MSW - Concentrations

Students begin the MSW program (the first year in the two year program) focused on basic social work values, knowledge, and skills to enable the student to work with client systems of various sizes. Following these foundation level courses, students pursue an advanced practice concentration in Mental Health or Child & Family Services.

Foundation Year Practice Framework

In the initial stage of the program, students build on an undergraduate base with requisite knowledge about basic human systems, including:

  • Biological systems
  • Psychological systems
  • Sociological systems
  • Humanities

Graduate level exposure to these subjects gives special attention to values and ethics, diversity, economic and social justice issues, and at-risk populations. Students assess client transactions, framed by the Strengths Oriented Life Model, with a foundational perspective of the Spiritually Enriched Ecological Systems.

Mental Health Concentration

The Mental Health Concentration prepares students for advanced direct agency-based social work practice in health settings. In the advanced practice terms, students explore social work knowledge and skills pertaining to persons needing physical and mental health services. This requires a broad theoretical framework and an array of intervention skills to allow for specific knowledge about health care settings and flexibility when working in the health care field.

Particular emphasis is given to:

  • Time-limited or short-term therapy approaches
  • Crisis intervention
  • Bereavement services
  • Psycho-social assessment
  • Intervention for Managed Care and Hospital settings

Child & Family Services Concentration

The Child & Family Services Concentration prepares students for advanced direct social work practice within public and private agencies serving children and families. In-depth attention is given to intergenerational and environmental systems that have a direct impact on the whole or part of a family system. With knowledge of various family therapy approaches, students can be integrative and select one or more treatment approaches based on the philosophy of the agency, their own professional “use of self” in the treatment process, and the assessed areas for intervention as identified by the client/family system. Major focus is given to the client/family system’s “construction of reality.”

The foundation of these concentrations is a multidimensional assessment strategy, which places the practice perspective firmly in the social work tradition. Students are exposed to a wide range of theoretical models to be synthesized into an individualized, unified practice model to maximize the strengths of each student’s personality and experiences.

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