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Home | Online Clinical Master of Social Work | A Curriculum That Covers All Aspects of Clinical Practice

A Curriculum That Covers All Aspects of Clinical Practice

Our online MSW covers the most current issues facing today’s social work professionals. The Clinical Concentration course work includes all aspects of clinical practice, ethics and practice evaluations with individuals, families, couples and groups. The online Master of Social Work is made up of 20 courses, for a total of 60 credit hours – addressing the most important areas of social justice and equality. The pinpoint courses prepare students to be change agents with the ability to effectively analyze problems and develop effective solutions through service to community. Courses include:

Foundation Level Courses

Utilizing a strengths perspective, this course examines the resilience of populations-at-risk, particularly people of color, persons with disabilities, and gays and lesbians. It focuses on diversity in a global environment, including issues of discrimination, institutional racism and economic deprivation. It intends to enhance/develop self-awareness and sensitivity for a culturally competent social work practice.

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This course is the required human behavior class that lays a theoretical foundation for all dimensions of social work practice. It examines explanatory theories for micro, mezzo, and macro social work; takes a person-in-environment perspective; focuses on bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions of human behavior; and emphasizes the strength and resilience of all human beings. The course further underscores that theories are influenced by sociocultural-historical context, and, therefore, they evolve across time to address environmental and societal factors and human differences throughout the lifespan. Pre-requisites: 570.

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Utilizing a “life course perspective” to focus on human growth and development, this course critically analyzes pathological human behavior. It integrates and compares normal development with pathology and places an emphasis on how multiple dimensions of person and environment are influenced by time to produce unique life journeys. As in SSS 571, strength and resilience, all forms of diversity and oppression, and the impact of social and economic forces are emphasized as salient influences on life course trajectories and pathology. Pre-requisites: 571.

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Presents the historical and contemporary context for understanding social work practice. Students learn the values and concepts important to understanding social policies and services within the context of historical and contemporary perspectives. Students are exposed to international perspectives on social policy and special considerations in child welfare policy.

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Teaches students how to analyze social policy, to understand the legislative and budget processes and to develop and implement advocacy strategies to effect social policy change. The course is focused on effecting policy change with and for vulnerable and stigmatized populations and issues of power and oppression are considered throughout the semester. Pre-requisites: 581.

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Provides a basic understanding of the research process and methods used by social scientists. Students learn to develop a systematic approach to practice problems, to formulate specific research questions, and to select and interpret appropriate statistical techniques.

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General lecture and class exercises provide the conceptual preparation for application of the generalist perspective to culturally competent social work practice with individuals, families and treatment groups. Theory based models that follow generic social work processes provide the focus with individuals; models that integrate treatment approaches with family life cycle inform work with families; and generic group dynamics ground work with treatment groups. Prerequisites or co-requisites: 571, 572, 581; co-requisite: 673A & B.

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General lecture and class exercises emphasize the social work methods of intervening with mezzo groups, organizations, and communities for the purpose of social change. The focus of the course presents theories of groups, organizations and communities and offers skills in how social workers can be effective working with citizens, clients, boards of directors, committees and task forces. A number of “hands-on” problem-solving experiences will be part of the course. Prerequisites or co-requisites: 571, 572, 581, 582, 570, 590, 605; co-requisite: 674A & B

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Students are placed in field agencies under the supervision of qualified field instructors where, consistent with a generalist practice model, they provide services to clients including work with the systems which impact service delivery. Concurrent with the practicum, and drawing from the co-requisite Generalist Practice courses, the seminar provides an opportunity for students to present cases, improve assessment and problem-solving techniques, and apply theory-based concepts to their field experience. Prerequisites or co-requisites: 570, 571, 572, 581, 582, 590; co-requisite: 605A&B/606A&B.

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Advanced Level Courses

Using a person-in-environment and strengths perspective, this course will introduce students to the classification of mental health disorders and how to utilize a multi-axial format as part of a bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment. Theories of the etiology and assessment of mental disorders, the social construction of disordered behavior, and cultural formation of disorders will be discussed. Neurobiology, psychopharmacology, mental health disorders, addiction, and the effects of trauma will also be presented. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Drawing from philosophical and professional ethics, helps students develop skill in reflective and critical analysis of ethical dilemmas in social work practice. Considers purposes and limitations of codes of ethics. Presents a model for ethical decision making as a framework to consider issues such as self-determination and social responsibility, confidentiality and social control, life and death issues, societal responsiveness to the poor and disadvantaged and the privatization of welfare, organizational and professional values, and social justice and resource distribution. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Provides a theoretical framework for normal personality development, as well as for pathological formation of ego defenses and their influence on social functioning. The course traces the evolution of ego theory from its founding mothers and fathers to the more contemporary theorists. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Building on the first year theoretical framework of ecological systems, the purpose of this course is to prepare the student for advanced clinical practice with individuals in diverse populations. Practice skills are primarily rooted in the explanatory and change concepts of psychodynamic theory as applicable within a multicultural context. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Tracing the historical development of both behavioral and cognitive theories to their convergence into contemporary cognitive-behavioral theory and therapy, the course seeks to integrate concepts from both with the ecological perspective of human behavior and social functioning. It intends to enhance the repertoire of the beginning social work practitioner with techniques from cognitive and behavioral approaches. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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This course focuses on clinical social work practice with children and adolescents. The course deepens understanding of developmental theories and concepts as applied to children and adolescents. Psychosocial, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, and humanistic theories are applied to the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. In addition to these traditional models, strengths-based and competency-based approaches are applied to the understanding of strengths, resiliencies and challenges. For clinical practice with children, the understanding of play as purposeful, meaningful communication for and with children is emphasized. A continuum of directive and non-directive play and talk therapies serve as a basis for the process of therapeutic alliance, assessment, goal setting, planning, intervention, and practice evaluation with preschool and grade school children. For clinical practice with adolescents, individual and environmental strengths, resiliencies, and challenges are approached using assessment, planning, goal setting, intervention, and practice evaluation appropriate to a diverse population of young people. Particular risk issues and potential crises of this life stage are addressed, including mental illness and violence. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Grounded in the strengths perspective, this course prepares students to empower the families of children-at-risk to prevent placement in foster care, residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment, and juvenile detention. The course reflects both traditional social work in its emphasis on natural helping networks and work in the home and community, and contemporary solution-focused brief family therapy methods. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Introduces students to the basic theoretical and methodological concepts of practice evaluation. Topics include quantitative and qualitative assessment models, clinical measurement, single subject designs, clinical group designs, case studies and statistical techniques.Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum.

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Students are placed in field agencies, which provide them with supervised practice experience consistent with a clinical concentration. Concurrent with the practicum, the seminar prepares students to integrate skills learned in academic courses with practice in the field. It provides opportunities for the sharing of student cases and/or projects. The seminar instructor directs the graduation assignment in which students implement the principles of practice evaluation. Prerequisites: Foundation year curriculum; SSS 756, and advanced year theory and practice courses.

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