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.
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:
- 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.
- Prepare social workers to practice without discrimination with diverse populations.
- Prepare social workers to engage in professional activities that promote interprofessional collaboration and advocacy within diverse environments toward the enhancement of the human condition.
- 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 in a social service agency. The foundation field placement is designed to provide a generalist social work experience. It is offered in the academic year from September-May for 16 hours a week (total of at least 400 hours). The foundation practicum provides an opportunity to develop skills by applying what is taught in the classroom, particularly from the practice classes that are taken concurrently with this practicum. The primary objective is to learn and demonstrate competence of a problem-solving model of practice and the related generalist skills. Students also take a 90-minute field seminar, held monthly prior to the required practice class, as part of the practicum. Taken concurrently with SW 501.
Corequisites: Take SW 501.
Offered: Every year, Fall
SW 501. Practice I: Individuals and Families.3 Credits.
This course presents the knowledge and skills necessary for competent generalist social work practice with individuals and families. The values and societal mission of the social work profession guide this course. The course uses an ecological systems perspective model to provide students with knowledge and values promoting purposeful and culturally competent intervention with individuals and families of diverse backgrounds. Students learn about interviewing, problem identification, problem exploration, formulating the presenting complaint, data gathering, differential assessment, planning, beginning intervention, termination and evaluation. Self-awareness and conscious use of self are emphasized. Classroom learning is enhanced through the systematic use of the students' experiences in their placements. Taken concurrently with SW 500. A student must pass Practice I and SW 500 to continue with Practice II and SW 502.
Corequisites: Take SW 500.
Offered: Every year, Fall
SW 502. Generalist Field Education Practicum II.3 Credits.
This is the second term of the foundation field placement in a social service agency. The placement is designed to provide a generalist social work experience. It is usually offered in the academic year from September-May for 16 hours a week (total of at least 400 hours). The foundation practicum provides an opportunity to develop skills by applying what is being taught in the classroom, particularly from the practice classes that are taken concurrently with this practicum. The primary objective is to learn and demonstrate competence of a generic problem-solving model of practice and the related generalist skills. Students also take a 90-minute field seminar, held monthly prior to the required practice class, as part of the practicum. Taken concurrently with SW 503.
SW 503. Practice II: Groups, Organizations and Communities.3 Credits.
This course reviews small group theory and research. It presents an ecological perspective on groups in clinical and organizational settings, explores group typologies, and teaches concepts of group structure and process. Students are introduced to a wide variety of tools and methods for helping groups achieve their purposes while maintaining the integrity of their interpersonal relations. The course incorporates a fundamental commitment to respecting human differences of all kinds and affirming their importance to group accomplishments and the workings of a pluralistic society. The course also stresses beginning skills and knowledge for practice within social service networks and communities, the context in which all social work practice occurs. Understanding and intervening in the environment are skills consonant with the ecological perspective that provides focus for the foundation curriculum. This course stresses that social system malfunctions and inequities are important sources of individual and familial distress. To proceed into advanced field instruction, the student must pass Practice II and SW 502. Taken concurrently with SW 502.
SW 504. Social Welfare 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 introduces conceptual approaches to policy analysis and assesses selected social policies, programs and services in the areas of income maintenance, health care and personal social services. The social work profession's role in the formulation and implementation of social policy and its tradition of advocacy, social action and reform are explored. Social work values regarding the meeting of human needs and the right of all citizens to live in an atmosphere of growth and development are emphasized.
Offered: Every year, Fall
SW 505. Social Work Research.3 Credits.
The purpose of this course is to provide the MSW student with a solid foundation in social work research, emphasizing evidence-based practice. As both consumers and producers of research, social workers need to understand the core concepts of scientifically sound and rigorous research. Through mastery of the principles of social work research, students are prepared to critically evaluate the wealth of research and evidence available to inform one's practice. Students also learn to synthesize empirical research into a systematic review of the literature to address a social work practice issue of personal interest.
Offered: Every year, Fall
SW 506. Human Behavior in the Social Environment I: Theories of Practice.3 Credits.
Within the person/environment framework, this course provides a foundation for social work practice through an understanding of the major theories of individual and family functioning that encompass biophysical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual dimensions. Specific attention is paid to the roles that culture and cultural identity play in human development and what constitutes "normal" behavior. Students master the central concepts and core ideas of theories that provide the conceptual base for many tools of intervention utilized in work with individuals and families, groups, communities and organizations. Students master relevant concepts of genetics and neurobiology to facilitate understanding of human functioning at the biological level. The course emphasizes the interrelationships among social institutions, social structure and social processes on the one hand, and the realities of the lives of families, groups, communities, organizations and societies, on the other. Must be taken prior to or concurrent with SW 500 and SW 501.
Offered: Every year, Fall
SW 507. Human Behavior in the Social Environment II: Issues of Diversity and Oppression.3 Credits.
This course examines the dynamics of racism and other forms of oppression in our society and within us, and how those dynamics are intertwined with social welfare policy and social work practice. The course places racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and other forms of oppression in the historical and current economic, political and social context of the United States. It prepares students to analyze racism, sexism and ethnocentrism as they operate at the individual, community and institutional levels, and to understand how they shape the lives of men and women of all backgrounds and identities. A major theme of the course is the social worker's professional responsibility to help achieve a non-racist, multicultural and egalitarian society.
Offered: Every year, Spring
SW 508. Psychopathology.3 Credits.
This course provides students with extensive knowledge of the major forms of emotional illness and their treatment. Students develop competence in diagnosis by mastering the currently accepted diagnostic code (DSM 5). They develop competence in treatment planning through awareness and understanding of the most modern and accepted treatments for each major category of mental illness. Upon successful completion of the course, students are able to gather and analyze relevant information, make accurate diagnoses based upon that information, assess positive and negative factors affecting treatment decisions, develop an appropriate and contemporary treatment plan and present it in a form consistent with current practice in the mental health professions.
SW 509. Interprofessional Education (IPE) Option.3 Credits.
This course fulfills the IPE requirement for the foundation curriculum. A topic may not be repeated for additional credit. Possible topics include divorce and the divorcing family, IPE in health settings, IPE in school settings, ethics across the professions, and health, society and social justice. The role of inter-professional education and communication is a core component in how the various professions can begin to understand and address the topic of the course.
Offered: Every year, Spring
SW 600. Specialized Practice Field Education Practicum in Health/ Behavioral Health I.4 Credits.
This is the first semester of the second of two field placements in a social service agency. This advanced concentration field placement offers a specialized social work experience in health/behavioral health, with a focus on a specialization in one of these areas: aging services, health/mental health/substance abuse, child and family welfare and justice, and school social work. The advanced field placement is offered in the academic year from September-May for 24 hours a week (total of at least 600 hours). A 90-minute field seminar is held monthly, prior to the practice class. SW 600 is taken with SW 601.
SW 601. Specialized Clinical Social Work Practice (Practice III).3 Credits.
This course integrates the knowledge, values and skills of the foundation curriculum with clinical perspectives traditionally associated with social work. Students work directly with adult individuals from diverse client populations and from all socioeconomic levels. Emphasis is placed on social work practice in behavioral health consultation in the health care system. Students acquire major skills such as how to make comprehensive psychosocial assessments and devise treatment plans for clients. The specific models of clinical practice addressed in this course are: cognitive/behavioral, constructivist and psychodynamic. Additional topics include crisis intervention, interpersonal therapy and trans-theoretical models, as well as motivational interviewing. Attention is given to developing students' critical thinking skills and their ability to apply ethical standards to clinical practice. Course is taken concurrently with SW 600.
SW 602. Specialized Practice Field Education Practicum in Health/ Behavioral Health II.4 Credits.
This is the second semester of the second of two field placements in a social service agency. This advanced concentration field placement offers a specialized social work experience in health/behavioral health, with a focus on a specialization in one of these areas: aging services, health/mental health/substance abuse, child and family welfare and justice, and school social work. The advanced field placement is usually offered in the academic year from September-May for 24 hours a week (total of at least 600 hours). A 90-minute field seminar is held monthly, prior to the practice class. SW 602 is taken with SW 603.
SW 603. Specialized Organizational Social Work Practice: Program Management, Supervision, Professional Ethics and Career Development (Practice IV).3 Credits.
Students expand their knowledge and understanding of human service organizations and learn about approaches for designing and managing human service programs effectively. Organizational and management theories and principles are applied to a range of human services. Students are exposed to various management practices such as strategic and program planning, information systems development, leadership and organizational change. Students learn to understand the meaning of evidence-based practice in the context of human services management and learn to use logic models in the design, implementation and evaluation of intended program outcomes. Emphasis is placed on organizational practice within the field of behavioral health in primary care settings. Career development is discussed. Course is taken concurrently with SW 602.
SW 604. Evaluation Research for Social Work Programs and Practice.2 Credits.
This course builds on previously learned research knowledge to elaborate on the conceptual, methodological and administrative aspects of evaluation research. Consideration is given to concepts and approaches for evaluating social interventions, including social work practice, programs and policies. Attention is given to the comparative analysis approach as used for the development of practice knowledge as well as for the utilization of evaluation studies.
Prerequisites: Take SW 505.
Offered: Every year, Fall
SW 605. Integrative Seminar/Capstone Project.2 Credits.
This course is taken in the final semester of the MSW program. A paper or final project (approved by the instructor) is required to demonstrate an integration of all content areas in the MSW program and competence in the CSWE standards. Students focus on the systematic inquiry of the foundations of advanced practice in the social work profession. An emphasis is on the assessment, planning and evaluation of population/community focused health promotion/disease prevention programs and projects. This capstone course helps the graduating student integrate course and field experiences through review and exploration of the broader issues confronting health and social welfare programs.
SW 609. Interprofessional Education (IPE) Option.3 Credits.
This course fulfills elective requirements for the advanced concentration curriculum. A topic may not be repeated for additional credit. Possible topics include divorce and the divorcing family, IPE in health settings, IPE in school settings, ethics across the professions, and health, society and social justice. The role of interprofessional education and communication is a core component in how the various professions can begin to understand and address the topic of the course.
Prerequisites: Take SW 509.
Offered: Every year, Spring
SW 610. Social Work Issues for Services for the Aging Population: Aging in the Social Environment.3 Credits.
This advanced MSW course provides students with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of aging in the United States. It is designed to prepare students to analyze aging in the sociocultural context and how various factors shape the experience of aging. 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. This course is required for those with a specialization in aging in the MSW program.
SW 611. Advanced Social Work Practice Across the Adult Lifespan.3 Credits.
This advanced MSW course focuses on the roles and functions of social workers in a rapidly changing health care industry. A strengths-based, family-centered and culturally sensitive approach to assessment and intervention with diverse populations in a variety of health care settings is presented. Explored are a range of interventions from prevention and health promotion to end-of-life care and critically evaluate how ethical dilemmas and the interdisciplinary environment influence the implementation of these practice interventions. This course or SW 614 is required for those with a specialization in Health/Mental Health/Substance Abuse.
SW 612. Social Work Practice in Child and Family Welfare Settings.3 Credits.
This advanced social work practice course focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and service needs of families and children in the child welfare system. It examines issues and builds practice skills related to families who may be served within traditional child welfare programs, i.e., family preservation, child protective services, out-of-home care, and adoption as well as community agencies. The course considers family events within their ecological context and works to build sensitivity to various family forms and cultural patterns. Skills that are emphasized include: engaging families as partners, interviewing, assessing risk and safety, assessing the child and family, planning and delivering effective treatment, managing the case, evaluating change and risk reduction, and deciding when to close the case. This course (or SW 613, with permission) is required for those specializing in Child and Family Welfare and Justice.
SW 613. Social Work Practice in Schools.3 Credits.
This advanced course presents knowledge and critical skills for engaging in social work practice from preschool through high school in educational settings across the continuum from direct or clinical practice, to school- and district-level programming and policy, as well as partnering with communities and organizations to advance programming and policy. This course is required for those specializing in school social work.
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. This course or SW 611 is required for those MSW students specializing in Health/Mental Health/Substance Abuse.
SW 620. International Social Welfare.3 Credits.
This advanced 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 and core ideas 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.
SW 621. Health Policy.3 Credits.
This is an elective course on social welfare policy for advanced 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: Take SW 504.
Offered: As needed, Fall and Spring
SW 622. Multicultural Practice in Communities and Organizations.3 Credits.
This advanced 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.
SW 623. Child and Family Social Services Policy.3 Credits.
This advanced MSW elective course provides a perspective on public and private sector social policies and service programs for children and families. Students examine topics related to: policy objectives; history and values underpinning services; administration, economics and funding of services; politics, interest group activities and evaluation of policies and programs. The theme of advocacy on behalf of children and families is stressed throughout. The course builds on knowledge of the evaluative concepts of social policy analysis and other analytic skills included in the foundation policy course.
Prerequisites: Take SW 504.
Offered: As needed, Fall and Spring
SW 630. Clinical Social Work with Military Service Members and Families.3 Credits.
This advanced clinical practice course provides learning in 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. Students learn theoretical frameworks of trauma. They become familiar with common psychological and medical concerns for service members with combat experience. Students learn to identify the impact of trauma on those who have served in combat and on their families upon their return. 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.
SW 631. Clinical Social Work with Aging and Families.3 Credits.
This advanced course covers clinical social work practice with older adults and their families. The major goals of this course are for students to: understand the aging process from a holistic perspective, including biophysical, psychological (cognitive and emotional), 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 a specific practice setting, such as adult protective services, retirement communities, hospices, hospitals, adult day centers and psychiatric institutions.
SW 632. Art Therapy for Clinical Social Work Practice.3 Credits.
This advanced clinical social work practice course explores the principles of art therapy and considers the adjunctive 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. Specific populations, psychosocial issues, multicultural approaches and diverse settings are discussed. Clinical studies supporting best practice approaches in the field are emphasized with emerging evidence-based treatments discussed. Note: Basic skills are taught/informed by professional ethical standards. Art therapy as a profession requires a master's degree training program in art therapy. Do not expect to be able to practice as an art therapist at the completion of this course. Does not require previous training in the visual arts or artistic ability.
SW 633. Clinical Social Work Practice and Stress Management Techniques.3 Credits.
The psychological, physiological and sociocultural aspects of stress are taught in this advanced 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.
SW 634. Clinical Social Work with Substance Abuse and Addictive Behaviors Abuse and Addictive Behaviors.3 Credits.
This advanced clinical practice course is open to MSW students who have completed the foundation curriculum. This course teaches the clinical social work student the theories and concepts of addiction especially as it relates to alcohol and other drugs. Students learn basic information concerning selected drugs, current research and approaches to counseling the chemically dependent client and/or family member, the role of relevant systems, and how the addictive behavior affects these systems, and the application of social work values and ethics in the delivery of addiction services.
SW 635. Clinical Social Work Evidence- Based Treatment with Children and Adolescents.3 Credits.
The overall objective of this course is to provide students with a framework for understanding evidence-based mental health treatment with children and adolescents. Students have an opportunity to become familiar with some of the most commonly used EBTs in the field today 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. This course builds on knowledge of cognitive-behavioral theories and techniques taught in Human Behavior and Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice. Individual, family and group treatment are addressed. Special emphasis is given to consideration of clients' culture and background as well as the importance of the consumer.
SW 636. Clinical Social Work in Relation to Death, Dying, Bereavement, and Life-Threatening Illness.3 Credits.
This 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.
SW 637. Clinical Social Work with Couples.3 Credits.
This advanced clinical practice course builds upon the knowledge, attitude and skills components of the foundation curriculum, with a focus 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. Exercises, discussion and presentations encourage student awareness of their own values base and the need to provide ethical professional service free of personal bias.
SW 638. Clinical Social Work Treatment of Adults with Chronic Mental Illness.3 Credits.
The focus of this advanced clinical practice course is 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. A specific emphasis is on services to individuals who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness, substance abuse in conjunction with mental illness (dual-diagnosis population) and/or who are recovering from the effects of severe traumatic events. Privilege and social justice as they affect access to treatment are discussed. Mental health disparities by race and social class are considered throughout the course.
SW 639. Inter-Personal Therapy (IPT) for Clinical Social Work Practice.3 Credits.
This advanced 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.
SW 640. Clinical Social Work Practice with Adult Trauma.3 Credits.
This course covers conceptual theories of trauma, practice approaches and research findings. Students learn the conceptualization of trauma from cognitive/behavioral, psychodynamic and attachment theory perspectives. They become familiar with neuroscience findings that explain the impact of trauma on brain development. Students learn to differentiate between different types of trauma, to identify the impact of trauma on adults and to understand the role of gender, race, ethnicity and culture in individuals' responses to trauma. Students learn to apply diagnoses, assessment, psycho-education, stress management, affect regulation and emotional processing as core treatment components. The course includes the applications of trauma therapy to selected groups, including adult survivors of complex PTSD such as sexual abuse, combat trauma and survivors of acute incident trauma.
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