Link to USI Home Link to Social Work Home
Link to Liberal Arts Link 'for Students' Link 'for Prospective Students' Link 'for Friends & Alumni' Link 'for Faculty & Staff'
MSW- Course Descriptions

Program & Course Links

Academic Programs
  • Bachelor
  • Masters
Admission Information
Center for Social Justice Education
Global Social Work
Student Resources

Course Schedules
USI Bulletin

Department Links

Accreditation
Licensure
Careers

News/Newsletter

Awards & Scholarships

Contact Us
Faculty List


TK20
CSWE button


Find us on Facebook
 

Social Work (SOCW prefix)

Following certain course descriptions are the designations: F, Sp, Su. These
indicate the semesters fall, spring, summer in which the course is normally
offered and are intended as an aid to students planning their programs of study. Upper-level courses are offered at least once every two years.


SOCW 500 Special Topics in Social Work This course will provide students exposure to a variety of selected topics of current interest and importance in social work. These topics will change with the interests of the faculty and students. No prerequisites.

SOCW 503 The Social Welfare System (3) Examines the philosophical and ideological and historical foundations of contemporary social welfare issues and policies from a global systems perspective. The course includes consideration of the influence of various political perspectives on the conceptualization of the welfare state. The emergence and the evolution, as well as contemporary issues facing the profession and the social and economic justice implications of policies on selected populations are discussed. In addition to considering policy alternatives, students will acquire skills in assessing social impact of social welfare policies in family and community systems as well as skills in tracing the historical development of contemporary social welfare policies at the U.S. federal and state levels. Prereq: admission to the MSW program. F

SOCW 504 Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE) I (3) This course provides an integrative focus of examining the interrelatedness of human physical, psychological, and social systems. Concepts related to culture, social stratification, environmental stress, disability, trauma, and ethnicity are presented in relation to their impact on human systems. Adaptation related to growth and development of the individual is presented with an emphasis on understanding the physical, emotional and social forces that affect human growth and development. Prereq: admission to the MSW program, and SOCW 503 and 504. Sp

SOCW 505 Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE) II (3) This course provides foundation knowledge about bio-psych-social cultural aspects of individual, family, and small group systems. Within this framework, emphasis is placed on issues related to human diversity and social justice. A holistic systems conceptual approach is used to demonstrate their relationship to larger social systems. Social systems; life-process development; culture and ethnicity; stress, coping and adaptation; and major social issues over the life span are emphasized in this course. Students will also learn about an overall framework or model for integrating concepts, understanding human beings in society, and optimizing human functioning in society. Prereq: admission to the MSW Program. F

SOCW 506 The Foundation of Social Work Practice (3) This course provides foundation knowledge at the graduate level about generalist social work practice. The course examines the wide range of knowledge and skills needed for collaborative work with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities to promote planned change and enhance client empowerment. Using a systems perspective, the course focuses on work within social service agencies, including effective use of supervision and consultation, and critical thinking skills. Social work values and ethical decision making is presented by introducing students to the NASW Code of Ethics as an essential component of professional social work practice. Prereq: admission to the MSW program. F, Sp

SOCW 508 Micro Systems: Practice with Individuals, Groups, and Families (3) This course focuses on the development of knowledge, values, and skills needed for social workers at the graduate level to practice with individual and small group systems. Particular consideration is given to examining the theories within a generalist framework for social work practice. Ethical principles, methodologies, and techniques are included as they relate to contemporary professional practice. Socio-cultural membership, gender, racial and ethnic factors, disabilities and other human diversity issues are studied as variables impacting the provision of social services to individuals, families and small group systems. The role of research in social work practice evaluation is covered. Prereq: admission to the MSW program, SOCW 503, 504, and 506. Sp

SOCW 509 Macro Systems: Institutional and Community Systems (3) Examines the theoretical frameworks that shape the foundation for social work generalist practice with organizations and communities. Built upon a liberal arts perspective of community and society, the course provides advanced knowledge about social work's professional relationships with organizations and communities. The course emphasizes skills to enhance competent macro practice with diverse populations regarding age, culture, class, ethnicity, disability, gender, national economic justice. Prereq: admission to the MSW program, SOCW 503, 504, and 506. Sp

SOCW 510 Social Welfare Policy and Service (3) Provides a framework for social welfare policy analysis with special attention to the state policy making process and the impact of policy on persons that may be disadvantaged by poverty and other forms of oppression. The course emphasizes culturally competent policy practice and advocacy related to diverse populations regarding age, culture, class, ethnicity, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Policy practice skills related to policy formulation development, implementation, and evaluation will be addressed. Prereq: admission to the MSW program, SOCW 503, and 504. Sp

SOCW 511 Graduate Field Placement I (3) Provides a "generalist" social work practice experience in a community based social service agency under the direct supervision of an agency based field instructor in consultation with social work faculty. Generalist practice is broadly defined; the parameters for practice are determined by the identified client needs, mission, and function of the agency and the level of training of the student. Typical roles of the student include: advocate, broker, educator, community organizer, group worker and individual counselor. Typical tasks: preparing psychosocial histories, developing service plans and implementing interventions congruent with the multi-variant client needs. Skills expected include the ability to communicate empathy, genuineness, positive regard and the ability to utilize a planned changed process throughout the generalist model. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of SOCW 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509, 510, and permission of the director of field. Su

SOCW 512 Integrated Field Placement Seminar I (1) Taken concurrently with the field placement, this seminar integrates theory and skills from the classroom with the agency based field experience. "Generalist" social work practices as demonstrated in a variety of agency settings is evidenced by students sharing their field experiences and receiving feedback on their own application of generalist practice knowledge. Prereq: admission to the MSW program, and completion of SOCW 503, 504, 505, 506, 507, 508, 509 and 510. Su

SOCW 601 Clinical Assessment and Psychopathology in Social Work (3) This advanced course will focus on the clinical process of assessment and diagnosis from the perspective of social work practice. Students will discuss major frameworks for organizing assessment data and formulating diagnostic understanding, with a view on the utility for clinical practice in varied settings with diverse populations. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and other schemes for assessing and understanding human behavior, psychopathology, and mental disorders will be demonstrated and critically examined. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of all 500 level core classes or advanced standing. F

SOCW 602 Clinical Planning and Treatment Process in Social Work (3) Building upon SOCW 601, this advanced course provides an in-depth on the clinical process of treatment planning and intervention in social work practice. The case study method will be utilized to discuss the application of assessment, treatment planning with a well-defined clinical focus, and evidenced-based intervention strategies to a variety of complex treatment concerns across diverse populations. Advanced case management and multidisciplinary collaboration are also covered. The development and application of multidisciplinary collaboration are also covered. The development and application o advanced clinical reasoning is a major goal. The complexities of ethical, legal, and professional issues for clinical practice will be examined. Prereq: admission to the MSW program, completion of all 500 level core classes or advanced standing and SOCW 601. Sp

SOCW 603 Administration and Policy Specialization I: Human Services Management I (3) This course will focus upon developing the skills and knowledge needed by Masters level social workers who move into management/administrative roles within a culturally diverse and changing social service environment. The course will include content on the changing trends in the social service sector, the administrator's role, management theory, management in public sector organizations, strategic planning, and culturally and ethically competent management within social service agencies. Additionally, policy analysis as it affects the organization and clients will be examined with a special emphasis on social and economic justice and diversity. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of all 500 level courses or advanced standing. F

SOCW 604 Administration and Policy Specialization II: Human Service Management II (3) This course will build upon the content in Human Services Management I. It continues to develop the skills and knowledge needed by social work human service managers within a changing diverse culture. Content will focus on human resource management to include development of skills and knowledge in the areas of leadership, supervision, staff development, structure, authority, funding, budgeting, grant writing, contracting, marketing and inter-organizational relationships. Human relations skills and knowledge including program/team development and conflict management will be emphasized with a focus on social and economic justice and diversity.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program, completion of all 500 level core courses or advanced standing status and SOCW 603.  Sp

SOCW 605 Practice Evaluation (3) Practice evaluation refers to research strategies and designs used by social workers to assess the impact and effectiveness of social work interventions. The course prepares the social work practitioner for the systematic evaluation of direct services and treatment interventions. Specifically the course examines the theoretical and practical applications of outcome and process research.  It also examines the use of qualitative and single system research designs in the context of the advanced clinical concentration curriculum.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status and SOCW 507.  F, Sp

SOCW 608 Theories of Clinical Practice (3) Provides content on contemporary theoretical paradigms and techniques of advanced clinical social work practice.  This course builds on the foundation established in the generalist practice classes taught in the first year MSW graduate curriculum.  The focus is on the application of theoretical models to a variety of populations including clinical interventions with individuals, groups, couples, and family systems.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of all 500 level core classes or advanced standing status. F

SOCW 610 Human Diversity in Social Work Practice (3) This course provides a broad base of knowledge pertaining to policy and practice with diverse populations regarding age, culture, class, ethnicity, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation and international groups.  Institutional, historical, and cultural barriers to equality are explored, with their implications for policy and practice within a global context.  Micro and macro level implications of strength and resilience and the valuing of diversity will be addressed.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of diversity and equality on human systems and social policy.   Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of the foundation curriculum or advanced standing status. Su

SOCW 611 MSW II Graduate Field Placement (4) Provides a "clinical" or otherwise "specialized" social work practice experience in a community based agency under the direct supervision of an agency based field instructor who has expertise in the specialization.  While anchored in the liberal arts foundation, generalist model and values that distinguish social work as a discipline, this advanced practicum is both specialized and rigorous in its demands for interventions grounded in sound science, technical skill and the art of therapeutic practice.  The MSW II placement provides opportunities for clinical activities building on the generalist foundation.  Its emphasis is on the student developing a "therapeutic" style of practice while acquiring expertise within the specialization offered by the field agency.  The ratio of generalist and clinical activities vary, depending upon the professional developmental needs of the individual student and the mission of the agency.  Specializations may be defined by the problem, such as chemical dependency; the population, e.g. children and families; practice areas such as mental health or school social work and expertise in use of a particular intervention model.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program, completion of all graduate foundation classes below SOCW 611 and permission of the Director of Field Education.  F, Sp

SOCW 612 MSW II Integrated Field Placement Seminar (2) Taken concurrently with SOCW 611, this seminar integrates theory and skills from the classroom with an agency based field experience.  Therapeutic or clinical social work practices reflecting a variety of theoretical bases are demonstrated as students share their field experiences and receive feedback on their own application of specialized practice knowledge.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program, completion of all graduate foundation classes below SOCW 611 and permission of the Director of Field Education. F, Sp

SOCW 621 Introduction to Family Systems (3) Examines the family as a contemporary social institution.  Consideration is given to historical, cross-cultural perspectives in exploring the range of issues the contemporary family must cope with.  The course also examines the various therapy approaches to dealing with family issues and dysfunction.  Skill in working with various family problems and configurations will be developed based on these theories.  Various family systems including nuclear, single parent, blended and multigenerational families will be examine.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of all graduate foundation classes or advanced standing status.  Sp

SOCW 625 Social Work Practice with Children and Adolescents (3) Examines the development and behavior of children and adolescents in relation to the ability to function in their roles in society, including in relation to the ability to function in their roles in society, including in the family, with peers, schools or other systems.  Assessment or functioning and interventions congruent with the child/adolescents' needs are explored.  Consideration will be given to the impact of the environmental context in which problems manifest, including community or organizational cultures and policy; socio-economic factors or other aspects of human diversity.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of all graduate foundation classes or advanced standing status.  Sp

SOCW 627 Social Work Practice with the Elderly
(3) This course focuses on the social worker's role with aging individuals, groups, and communities. Development of knowledge and skills of intervention appropriate for both community and institutional services will be emphasized. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of all graduate foundation classes or advanced standing status.

SOCW 629 Social Work Practice and Disability (3) This course examines a broad array of disability-related issues including various definitions of disability, the experience of disability, frameworks for understanding disability, services for persons with disabilities, the practice implications of public policy, role options for social workers, and practice considerations.  Innovative social work practice, with an emphasis on a social construction model directed at inclusion-integration rather than a medical model emphasizing restoration will be emphasized.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program.

SOCW 632 Social Work Practice with Persons with Serious Mental Illness (3) Examines the role of the social worker with persons with serious mental illnesses.  Includes an examination of various etiological theories, cultural and family issues, community-based services, and evidence-based knowledge needed to plan, deliver, and evaluate services for this population.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program.

SOCW 634 Social Work Practice With Substance Abusers and Their Families (3) This course will focus on the knowledge and skills essential to a range of social work roles and practice modalities with substance abusers and their families.  Students learn to identify and critique the central issues that are addressed in the process of assessment and treatment intervention with this population.  Special issues related to children and adolescents, family systems, ethnic groups, gay men and lesbians, elderly, disabled, and dually diagnosed are explored.  Selected social policy and service delivery issues and research findings are considered.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program.

SOCW 638 Minority Groups and Cultural Issues in Social Work Practice (3) Focuses on assisting students in developing a cultural and ethnic-sensitive approach to their practice. It also emphasizes the identification and use of different theoretical models of practice that can be effective in intervention with minority individuals, families, groups, and communities. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of the foundation curriculum or advanced standing status and SOCW 610.

SOCW 642 Foundations of School Social Work (3) This advanced practice specialization course exposes the students to the field of school social work.  the focus will be on the role of the social worker in the school.  This includes provision of evidence-based direct service, consultation, advocacy, program development and evaluation, evaluation of one's own practice and service delivery, and liaison with families and community systems.  Emphasis is placed on cultural competency and inter-professional/inter-disciplinary collaboration in the provision of school social work services.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and completion of the 500 level core classes or advanced standing status.  F, Su.

SOCW 645 Foundations of Occupational Social Work (3) This course is designed to expose the student to the emerging field of Occupational Social Work and the role of the social worker in the field. Various roles of graduate level social workers in the field will be examined including counselor, trainer/educator, mediator, program developer, and organizer. Models of occupational social work knowledge and skills needed for practice will also be examined.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program.

SOCW 652 Family and Couples Therapy (3) This course provides theoretical models for understanding how families and couples function.  It also examines approaches for assessing and treating families and couples.  Expertise in working with various family and marital problems and configurations will be developed.  Issues in working with diverse family systems in relation to therapeutic strategies and the social worker are explored.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status. F, Su

SOCW 656 Behavioral Interventions in Social Work Practice (3) Focuses on the clinical applications of behavioral therapy to include social learning and cognitive therapies.  Students will be exposed to the use of behavioral approaches relevant to the practice of social work.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status.

SOCW 658 Cognitive Approaches to Intervention in Social Work Practice (3) This course provides an overview of the theoretical frameworks underlying cognitive approaches to clinical intervention. Content will be presented to enhance the intervention repertoire of the clinical social work practitioner with change concepts and techniques from cognitive approaches.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status.

SOCW 660 Clinical Practice with Groups (3) This group course will focus on the development of therapeutic groups in social work practice.  In particular it is about working with people in small groups in a way that is therapeutic, growth producing, and life enhancing.  It teaches social work practitioners how to do clinical social work with groups, how to integrate small-groups theory and how to apply therapeutic group principles.  The brief focal group therapy model is introduced and applied to various client populations such as those dealing with spouse abuse, incest, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status. F, Su

SOCW 664 Crisis Intervention (3) Focuses on the identifying crisis as a process and the subsequent interventions used by social work practitioners to influence various crises. Students are expected to acquire competence in responding to crisis situations on primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status.

SOCW 666 Test and Measurement Issues in Clinical Social Work Practice (3) The course exposes students in social work to a variety of assessment tools used by social workers to evaluate practice intervention and to assess clients. Students will become familiar with the psychometric issues appropriate to evaluating assessment instruments, the implementation of assessment instruments with clients, and the interpretation of the results.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status, SOCW 507 and 605.

SOCW 668 Human Sexuality: Sexology, Clinical Issues, and Interventions (3) Explores current research based knowledge in regard to human sexuality, including the sexology of erotic orientation, the cultural contexts of human sexual behavior and meaning of sexuality in context of the whole person.  Interviewing skills and treatment approaches specialized to sexual issues, dysfunctions, including sexual anomalies, will be presented.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status.

SOCW 670 Advanced Seminar in Community Planning and Organization (3) Comparative analysis of major theoretical models dealing with understanding and promoting change in organizing communities and society.  The course will examine the history and development of community organizing, critically evaluate research findings about community planning and organization, and promote the development of new models to advance social and economic justice.  Prereq: admission to the MSW program.

SOCW 671 Social Work Management in the Clinical Setting (3) This course examines theories and methods of social work administration in a clinical setting. It is organized around traditional management functions (planning, resource acquisition, budgeting, organizing, staffing, leading, and evaluating), and highlights performance in the areas of client outcomes, productivity and efficiency, resource acquisition and management, staff well-being, and strategic planning as ongoing process within the clinical setting  Particular attention will be given to the mental health and related policies that affect the social work administrator who functions within a clinical setting.  This course is a requirement for students in the clinical concentration. Prereq: admission to the MSW program and second year or advanced standing status. F, Su

SOCW 682 School Social Work Policies, Regulations and Legal Issues (3) The course examines the interrelationship of educational policies and practices relevant to school social workers, providing advanced knowledge about major federal and state educational policy initiatives within the last decade and their impact on school social workers and local school districts.  Collaborative relationships with school administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, parents and the general public are analyzed.  Special attention is given to legal, ethical, and cultural issues of diversity, disability and special education, and the implications for school policies and practices.  The course includes a range of social work strategies that can be applied across the curriculum and grade levels to accommodate diversity in classroom learning and behavior.

SOCW 690 Global Social Work Practice (1) This elective course is designed for graduate social work students seeking to increase their global awareness by engaging in social service work outside the United States.  Included in the course is a visit to another country where students will apply social work skills and values through service learning activities.  The course emphasizes development of knowledge and skills within a cultural and ethnic-sensitive approach to their practice.  Enrollment in the MSW program and permission of instructor are required.

SOCW 699 Independent Study (1-3) Independent study of a topic relevant to the professional discipline of social work that is not otherwise covered in the curriculum.  Prereq: consent of the MSW Program Director.