Master of Social Work

Curriculum


Program Information

The MSW program prepares practitioners to address social services needs in the Greater Los Angeles and Southern California regions and enhance social services for people in urban environments. The program uses a strengths-based, community-oriented, urban family practice model that promotes social justice, with sensitivity to the multicultural population.

The program prepares graduates to work with a variety of client systems and is grounded in a framework to promote the well-being of urban families and communities. The curriculum incorporates the profession's history, purposes and philosophy. It emphasizes critical and creative thinking that enables graduates to initiate, adapt and evaluate interventions for urban families while remaining alert to relevant national and global issues. The program trains professionals to practice ethically and competently, and to integrate knowledge, process and values into professional social work practice.

The MSW program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

For information about the on-campus MSW program, see the Master of Social Work Program.

Classes

Classes are taught in a cohort model, with students moving through the program as a unit. The cohorts start and finish together. Once a cohort starts, no additional students are accepted into the cohort.

Advantages:

  • Students have guaranteed enrollment in their classes.
  • The class schedule is fixed and pre-determined.
  • Students have an opportunity to work as a team.

In addition to traditional classes, this program includes a field practicum, which is the keystone of graduate social work education.

Course Descriptions

course name units description
SWRK 501 Human Behavior and Social Environment

3

Prerequisites: Graduate admission and acceptance to the MSW Program. This course provides an understanding of human behavior and social environment from an eco-systemic and value-based perspective as applicable in social work practice. Content includes theories and knowledge of human, bio-psycho-social development, and that of the range of social systems, (families, groups, organizations, institutions and communities) in which individuals live. This course looks at the larger view of the interaction of human behavior and the social environment across the life span from the human ancestor and family genetic inheritance to birth, childhood, youth, adult life, old age and death.
SWRK 502 Human Behavior and Social Environment II

3

Prerequisites: Graduate admission and acceptance to the MSW Program. This is the second of two human behavior and the social environment courses, which provides an understanding of human behavior and social environmental relationships from an ecological perspective. It will focus on the developmental dynamics of larger social systems, specifically groups, organizations and communities, and their influence on individuals and families. The systems’ interdependence with political, social, cultural and economic and natural environments is explored. Content emphasizes multiculturalism, diversity and social justice in relation to social systems. (Offered Spring semesters).
SWRK 503 Psychosocial Assessment and Diagnostic Formulation

3

Prerequisites: Graduate admission and acceptance to the MSW Program. Throughout the course, the DSM-5 and other diagnostic tools will be used as an organizing framework for reviewing major mental disorders—with an emphasis on critiquing the strengths and weaknesses of these assessment tools, highlights of the changes from the DSM IV-TR to the DSM-5, the role of social workers in psychiatric diagnosis, and the relationship of diagnosis to social work assessment and issues of ethical practice. While the course will not provide skill-based learning in specific clinical interventions, it will provide students with experience in conducting comprehensive assessments and case planning that can integrate diagnostic information to assure that interventions are consistent with the individual's needs and strengths.
SWRK 510 Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice

3

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and acceptance to the MSW Program. This is an introductory course in generalist social work practice methods and skills of social work intervention with individuals. Attention is given to the historic development of social work practice, the nature and application of social work values and ethical principles, the theoretical framework of helping methods and the helping process of assessment, planning, intervention, termination and evaluation. Emphasis is on a generalist approach to helping within an ecosystem approach for understanding the person-in-situation.

SWRK 520 Social Work Practice in Multicultural Settings

3

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and acceptance to the MSW program.  This course is designed to assist graduate social work students in understanding and interacting in a culturally competent manner with the multitude of groups that are identified by race, culture, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, and regional and national origins that compose the diverse cultural mosaic of the U.S. The course will also cover issues relating to international social work practice and the increasingly interconnected global economy.
SWRK 521 Generalist Social Work Theory and Practice II

3

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and acceptance to the MSW program.  This course is designed to help students understand organizations, institutions and communities, and the knowledge bases of social work generalist practice for interventions at this level. It provides an opportunity to explore selected macro models of practice, and learn about human service organizations that often serve as an immediate context for community practice.

SWRK 522/
SWRK 522P
Foundations of Field Education I

3

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and acceptance to the MSW program.  Field education in the professional foundation year is designed to permit the student to apply the knowledge, skills and values learned in courses in the liberal arts, social work practice, social welfare policy and services, and human behavior in the social environment, and social research in an educationally supervised experience. Students are required to complete approximately 200-250 hours of supervised practice during the course in an assigned social service agency. Agency assignments are made by the field coordinator after consultation with the student.

Letter grade only.

SWRK 523/
SWRK 523P
Foundations of Field Education II

3

Prerequisites: SWRK 522. Field education in the professional foundation year is designed to permit the student to apply the knowledge, skills and values learned in courses in the liberal arts, social work practice, social welfare policy and services, human behavior in the social environment, and social research in an educationally supervised experience. Students are required to complete approximately 250-300 hours of supervised practice during the course in an assigned social service agency. Agency assignments are made by the field coordinator after consultation with the student.

Letter grade only.

SWRK 525 Social Welfare Policy and Services

3

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and acceptance to the MSW program.  This course examines economic, historical, political, intellectual, socio-cultural, leadership, values, ideologies and other such factors shaping social welfare, economic policy, programs and services. It addresses various frameworks for studying social welfare policy, programs and services, and examines the roles of policy-makers, the processes of social change, and the roles of social workers as facilitators of positive social change. Special emphasis is placed on effects of social and economic policy decisions on impoverished and oppressed people.

SWRK 535 Research Methods for Social Knowledge and Practice

3

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and acceptance to the MSW program.  This course provides an overview of social science research methods useful for social work practice. It provides the foundation knowledge and skills that enable students to be intelligent consumers of information, to conduct social research, and to critically evaluate social work practice. The application of social research methods to social work practice in various size systems is a primary emphasis.
SWRK 601 Advanced Social Work Practice with Urban Families I

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  This course emphasizes theories, concepts and skills of social work practice with urban families. The application of advanced practice skills used in working with individuals, families, and small groups is the central content of the course. Special attention is given to practice with special populations who face the social and personal problems of urban community life. Family practice methods are a major focus of the course. This advanced year course concentrates on what is unique about various individuals, couples, and families and how to deal with these unique issues.
SWRK 621 Advanced Social Work Practice in Urban Communities

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  This course is designed to help students understand and apply mezzo-macro social work interventions in urban settings with families/groups, communities, organizations and institutions. Building upon the material in SWRK 521, the course will provide an opportunity to explore and apply selected advanced social work mezzo-macro practice skills such as planning, organizing, program development and implementation, organizational assessment, and evaluation. In addition, students will learn about leadership integration and human service organizations that often serve as an immediate context for community practice.
SWRK 622/
SWRK 622P
Advanced Field Practicum with Urban Families

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  Advanced Field Practicum I is the first semester of the advanced concentration field practicum courses. In the advanced field practicum, students continue to build upon the knowledge and skills gained during the foundation program. The course provides field education about the advanced concentration curriculum, which focuses on social work with urban families. The first practicum is designed to provide experience in direct work with families or subsets of families, offering an opportunity to put classroom learning into practice. Students are required to complete approximately 250-300 hours of supervised practice in their assigned social service agency and attend the field practicum course designed to integrate classroom learning and field experience.

Letter grade only.

SWRK 623/
SWRK 623P
Advanced Field Practicum with Urban Families II

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  Advanced Practice with Urban Families Field Practicum II is the second semester of the advanced concentration field practicum courses. The course provides field education about the advanced concentration curriculum, which focuses on social work with urban families. This second practicum is designed to provide experience in larger system work with and on behalf of families, coordinating with the content classroom learning. During the second semester of field practicum, students continue at their first semester assigned placement site while continuing to enhance their social work practice skills. Students are required to complete approximately 300-360 hours of supervised practice in their assigned social service agency. Letter grade only.
SWRK 630 Family Crisis, Trauma and Grief

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  This course examines the complex issues of family crisis, trauma and grief for social workers working with urban families and individuals who have experienced these conditions. Several theoretical approaches are examined, with an emphasis on crisis intervention in traumatic and stressful situations, as well as issues of death and dying and the grief and loss that are associated with them. In the modern urban environments, many people experience traumatic events in their daily lives. The purpose of the course is to acquaint social work students with the nature and impact as well as some of the concepts, theories and principles for dealing with client systems of all sizes when they face crisis, trauma and grief. The significance of crisis, trauma and grief for fields of practice such as mental health, hospital social work, child welfare, gerontology, and other social services and in community violence and terrorism are explored.

SWRK 635 Advanced Skills in Program Evaluation and Research with Urban Families

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  This course provides a more in-depth view of social science research methods useful for social work practice. It provides the knowledge and skills that enable students to be intelligent consumers of information, to conduct social research, to critically evaluate social work practice and policy. Students will also learn how to use research to scientifically evaluate their own practice. The current socio-political climate is increasingly focusing on assessing the costs, quality and effectiveness of social services. Therefore, this course is based on the assumption that as a practicing social worker, you will be engaged in applying research findings in your clinical work and using research methods to monitor and evaluate clinical interventions and services to urban families.
SWRK 645 Urban Social Policy and Advocacy

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  This course is designed to help students gain knowledge and skills of policy practice (including both analysis and advocacy) to effectively participate in the development and advancement of policies that support and effect change at multiple levels of diverse client systems in urban environments. This course helps build skills in both formal and informal policy analysis, identifying underlying values, and communicating and organizing to effect policy formation and change.
SWRK 650 Special Topics

3

Prerequisite: Second Year standing.  In-depth study of a selected theme or issue in Social Work. Topics offered may change from semester to semester. Critical writing and reading is required. (A) Child Welfare; (B) Addictions; (C) Mental Health; (E) Practice DSM-IV-TR; (G) Supervision; (I) Aging and Families; (J) Immigration Issues and Practice in Urban Settings; (K) Dream Work/Interpretation; (L) Social Work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals, Families and Communities; (M) Group Therapy in Mental Health Settings with Urban, Multicultural Clients; (N) Couples Therapy: A New Research-Based Approach; (O) Social Work in Health Сare Settings; (P) Family Therapy for Social Workers; (Q) LCSW Preparation Course; (R) Social Work Practice in Schools.
SWRK 698 Graduate Project

3

Prerequisites: Second Year standing.  Offered as the culminating experience of the graduate program, students complete an individual or group research project reflecting the students’ interest and needs in working with urban families (SWRK 698). This project meets the culminating experience requirements.