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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Social Work

Page address: https://grad.mnsu.edu/programs/bulletin/socialwork.html

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Department of Social Work

358 Trafton Science Center N
507-389-6504

The Department of Social Work offers a full-time Master of Social Work (MSW) program, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) focusing on Advanced Generalist social work practice, including specialization year emphasis on practice in small and rural communities. The MSW program prepares students for both advanced direct practice and administration in a wide variety of public and private social service, medical, and educational settings. Students achieve program objectives through foundation and specialization coursework and extensive field education. Students will learn from faculty dedicated to high quality social work education using innovative teaching techniques and cutting edge technologies.

The Master of Social Work (MSW) is a graduate degree that will prepare you to work as an advanced, professional social worker in a wide range of public and private social service agencies, in health care and public schools, with clients ranging from infants to senior citizens, from agencies to communities, and with challenges such as poverty, mental illness, disabilities, health problems, chemical dependency, abuse, and many others. MSWs work directly with clients in direct practice capacities, as clinicians, serve as program directors, supervisors, agency administrators, and also work in applied research and social welfare policy practice.

MSW Curriculum Map

The MSW Curriculum has been carefully developed based upon our mission, goals, and objectives with particular attention given to the requirements of our accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the College and University's missions. We have taken into account the perceived needs of graduate students as adult learners, as well as requirements for graduate education at our institution. Students will be required to proceed through the curriculum as it is sequenced below. Courses are offered once per year. The program is based upon a full-time graduate credit load and does not have a part-time option.

Students in the Traditional (TR) MSW program are required to complete 59 credits spread over two calendar years (6 semesters). Students in the TR program take courses in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. The TR program includes 39 credit-hours of classes and two field education placements totaling 20 credit hours, in a supervised practicum setting. The practicums will run each year from January to July.

Students in the Advanced Standing (AS) MSW program take 34 credits spread over 4 semesters, beginning with a 3-credit seminar in the summer, followed by 9 credits in the fall semester, 11 credits in the spring semester, 8 credits in the final summer semester, and a 3 credit elective. The AS program includes 24 credit hours of classes and one 10-credit field education placement in a supervised practicum setting, which runs from January to July.

All students will complete their Specialization/Advanced Field Practicum and Seminar with an individualized Field Education Learning Plan as their "Capstone Experience;" this is a comprehensive and integrative demonstration of their learning. A series of student learning outcomes, competencies, and practice behaviors are met through this process. If students wish, they can carry out research and evaluation projects in conjunction with the Concentration/Advanced field practicum.

Foundation Year (TR Program, 2-year)

Foundation year courses for those in the Traditional Program constitute 28 credits of study, which includes 10 credits of Field Education in a supervised field education practicum during Spring and Summer semesters. Courses are taken fall, spring and summer. Some, but not all, courses are offered in a hybrid (partially online instruction) format.

Fall (9 course credits)

SOWK 601 – Foundations of Generalist Practice (3 credits)
SOWK 605 – Social Welfare Policy and Services (3 credits)
SOWK 609 – Culturally Responsive Communication in Social Work Practice (3 credits)

Spring ( 6 course credits + 5 field education = 11 credits)

SOWK 603 – Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3 credits)
SOWK 611 – Macro Social Work Practice and Theory (3 credits)
SOWK 615 – Foundation Practicum & Seminar I (18-20 hours/week) (5 credits)

Summer (3 course credits + 5 field education = 8 credits) (11 credits, if elective taken)

SOWK 625 – Foundation Practicum & Seminar II (18-20 hours/week) (5 credits)
SOWK 629 – Foundations of Applied Social Work Research (3 credits)
Elective Course (3 credits) (May be taken anytime)

Summer (Advanced Standing Students Only - 1st summer)

SOWK 650 – Advanced Standing Preparation Seminar (3 credits)
Elective Course (May be taken anytime)

Specialization Year (All students)

Students in both the Traditional and Advanced Standing Programs take 31 credits in the specialization year of the program, which includes 10 credits of Field Education in a supervised practicum and a 3-credit elective, if not already completed. Courses are taken in fall, spring, and summer terms. Some, but not all, courses are offered in a hybrid format. The elective may be taken when it best fits the student's schedule.

Fall (9 course credits) (12 credits if elective taken)

Elective – Graduate level (500 or 600 level) (3 credits) May be taken anytime.
SOWK 669 – Advanced Social Work Evaluation (3 credits)
SOWK 651 – Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (3 credits)
SOWK 663 – Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups (3 credits)

Spring (6 course credits + 5 field education = 11 credits)

SOWK 655 – Social Welfare Policy Practice (3 credits)
SOWK 660 – Advanced Practice with Couples and Families (3 credits)
SOWK 665 – Advanced Practicum and Seminar I (18-20 hours/week) (5 credits)

Summer (3 course credits + 5 field education = 8 credits; 11 if additional elective taken)

SOWK 661 – Advanced Social Work Practice Administration (3 credits)
SOWK 675 – Advanced Practicum and Seminar II (18-20 hours/week) (5 credits)

Admission Requirements

In addition to completing the admission requirements for the College of Graduate Studies and Research, the following are required:

  1. Completion of a bachelor degree for students applying to the Traditional (TR) Program; or, completion of a bachelor degree in social work from a CSWE accredited institution for students applying to the Advanced Standing (AS) Program.
  2. A GPA of at least 3.0 on 4-point scale. (Some exceptions may be considered.)
  3. Accumulation of approximately 20 college credits (6 undergraduate courses) in areas of social and behavioral sciences. (Some exceptions may be considered).
  4. Completion of an undergraduate course with human biology content, with a grade of C or better.
  5. Completion of an undergraduate course in statistics, with a grade of C or better.
  6. Documented experience in the human or social services, education, or health care areas either as a paid staff member, intern, or volunteer.
  7. Completion and signing of the MSW Application Form (available on the MSW Program website).
  8. Submission of a Professional Resume.
  9. Submission of a Professional Statement (refer to MSW Application for guidelines).
  10. Submission of three Recommendation Forms and Letters (refer to MSW Application for guidelines). 

Financial Assistance
The Department of Social Work hires some graduate students in GA positions each academic year. Usually, we do not have details on the exact numbers or position duties until April or May each spring. We will alert applicants to the MSW program of GA opportunities when we are able to post these positions.

The Title IV-E MSW Child Welfare Program is a competitive scholar program that provides financial support and educational resources to MSW students committed to a post-graduate career in public or tribal child welfare. Additional details available online at http://sbs.mnsu.edu/socialwork/child%20welfare%20program/msw_section.html.

Current MSW Program Policies are available in the MSW Graduate Student Handbook available online at http://sbs.mnsu.edu/socialwork/graduate/handbook.html.

Curriculum

Restricted Electives

Foundation Core
Choose 28 Credit(s).
Required of all students admitted into the Traditional Program (TR)

SOWK 601 Foundations of Generalist Social Work Practice 3
SOWK 603 Human Behavior in the Social Environment 3
SOWK 605 Social Welfare Policy and Services 3
SOWK 609 Culturally Responsive Communication in Social Work Practice 3
SOWK 611 Macro Social Work Theory and Practice 3
SOWK 615 Foundation Practicum and Seminar I 5
SOWK 625 Foundation Practicum and Seminar II 5
SOWK 629 Foundations of Applied Social Work Research 3
Advanced Standing Core
Choose 3 Credit(s).
Required only for students admitted into the Advanced Standing Program (AS)

SOWK 650 Advanced Standing Preparation Seminar 3
Specialization Core
Choose 15 Credit(s).
Required of all students

SOWK 651 Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals 3
SOWK 655 Social Welfare Policy Practice 3
SOWK 660 Advanced Social Work Practice with Couples and Families 3
SOWK 661 Advanced Social Work Planning and Administration 3
SOWK 663 Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups 3
Unrestricted Electives
Students must complete a 3-credit elective from the approved elective list or students may propose a substitute elective requiring approval of the MSW Program Director or their MSW Academic Advisor.
CSP 647 Crisis Intervention Strategies 3
CSP 648 Counseling in a Multicultural Society 3
CSP 650 Child and Adolescent Counseling Techniques 3
CSP 652 Counseling Through the Family Life Cycle 3
CSP 654 Play Therapy Theories and Techniques 3
ETHN 650 Helping Across Cultures 3
ETHN 660 Cross-Cultural Training and Diversity Management 3
GERO 600 Gerontology Theory and Practice 3
MBA 642 Management of Human Resources 2
MBA 651 Managing Behavior in a Changing World 2
MBA 665 Leadership 2
MBA 667 Organizational Development and Change 2
NPL 673 Nonprofit Management and Leadership 3
POL 628 Seminar: Public Management 3
POL 662 Human Resource Management 3
PSYC 533 Child Psychology 4
PSYC 536 Adolescent Psychology 4
PSYC 555 Abnormal Psychology 4
PSYC 576 Applied Behavior Analysis 4
SOC 517 Program Administration 3
SOC 566 Program Planning 3
SOWK 515 Child-Family Welfare Services 3
SOWK 517  Comorbidity of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders in Social Work 3
SOWK 519 Social Work and Aging 3
SOWK 522 Social Work and Chemical Dependency 3
SOWK 525 Social Work Health Care Setting 3
SOWK 527 Social Work and Domestic Violence 3
SOWK 530 Social Work in the School Setting 3
SOWK 532 Social Work and Disabilities 3
SOWK 653 Advanced Child Welfare Practice 3
SOWK 667 Clinical Social Work Practice with Infants, Children, and Adolescents 3
URBS 553 Grants Administration 3
URBS 602 Planning Process 3
Research/Methods Course(s)
Required of all students
SOWK 669 Advanced Social Work Evaluation 3
Capstone Course
Required of all students
SOWK 665 Advanced Practicum and Seminar I 5
SOWK 675 Advanced Practicum and Seminar II 5

 

 

Course Descriptions

SOWK 515 (3) Child-Family Welfare Services

This course examines social services designed to facilitate child development and family functioning, including child protection, foster care, adoption, family preservation.

SOWK 517 (3) Co-morbidity of Mental Health & Substance Use Disorders in Social Work

Co-morbid substance abuse and mental health disorders will be encountered by social workers in all areas of practice. Current research on dual diagnosis indicates integrated treatment of substance misuse and mental illness is the most effective approach to treatment. This course will provide an understanding of the intersection of multiple diagnoses, and enable social worker professionals to effectively treat multiple diagnoses in their area of practice. This course examines the interaction of addictive and other mental health disorders. Particular focus is placed on case-conceptualization, assessment, and intervention with multiply diagnosed clients in specific populations.

SOWK 519 (3) Social Work and Aging

This course examines issues, resources, and processes in working with the elderly and their families in the social service system.

SOWK 522 (3) Social Work and Chemical Dependency


This course is designed to provide upper level students with a comprehensive introduction to the epidemiology, etiology, history, policy, and treatment modalities of substance abuse from a person-in-environment and systems theory social work perspective.

SOWK 525 (3) Social Work Health Care Setting


This course examines social service delivery issues and skills for working in hospitals, nursing homes, and community health programs.

SOWK 527 (3) Social Work and Domestic Violence

The overall goal of this course is to enable students to understand the rationale for and application of a variety of intervention strategies for the prevention and intervention of domestic violence.

SOWK 529 (3) Introduction to Specialized Instructional Support

This course introduces students to the work of specialized instructional support personnel, who enhance the capacity of every student to learn. Emphasis will be placed on multidisciplinary collaboration that promotes student well-being and supportive school environments.

SOWK 530 (3) Social Work in the School Setting


This course examines service delivery issues, knowledge and skills for providing social services within school settings.

SOWK 531 (3) Foundations of School Social Work Practice

This course covers the evolution of school social work as a profession and the impact of the culture and climate of the school on practice. It examines how social diversity impacts academic achievement and the role of the school social worker in addressing disparities.

SOWK 532 (3) Social Work and Disabilities

This course focuses on service delivery issues and skills, using a strengths-based, family systems, and empowerment approach for working with individuals with developmental and other disabilities and their families across the life span. Students hoping to do a practicum in a disability services setting should complete this course prior to beginning the practicum.

SOWK 549 (1-7) Advanced Public Child Welfare

Social Work practice in public child welfare agencies is multi-faceted and uniquely challenging. Seven 1-credit modules are designed to offer maximum specialization in the study of direct (interventions with children, youth, and families) and indirect (policy and administration) practice in state, county, or tribal child welfare. Issues related to practice, policy, cultural responsiveness, and the application of social work ethics are addressed. This course can meet the elective requirement for MSW students, including Title IV-E child welfare stipend recipients. Previous experience or coursework in public child welfare is recommended. Course is taken, with advisement, for up to 7 credits.
 

SOWK 577 (5-10) School Social Work Internship and Seminar

This course provides students with the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills acquired in the school social work certificate program in a school-environment. In seminar students clarify and integrate theoretical and school-specific curriculum content with experiences.

SOWK 585 (1-6) Selected Topics

Topics announced when offered.

SOWK 590 (1-3) Workshop

SOWK 601 (3) Foundations of Generalist Social Work Practice

This foundation social work course focuses on direct generalist practice with individuals, families, and groups; emphasizing the history, knowledge, skills, values, and ethics of the social work profession and the principles that promote social and economic justice, and human well-being.

SOWK 603 (3) Human Behavior in the Social Environment

This course focuses on theories and knowledge which guide social work practice, emphasizing systems theory, person-in-environment perspective, strengths perspective, and oppression theory. Students also examine theories of individual and family development across the lifespan.

SOWK 605 (3) Social Welfare Policy and Services

The course provides students with an overview of the historical and contemporary social services system and an exploration of the interconnectedness between social welfare policies, social services and social work practice, with an emphasis on oppressed populations.

SOWK 609 (3) Culturally Responsive Communication in Social Work Practice

This foundation course provides students with the knowledge and skills for effective interpersonal communication and interviewing, with emphasis on the application of effective communication with diverse populations. Students develop self-awareness and understand implications of their values across diversity domains.

SOWK 611 Macro Social Work Theory and Practice

This course provides students foundation knowledge, theories, values and skills for generalist social work practice with task groups, organizations and communities. The course emphasizes community level practice, focusing on theories and strategies for community assessment, community development, and community change.

SOWK 615 (5) Foundation Practicum and Seminar I

Foundation Practicum and Seminar I provide students with the opportunity to integrate social work theory and practice knowledge, values, and skills through direct practice with individual clients, families, groups, agencies, and communities.

SOWK 625 (5) Foundation Practicum and Seminar II

Foundation Practicum and Seminar II is a continuation of SOWK 615. Students integrate social work theory and practice knowledge, values, and skills through direct practice with individual clients, families, groups, agencies, and communities.

SOWK 629 (3) Foundations of Applied Social Work Research

This course enables students to understand the rationale for and application of quantitative and qualitative research techniques commonly used in generalist social work practice. Students will become more skilled at reading and critically evaluating research studies, including studies that are designed to empirically test theory, as well as in conducting independent research. Students will understand how issues of diversity are applicable to conducting and evaluating research and to engaging in effective, culturally competent social work practice. Students will also recognize the values, ethical issues, and social and economic justice issues that underlie research with an emphasis on social work research.

SOWK 640 (3) Advanced School Social Work Practice

The purpose of this course is to acquire advanced school social work practice skills to bring about systems level change. Students will learn how to utilize clinical skills to mobilize stakeholders to adopt evidence informed practices and implement them with fidelity.

SOWK 650 (3) Advanced Standing Preparation Seminar

This seminar helps students admitted to the Advanced Standing MSW program refine their professional self-identity as generalist social workers and reviews foundation curriculum content to ensure that students are ready for the concentration year of the advanced generalist MSW program.

SOWK 651 (3) Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals

This course provides students with advanced generalist theories, knowledge, values, and skills for competent, ethical and evidence-based direct social work practice with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

SOWK  653 (3) Advanced Child Welfare Practice

The purpose of this course is to prepare students for advanced social work practice in a public, private, and tribal child welfare settings. This course is required for MSW Child Welfare Scholars. The course is designed to provide the student with a focused, practice-oriented learning environment that will build upon previous experiential and academic learning. The emphasis will be upon increasing the student’s conceptual and practice skill level to become an effective social worker in a child welfare setting while increasing knowledge of historical and current federal and state child welfare policies, programs, and practices.

SOWK 655 (3) Social Welfare Policy Practice

This course is designed to provide students with knowledge, values and skills to engage in macro level advanced policy practice in organizations and communities in order to promote social and economic justice. This course will focus on policy issues relevant to rural and small communities.

SOWK 660 (3) Advanced Social Work Practice with Couples and Families

This course provides students with advanced generalist theories, knowledge, values, and skills for evidence-based practice with couples and families. Students will develop, analyze, and apply advanced knowledge and skills in the assessment and application of interventions with couples and families.

SOWK 661 (3) Advanced Social Work Planning and Administration

This course provides students with advanced generalist practice knowledge, values and skills for administrative social work practice. Students develop knowledge and skills in personnel management, grant writing, resource development, budgeting, leadership, and other aspect of administering effective social service agencies.

SOWK 663 (3) Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups

This course provides students with advanced generalist theories, knowledge, values, and skills for evidence-based practice with treatment groups. Students will develop, analyze, and apply advanced knowledge and skills in the assessment and application of interventions with treatment groups.

SOWK 665 (5) Advanced Practicum and Seminar I

Advanced Practicum and Seminar I provides students with the opportunity to integrate foundation and concentration social work theory and practice knowledge, values, and skills through direct practice with individual clients, families, groups, agencies, and communities.

SOWK 667 (3) Clinical Social Work Practice with Infants, Children, and Adolescents

The purpose of Clinical Social Work Practice with Infants, Children, and Adolescents is designed for students who plan to work in a clinical setting with infants, children, and/or adolescents. The course prepares students to understand development, attachment, developmental stressors and trauma, developmental resiliency, biopsychosocial factors, and evidence-based social work interventions. Students will consider the intersections of development, attachment, stressors and trauma, and resources from a biopsychosocial framework to increase knowledge on how infants, children, and adolescents become identified at-risk and how these concerns can compromise development and what support and/or interventions contribute to developmental growth and change over time.

SOWK 669 (3) Advanced Social Work Evaluation

This course provides students with advanced generalist knowledge, values, and skills for both direct social work practice evaluation and program evaluation. Students develop and implement a ÒcapstoneÓ integrative evaluation project in conjunction with SOWK 675 Advanced Practicum and Seminar II.


SOWK 675 (5) Advanced Practicum and Seminar II

Advanced Practicum and Seminar II is a continuation of SOWK 665. Students integrate foundation and concentration social work theory and practice knowledge, values, and skills through direct practice with individuals, families, groups, agencies, and communities.


SOWK 677 (1-3) Individual Study

Under faculty mentorship, students may pursue in-depth library or field research on topics of their choice.

SOWK 680 (1-4) Advanced Clinical Practice I

The purpose of this course is to acquire advanced clinical practice knowledge and skills that can be integrated into current systems of mental/behavioral health practice. Emphasis is placed on contemporary evidence-based assessment and intervention practices, integrated critical analysis, and culturally responsive and reflective practice. Graduate degree in social work or other related discipline and admittance into the Post-Graduate Advanced Clinical Practice Training Series is required.  Fall:  All Years; Spring:  All Years.

SOWK 681 (1-4) Advanced Clinical Practice II 

Advanced Clinical Practice II is a continuation of Advanced Clinical Practice I.The purpose of this course is to acquire advanced clinical practice knowledge and skills that can be integrated into current systems of mental/behavioral health practice. Emphasis is placed on contemporary evidence-based assessment and intervention practices, integrated critical analysis, and culturally responsive and reflective practice. Graduate degree in social work or other related discipline, admittance to the Post-Graduate Advanced Clinical Practice Training Series. Spring:  All Years.

SOWK 694 (2) Alternate Plan Paper

Individual research.

Prerequisite: grad school approval

SOWK 697 (1-10) Internship: Social Work

Internship in approved social agency.