Department of Social Work

Program Contact: Stephanie Jacobson 203-582-8907

The Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Quinnipiac University prepares social workers for advanced practice in the context of health and behavioral health settings through a curriculum that focuses on clinical practice, organizational practice and interprofessional teamwork. This program is guided by a person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, for the purpose of educating social work professionals to promote human and community well-being.

The Master of Social Work program prepares students for achievement and leadership in the field of social work. The curricular approach of the MSW program is unique in that it directly engages students in interprofessional education and the health care team approach.

Quinnipiac’s MSW program embraces the university’s commitment to the development of professional expertise through practice experience. The two field placements offer students the opportunity to practice skills learned in the classroom in real-world settings. A seminar that supports the student in integrating academic and fieldwork is held monthly. Upon completion of the MSW degree, the student will have at least 1,000 hours of professional preparation in the field.

Students entering Quinnipiac as undergraduates who are interested in the social work program also have the option of pursuing a dual-degree bachelor's/master's program. There are two options: the Accelerated Dual-Degree BS in Health Science Studies/Master of Social Work (3+2) or the Accelerated Dual-Degree Bachelor's/Master of Social Work (3+2) program, which begins with undergraduate study in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Mission Statement

The mission of the Quinnipiac University MSW program is to prepare social workers for advanced practice in the context of health and behavioral health settings through a curriculum that focuses on clinical practice, organizational practice and interprofessional teamwork. This program is guided by a person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, for the purpose of educating social work professionals to promote human and community well-being. The program’s core values are as follows and reflect the NASW Code of Ethics for Social Workers: service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights and scientific inquiry.

The MSW program has the following four goals:

  1. Prepare social workers to be advanced practitioners in diverse systems of various sizes, emphasizing competent, ethical clinical and organizational practice toward the advancement of the human condition. The advanced curriculum will build upon the foundation curriculum of generalist knowledge and practice skills with individuals, families and groups and communities.
  2. Prepare social workers to practice without discrimination with diverse populations.
  3. Prepare social workers to engage in professional activities that promote interprofessional collaboration and advocacy within diverse environments toward the enhancement of the human condition.
  4. Prepare students for lifelong professional development.

Social Work (SW)

SW 500. Generalist Field Education Practicum I.3 Credits.

This is the first of two field placements. The generalist field placement is offered in the generalist year for 16 hours a week for a minimum of 400 hours. In addition to the hours required in the agency placement, there is a requirement to attend a Field Seminar on campus throughout the months of the placement.

Corequisites: Take SW 501.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 501. Social Work Practice I: Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families.3 Credits.

This is the first semester of the generalist practice sequence. Social Work Practice I provides an introduction to social work practice. The courses present the knowledge and skills necessary for competent generalist social work practice with individuals and families. Skills taught in this course are interviewing, problem identification, problem exploration, formulating the presenting complaint, data gathering, differential assessment, planning, beginning intervention, termination, and evaluation.

Corequisites: Take SW 500. Take SW 511
Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 502. Generalist Field Education Practicum II.3 Credits.

This is the second of two field placements. The generalist field placement is offered in the generalist year for 16 hours a week for a minimum of 400 hours. In addition to the hours required in the agency placement, there is a requirement to attend a Field Seminar on campus throughout the months of the placement.

Corequisites: Take SW 503.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 503. Social Work Practice Ii: Social Work Practice with Groups, Organizations and Communities.3 Credits.

This is the second semester of the generalist practice sequence. Social Work Practice II provides an introduction to social work practice. The courses present the knowledge and skills necessary for competent social work practice with groups, organizations and communities. There is special attention given to vulnerable and disenfranchised populations.

Prerequisites: Take SW 501.
Corequisites: Take SW 502.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 504. Social Welfare and Social Policy.3 Credits.

This course provides students with a foundation understanding and appraisal of social welfare policies and programs in the United States, and the historical and contemporary forces that have shaped their development. It covers the formation of the social work profession and its role in the creation and implementation of social policy and its tradition of advocacy, social action, and reform. Students will take steps to engage in policy practice to advance social and economic justice.

Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 505. Social Work Research.3 Credits.

The purpose of this course is to provide the generalist MSW student with a solid foundation in social work research, with an emphasis on evidence-based practice. As consumers and producers of research, social workers need to understand the core concepts of scientifically sound and rigorous research. Students will be prepared to critically evaluate the research and will learn to synthesize empirical research into a systematic review. The impact of bias in research will be identified.

Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 507. Issues of Diversity and Oppression.3 Credits.

This course examines the dynamics of racism and other forms of oppression in society and within us, and how those dynamics are intertwined with policy and practice. The course places oppression in the economic, political, and social context of the US. Students will be prepared to analyze racism, sexism, and ethnocentrism as they operate at the individual, community, and institutional levels. The course aims to increase self-awareness and cultural humility for social work practice.

Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 508. Psychopathology.3 Credits.

This course is designed to provide students with extensive knowledge of the major forms of emotional illness and their treatment. Students will develop competence in diagnosis by mastering the currently accepted diagnostic code (DSM-V). They will develop competence in treatment planning through awareness and understanding of the most modern and accepted treatments for each major category of mental illness.

Prerequisites: Take SW 500 SW 501.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 511. Human Behavior in the Social Environment I: Theories for Practice for Individuals and Families.3 Credits.

Using a person in environment framework, this course provides an understanding of the relationship between the major theories of individual and family functioning among biological, social, psychological, and spiritual dimensions as they affect and are affected by human behavior and family life. Attention will be paid to the role that culture and intersectionality play in human development, within the context of biological and social systems, psychodynamic, ecological, social constructionist, humanistic, cognitive, and behavioral theories.

Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 512. Human Behavior in the Social Environment II: Theories for Groups, Organizations and Communities.3 Credits.

Using an ecosystems framework, this course provides an understanding of the major theories that explain the structures, functions, and dynamics of groups, organizations, and communities. Students will master core ideas of theories that provide the conceptual base for engaging in interventions that occur in the macro social environment. The course will focus on utilizing theories that promote empowerment of key stakeholders within groups, organizations, and communities and that address social and economic injustice.

Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 600. Specialized Practice Field Education Practicum in Health/ Behavioral Health I.4 Credits.

This specialized practice field placement is the first of two field placements and offers a social work experience focused on health/behavioral health in a variety of settings. Students complete 24 hours a week for a minimum of 600 hours. In addition to the hours required in the agency placement, there is a requirement to attend a monthly Field Seminar.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 601.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 601. Social Work Practice III: Specialized Clinical Social Work Practice.3 Credits.

This course focuses on clinical perspectives associated with social work in various fields of practice, particularly behavioral health consultation in the health care system. Skills to be acquired are how to make comprehensive psychosocial assessments and treatment plans for clients according to particular treatment perspectives. Multi-cultural applications for practice will also be incorporated. Attention will be given to developing students' ability to apply ethical standards to clinical practice.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 600
Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 602. Specialized Practice Field Education Practicum in Health/ Behavioral Health II.4 Credits.

This specialized practice field placement is the second of two field placements and offers a social work experience focused on health/behavioral health in a variety of settings. Students complete 24 hours a week for a minimum of 600 hours. In addition to the hours required in the agency placement, there is a requirement to attend a monthly Field Seminar.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 603.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 603. Social Work Practice IV: Specialized Organizational Social Work Practice.3 Credits.

This course is designed to expand students' knowledge and understanding of human service organizations and to provide approaches for designing and managing programs. Students will be exposed to various organizational and management theories and practices. In addition, there will be an emphasis on organizational practice within the field of behavioral health in primary care settings.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses and SW 601.
Corequisites: Take SW 602.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 604. Evaluation Research Work Programs and Practice.2 Credits.

This course focuses on the necessity of program evaluation for agency accountability and for improving services for clients. The course provides an overview of the methods of program evaluation and builds upon learned research knowledge for elaborating on the conceptual, methodological, and administrative aspects of evaluation research. Students will gain knowledge on how to utilize evaluation studies to inform their own practice at the micro and mezzo levels.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: Every year, Fall

SW 605. Integrative Seminar/Capstone Project.2 Credits.

This course requires students to integrate core areas of generalist and specialized practice knowledge to a current issue relevant for social work practice. Students will research human behavior theory, innovative evidence-based practice, policy and advocacy, as well as the latest data on health/behavioral health promotion to disseminate strategies for ameliorating the negative impact of a social problem on a specific marginalized population.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 602 SW 603.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 610. Social Work Issues for Services for the Aging Population: Aging in the Social Environment.3 Credits.

This specialized MSW course provides students with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of aging in the United States. The course uses multidisciplinary perspectives and examines aging as a process in the sociological, physiological, psychological and societal contexts. A major theme of the course is preparing students to meet the increasing demand of gerontological social work skills and knowledge as they operate at the individual, family, community and institutional levels.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

SW 611. Social Work in Health-Related Setttings.3 Credits.

This specialized practice MSW course focuses on the roles and functions of social workers serving clients in a rapidly changing health and behavioral health care industry. A strengths-based, family-centered, and culturally sensitive approach to practice in a variety of health and behavioral health care settings is presented.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 602.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

SW 612. Social Work Practice in Child Welfare and Behavioral Health Settings.3 Credits.

This specialized practice social work course focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and service needs of families and children in the child welfare, behavioral health, and juvenile justice systems. It examines issues and builds practice skills related to those facing separation, reunification, effects of traumatic experiences, and mental health concerns.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 602.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

SW 613. Social Work Practice in Schools.3 Credits.

This specialized practice social work course will present knowledge and skills for engaging in social work practice from preschool through high school in educational settings across the continuum from direct practice, to school and district level programming and policy, to partnering with community stakeholders to advance programming and policy.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Corequisites: Take SW 602 SW 603.
Offered: Every year, Spring

SW 614. Social Work Issues in Health and Illness.3 Credits.

This course discusses the importance of cultural and socioeconomic factors in the creation of major health disparities in the United States. Physiological, psychological, social and environmental factors are considered in relationship to cultural and socioeconomic factors in explaining both etiology and consequences of disease. The framework is applied to common diseases in the life course.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

SW 620. International Social Welfare.3 Credits.

This social work elective course introduces students to international social work in the United States and abroad through an understanding of the major theories of individual and family functioning that encompasses biophysical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions. Students master the central concepts of theories that provide the conceptual base for many tools of intervention utilized in international social work as well as with refugee, immigrant and migrant individuals and families at the local level.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall and Spring

SW 621. Health Policy.3 Credits.

This is an elective course on social welfare policy for specialized MSW students. This course is designed to prepare students to assess and understand the impact of American medical and health service programs and policies on human well-being. The concepts of social policy analysis are used in the evaluation and analysis of current programs and proposals for change.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall and Spring

SW 622. Multicultural Practice in Communities and Organizations.3 Credits.

This specialized elective course provides students with an understanding of multicultural practice in organizational and community settings. Students examine concepts and techniques of multicultural practice; consider and evaluate relevant strategies and tactics that promote multiculturalism, including community capacity building, empowerment processes, intercultural communication, diversity training and cross-cultural supervision, and apply them to both community organizing and community-based agency practice settings.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall and Spring

SW 623. Child and Family Social Services Policy.3 Credits.

This specialized practice MSW course provides a perspective on public and private sector social policies and service programs for children and families. The course includes topics related to policy objectives; history and values underpinning services; administration, economics, and funding of services; politics, interest group activities, and evaluation of policy and programs. The course builds on the evaluative concepts of social policy analysis included in the generalist policy course.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall and Spring

SW 630. Clinical Social Work with Military Service Members and Families.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical elective provides conceptual theories of best practice approaches with, and research findings on working with service members and their families, with a primary focus on service members who have served in combat. Topics covered include strengths-based assessment and core evidence-based treatment interventions, and prevention strategies for working with service members and their families. The impact of working with traumatized individuals and families on social workers is reviewed with recommendations for self-care.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Spring and Summer

SW 631. Clinical Social Work with Aging and Families.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical elective covers practice with older adults and their families. The goals of this course are for students to: understand the aging process from a holistic perspective, including biophysical, psychological, social/economical and spiritual dimensions; develop knowledge and skills to conduct a competent psychosocial assessment and implement effective interventions with older adults and their caregivers; and be capable case managers in specific practice settings, such as adult protective services, retirement communities, hospices, and hospitals.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, All

SW 632. Art Therapy for Clinical Social Work Practice.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical elective course explores the principles of art therapy and considers the use of art in a therapeutic setting. Ethical guidelines are presented on the appropriate therapeutic use of art in a social work setting. The spectrum of art therapy and social work theory as related to the developmental lifespan is reviewed with emphasis on trauma- informed, attachment, strengths-based, humanistic, psychodynamic, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, multi-sensory and neuroscience approaches.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall

SW 633. Clinical Social Work Practice and Stress Management Techniques.3 Credits.

The psychological, physiological and sociocultural aspects of stress are taught in this specialized clinical practice course. Stress management techniques are explored didactically and experientially. The purpose of this course is to teach students to understand the cognitive, affective and neurobiological impact of stress. Specific interventions to address traumatic stress also are discussed.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall

SW 634. Clinical Social Work with Substance Abuse and Addictive Behaviors Abuse and Addictive Behaviors.3 Credits.

This course teaches the specialized practice social work student the theories and concepts of addiction. Student will learn about the current research and approaches to counseling the chemically dependent client and/or family member, as well as the role of relevant systems, and how the addictive behavior affects these systems. The course will emphasize the application of social work values and ethics in the delivery of addiction services.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall

SW 635. Clinical Social Work Evidence- Based Treatment with Children and Adolescents.3 Credits.

This specialized elective course provides students with a framework for understanding evidence-based mental health treatment with children and adolescents. Students will become familiar with the most commonly used EBTs in the field and gain an understanding of the obstacles inherent in moving clinical practice from research to real-world settings. Models presented cover a range of diagnoses with an emphasis on children who have experienced emotional trauma. Individual, family and group treatment are addressed.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall

SW 636. Clinical Social Work in Relation to Death, Dying, Bereavement, and Life-Threatening Illness.3 Credits.

This specialized elective course provides a framework of knowledge, skills and values for culturally competent and responsive social work practice in helping clients who confront the issues of death and dying and life-threatening illnesses. A comparative, critically reflective approach to content is employed. Students explore experiences of clients dealing with these issues in relation to diversity of ethnicity or culture, age, gender, sexual orientation and social class.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall

SW 637. Clinical Social Work with Couples.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical practice elective focuses on assessment and intervention in intimate relationships within clinical social work practice. The process and outcomes of working with intimate dyadic adult relationships is viewed from psychosocial, communication, cognitive, systems, object relations and attachment frameworks. Emphasis is on working with couples with a history of trauma.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Fall

SW 638. Clinical Social Work Treatment of Adults with Chronic Mental Illness.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical practice elective focuses on social work treatment and care of adults with serious mental illnesses using empirical knowledge of recovery-oriented and evidence-based practices (EBPs) and evidence-based interventions (EBI). This course teaches practice models and methods of intervention for effective social work practice in community mental health services, including the promotion of mental health, the prevention of mental illnesses and the delivery of psychosocial treatments and rehabilitation services across diverse populations.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Spring

SW 639. Inter-Personal Therapy (IPT) for Clinical Social Work Practice.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical practice course focuses on interpersonal psychotherapy, an empirically supported intervention for depression in adolescents and adults. Adaptations for other mental health disorders are discussed.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Spring

SW 640. Clinical Social Work Practice with Adult Trauma.3 Credits.

This specialized clinical elective focuses on the conceptual theories of trauma from cognitive/behavioral, psychodynamic and attachment theory perspectives. Emphasis is on the role of gender, race, ethnicity and culture in individuals' responses to trauma. Students apply diagnoses, assessment, psycho-education, stress management, affect regulation and emotional processing as core treatment components. The course includes application to selected groups, including adult survivors of complex PTSD such as sexual abuse, combat trauma and survivors of acute incident trauma.

Prerequisites: All generalist curriculum courses.
Offered: As needed, Spring

SW 699. Special Topics in Social Work.3 Credits.

This course is offered to present a topic that is not part of the current course listings. It meets the curriculum standards of the MSW program for elective credit only.

Offered: As needed