uses a comprehensive approach examining social programs and direct practice interventions, financial services, and policies that can move individuals, families, and communities along the asset-building continuum. The impact of issues such as life stage, social class, and cultural background will be examined. Policy issues include savings, consumer protection, tax credits, public benefits, and innovative programs; practice issues include financial assessment and goal setting, financial coaching, and integrating financial interventions with traditional psychosocial interventions. This is an advanced clinical methods course. It is also offered as SWOA 734 for those wanting an advanced macro methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the concentration (SWCL or SWOA) chosen.
SWCL 744—Psychopathology [3 credits] (Prerequisites: SOWK 630, 631 and SOWK 635)
This course is designed to provide the student with extensive knowledge of the major forms of emotional illness and their treatment. Students will develop competence in diagnosis by mastering the currently accepted diagnostic code (DSM-V). They will develop competence in treatment planning through awareness and understanding of the most modern and accepted treatments for each major category of mental illness. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to gather and analyze relevant information, make accurate diagnoses based upon that information, assess positive and negative factors affecting treatment decisions, develop an appropriate and contemporary treatment plan, and present it in a form consistent with current practice in the mental health professions. Students will be prepared for diagnosis and treatment planning activities appropriate to a variety of clinical settings. This course is required for clinical concentrators.
SWCL 747—Introduction to Forensic Social Work [3 credits] (Additional Prerequisite: SWCL 700)
Forensic social work is the application of social work to questions and issues relating to law and legal systems. This social work specialty involves practice with victims and defendants in the criminal justice system, child custody, termination of parental rights and divorce mediation in the civil law area, and CINA (Child in Need of Assistance) and delinquency in the juvenile court. This class will focus on forensic social work within the criminal justice system.
SWCL 748—Clinical Social Work Practice in Relation to Death, Dying, and Bereavement [3 credits]*
This course provides a framework of knowledge, skills and values for culturally competent and responsive social work practice in helping clients who confront the issues of death and dying. A comparative, critically reflective approach to content is employed. The students will explore experiences of death, dying and bereavement in relation to diversity of ethnicity or culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, and social class.
SWCL 749-Clinical Social Work Practice with LGBTQI+ Communities [3 credits]*
This is an advanced clinical course that is designed to expose students to a variety of concepts, topics, and contemporary phenomena that impact LGBTQI individuals, families (by blood and by choice), and communities. The framework of this course endorses non-cis, non-heterosexual identities, and self-concepts as real and irrefutable. This course recognizes key dimensions of intersectionality in addition to marginalization and alienation – which are byproducts of structural oppression that limit and/ or restrict the freedoms and therefore well-being of LGBTQI individuals. The class seeks to elevate the importance of the “lived experience” of individuals within a social context and arena that is influenced by institutionalized heterosexism and proscribed gender binaries. Additionally, this course highlights the phenomena of “minority stress” as a key instigator of psycho-social and health-based disparities. Lastly, this course endorses the need for students as well as tenured social workers to be equipped and versed in strategies and knowledge to effectively and clinically support LGBTQI clientele. Ultimately it is pivotal that Social Workers employ affirming clinical techniques that recognize the inherent worth, value, and strengths and resiliencies of LGBTQI clientele.
SWCL 750—Social Work in Education [3 credits]*
This course will present knowledge and critical skills for engaging in social work practice from preschool through high school in educational settings across the continuum from direct or clinical practice, to school- and districtlevel programming and policy, as well as partnering with community stakeholders and organizations to advance programming and policy. This is an advanced clinical methods course. It is also offered as SWOA 750 for those wanting an advanced macro methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the concentration (SWCL or SWOA) chosen.
SWCL 751—Relational Theory and Practice [3 credits] (Additional Prerequisite: SWCL 700)
In this course, students will study the four psychologies of conflict theory, ego psychology, object relations, and self-psychology. Current relational theories, attachment research, and neuro-biology will be addressed. Applications to clients from diverse settings, developmental stages, and socio-cultural backgrounds will be included. Finally, students will learn the basic assessment, treatment, and termination skills using psychodynamic techniques.
SWCL 753—Social Work Response to Mass Violence and Disaster [3 credits]
This course is designed to provide students with advanced learning opportunities intended to increase students’ knowledge of how to apply different theories and intervention strategies to the social work assessment and response to mass violence and disaster. Crisis theory, used to guide crisis intervention and response to traumatic events, in addition to prevention and preparedness among diverse groups and communities, will be studied. Multiple conceptualizations of exposure to human-made and natural disaster will be discussed, ranging from acute to chronic, complex and long-term trauma reactions. The class will explore evidence-based interventions, controversies and emerging areas of practice with various populations who experience trauma across multiple settings. Larger social, cultural, and political forces will be considered with regard to how they influence exposure, response and recovery from traumatic events. Finally, the impact of working with individuals and communities exposed to traumatic events on social workers will be reviewed with recommendations for self-care. This is an advanced clinical methods course. It is also offered as SWOA 753 for those wanting an advanced macro methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the concentration (SWCL or SWOA) chosen.
SWCL 754 —Social Work and Developmental Disabilities [3 credits]
The mission of Social Work and Developmental Disabilities (SWCL 754; online) is to prepare students to deliver ethically sound, family-centered, and evidence-based services to children, adolescents, and emerging adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This online clinical methods course uses self-paced multi-media modules to advance student understanding of the incidence and etiology of common intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as the unique physical, psychosocial, and behavioral health needs of affected youths and their families. Social Work and Developmental Disabilities also examines the intersection of culture and ethics in the delivery of family-centered services to this population, as well as how clinical assessment processes and practice models (e.g., group work and CBT) are adapted for the I/DD population. Social work students who intend to practice with this population must also be able to critically analyze historical and contemporary legislation impacting the health, quality of life, and community integration of individuals with I/DD and their families. Prior experience in the disability field is not necessary to be successful in this course.
SWCL 755—Assessment of Common Childhood Mental Health Disorders [3 credits]
This course is designed to provide the students with knowledge of the major forms of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral illnesses impacting children and adolescents, as well as best available treatment options. Students will develop competence in comprehensive assessment leading to diagnosis by mastering the currently accepted diagnostic code (DSM-5). Upon successful completion of the course, the student will be able to gather and analyze relevant information, make accurate diagnoses based upon that information, assess positive and negative factors affecting treatment decisions, develop an appropriate and contemporary treatment plan and present it in a form consistent with current practice in the mental health professions. Students will be prepared for diagnosis and treatment planning activities appropriate to a variety of clinical settings. This course does not replace the requirement of SWCL 744 for students in the Clinical concentration
SWCL 756—Motivational Interviewing in Social Work Practice [3 credits]
This course in Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an intensive experiential approach to learning Motivational Interviewing with Child Welfare Clients. MI is an evidence based practice method developed by Bill Miller and Stephen Rollnick that increases motivation to make specific and needed behavior changes for individuals and their families. MI is a directive, client-centered approach for resolving ambivalence and eliciting behavior change across a broad range of behavior domains.
SWCL 771—Evidence-Based Mental Health Treatment With Children and Adolescents [3 credits]
Students will have the opportunity to become familiar with some of the most commonly used evidencebased treatments in the field today and will gain an understanding of the obstacles inherent in moving clinical practice from research to real world settings. Models presented will cover a range of diagnoses with an emphasis on children who have experienced emotional trauma. As is true with the current state of the field, many models presented will be based in cognitivebehavioral theory. Individual, family, and group treatment will be addressed. Consideration of clients’ culture and background as well as the importance of consumer buy-in will be emphasized. Students will be expected to utilize knowledge gained in the classroom to assess their field placements with regard to organizational capacity/ readiness for implementation of evidence-based practice and applicability to specific client populations.
SWCL 773—Adult Trauma and Clinical Social Work Practice [3 credits] (Additional Prerequisite: SWCL 700)
Students will learn the conceptualization of trauma from cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and attachment theory perspectives; neuroscience findings that explain the impact of trauma on brain development will be included. Students will be able to differentiate between different types of trauma, to identify the impact of trauma on adults, and to understand the role of gender, race, ethnicity, and culture on individuals’ responses to trauma. In the second part of the course, students learn to apply diagnosis, assessment, psychoeducation, stress management, affect regulation, and emotional processing (systematic desensitization, exposure, EMDR, narration) as core treatment components. The course will include the applications of trauma therapy to selected groups, including adult survivors of complex PTSD such as sexual abuse and combat trauma, and survivors of acute incident trauma.
SWCL 774—Social Work with Military Service Members and their Families [3 credits] (Additional Prerequisites: SWCL 700 and 744)
This course will provide learning in conceptual theories of best practice approaches with and research findings on working with military service members and their families, with a primary focus on those who served in combat. Students will learn theoretical frameworks of trauma and strengths-based assessment and core evidence-based treatment interventions. The impact of working with traumatized individuals and families on social workers will also be reviewed.
SWCL 775—Clinical Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees [3 credits]*
This course examines the causes of migration domestically and worldwide and how they impact the lives of immigrants and refugees, at individual, family, and community levels. The course focuses on the need for cultural competency in order to assess, communicate, and provide culturally sensitive services. It will examine the social work role in aiding the successful integration of first, second, and subsequent generation of immigrants and refugees. Students will consider their own roles in incorporating research informed practice, practice informed research, and indigenous healing practices to the fields of health, mental health, and family violence. Additional attention will be given to the specific needs of Hispanic immigrants and migrants, individuals from war torn societies, and refugees from long-term encampment situations. There will be opportunities to explore specific issues and methodologies in populations of interest.
SWCL 776—Core Concepts in Trauma Treatment for Children and Adolescents [3 credits]* (Additional prerequsites: SWCL 700 and SWCL 744)
This course will introduce students to the core concepts (general theory and foundational knowledge), which inform evidence-based assessment and intervention with children, adolescents, and families who are traumatized. Trauma is broadly defined, and includes children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events including, but not limited to natural disasters, war, abuse and neglect, medical trauma and witnessing interpersonal crime (e.g., family violence, intimate partner violence) and other traumatic events from a domestic and international perspective. The course will highlight the role of development, culture, and empirical evidence in traumaspecific interventions with children, adolescents, and their families. It will address the level of functioning of primary care giving environments and assess the capacity of the community to facilitate restorative processes.
MACRO METHODS COURSES (Prerequisites: SOWK 632 and 636 unless otherwise specified) At least one Macro methods course must be taken concurrently with each semester of advanced Macro field practicum.
SWOA 703—Program Development [3 credits] (Prerequisites: SOWK 630, SOWK 631, and 635)
This course is designed to expand students’ knowledge of and skills in the design, development and management of programs in human service organizations within a multi-cultural environment. Program theory and multicultural program development are applied to a range of human service programs. Students will design and develop a program, create logic models and a strategy for performance measurement and program evaluation, develop program budgets and management information systems. Students will also be exposed to various related contextual organizational and management practices such as organizational learning and change, strategic planning, interagency alliances.
SWOA 704—Community Organization [3 credits]* (Prerequisites: SOWK 630, SOWK 631, and 635)
This course is aimed at students who want to expand and refine their skills in organization-building and collective action. It builds on foundation knowledge and skills from the prerequisite introductory level practice courses in the curriculum. This course is particularly relevant to direct practice with advocacy for disempowered groups in society, such as ethnic, racial, and other minorities, lowincome people, women, the aged, and the disabled.
SWOA 705—Community Economic Development [3 credits]
This course helps students build upon, expand, and refine their organizational development and capacitybuilding skills. The course covers a number of themes, including small communities, factors leading to the health or decline of communities, community economic development strategies, community development corporations, advocacy and development organizing, various action programs, and social development strategies. Specific knowledge, skills, and values will be discussed in relation to these themes. Ethnically sensitive practice principles will be woven into class discussions on a regular basis.
SWOA 707—Social Policy and Social Change [3 credits] (Prerequisites SOWK 630, SOWK 631 and 635)
The course provides an overview of the policy-making process at the federal and state levels and analyzes the roles of the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the government in the policy-making enterprise. The focus of the course is on critical analysis of the key assumptions driving policy and policy change, such as social vs. individual responsibility and risk. The course also includes a critical examination of the role that policy plays in the design of interventions and service delivery practices at the federal, state, and local level and the impact of changing policies on people, groups, communities, and providers. In addition, it emphasizes the impact of policy on diverse and at-risk-populations, and its implications for social and economic justice. Students will be introduced to both the analytic and interactional skills associated with social policy development, including social problem analysis, social planning, the legislative process at the federal, state, and local levels, policy analysis and evaluation, and policy advocacy and social change.
SWOA 710 – Legislative Processes in Social Welfare [3 credits]
This course has two basic purposes. The first is to provide students with an understanding of American legislative processes with particular reference to the social welfare policy formulation system. The federal system of policy and legislative process will also be examined. The second aim is to develop an appreciation and understanding of the range of social work involvement in the policy/legislative process. Throughout the course, attention is given to the role of human service advocacy organizations active in influencing social welfare legislation and the role of social workers in social action. The course is also offered as SOWK 710 for those wanting an advanced macro policy course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the designation chosen (Advanced Policy or Macro methods).
SWOA 721—Strategic Talent and Performance Management [3 credits]
This course stresses the interdependence of the personnel management process with other managerial processes and provides content related to personnel practices. The essential nature of the personnel system, including the process of recruitment, selection, development, and utilization of human resources, is emphasized. Focus is on the development of professional social work managers to assume the responsibility for personnel management processes in complex organization. The knowledge, beliefs, and values of social work will provide the necessary underpinnings for the study of these management processes.
SWOA 722—Supervision in Social Work [3 credits]
Students are introduced to the historical development of supervision within social work. They acquire and apply knowledge of three primary supervisory tasks: administration, education, and support of those supervised. The course also covers different supervisory approaches and techniques and considers supervisory issues that arise in various practice settings.
SWOA 724—Managing Financial and Information Systems in Human Services Organizations [3 credits]
The goal of the course is to introduce students to the elements of financial management and design of information systems in human service organizations. In addition to learning the elements of financial and information management through readings and class presentations, students also will gain beginning skills through assigned exercises. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to integrate their experience and training as social workers and as administrators with the concepts, options, and techniques of financial management.
SWOA 732—Resource Development for Nonprofit Groups [3 credits]
This course aims to explore the resource climate of nonprofit organizations, to identify different ways of acquiring resources, and to develop knowledge of and skill in a variety of interrelated strategies and techniques. These include annual giving, capital gifts, direct mail, special events, face-to-face solicitation, grant seeking, sale of goods and services, online donations, major gifts and planned gifts. These also include board development, case development, fundraising feasibility studies, fundraising readiness assessments, marketing, planning and prospect research.
SWOA 735—Social Work and Social Action [3 credits]
This course examines the origin, structure, methodology, and theory of social movements. It also focuses on the organizing methods and processes used in various social movements to bring about social change. Close attention is paid to the causes and crystallization of protests, the genesis, growth, and maintenance of movements, the strategies and tactics required to achieve social goals, and the institutionalization of social change. Where appropriate, current and historical examples of major social movements–such as the civil rights, feminist, labor, and welfare rights movements–are studied in terms of their theoretical foundations or operational mechanisms. Emphasis throughout the course, however, is on the skills and processes needed to bring about change.
SWOA 736—Administering Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) [3 credits] This course presents a conceptual framework for administering programs based on administration theory. Similarities with administering other social service programs are consistently brought to the student’s attention, but the uniqueness of administering EAPs is emphasized. Topics such as policy development, case management, supervisory training, marketing, and evaluating programs from a cost-effective approach are covered. Various managerial models for different employee situations are analyzed. Special populations in the workplace, especially women and minorities, are discussed as requiring particular administrative and strategic approaches to EAPs.
SWOA 738—Financial Stability for Individuals, Families, and Communities [3 credits]
This course examines barriers to and opportunities for the financial stability of individuals, families, and the impact of low wealth in communities. The course uses a comprehensive approach examining social programs and direct practice interventions, financial services, and policies that can move individuals, families, and communities along the asset-building continuum. The impact of issues such as life stage, social class, and cultural background will be examined. Policy issues include savings, consumer protection, tax credits, public benefits, and innovative programs; practice issues include financial assessment and goal setting, financial coaching, and integrating financial interventions with traditional psychosocial interventions. This is an advanced macro methods course. It is also offered as SWCL 734 for those wanting an advanced macro methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the concentration (SWCL or SWOA) chosen.
SWOA 750—Social Work in Education [3 credits] *
This course will present knowledge and critical skills for engaging in social work practice from preschool through high school in educational settings across the continuum from direct or clinical practice, to school- and districtlevel programming and policy, as well as partnering with community stakeholders and organizations to advance programming and policy. This is an advanced Macro methods class; it is also offered as SWCL 750 for those wanting an advanced clinical methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the concentration (SWCL or SWOA) chosen.
SWOA 753—Social Work Response to Mass Violence and Disaster [3 credits]
This course is designed to provide students with advanced learning opportunities intended to increase students’ knowledge of how to apply different theories and intervention strategies to the social work assessment and response to mass violence and disaster. Crisis theory, used to guide crisis intervention and response to traumatic events, in addition to prevention and preparedness among diverse groups and communities, will be studied. Multiple conceptualizations of exposure to human-made and natural disaster will be discussed, ranging from acute to chronic, complex and long-term trauma reactions. The class will explore evidence-based interventions, controversies and emerging areas of practice with various populations who experience trauma across multiple settings. Larger social, cultural, and political forces will be considered with regard to how they influence exposure, response and recovery from traumatic events. Finally, the impact of working with individuals and communities exposed to traumatic events on social workers will be reviewed with recommendations for selfcare. This is an advanced macro methods course. It is also offered as SWCL 753 for those wanting an advanced macro methods course. The major assignment for the course will vary according to the concentration (SWCL or SWOA) chosen.
ADVANCED FIELD PRACTICUM
The Advanced Field Practicum continues the signature pedagogy of the MSW program in the advanced curriculum. It consists of two consecutive semesters in a fall-spring sequence. Each practicum semester is completed concurrently with a methods course appropriate for the concentration selected.
SWCL 794, 795—Advanced Clinical Field Practicum I and II [6 credits each semester]
Two semesters in the Advanced Curriculum. Students are assigned to agencies and organizations for practice responsibilities and instruction in clinical social work. A SWCL course must be taken concurrently with each semester of advanced clinical field practicum.
SWOA 794, 795—Advanced Macro Field Practicum I and II [6 credits each semester]
Two semesters in the Advanced Curriculum. Students are assigned to agencies for practice responsibilities and instruction in social administration, human services, and community organization and development. A SWOA course must be taken concurrently with each semester of advanced Macro field practicum.
SOWK 699—Special Topics [1-3 credits]
The topics of these courses vary from semester to semester. Prerequisites may vary. These courses may be used to satisfy elective credit requirements.
SOWK 700—Racism & Racial Equality in Social Work [3 credits]*
The purpose of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of institutional racism and the way concepts such as power and privilege impact institutions, social service agencies, social workers, and clients. During the course of the semester, students will broaden their understanding of racism and racial equity and deepen culturally responsive clinical and management skills. This is a special topics course intended for students willing to engage in a process of self-exploration regarding personal and professional attitudes, biases, and clinical frameworks. Class discussions and assignments will be focused on the individual and structural consequences of racism in the United States.
SOWK 705—International Social Work [3 credits]
Comparative studies of social work practice provide instruments for better understanding the general laws of social life and opportunities for examining practice trends and issues in a clearer perspective. This course focuses on the study of the social work profession and practice in specified developed and developing nations. This course is taken in conjunction with travel to various destinations, which have included India, Central America and Israel. Required pre-departure classes and post-trip debriefings, presentations, and subsequent planning are also included in the course.
SOWK 798—Independent Study [1-3 credits]
A student-selected topic is studied under the guidance of a faculty member.