Social Work Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Course Descriptions

Year 1

SOWK 500 - Principles and Philosophy of Social Work

This foundation course studies the knowledge, values, history, and philosophy of social work, in addition to setting the larger framework for professional practice. The goal of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the nature, history, traditions, and issues of professions in general, and most importantly, of social work.

SOWK 511 - Generalist Practice - Small Client Systems

This course provides grounding in the generalist social work practice perspective, with a focus on practice with individuals and families within a social systems framework. Basic practice skills will be introduced, including communication skills and techniques, relationship skills, and use of self.

SOWK 512 - Small Client Systems Skills Laboratory

This course is designed to facilitate development of foundation practice skills for the graduate social work program. Professional social work practice is grounded in the helping relationship, central to generalist practice with all client system levels.

SOWK 515 - Theoretical Foundations of Social Work

This course examines the application of theoretical approaches to the understanding of human behavior across a variety of social work situations and levels of analysis. A focus is placed on theories that are used by the social work profession to explain and assess functioning at micro, mezzo, and macro levels, recognizing that theory evolves out of historical, political and cultural contexts.

SOWK 520 - Social Welfare Policy Analysis

This course aims to help students develop a perspective for understanding social welfare policies and the impact of these policies on people and their families, groups and communities. The course builds on student's knowledge of social welfare services and provides historical and current analysis of the social welfare institution in the context of the American socio-economic system.

SOWK 588 - Foundation Field Placement

This course includes student placement in a social-work-agency setting, providing integration of knowledge, values and skills within a generalist practice framework. The field placement connects the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting.

SOWK 611 - Generalist Practice: Large Client Systems

This course focuses on practice knowledge and skills related to intervention with large client systems, including groups, organizations and communities. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of the history, values, theory, processes and skills for generalist social work practice at the level of action groups, organizations and communities.

Year 2

SOWK 572 - Large Client Systems

(This class is for Advanced Standing Students only.)

SOWK 600 - Methods of Research I

This is the first course of a two semester sequence that introduces students to the types of research methods and data analysis used by social workers. The organizing theme of the two courses is the relationship between social work research and practice. SOWK 600 is an introductory course that examines the purposes of social work research, the methods of quantitative and qualitative inquiry, and the processes involved in conducting research studies.

SOWK 601 - Methods of Research II

This is the second course of a two-semester sequence that introduces students to the research designs, methods, and analyses commonly used by social workers in the field. Students will apply quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques and interpret and report research findings as it relates to social work practice.

SOWK 630 - Advanced Generalist Practice with Individuals

This course provides the knowledge and skills appropriate for clinical assessments and interventions with individuals, focusing on contemporary theoretical constructs. This is an advanced course focusing on micro-level assessment and intervention skills for direct practice in intensive direct service settings.

SOWK 632 - Advanced Practice: Manager/Administrator

The emphasis in this course is on the knowledge, values and skills of organizational practice for a social work manager or administrator, including human and financial resources management, supervision, leadership development, program design and planning, organizational change, resolution of ethical dilemmas associated with administration/management, and the role of the human services agency administrator in promoting evidence-based and culturally-centered practice.

SOWK 688 - Concentration Field Placement

This course includes placement in a social service agency that is approved by the CSU School of Social Work. Students are provided the context in which to apply their social work knowledge, values, methods and skills in professional practice. The concentration field experience is comprised of 675 hours of supervised advanced generalist practice experience, over two semesters.

Year 3

SOWK 602 A & B - Macro-Level Social Work Practice Research

This two-semester research course is designed to increase student competencies in macro-level practice research methodology. The focus is on the design and implementation of needs assessment, program evaluation or community research. Assignments, when feasible, are related directly to the student's field practice placement and are to be integrated with that agency or community's needs.

SOWK 631: Advanced Generalist Practice with Communities

This course provides the knowledge base, skills and values with regard to the planned change process with communities. Focusing on the intervention within the community context, and building upon the role of community change agent, the student engages in the identification and use of practice knowledge and intervention strategies to be used with intermediate systems that mediate the relationships of individuals, families, and groups, and the larger society. The course builds upon the generalist foundation and helps the student analyze varying practice situations, moving toward a stronger role as a community expert.

SOWK 633: Advanced Practice: Social Welfare Policy

This course builds upon the historical and philosophical social welfare policy framework addressed in the generalist curriculum. It expands upon general models for social welfare policy analysis, policy practice, and policy advocacy. Aspects of social welfare policy analysis are illustrated by examining the policy analysis through in-depth application of an analytic framework to a current social policy or program area.

SOWK 634: Advanced Practice with Families and Groups

This course builds upon the foundation practice skills and human behavior courses focused on assessment and intervention skills for direct practice with groups and families. Individual experiences from field placements will be examined to enhance learning in this course.

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