Department Chairperson and Program Director : Mikal Rasheed
Field Education Director : Nadine Harris Clark
Graduate Faculty : Judith Birgen, Kimberly A. Mann, Yan D. Searcy, Sherri F. Seyfried, Thomas Kenemore, Troy Harden.
The Master’s of Social Work (M.S.W.) program is designed to prepare graduates for advanced professional roles as social service workers, supervisors and administrators in public and nonprofit human service organizations. Graduates are also prepared for doctoral study in social work and related fields.
The M.S.W. program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
The curriculum utilizes a perspective that is family-centered and strengths based. It focuses on clinical practice with families and children, understanding the development and analysis of social policy, and designing and managing human service programs. Leadership and team building skills, cultural competency, as well as personal growth are integral educational components of the program. The program emphasizes services to vulnerable, oppressed and marginalized populations. The program also emphasizes a commitment to diversity and social and economic justice.
- The M.S.W. program requires completion of sixty (60) credit hours of study which includes a minimum of 12 credit hours of supervised field practicum. The full-time program may be completed in two calendar years. The part-time program may be completed in three or four calendar years. All requirements for the degree must be completed within 4 years from the date of initial enrollment. The first 30 hours of the MSW program are required foundation courses. Upon successful completion of the foundation, students may then choose from a concentration in the advanced curriculum. These options are: Direct Practice in Family and Children Service, Administration and Planning in Family and Children Services, and School Social Work.
- Students must maintain a 3.0 (B) average and receive a passing grade in field practicum in order to complete the program. It is also expected that students demonstrate a commitment to ethical social work practice as explicated in the N.A.S.W. Code of Ethics.
- The field work component of the M.S.W. program is an integral part of the student’s educational experience. It provides opportunities for the development, integration and application of professional knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. Placements are made in a wide variety of human service settings in the public and private sectors.
- Students must complete 400 clock hours during the first year and 550 during their second year in the program. Students in the School Social Work concentration must complete 600 hours during their second year. Most placement requirements are met by 2 days per week for 4 semesters. Professional liability insurance is required for field registration and is provided by a group policy.
A graduate application, the M.S.W. supplement, official transcripts and the nonrefundable application fee must be received by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies by March 15th (fall admission only). All applicants for admission to the M.S.W. program must:
- Have a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited college or university.
- Have a broad liberal arts background (represented by course work in arts and humanities, history, science, mathematics, political science, economics, etc.) with a minimum of 12 hours of behavioral science.
- Have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (calculated on the last two years of undergraduate study). A limited number of applicants may be conditionally admitted with a GPA of 2.75. This exception may be granted to students who have been out of school for five or more years and have outstanding work experience in human services.
- Submit three letters of recommendation from educators and/or professionals who can describe potential for success in the field of social work.
- Submit a personal essay and participate in a departmental interview.
- Course to enhance writing skills may be required as a condition of admission.
- Students who do not meet all of the requirements, but whose experience or achievements may warrant an exception may be invited for a personal interview to discuss admission and to explore options to strengthen their application.
- Due to limited class size, we are unable to accept all qualified applicants.
Admission to Advanced Standing
- Graduates who have completed a B.S.W. degree from a C.S.W.E.
accredited program within the four year period preceding their intended enrollment may apply for the advanced standing program.
- Only social work courses with grades of B or better may be used for waivers or credit. Students who have a social work course with the grade of C or below will have to retake that particular or an equivalent course.
- Accelerated students may complete the M.S.W. program in one calendar year full-time or two calendar years on a part-time basis.
- Advanced standing applicants will be invited for a personal interview to evaluate their plan of study.
To qualify for advanced standing you must:
- Have earned a 3.0 GPA in the last 60 hours of undergraduate work
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in social work courses
The M.S.W. program may accept a maximum of 30 semester hours of transfer credit for graduate courses completed with a grade of B or better from a C.S.W.E. accredited M.S.W. program. Credits must have been earned within four years prior to enrollment and the student must submit a letter of recommendation from the program and field director (if applicable) of the program.
Students who have graduate credits in a related field may request transfer of up to six credit hours to meet their elective requirements; however, courses from an earned degree may not be used toward the M.S.W. degree. A maximum of six credit hours of courses taken in the CSU M.S.W. program as an at-large student may be transferred upon admission.
A written request must be made to the Program Director for transfer credit and must be accompanied by the appropriate course syllabi.
No academic credit is given for work or life experience.
Core Courses (30 credit hours)
SWK 5410, 5416, 5420, 5421, 5430, 5431, 5432, 5440, 5460, 5461
Concentration Courses (21 credit hours)
Complete 21 hours in one concentration:
Families and Children — SWK 5411, 5433, 5434, 5441, 5462, 5463, 5490
Administration and Planning — SWK 5411, 5441, 5451, 5452, 5462, 5463, 5490
School Social Work– SWK 5411, 5441, 5462, 5463, 5471, 5472, 5490,
Post MSW Type 73 School Social Work Certification - SWK 5464, 5474
Elective Courses 9 credit hours
Select 9 hours of electives. Students in the School Social Work concentration must take S ED 5301-Characteristics of the Exceptional Child as one of the required electives. This course is offered in the Department of Special Education.
5409 GENERALIST SOCIAL WORK SEMINAR (3)
Prerequisite: Advanced Standing Admission to the Graduate Social Work Program.
Exposure to generalist social work practice framework, strengths perspective, and family centered orientation essential foundation for advanced curriculum.
5410 SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY I (3)
Prerequisite: Admission to the MSW Program or consent of the department.
Historical/ philosophical analysis of social welfare policy and services and the role of the social work profession in its development. National and international social policy legislation and services will be discussed and evaluated within the context of economic, political, and social justice.
5411 SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY II (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5410 and admission to MSW program, or consent of the department.
An examination of the historical and contemporary impact of major social welfare policies and programs affecting the lives of families and children. Exploration and analysis of local, national and international policies, particularly related to their impact on the welfare of women.
5416 DIVERSITY/ETHICS: SOCIAL WORK (3)
Prerequisite: Admission to the M.S.W. program or consent of the department.
The history and contemporary life experiences of disadvantaged, marginalized and oppressed people are addressed. Theoretical knowledge and experiential awareness of oppression, prejudice and discrimination are analyzed as a contextual foundation for ethical and culturally competent practice with diverse, urban populations-at-risk. The NASW Code of Ethics serves as the framework for ethical analysis.
5420 HUMAN BEHAVIOR I (3)
Prerequisite: Admission to the M.S.W. program, or consent of the department.
Theory, research and practice that are inclusive of diverse urban populations-at-risk are presented and used in a life cycle approach to the study of the behavior of individuals, families, and groups and the impact of the social environment on human development.
5421 HUMAN BEHAVIOR II (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5420 and admission to the M.S.W. program, or consent of the department.
The common mental disorders of adulthood and childhood are examined as social, cultural, biological, and psychological phenomena. An ecological framework is used to examine health and pathology within the context of a strengths-based perspective.
5430 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE I: INTEGRATED METHODS (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5420 and admission to the M.S.W. program or consent of the department; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5460.
Emphasis on the theories and skills for assessment and intervention which address behavioral, emotional, and situational problems of diverse populations at risk. Primary focus on individuals, families and groups.
5431 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE II: COMMUNITY PRACTICE (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5430. Admission to the M.S.W. program or consent of the department.
Emphasis on professional social work practice in urban communities. Analysis of the structure, function and politics of communities, social agencies and other community institutions; strategies to facilitate community development and change are discussed. Development of community resources to empower diverse families and children are presented.
5432 FAMILY SUPPORT AND DEVELOPMENT (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5421; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5461.
Focus on understanding diverse family structures, strengths, and the barriers to optimal family development. Study of family treatment models that address disruption in normal family functioning.
5433 FAMILY CENTERED INTERVENTION (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5432. Concurrent enrollment in SWK 5462; admission to the Advanced Direct Practice Concentration, or consent of department.
Development of advanced clinical intervention skills to enhance the functioning of families and children. Emphasizes utilization of natural supports, early intervention, and prevention models that are culturally sensitive and empowering.
5434 SYSTEM INTERVENTION FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5433; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5463; admission to the Advanced Direct Practice Concentration.
Emphasis on assertive interventions and services to safeguard the welfare and development of children separated or in jeopardy of temporary or permanent separation from family. Develop advocacy skills to empower children and parents to access and cope with the limitations of the institutions that serve them.
5440 SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH METHODS I (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5420 and admission to the M.S.W. program, or consent of the department.
Development of skills to conduct research pertinent to social work. Emphasis on research design, ethics, sampling and data collection. Analysis of past and current social work research.
5441 SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH METHODS II (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5440. Admission to the M.S.W. program or consent of the department.
Advanced study of qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis. Emphasis on survey design, statistical analysis, ethnographic research, grounded theory, focus group strategies, and research interviewing techniques.
5450 ORGANIZATIONAL DYNAMICS (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5431 and completion of Foundation requirements.
Theoretical models applicable to the analysis of group behavior and organizational culture in human service organizations. Development of skills to understand and enhance communication, staff functioning, and approaches to service delivery. Strategies for change will be explored.
5451 PROGRAM PLANNING IN HUMAN SERVICES (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5432; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5462; admission to the Advanced Administration & Planning concentration.
Planning theory and processes including problem analysis, program design, assessment and evaluation. Proposal and grant writing, funding strategies and evaluation technologies are included.
5452 HUMAN SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5451; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5463; admission to the Advanced Administration and Planning Concentration.
Advanced knowledge and skills utilized in administration of human services. Emphasis on organizational effectiveness, administrative roles and processes. Course examines ethical and pragmatic dilemmas in managing services within the context of political and social change.
5453 HUMAN RIGHTS, JUSTICE AND SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE (3)
Prerequisites: SWK 5430, 5434; or consent of the department.
A progressive, critical/structural framework utilized to guide practice, focused on interfacing levels of oppression, including individual, interpersonal, cultural, structural, and political, and facilitating empowerment. Social justice issues are incorporated in relation to class, gender, racism, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious perspectives, and other practice concerns.
5454 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH MALES (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5750
Provides the knowledge base for Social Work Assessment and intervention with the male client; assumes that the experience of gender is mediated through particular social, political, historical, and cultural symbols which influence psychosocial development, which shape and contextualize men’s experience.
5455 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH COUPLES (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5750
Provides students with a broader in-depth understanding and development of skills for assessing and intervening with couples. Knowledge and skills gained will enable students to develop a more integrated approach to work with couples across a wide range of functioning levels and in diverse contexts.
5456 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH ADDICTION (3)
Prerequisites: SWK 5410, 5420, 5750
Provides knowledge of multi-causal nature of substance abuse and addictions and develops practice skills; special emphasis on families impacted by addictions, including risk and resilience factors; development of strengths-based intervention strategies with culturally diverse populations, and in diverse service settings; reviews relevant public policy.
5457 SOCIALWORK WITH GROUPS (3)
Dynamics of small group process and interventions, with both treatment and task groups. Experiential. Includes planning, beginning, middle, and end phases, and evaluation of group process and outcomes.
5458 SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE WITH URBAN ADOLESCENTS (3)
Prerequisities: S WK 5410/410 and S WK 5411/411.
Explores theories of adolescent development, dynamics of risks in urban areas, and a evidence-based interventions from a variety of practice settings including but not limited to communities, schools, group homes, transitional living programs, mental health facilities, and juvenile justice facilities.
5460 FIELD PRACTICUM I (3)
Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in SWK 5430 and consent of Director of Field
First of four-semester sequence. Supervised field placements of 200 clock hours in community-based settings; includes an integrative seminar. Liability insurance is required
5461 FIELD PRACTICUM II (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5460. Co-requisite: SWK 5432 and consent of Director of Field.
Second of a four-semester sequence. Supervised field placements of 200 clock hours in community based settings. Includes an integrative seminar. Liability insurance is required.
5462 FIELD PRACTICUM III (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5461 and consent of Director of Field; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5433 if in the Advanced Direct Practice Concentration; SWK 5451 if in the Advanced Administration and Planning Concentration; SWK 5471 if in the Advanced School Social Work Concentration.
Third of a four-semester sequence. Supervised field placements of 275 clock hours in community-based settings. Includes an integrative seminar. Liability insurance is required.
5463 FIELD PRACTICUM IV (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5462 and consent of Field Director; concurrent enrollment in one of the following: SWK 5434 if in the Advanced Direct Practice Concentration; SWK 5452 if in the Advanced Administration and Planning Concentration; SWK 5470 if in the Advanced School Social Work Concentration.
Fourth of a four-semester sequence. Supervised field placements of 275 clock hours (300 hours for students in the school social work concentration) in community based settings. Includes an integrative seminar. Liability insurance is required.
5464 POST-MSW SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK FIELD (3)
Prerequisites: Admissions to the Post-MSW Type 73 Certificate Program; Concurrent enrollment in SWK 5474.
Field course provides MSW graduates with a minimum of 300 Clock Hours field instruction experience within a public school setting. Students develop specialized practice knowledge and skills necessary for family-centered practice within urban school settings.
5471 SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE I (3)
Prerequisites: Admission to the Advanced School Social Work Concentration; and successful completion of the ISBE Test of Basic Skills; prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5432; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5462.
Advanced knowledge and skills in assessment, advocacy, and school-based interventions; designed to prepare social workers for culturally competent, empirically grounded practice with children and their families in urban community school settings.
5472 SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE II (3)
Prerequisite: or co-requisite: SWK 5471; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5463; admission to the Advanced School Social Work Concentration; and successful completion of the ISBE Test of Basic Skills.
Utilizing ecological and family-centered perspectives, this advanced practice course emphasizes knowledge, values and skills needed for implementing school social work services within and between the urban school, family, and community contexts.
5474 ADVANCED SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK SEMINAR (3)
Prerequisites: Admission to the Post-MSW Type 73 Certificate Program; successful completion of the Illinois Test of Basic Skills; concurrent enrollment in SWK 5453/453, or departmental approval.
Examines practice skills and knowledge, policy and research for practice within urban school settings; partially fulfills coursework requirements to obtain the Illinois Type 73 certificate for school personnel.
5476 ECONOMICS OF SOCIAL WELFARE (3)
Prerequisites: SWK 5410; SWK 5411
Examines the economic aspects of the provision of social welfare. Applies economic theories and concepts to understanding public and private social welfare services. Attention is given to the financial infrastructure and financing of non-profit organizations, philanthropic organizations, federal social welfare programs, federal grants, and housing and community development.
5480 CHILDREN AND THE LAW (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5411
The law, the judicial system, and the influence of racial, ethnic, and economic prejudice on decisions affecting children and families. Includes the social worker’s role in issues such as divorce, child custody, support and children’s rights. Confidentiality, course preparation, and malpractice are emphasized.
5481 SUPERVISION IN HUMAN SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (3)
Prerequisite: SWK 5430.
Educational, administrative, and developmental models of supervision and the diverse role of supervisor/supervisee in creating and maintaining a positive and effective organizational climate.
5482 TRAUMA IN CHILDHOOD (3)
Prerequisite or co-requisite: SWK 5421.
Focus on children exposed to violence or trauma. Systemic, ethno-cultural factors and the roles and resources of the family will guide development of expertise in assessment and intervention. Practice models selected for study reflect multi-system, culturally competent, family-centered interventions.
5483 SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL WORK (3)
Prerequisites or co-requisites: SWK 5420 and 5430.
Exploration of the concept of spirituality and its distinctions from religion in social work practice. A framework for increasing knowledge of diverse spiritual traditions, developing of spiritually sensitive practice interventions and clarification of values will be examined.
5484 ADVANCED PRACTICE WITH CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS (3)
Prerequisites or Co-requisites: SWK 542 & SWK 5432
Focus on using relational and cognitive theory for differential assessment and intervention methods using therapeutic games, play approaches, family and community collaborations, and group methods. Skills in culturally competent engagement and therapeutic interviewing will be emphasized.
5489 SPECIAL TOPICS IN SOCIAL WORK (3)
Prerequisite: Second year standing or consent of department
Intensive study of a topic in social work. May be repeated under different topics for up to 9 hours of credit.
5490 CAPSTONE SEMINAR (3)
Concurrent enrollment in: SWK 5463/463 and one of the following:
SWK 5434 IF IN THE ADVANCED DIRECT PRACTICE CONCENTRATION;
SWK 5452 IF IN THE ADVANCED PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION CONCENTRATION;
SWK 5472 IF IN THE ADVANCED SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK CONCENTRATION.
An integrative seminar that reviews and critiques knowledge and experiences of the curriculum relative to preparation for professional practice. A substantive integrative paper and professional presentation will prepare students for entry into the workplace.
5495 INDEPENDENT STUDY IN SOCIAL WORK (1-4)
Prerequisite: Consent of the department.
Self-directed study of social work topics with selected faculty.