MSW Curriculum

It is the goal of the College of Health Professions to develop a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program that will meet the requirements for accreditation under the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States. As such we will work with CSWE to meet those goals.


The Master of Social Work (MSW) Program will consist of two different tracks:

M.S.W. Generalist Curriculum:

The 2-year curriculum promotes a generalist perspective in which the simultaneous impact of many systemic levels (individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities) on clients’ lives is critically analyzed and recognized. The foundation builds upon a liberal arts base that fosters an understanding of society as a complex organization of diverse people and ideas. Social problems are understood as occurring within the nexus of culture, conflict, development, ecology, and systems and as such, efforts to help or intervene must include consideration of these forces. Students will be able to critically identify and assess social problems, specifically attending to 1) how such problems are maintained, 2) how they impact the quality of people’s lives, 3) cultural sensitivity and appreciation of marginalized people, and 4) how to actively promote social and economic justice. In the foundation year, the focus is on the development of critical thinking skills in all the areas mentioned.

M.S.W. Advanced Curriculum -Advanced Social Work Practice:

The advanced practice curriculum seeks to develop the utilization and application of critical thinking, relative to behavioral health, on all levels – in reading professional writing and research, in students’ practice, in the classroom, and in the students’ own thinking. Consistently monitoring practice ethically, evaluating theoretical principles and epistemologies, and utilizing technological advances become basic practice patterns. Specific skill sets developed include: 1) Creating, organizing and integrating ideas and action on engaging diverse client systems effectively in change; 2) Assessing, conceptualizing and analyzing theoretical, practice and research problems from multiple perspectives and utilize critical thinking skills to formulate impressions based upon the data; 3) Analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating the evidence available to guide advanced social work practice; 4) Synthesizing, formulating and implementing a plan of action for social work practice that addresses complex issues and problems, builds consensus and incorporates multiple-level forces on client systems; 5) Analyzing and evaluating data of client progress and outcomes and sees  implications and consequences of this progress and outcomes; 6) Synthesizing, creating, and organizing ideas from theory, research and practice for social justice; 7) Demonstrating the ability to integrate culturally competent skills into all aspects of social work practice; 8) Demonstrating the knowledge of the roles of behavioral health providers working in primary care settings, theories and models of care, and cross-cultural issues; and 9) Demonstrating skills in engagement, assessment, intervention planning and implementation, and practice evaluation in the primary and behavioral health care setting. M.S.W. Practicum Education: All students admitted to the 60 credit-hour program are required to satisfactorily complete 900 clock hours in approved practicum sites. If employed in a human services agency meeting the department’s criteria as a placement site, the student may apply to undertake the practicum at her/his place of employment. This may be accomplished when the agency is willing to shift the student’s work role and supervision in such a manner as necessary to meet the school’s educational objectives for practicum instruction. M.S. W. Electives: The Marshall University Department of Social Work provides electives as enrichment to the specialized learning in the advanced year. Social work positions call for skills and knowledge that are broader than any narrowly defined specialization. For example, behavioral health care workers are asked to know psychopathology, substance abuse, managed care, AIDS, and a range of other substantive areas. Many school social workers share the need for the same content. In addition, it is noted that social workers frequently change jobs, often to another field of practice. Social work education seeks to teach students to think critically, analyze systematically, and know where to find information and resources within the context of social work history, development and values. It is this type of education that best prepares students to function in a rapidly changing society


Generalist/Foundation Level

The M.S.W. Program will consist of a Generalist/Foundation level curriculum to include the following:

Fall Semester

  • SWK 501: Generalist/Foundations of Generalist Practice I (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 511: Generalist/Foundations of Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 521: Generalist/Foundations of Policy (3 credit hours)

Spring Semester

  • SWK 531: Generalist/Foundations of Generalist Practice II (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 541: Generalist/Foundations of Research (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 551: Generalist/Foundation Field Practicum (3 credit hours)

Summer Semester

  •  SWK 551: Generalist/Foundation Field Practicum (6 credit hours)
  • SWK 615: Psychopathology (3 credit hours) (can be taken in summer or in the fall semester of Generalist year 2.
  • SWK Elective (can be taken during summer session of Generalist year I or Generalist year 2)

Specialist/Advanced Standing Program

Advanced Standing:   An applicant for admission to the Master of Social Work program who holds a baccalaureate degree from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education may be admitted with advanced standing. SWK 615 Psychopathology (3 credit hours); SWK 631 Integrated Healthcare: Models and Practice (3 credit hours); and SWK 633 Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice in Behavioral Health Care with Individuals and Families (3 credit hours) and Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice in Behavioral Health Care with Groups, Communities and Organizations. The spring semester includes the following courses:  SWK 670 Advanced Theory and Practice with Children (3 credit hours): SWK 673 Family and Community Violence in Rural and Underserved Areas (3 credit hours):  SWK 655 The Comorbidity of Mental Health and Physical Disorders (3 credit hours); and SWK 653 Advanced Field Practicum (9 credit hours 450 work hours). SWK Electives with advanced behavioral health focus (6 credit hours).


Degree Programs and Requirements:

Generalist:

Marshall University All Generalist 2-year students must complete 60 credits in order to graduate from the program. All students enrolled in the regular 60 credit program must complete two separate (two semesters each) academic year field placements.

2018-2019 MSW Generalist Plan of Study

Advanced Standing:

Students who enter the program with Advanced Standing (30 credit hours total) complete only one (1) academic (two (2) semesters) yearlong field placement (9 credit hours, 450 work hours).

2018-2019 MSW Advanced Standing Plan of Study

Fall Semester

  • SWK 615 Psychopathology (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 631 Integrated Healthcare: Models and Practice (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 633 Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice in Behavioral Health Care with Individuals and Families (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 653 Advanced Field Practicum (3 credit hours 150 work hours)

Spring Semester

  • SWK 634: Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice in Behavioral Health Care with Groups, Communities and Organizations
  • SWK 670 Advanced Theory and Practice with Children (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 673 Family and Community Violence in Rural and Underserved Areas (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 655 The Comorbidity of Mental Health and Physical Disorders (3 credit hours)
  • SWK 653 Advanced Field Practicum (3 credit hours 150 hours)

Field Practicum may be completed by taking 6 credit hours during spring semester or by taking 3 credit hours during spring semester and 3 credit hours during summer session.

All regular 2-year students must complete 60 credits in order to graduate from the program. All students enrolled in the regular 60 credit program must complete two separate (two semesters each) academic year long field placements. Students who enter our program with Specialist/Advanced standing complete only one academic (two semesters) yearlong field placement.

Summer Semester

SWK 653 Advanced Field Practicum (3 credit hours 150 hours)


Behavioral Health Elective Courses

Behavioral Health Elective Courses: Electives contextualize student learning into two platforms of practice including Behavioral Health Services for Military Families and Behavioral Health Services for Underserved Populations. Behavioral Health students will deepen their understanding of issues facing military veterans, their families, and underserved populations by working in field placements where behavioral health services focused on these populations takes place. A full range of electives is offered to supplement the required sequence of courses, thus permitting students an opportunity to deepen and enrich their knowledge of issues faced by military veterans and underserved populations. Examples of elective courses are:

  1. Behavioral Health Services for Military Families: SWK 650: Understanding Military Culture SWK 653
  2. Military Mental Health and the Impact of Trauma: SWK 623

Behavioral Health Area of Specialized Practice:

The Behavioral Health Area of Specialized Practice prepares students to conduct clinical social work practice in assessing, treating, and evaluating mental health, substance abuse, and physical health in relation to one another across practice settings. A focus throughout the specialization will be on understanding the multiple factors that influence health disparities and best practices to increase health equity, particularly for marginalized populations. There will be a special emphasis on effectively serving vulnerable populations with multiple needs. The Behavioral Health specialization integrates Generalist practice by enhancing and expanding on Generalist knowledge, values, and skills in the application of the planned change process across all size systems. The Behavioral Health specialization extends and enhances the Generalist practice skills of engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation and termination across all sized systems by incorporating clinical courses focused on Advanced Clinical Social Work in Behavioral Health with Individuals and Families – SWK 633, Family and Community Violence in Rural and Underserved Areas – SWK 673. Generalist macro practice is enhanced and extended in the Behavioral Health specialization through practice, assessment and evaluation of integrated healthcare models and practice in SWK 631. Integrated Healthcare Models and Practice prepares students to engage in culturally competent behavioral health practice with diverse client populations with attention to oppressed groups and populations at risk.


Composition of the Marshall University Master of Social Work Program:


Generalist/Foundation Curriculum 18 hours
Elective 3 hours
Field Instruction 9 hours
Total 30 hours

Generalist II/Specialist/Advanced Curriculum 18 hours
Psychopathology 3 hours
Field Instruction 9 hours
Total 30 hours

**+2 SWK Electives (Recommended/Taken Throughout the Year)


INTO Students

The Graduate Pathway Program will require INTO students who are matriculating into social work to begin work toward their degree by taking Social Work 203: Introduction to Social Work.

9-12 hours is the usual course load for Graduate students. However, with approval from the MSW program director and the Dean of the Graduate College you may take up to 15 hours per semester without extra charge.