Department of Social Work

Department Head: Dr. Maureen Newton, mnewton@jsu.edu

MSW Program Coordinator: Dr. Kimberly Wickersham, kwickersham@jsu.edu

The Department of Social Work offers courses leading to the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree with Advanced Generalist Specialization. This degree prepares graduates to engage in independent social work practice to address local, regional, and national workforce needs for social work services, with emphasis placed on rural and non-urban communities. The program aims to provide professionals with advanced, ethical, evidence-based social work practice and professional leadership skills at all practice levels with the goal of improving individual and societal well-being.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program is offered in a hybrid/blended format. This design gives students a combination of learning formats, including, but not limited to, online and lecture learning. The program emphasizes a full range of high quality experiences throughout the curriculum in terms of innovative courses, creative field work/internships, relevant research, service-learning activities, and dynamic faculty-student, student-student, and community-student relationships that will prepare graduates for successful social work careers.

The program is guided by the institutional mission, program mission, professional purpose, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.

Two graduate degree plans exist for the Master of Social Work:

  1. Traditional Two-Year MSW Degree Program (60 hours). This program is for students who do not have an undergraduate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or who do not meet the academic admissions criteria to be eligible for the One-Year Advanced Standing MSW Degree Program.
  2. One-Year Advanced Standing MSW Degree Program (39 hours). This program is for students who have graduated with an undergraduate degree in social work from an academic program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and meet the admission/eligibility criteria set forth by the JSU social work program.

For more information specific to the MSW program, please contact the Department of Social Work, (256) 782-8208 or visit the Social Work program website.

SW 500  Social Work Ethics and Professional Development  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Admission to MSW program.

This course examines the issues of social work professionalism, the process of becoming a social work professional and the exploration of ethical challenges within the profession. The course focuses on acquiring and practicing the skills of ethical decision-making, including values clarification, utilization of codes of ethics and ethical analysis. Topics also include: philosophy and history of the profession, licensure, human rights and social justice.

SW 501  Grant Writing, Fundraising, and Financial Management  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate Standing.

This course includes skill building for assessing organizational financial resources, including how to repackage or expand revenue streams. Skill development is emphasized in areas such as grant seeking, proposal writing, service contracting, donor development, direct solicitation of gifts, and planning of fundraising events. This course will also address consumer and third-party fee setting and collection, outsourcing, and income investment.

SW 505  Generalist Practice with Individuals  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): degree admission to MSW program.

Course provides foundation content in the knowledge and skills for strengths-based generalist social work practice with individuals. Students will begin to acquire generalist social work practice skills and an identity with the social work profession.

SW 506  Generalist Practice with Families and Groups  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): degree admission to MSW program.

Course provides foundation content in the knowledge and skills for strengths-based generalist social work practice with families and groups. Family assessments and interventions and group practice issues will be examined.

SW 507  Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): degree admission to MSW program.

Course provides foundation content emphasizing developing generalist knowledge and skills for strengths-based generalist social work practice at the group, organizational, community and societal levels.

SW 510  Social Welfare Policies, Programs, and Analysis  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program.

The course includes an introduction to U.S. social welfare systems and the role of the social work profession in affecting change in social welfare policies and programs. The course also examines the evaluation/analysis of social programs and program/policy effectiveness. The course includes a review of both historical and current perspectives of the U.S. social welfare system. Student membership in the National Rural Social Work Caucus is required.

SW 512  Cultural Competence for Generalist Practice  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): degree admission to MSW program.

Students will examine the impact of culture, race and ethnicity on client/worker interactions. The course presents practice theories and interventions for culturally competent advanced generalist practice with different populations. Students will develop essential knowledge, awareness, and skills to support culturally competent social work practice. Concepts related to the promotion of social and economic justice are emphasized. Topics include power, privilege, oppression, rural myths and stereotypes, and community self-concept.

SW 514  Social Work Research and Evidence Based Practice  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 518, SW 519 or MSW Advanced Standing Status.

This course is designed to enhance student competence in the integrated use of research and information technologies for knowledge building in social work practice. Students extend their skills in their understanding and use of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students will build upon their knowledge of evidence-based practice, including skills needed to identify, implement, and assess appropriate interventions for practice across client system levels.

SW 516  Crisis Intervention & Trauma Management  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.

Admission to the MSW program. This course examines social work practice theories and intervention approaches and skills as they apply to practice with survivors of various forms of traumatic life events. Students will be able to apply theory to intervention techniques. Participants will learn the fundamentals of trauma and traumatic stress, and a general understanding of the implications of crisis intervention techniques to modify manage, and cope with trauma.

SW 518  Human Behavior and the Social Environment I  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): degree admission to MSW program.

This course explores the basic concepts and theories that explain the development of personality and social behavior within a social systems framework. Attention is given to the impact of bio-psycho-social-cultural factors on individuals, small groups, and the family. This course examines behavior within the context of individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and cultures and the core theories that guide social work practice.

SW 519  Human Behavior and the Social Environment II  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 518.

This course provides students with core knowledge of theory pertaining to broad social units (i.e., the work place, organizations, institutions, ideologies, the world views, etc.). The course utilizes a systems framework and emphasizes the themes of advocacy, empowerment and planned-change in exploring various theoretical orientations to the study of human behavior in organizations, communities and society.

SW 520  Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 505, SW 506, SW 507 or advanced standing status.

This course provides a focus on a bio-psycho-social-cultural understanding of mental illness from an ecosystems perspective. Students critically examine the DSM-V and the psychopharmacological interventions for psychopathological conditions across the lifespan.

SW 521  Social Work Practices in Rural and Non-Urban Areas  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 505 and SW 506 or advanced standing status.

This course introduces students to social work in the rural context. Presents current trends in rural social work practice and considers the most effective ways to serve rural communities. Issues related to social work practice, rural communities, rural behavior, and social welfare policy are presented. A generalist model of practice, systems and person-in-environment theories help students develop a more sophisticated understanding of general problems and concerns found in rural communities.

SW 524  Advanced Generalist Methods with Individuals and Families  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 505, SW 506, and SW 507 or advanced standing status.

This course develops the advanced generalist practice competencies needed for intervention with individuals and families from diverse backgrounds are developed. Evidence-based theories and practice intervention strategies are applied.

SW 525  Advanced Generalist Methods with Groups and Organizations  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 505, SW 506, SW 507 or advanced standing status.

This course develops the advanced generalist practice competencies needed for administrative and supervisory intervention with organizations and communitites. Evidence-based theories and practice intervention strategies are applied, includes the development of skills in social work leadership and administration.

SW 528  Advanced Practice in Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.

Admitted MSW student or with instructor permission. Examines the prevalence and etiology of substance-related and addictive disorders and the impact on individuals, families, and society. Includes the incorporation of knowledge and skills regarding public policy and evidence-based practices for treatment and prevention.

SW 529  Management, Supervision, and Consultation in Social Work  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program and SW 510.

This is an advanced practice course incorporating a review of organizational theories, infusion of professional social work ethics, and a social justice framework for developing the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for effective leadership of human service organizations. The course material corresponds with content obtained in social work courses related to Social Policy and Advanced Practice with Communities and Organizations.

SW 531  Aging, Society and the Life Course  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.

Admission to the MSW program. The course provides an in-depth understanding of aging issues at individual and societal levels for effective social work practice with older adults and their families. This course prepares students to conduct social work interventions with older adults and their families in rural and non-urban communities.

SW 534  Health, Health Care and Disabilities  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.

Admission to the MSW Program or with Instructor Permission. This course provides knowledge about the contemporary organization of health care including the examination of state and federal health and disability policies and programs and modes of integrated health care. It includes analysis of the ethics and politics of inequality in the U.S. health and healthcare systems.

SW 537  Advanced Practice with Children and Adolescents  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.

Admission to the MSW program. This course focuses on clinical social work practice with children and adolescents. Students will learn specific skills for effectively assessing and treating children and adolescents. The course examines the complexities of the interactions between children and their environment.

SW 540  Death, Loss and Disaster Response in Social Work Practice  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate Standing.

Admission to the MSW program. The course offers an overview of the social impact of violence, major types of violent events, and natural disasters. Students will acquire skills in community mobilization, collaborative recovery and response practices, and grief support. Special attention will be paid to evidence based crisis and trauma responses.

SW 546  Advanced Practice in Forensic Social Work  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing.

Admission to the MSW program. This course explores the role of social work in legal processes within the criminal justice system, child welfare system, mental health system, juvenile justice system, domestic/family violence, etc. It includes the application of knowledge and skills in forensic interviewing, risk assessment, expert testimony, mediation, and victim advocacy.

SW 555  Policy Advocacy in Social Work Practice  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Admission to the MSW program or pre-approval from instructor.

This course includes a review of the impact of the social work profession in current and historical collective social movements. This course teaches the knowledge, values, and skills to engage in the planned change process with a focus on social policy. Students will further their knowledge and skills in community and advocacy practice.

SW 560  Special Topics  (1)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing and instructor permission.

SW 561  Special Topics  (1)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing and instructor permission.

SW 562  Special Topics  (1)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing and instructor permission.

SW 565  Independent Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing and instructor permission.

SW 566  Independent Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing and instructor permission.

SW 567  Independent Study  (3)  

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing and instructor permission.

SW 570  Field Practicum I  (9)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 505 and SW 506.

Advanced field instruction in a social welfare setting under the direct supervison of a professional social worker. Focuses on the development of advanced applied skills, knowledge, and values for direct social work practice. Four hundred fifty (450) hours of agency experience and two (2) bi-weekly integrative seminar are required for the semester.

SW 571  Field Practicum II  (9)  

Prerequisite(s): SW 521, SW 524, and SW 525.

Admission to MSW program and in good standing. Advanced field instruction in a social welfare setting under the direct supervision of a professional social worker. Focuses on the development of advanced applied skills, knowledge, and values for direct social work practice. Four hundred fifty (450) hours of agency experience and two (2) bi-weekly integrative seminar are required for the semester.