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The MSW program prepares professional social workers to engage in advanced generalist practice across multiple systems and provide leadership for social justice. The curriculum consists of a foundation for generalist practice and an advanced curriculum for advanced generalist practice.
The foundation curriculum focuses on social work practice, social welfare policy and theories of human behavior in the social environment. Courses include Foundations of Professional Social Work Practice, Social Work Assessment and Practice with Individuals and Families, Societal Context of Practice and Human Development in Contemporary Environments. Biopsychosocial Bases for Human Development provides a holistic framework for understanding the ways in which biological factors interact with psychological and sociocultural processes to influence human development. Social Work Practice in a Diverse Society develops knowledge of diverse populations with whom and on behalf of whom, social workers practice. The course also explores practice principles for working with people of difference and for working in an increasingly diverse society. Social Work Intervention and Evaluation with Individuals and Families and Social Work Groups continue the development of practice knowledge and skills.
The foundation continues to prepare students for generalist practice with systems of different sizes through the course Organizational and Community Contexts of Practice. Students learn to critically evaluate and use research in their practice in the course Research Methods for Program and Practice Evaluation. Students also begin the first quarter of a six-quarter field practicum and integrative seminar near the end of the foundation curriculum.
The MSW program requires a total of 968 hours of field practicum and 80 hours of integrative seminar sequenced over the course of the program. Each student is placed in a social service agency or other public or private organization related to the welfare of people. In the placement, the student performs social work tasks in the role of a student learner. Direction and instruction are provided by a faculty member of the School, working collaboratively with a designated agency supervisor in the organization. The faculty member, the agency supervisor and the student negotiate a contract specifying student learning goals, potential field learning experiences and the means for evaluating the field learning. Agencies and organizations throughout the state of Washington in rural, urban and regional settings are used as field placements.
Students who wish to complete practicum requirements within their current or former workplace must indicate this desire to the School at the time of admission. This indication does not automatically ensure a practicum in the workplace. Consideration will be given to each request individually. Practicum placements in the workplace must conform with all of the School's existing field practicum requirements.
Courses in the advanced portion of the curriculum prepare students for advanced generalist practice with systems of all sizes. Students develop leadership skills working with clients and communities to advance social justice, particularly for socially excluded, at-risk or marginalized populations. Two required courses in SOWK 602, 603 Advanced Generalist Practice I, II present theoretical models and specific skills in engagement, assessment and intervention with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. A required SOWK 568 Proseminar in Social Welfare Policies and Programs examines the political context for decision that affect the lives of clients. One required course, SOWK 526 Research Methods II, is also part of the advanced portion of the curriculum. Students also choose 12 credits of elective courses to help focus their learning to meet their professional goals. The required Practicum and its related seminar continue throughout each quarter of the advanced portion of the curriculum.
The plan for delivering the curriculum is shown below.
The MSW curriculum comprises sequenced foundation and advanced coursework. Off-campus, part-time students complete the program in a sequenced manner over the course of three years or 12 quarters.
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