The MSW Program’s curriculum is designed to provide students, who enter with a liberal arts perspective, a professional education that includes both breadth and depth. MSW students develop the knowledge and skills of professional social work practice through a combination of classroom and field practicum learning experiences. They acquire not only an understanding of theoretical frameworks and cutting-edge practice innovations, but also have the opportunity to apply what they are learning to the real-world situations involving individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. By centering practice in the values and ethics of the social work profession, MSW students are able to link their current activities to broader efforts to create a fairer, more equitable, more inclusive, and more just society.
The MSW degree requires completion of a minimum of 60 credits – 42 class and 18 field practicum. Unless exempt by advanced standing credit, transfer credit, or examination, MSW students complete both a generalist curriculum and a specialization curriculum, each of which includes course and field practicum requirements.
The generalist curriculum is designed to provide all incoming MSW students with the basic values, knowledge, and skills needed to gain competence in applying the generalist social work perspective to practice. An understanding of the social work profession's values orientation, ethical standards, history and philosophy, and practice theories, as well as an ability to think critically about and apply these elements during a six-credit generalist field placement establishes a basis for students to progress through the MSW Program's advanced specialization curricula. All MSW students must complete all of the generalist curriculum requirements unless they are exempt via advanced standing credit, transfer credit, or testing.
The MSW Program offers students the opportunity to focus their studies on one of two skill specializations. The skill specialization curricula build on the generalist curriculum and prepare students for autonomous social work practice at an advanced level. The specializations expose students to: specific practice roles; the uses and applications of research for practice; practice with and on behalf of the welfare of groups that have been historically marginalized and oppressed; practice with diverse populations; policy, organizational, and environmental influences on practice; ethical and values issues that can arise during practice; and advanced practice theories, methods, and strategies.
MSW students can specialize in either:
- Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (Direct Practice)
- Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA)