MSW Program Structure

Curriculum Structure

The Master of Social Work Program has a 60 credit course curriculum accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Master of Social Work curriculum is organized as an integrated whole, including foundation and advanced content. It is designed to prepare graduates for advanced direct practice. Each semester builds upon knowledge from the previous semester, and the completion of the foundation content is preparatory advanced content with opportunities for specializations.

A system of organizing principles threads throughout the core content areas of the curriculum to form a foundation based upon the ecological perspective, social work values and ethics, appreciation of diversity, social and economic justice, the strengths perspective, professional use of self, systematic mode of inquiry, and populations at risk.

Course of Instruction

The courses of the MSW degree curriculum may be classified generally into two categories: those in the foundation curriculum and those that provide opportunity for advanced study. Listed below are the course descriptions for the foundation curriculum and information about elective courses. The School of Social Work reserves the right to modify or change the courses of instruction.

500 numbered courses are in Social Work Practice and include field education.

600 numbered courses are in the area of Human Behavior and the Social Environment.

700 numbered courses are in the Social Work Research curriculum area.

800 numbered courses are in Social Welfare Policy and Services.

900 numbered courses are in fields of practice or indicate courses that are interdisciplinary.

Advanced Curriculum

As students move to more advanced levels of their studies, more specialized courses are offered to assist in the acquisition of knowledge and skills in greater depth. The MSW program's advanced curriculum has a concentrated in Advanced Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Communities and Organizations.

In addition, students may elect a specialization in Behavioral Health, Child and Family Studies, or Administration by choosing specific electives and completing a field placement offering experience in that practice area.


Electives allow study of a particular intervention methodology or area of significance for social work and usually follow completion of foundation coursework. The MSW Program offers a range of elective choices to respond flexibly to priority concerns and emerging issues in social welfare, in accordance with faculty resources and student interests.