Skip to content

What can we help you find?

Frequently Asked Questions View all FAQs

Website

Connect with us any way you choose.

Request Information

Interested in a particular program? Let us know! We’d be happy to reach out and send you additional information.

Get Started

Live Chat

Have time for a quick chat? Our admissions team is here to instantly answer your questions.

Apply Now

Ready to apply? We make the application process easy, streamlined, and stress-free.

Apply Now

Resources View all Resources

Master of Social Work: Curriculum

Curriculum Details

30-60 credits required

Curriculum

The MSW program curriculum is designed to prepare students for both generalist and specialized social work practice, and equip them with the knowledge, skills, values, and practice experiences necessary for work across varying contexts, social problems, and client/constituent systems. The curriculum is congruent with the accreditation standards set forth by the Council on Social Work Education, which encourages attainment of academic excellence through scientific inquiry, social responsibility, service, and the quest for justice.

The MSW Program is comprised of two program tracks offered full-time or part-time. These program tracks include classroom and field education (see below). The following describes the 60 Credit Track and 30 Credit Track (Advanced Standing):

  • 60 Credit Program Track. Students enrolled in this Track will complete both their Generalist and Specialized Years in the MSW Program. Since Generalist courses serve as prerequisites for most Specialized courses, students are expected to complete the Generalist courses. Students in this track must complete a minimum total of 1,000 hours of field practicum in approved sites across two field placements (field courses included in required courses).
  • 30 Credit Program Track (Advanced Standing). Students enrolled in this Track have been accepted to the MSW Program as Advanced Standing students. Advanced Standing is granted to students who have completed their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a CSWE accredited program and in accordance with admission criteria. Students in this track must complete a minimum of 500 hours of field practicum in an approved site (field courses included in required courses).

The program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience.

Specializations

Students will select one of two specializations: Direct Clinical Practice or Direct Community Practice. Both specializations emphasize practice across social work settings and roles and are taught through the lens of integrated and anti-racist practice.

Capstone

A capstone project is required for graduation and requires demonstration of social work competencies in alignment with the mission of the School and ethical principles of the profession.

Field Education

The program requires 500-1,000 hours of field practicum to be conducted over the course of the program (see description of program tracks). Sacred Heart University currently has an extensive network of agencies eager to accept graduate-level students for their field practica. Agencies include those in urban and suburban settings, and public and private not-for—profit organizations such as: schools, hospitals, adult mental health clinics, juvenile justice, adult probation, substance abuse programs, disabilities, adoptions, child protective services, public housing, domestic violence, refugee and re-settlement, adult psychiatric services and children’s mental health.

GENERALIST COURSES

This course provides students with the framework for understanding how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity and achieving social justice.

This first course in the two-course policy sequence is designed to help students examine policy as a major component of social work practice.

Framework for understanding 1) social policy and process which is formulated, implemented and analyzed; 2) inequalities and inequities in social welfare as policy manifestations of institutionalized racism and sexism; 3) impact and interaction of policy with service delivery networks delivering services and resources.

Theories of human development with emphasis on stages of the life cycle; human diversity and the biological, psychological, socioeconomic, spiritual and cultural influences on development.

The focus will include the biological, sociological, cultural, psychological and spiritual development of individuals throughout the life span.

This course emphasizes the generalist model of social work practice, the use of systems theory, the strengths perspective and professional values and skills to facilitate the planned change and problem-solving process.

Emphasizes the generalist model of social work practice, the use of system theory, the strengths perspective and professional values and skills to facilitate the planned change and problem-solving process. This semester focuses on families and group
Prerequisite: SW 575

The first of a two-semester course where students will participate in an approved, social work practice field placement. Students are placed in human service organizations and are supervised by a master’s level social worker. Students are required to complete a minimum of 550 hours in the field over the course of the academic year. The field placement focuses on the development of the social work profession’s core competencies with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. The achievement of these competencies are demonstrated through the use of knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive/effective process within the generalist social work framework. The field placement is offered concurrently with seminar class. The seminar gives students the opportunity to integrate and process the experiential & academic learning in a supportive peer environment.

Second half of two-semester course where students will participate in an approved, social work practice field placement with the focus on the development and application of knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive/affective process within generalist framework.

Assessment strategies for all systems to understand inter-systems perspective, influence system for case formulation in change efforts.

This course covers the development of research methods for evaluation and enhancement of social work practice. Emphasizes research designs, sampling, practice evaluation, program evaluation, measurement instruments, and basic statistics.

SPECIALIZED PRACTICE COURSES

This course focuses on assessment and diagnosis of individuals and utilizes frameworks that place individuals within the context of their environment. Biopyschosocial-spiritural, cultural, and human diversity influences will be utilized for understanding mental health conditions.

This course examines and develops strategic-skills in the interaction between person and environment and creating organizational and community change in order to better meet the needs of diverse populations.

Enables students to further develop research knowledge through experiential learning allowing the student to implement and participate in a research study relevant to the social work profession.

This advanced equity and social justice course examines racist and white supremacist power structures and policies while building anti-racist practice skills that challenge, disrupt, and change racist policies.

Focus on specialized social work practice skills development working with client systems in direct clinical or direct community practice.

This is the second of a two-semester course focusing on specialized social work practice skills development working with client systems in direct clinical or direct community practice. A capstone is completed during the two semesters of this course.

This is the first of a two-semester course where students will participate in an approved, advanced, social work practice field placement specifically related to their chosen specialization. The field practicum will give students the opportunity to apply and integrate theory and course material in professional practice with diverse client systems and further extend and enhance the demonstration of the social work profession’s core competencies. Students are placed in human service organizations and are supervised by a master’s level social worker. Students are required to complete a minimum of 550 hours in the field over the course of the academic year. The field placement is offered concurrently with seminar class. The seminar class is an integrative process-oriented course designed to help students integrate knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession. The seminar is a combination of students from both specializations, direct clinical practice and direct community practice so students have the ability to learn from each other and further integrate social work.

This is the second of a two-semester course where students will participate in an approved, advanced, social work practice field placement. The field practicum will give students the opportunity to apply and integrate theory and course material in professional practice with diverse client systems and further extend and enhance the demonstration of competency in their professional skills as they work towards graduation. The students continue to work in the same seminar groups as they continue to integrate and process the knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession. Prerequisite: Take SW-678

ELECTIVE COURSES

This course presents theoretical and practical approaches to groups, with particular emphasis on the exploration of creating meaningful connections through mutual aid. Group members will develop skills to intervene and empower individuals and community members to bring about broader social change.

Introduction of theoretical frameworks and skills of forensic social work practice across systems (macro, mezzo, and micro) affected by criminal justice involvement, with an emphasis on law and political advocacy. Offered: As Needed Contact Department

This course develops knowledge and skills for working with client systems experiencing mental health and addiction issues with an integrated practice context.

This course focuses on the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality and recognize how one’s identity affects their daily lives, experiences and access to services. The marginalization and intersectionality within the LGBTQ+ Community will be explored, as well as exploring areas of vulnerability for the LGBTQ+ population such as hate crimes, suicide, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse as well as mental health and physical illness . A critical analysis of policies at micro, mezzo and macro levels will be used for identifying ways to engage, advocate and support the community at a variety of practice levels. A working knowledge of some of the specialized needs of, and practice with, the LGBTQ+ Community will be developed. Offered: As Needed Contact Department

This course develops knowledge and skills for working with client systems experiencing transition and loss across the life cycle within an integrated systems context.

This course develops knowledge and skills for working with children, youth, and families within an integrated practice context.

Explores forms of trauma (early adversity, chronic, and historical) and associated impact across the lifespan. Includes neuroscience of trauma, effects on at-risk populations, and treatment from a social justice perspective.

This course is designed to develop inter-professional collaboration skills among multiple disciplines to prepare social workers to practice in a variety of settings including health care.

ADVANCED STANDING COURSES

This course focuses on assessment and diagnosis of individuals and utilizes frameworks that place individuals within the context of their environment. Biopyschosocial-spiritural, cultural, and human diversity influences will be utilized for understanding mental health conditions.

This course examines and develops strategic-skills in the interaction between person and environment and creating organizational and community change in order to better meet the needs of diverse populations.

Enables students to further develop research knowledge through experiential learning allowing the student to implement and participate in a research study relevant to the social work profession.

This advanced equity and social justice course examines racist and white supremacist power structures and policies while building anti-racist practice skills that challenge, disrupt, and change racist policies.

Focus on specialized social work practice skills development working with client systems in direct clinical or direct community practice.

This is the second of a two-semester course focusing on specialized social work practice skills development working with client systems in direct clinical or direct community practice. A capstone is completed during the two semesters of this course.

This is the first of a two-semester course where students will participate in an approved, advanced, social work practice field placement specifically related to their chosen specialization. The field practicum will give students the opportunity to apply and integrate theory and course material in professional practice with diverse client systems and further extend and enhance the demonstration of the social work profession’s core competencies. Students are placed in human service organizations and are supervised by a master’s level social worker. Students are required to complete a minimum of 550 hours in the field over the course of the academic year. The field placement is offered concurrently with seminar class. The seminar class is an integrative process-oriented course designed to help students integrate knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession. The seminar is a combination of students from both specializations, direct clinical practice and direct community practice so students have the ability to learn from each other and further integrate social work.

This is the second of a two-semester course where students will participate in an approved, advanced, social work practice field placement. The field practicum will give students the opportunity to apply and integrate theory and course material in professional practice with diverse client systems and further extend and enhance the demonstration of competency in their professional skills as they work towards graduation. The students continue to work in the same seminar groups as they continue to integrate and process the knowledge, values, and skills of the social work profession. Prerequisite: Take SW-678