Continuing Education (CE)
NASW is committed to helping social workers meet their professional development needs. This has led us to create multiple professional development programs and products such as credentials, education and training courses, newsletters, employment information, resources, and publications.
NASW members can receive free CEs and CEs at discounted rates to fill their licensing or credentialing requirements when they participate in our professional development programs.
Social Work Online CE Institute
NASW offers hundreds of CE courses in a variety of formats — webinars, webcasts, podcasts, presentations, and more. All courses offered through this program are accredited by either the NASW National Office or one of NASW Chapters and NASW members receive discounted prices.
NASW accreditation does not imply automatic acceptance by all State Boards. Individuals should check with their licensing Board on whether a specific program will be accepted for continuing education purposes.
Confidently track your licensing renewal requirements with CE Tracker—the online tool that tells you exactly what you need to renew your license and tracks your progress along the way.
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NASW-Approved CE Courses
Save time and money by reviewing NASW’s list of approved CE vendors. Easily search seminars, conferences and workshops offered by our many partners.
CE Approval Program
NASW helps organizations promote CE programs that meet our rigorous criteria.
Learn about the CE Approval Program
Advance your career through continuing education
NASW offers hundreds of quality courses to choose from through the CE Institute and our CE Tracker tool will keep you organized and up-to-date.
Learn how NASW can help with continuing education
Want to know which books social workers are reading?
NASW has an active community of social workers discussing a wide range of topics and issues on the MyNASW discussion forums.
Explore the books social workers are talking about
Earn CEs with NASW Press Publications
Now you can earn continuing education credits (CEs) for reading select NASW Press publications!
Learn how to earn CEs at NASW Press
Writing Guide for Social Workers
Social workers serve as a link between clients and community resources, providing vital human services that assist underserved populations. Writing is a key part of the job; social workers frequently write documents such as assessment reports, case notes, letters, emails, and support plans. Often, social workers are responsible for procuring and providing services for clients, and their writing skills must be strong to enable the best support possible. The social work field has a reputation for bureaucratic red tape and paperwork, but it's up to skilled social workers to navigate these systems and secure the most useful resources and social services for their clients.
This guide examines the ins and outs of professional writing for social work practice, exploring the main types of writing you'll likely encounter while studying social work in college. Along with a breakdown of common types of writing, you'll also find information on style and citation formats relevant to academic writing. Additionally, this guide includes common writing mistakes to avoid, resources to help you improve your general writing skills, and writing resources specifically for social workers.
Types of Writing Social Workers Will Do in School
The personal statement is a written representation of your interests and abilities, giving colleges a sense of who you are and why you're interested in social work. Specific topic requirements vary between schools, but the statement of purpose typically calls for you to describe your personal and professional experiences and relate them to the goals of a specific social work program. Schools also use the statement as a social work writing sample, gauging your career motives as well as your creativity, self-awareness, critical thinking skills, and overall writing ability. Common prompts may include describing your background, the development of your interest in social work, your experience with diversity, or your work experience in the field.
A strong personal statement answers all required prompts in a cohesive narrative. The essay should explain your experiences and how they relate to your aspirations while avoiding clichés and overly generalized statements. Almost everyone who goes into social work wants to help people; distinguish yourself from other applicants by explaining precisely why and how you want to help, and what makes this desire unique. Some schools don't require the statement of purpose, but you should always complete one if you have the option, as it gives the admissions committee a clearer sense of who you are as a student and a social worker.
In many social work programs, exams take the form of essays completed during class. Professors rarely announce the essay topics in advance, but you can prepare by examining the syllabus and determining major course ideas and themes. You may also be able to anticipate potential essay topics by examining previous course materials and looking for patterns in the type of questions the professor assigns. A study group can also help you prepare for essay exams by reviewing the course curriculum and devising possible essay topics with other students.
Before you begin writing an essay, you should first determine exactly what the prompt asks, which ensures that you're fully prepared to answer the question. Next, compose an outline with a thesis and at least three main points that support your idea. Ideally, you should spend 10-20% of your allotted time devising your main ideas and drawing up an outline. Essay exams must follow the same logical progression of ideas that characterizes conventional expository writing, so be sure to organize your supporting paragraphs properly. While writing the essay should occupy most of your exam time, try to give yourself a few minutes at the end of the exam to proofread your work and make minor revisions.
Of all social work writing, the research paper ranks among the most common. You'll likely complete several extensive research papers throughout the course of your studies, requiring you to examine and synthesize many information sources on a specific topic. While a research paper is similar to an essay, several key factors distinguish the two forms: an essay typically expresses your own perspective, while a research paper uses the work of others to draw new conclusions on a topic. Research papers are typically longer than essays and require a greater depth of knowledge on a topic. Potential topics for social work research papers vary as much as the field itself and may cover subjects like substance abuse, child and family services, community organizing, or education.
Most research papers either make an argument on a topic or explore overall perspectives on a topic, and some do both. Like other forms of writing, a research paper needs a thesis and supporting information, though the thesis often changes as further research occurs. Since research papers call for substantial information gathering and presentation, outlining and organization are particularly important, and a topic must be complex enough to sustain significant research.
How Do You Write an Essay?
Regardless of your area of study, you'll likely complete several types of writing throughout the course of your degree. Different essay styles call for different approaches, and the following section outlines the most common essay forms you're likely to encounter, along with tips for writing them.
- Narrative : A narrative essay allows you to tell a personal story, typically with more freedom than most forms of writing. However, the narrative essay must fulfill certain requirements, such as telling a cohesive, interesting story with a beginning, middle, and end. A narrative essay must also serve a purpose; readers need to understand why you're telling your story and come away with a message or lesson.
- Expository : The expository essay requires you to explore a topic and make a compelling argument based on your research. An expository essay begins with a clear thesis statement, moves into body paragraphs that support your argument, and ends with a conclusion that sums up your main ideas. Expository writing encompasses many styles, including comparative writing and cause-and-effect writing.
- Persuasive : Similar to the expository essay, the persuasive essay requires you to research a topic and make an argument based on your assessment. However, persuasive essays differ in that they require more extensive research and often entail more writing. Expository essays may occur as in-class assignments or as parts of exams, while persuasive essays often function as final assignments with more time to complete. A persuasive essay still requires a strong, evidence-based thesis and extensive supporting details in its body paragraphs.
- Comparative : A comparative essay examines the similarities and differences between two or more items, which could be anything from political systems to literary texts. After analyzing these items, you must develop a thesis that makes an argument about their similarities or differences. Some comparative essays focus more on similarities to develop a thesis, while others focus on differences. Like other essay forms, the comparative essay needs well-organized points that support a thesis.
- Cause and Effect : This essay type examines a certain event or pattern and attempts to analyze the factors that caused it, making an argument about why the event occurred in such a way. For example, an essay on the Great Depression and the stock market crash of 1929 might examine the various economic and social factors that led to the depression, making an argument about how these factors functioned together to create the situation.
Citations Guide for Social Work Students
Citation plays an important role in all forms of academic writing, as it ensures that writers properly attribute their research sources and avoid plagiarism. Failure to cite your sources properly can cause major problems in your academic career, and even unintentional plagiarism can result in heavy penalties in the academic world, particularly at higher levels of study. This section outlines the major citation styles used for academic writing, highlighting key differences and presenting examples of each style's citation format.
American Psychological Association Style
APA style is the citation method of choice in most social science courses, and this format generally serves as the default social work writing style. Since research in the social sciences constantly changes, APA emphasizes the dates of sources to help readers determine their recency and relevance. For in-text citations, APA style uses the author's name, the date of publication, and the page number. Book citations used in a reference list typically include the author's name, year of publication, book title, city of publication, and the publisher.
"If the manner of a man's dying seems arbitrary, his morality is inescapable" (Anderson, 1983, p. 10).
Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities. New York, New York: Verso.
Chicago Manual of Style
The Chicago style ranks among the most comprehensive and complex of formatting choices, and it often serves the needs of high-level academic writing, particularly in the field of history. Unlike most other styles, Chicago calls for the use of either footnotes or endnotes for in-text citations. Numbered in-text citations correspond to notes that indicate the author's name, book title, publisher information, publication date, and page number. Chicago style formatting also typically includes a formal bibliography at the end of the text.
"If the manner of a man's dying seems arbitrary, his morality is inescapable."  Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (New York: Verso, 1983), 10.
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. New York: Verso, 1983.
Modern Language Association Format
MLA formatting most commonly occurs in humanities and liberal arts writing, such as English and philosophy. This format emphasizes authorship, with in-text citations that indicate the author's name and page number at the end of each quotation. For reference lists, MLA format calls for writers to include the author's name, the title of the work, the publisher, and the year of publication.
"If the manner of a man's dying seems arbitrary, his morality is inescapable" (Anderson 10).
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. Verso, 1983.
Associated Press Style
AP style isn't commonly used for academic writing, but you may find yourself using this style if you're writing a more journalistic piece. Created for newspapers and other forms of mass media, the AP style emphasizes consistency, clarity, accuracy, and brevity. Since it's not academic, there aren't concrete rules for citing particular types of texts, but generally the style calls for the citation of a source directly before or after a quote, often using the words "said" or "stated."
"If the manner of a man's dying seems arbitrary, his morality is inescapable," said Anderson.
The Best Writing Style for Social Work Majors
Social work combines many academic disciplines, but typically, social work courses call for assignments to be formatted in APA style, though this may vary between schools, programs, and individual professors. Your faculty will likely indicate which format they prefer in the course syllabus, but it never hurts to ask. Always be sure to follow formatting instructions exactly, as professors may penalize you for disregarding specific formatting requests.
Common Writing Mistakes Students Make
Active vs. passive voice.
One of the most common mistakes among developing writers is the use of passive voice, which makes sentences wordier, less immediate, and less clear. In the active voice, the sentence's subject performs the action. Using passive voice, the subject receives the action. Passive construction occurs everywhere in writing, but there are easy strategies to help you locate it and convert your sentences to active voice.
Certain keywords and phrases, such as "by," "was," and "it was" often indicate the use of the passive voice. When revising your writing, look for these words and determine if they form part of a passive sentence. For example, if you notice the word "by" connected to the subject of the sentence, see if you can alter the construction so the subject occurs closer to the beginning of the sentence.
Improper comma usage often leads to confusion in writing. One of the most common errors is the comma splice, which occurs when a writer connects two independent clauses using only a comma. For example: "I don't like accounting class, it's too difficult." Both "I don't like accounting class" and "it's too difficult" are independent clauses, meaning they can stand as separate sentences. To link these clauses correctly, a comma isn't enough; you can often correct a comma splice by either creating two separate sentences, using a semicolon to link the two clauses together, or using a coordinating conjunction like "because."
Incorrect semicolon and colon usage also causes problems for many writers. While they function similarly, these two punctuation marks serve different purposes. A semicolon links two separate, but related, thoughts: "I'm glad I'm going to Europe; I really need a vacation." A colon typically sets off a list or an example: "I always bring three things on vacation: my camera, my suitcase, and my sunglasses."
Grammar mistakes hinder writers of all skill levels. In an abstract sense, grammar forms the entire structure of a language and its usage, but in practice, many simple rules exist to help you keep track of and avoid common mistakes. For example, many writers struggle with the use of there, their, and they're, but the differences in the words are quite pronounced. There indicates a location. Their is the possessive form of they. Finally, they're is a contraction of "they" and "are."
Another common grammatical mistake hinges on the confusion between its and it's. The word its is a possessive that indicates ownership. On the other hand, it's is a contraction of "it" and "is."
Writing Resources for Social Work Students
- Purdue OWL : Purdue University's Online Writing Lab offers support for all types of writing, with a wealth of instructional material that covers general writing strategies and the specific facets of academic writing.
- WiSP : Writing in Social Work Practice seeks to examine the role of writing in the field of social work, with the goal of improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness in social work writing practices.
- Foundation Center : Grant writing plays a major role in social work, and the Foundation Center offers resources to connect social workers with philanthropic organizations and improve grant writing skills.
- Grammar Girl : Casual and conversational, Grammar Girl offers general writing tips for all types of writers. Most articles highlight common writing mistakes and offer strategies for recognizing and fixing them.
- Council on Foundations : Another major resource for grant writers, the Council on Foundations offers online learning and mentorship services that help social workers develop their grant writing and public policy knowledge.
- Licensure Resources
- Social Work License Requirements by State
- Professional Networking in Social Work
- Types of Social Workers
- What is the ASWB Licensing Exam?
- Studying for the Social Work Licensure Exam
- Social Work Education
- How to Become a Social Worker
- Which Social Work Degree Should I Get?
- How to Choose a Social Work Program
- Reasons to Purse a Bachelor's in Social Work
- A Master's Degree in Social Work: Developing Skills and Competencies
- Social Work Doctoral Programs
- CSWE Accreditation
- Social Work Internships: Advice for the Social Work Graduate Student
- Online Bachelor's of Social Work (BSW) Programs
- Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Programs
- Doctorate of Social Work Online
- Most Affordable Online Master's in Social Work Programs
- Graduate Application Guide for Social Workers
- Recent Articles of Interest
- The Medical Social Worker: Following Patient Interactions
- How to Find the Right Social Work Internship
- Navigating the Social Work Job Application Process
- Self Care Tips for Social Workers
- Social Workers Tackle the Root Causes of Hospital Re-Admission
- Online Programs? Does CSWE or CSWA Approve?
- A New Direction: Applied Behavior Analysis
- Social Media and Social Work: A Question of Ethics
- Options for Students Without CSWE Accredited Bachelor’s Degrees
- Counseling vs. Social Work
- The Social Work Profession
- Clinical Social Work vs. Direct Services Social Work
- Social Worker vs. Child Welfare Worker
Student life, writing resources.
There are many writing resources available to support you in developing your skills as a writer. This section features resources for Writing Centers, Writing Tips, Writing Courses, and APA Style.
- Odegaard Writing & Research Center. Open to the entire UW community, students can access online and in-person writing and research appointments, along with comprehensive writing resources and handouts .
- CLUE Tutoring. A welcoming, inclusive space for students to connect, ask questions about various subjects, prepare for exams, and have support on homework, with online and in-person options.
- OMAD Instructional Center. The Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Instructional Center provides academic support and mentoring for under-represented minority, first-generation college and economically disadvantaged students.
- Purdue OWL . A student favorite, the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University provides extensive online reference materials, services and resources.
- Write with Might . Thoughtful and informative writing tips written specifically for social work students in the 2012-2013 academic year.
- Dear Writing Tutor . A Q&A feature with questions asked by social work students and answered by a social work writing tutor in the 2013-2014 academic year.
- Soc Wf 250 Writing for Social Welfare Courses Links to an external site. W. Offers an engaging space for social welfare students to develop, practice, and strengthen college-level writing using exercises, discussion, and lecture. Covers summarizing and responding, critical thinking and argument, APA style and academic honesty, as well as language and the writing process. Review of punctuation and mechanics, grammar, and sentence style. Credit/no-credit only. BASW students will receive more information about how to register for this elective.
- ENGL 102 Essentials of College Reading & Writing Links to an external site. . Develop and practice the reading, writing and critical thinking strategies needed for analyzing and responding to academic texts. Practices critical reading of academic texts, developing research questions, making claims, determining credibility of sources, and appropriately citing sources in writing.
- ENGL 104 Essentials of College Communication Links to an external site. . Discover how to take effective notes, give clear presentations and oral reports, and participate in important class discussions. Practice asking engaging questions, sharing opinions, and arguing your point persuasively in the classroom.
- APA Style Links to an external site. . Explore dozens of style guidelines covering topics like in-text citations, references, tables and figures, and bias-free language.
- UW on APA Style . Visit the APA citation guide put together by UW Libraries.
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Report Writing for Social Workers
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This is a useful and largely accessible text that I hope will be helpful to our students. It is helpful to have a book specifically addressing this essential skill as it is a common complaint of empoyers that students learn to write essays but not reports.
This book follows the valuable tenets of the learning matters series: A clear, accessible overview of report writing. Thought-provoking case examples illustrate the complexities and challenges of report writing in social work, offering qualifying students valuable insights within which to contextualise development of their report writing skills.
This is a good read for all social workers. The text is very practical and provides the reader with the confidence to follow suggestions made in the book. A must read for all social workers, particularly if in practice, or teaching students social workers in practice.
A useful resource for social work students, many of whom find writing reports a major challenge
Used a supplementary reading to a course we run based on report writing. Good case studies with clear information.
This book deals competently and clearly the essentials of report writing at a basic level for beginning undergraduate students. At the present time many students struggle with writing skills (!), and the book is useful to recommend further along the education continuum also in particular cases.
I have delivered a annual course in report writing to various government agencies for almost ten years, and so I looked forward to reading this work. It did not disappoint. The structure and content of this book make it eminently 'useable' and useful.
Although it is still early in the course, I have already used this book extensively with my honours students, including exercises in probation report writing, and theory to practice reflection reports. It has been very well received by my students, a number of whom have already purchased this book for themselves. I highly recommend this work and I look forward to using it for the rest of the honours course.
When I is the title of this book I was excited as I thought it would be very relevant to my role as a practice educator supporting social workers in training on PLO1 & 2 at both undergraduate and Masters levels. However the book for me falls short, both in what it includes and the level of detail. For example in defining "report" -- what to include -- I would have hoped for sections on writing case files, the importance of chronologies etc. In the section on notetaking there are only three points made and I find social workers in training need far more than this. For example it could have included different styles of notetaking such as using spider diagrams; the use of abbreviations; using a timeline with service users which shares the power of recording as it is done together. I would have hoped for a section on how focusing on a form in report writing can be a barrier to communication.
The section on "what to leave out "on page 69 really disappoints. It gives the example of a sentence "Mr M had a difficult childhood". It does not highlight that "difficult" can mean different things to different people and the importance of not using such value judgement words in reports and records but rather replacing them with descriptors. In this section it would have been helpful to include examples of unnecessary details that often we see written in reports. As a result I have just ordered an inspection copy of the Karen Healy book on writing skills for social workers and I'm hoping for more from this.
Currently one of the skills social workers need to develop hi lighted by the reform board agenda. It is useful top use individually and in group sessions.
Clear and concise. Useful pointers for the basics of report writing often overlooked by practitioners.
Perhaps could have had section on requirements of court rules governing reporting.
Preview this book
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Professional Development and Training
Social work is a dynamic profession, requiring you to stay current in the field, whether it’s applying the latest research, understanding a new regulation and its implications, maintaining your license or professional credential, or acquiring additional training to meet the needs of an aging population, for example. Look to the following resources to. . .
- grow and manage your career;
- maintain a practice of excellence; and
- better serve individuals, families, and communities.
Continuing Education Resource Center
The cornerstone of professional development is continuing your education. Increase your knowledge and skills by attending face-to-face continuing education programs, receive relevant and timely information about the clients and community you serve, or plan to complete an online course in the privacy of your home or office. All social workers need continuing education to enhance their career. Below are resources that provide you with the continuing education you need to enhance your professional skills:
- Continuing Education Portal The CE Portal is a national listing of quality continuing education offerings. A wealth of information at your finger tips where you can search by topic, location, and/or date.
- NASW Chapters NASW Chapters connect you to NASW chapter/state annual conferences and local continuing education programs and activities. Review an NASW Chapter Web site where you live and work to access continuing education events and a network of colleagues.
- Online Courses NASW WebEd online courses educate social workers on today’s practice topics. Free CEUs can be used for licensure, NASW credential application and renewal, professional development, and can enhance social work curricula.
- Risk Management Workshops NASW Assurance Services, Inc. (ASI) offers risk management workshops with CEUs and online resources to reduce a social worker’s risk and exposure to an ethics complaint, licensing board complaint, or malpractice law suit. To learn more, visit the ASI Education Center .
- NASW Lunchtime Series NASW members can take advantage of one-hour live teleconferences and earn 1.0 free CEUs. Can’t make a teleconference, but still want to earn the CEU? Listen to the pod cast, download the audio file, or read the transcript later. The Lunchtime Series covers current topics of interest to social workers. Register to listen right away.
- NASW Specialty Practice Sections Teleconferences NASW Sections sponsor practice-based teleconferences exclusively for section members. The live teleconferences provide you with the opportunity to earn more free CEUs. The courses are available 24/7 by downloading the audio file or reading the transcript.
Strengthen and grow your social work career through networking with your colleagues around the globe and in your community.
- Attend NASW Chapters face-to-face events to meet professional social workers in your community.
- Comment on the latest social work issues at socialworkblog.org
- Expand your list of professional contacts by joining NASW’s LinkedIn official group page .
- Friend NASW on our official Facebook group page and introduce yourself, post comments on our Wall, and add topics for discussion.
- Tweet on NASW’s Twitter Feed
- Tune in to social work happenings on NASW’s YouTube Channel and comment on what you have seen and heard.
Read, Research and Write for the Social Work Profession
- Publications NASW Press is a leading scholarly press in the social sciences. It serves faculty, practitioners, agencies, libraries, clinicians, and researchers throughout the United States and abroad. Known for attracting expert authors, the NASW Press delivers professional information to hundreds of thousands of readers through its scholarly journals, books, and reference works.
- Research Review the NASW Web site Research Page that provides information on social work research to help inform policy, practice, and education; visit the NASW Center for Workforce Studies Clearinghouse , an on-line library for those searching for information about the social work workforce; read Social Work Speaks Abstracts to research policy issues related to the social work profession; and apply for the dataset to conduct research on the social work workforce to strengthen your knowledge of professional social work!
- Write for Your Profession Submitting content to www.HelpStartsHere.org , publishing for the NASW Press, and writing in the NASW Sections newsletters is a great way to inform and connect with like-minded colleagues, build an impressive portfolio of writing samples, and enhance your opportunities for leadership and advancement in the social work profession.
Advocating for social work and the clients/communities we serve is critical to securing the future of social work.
- The Social Work Reinvestment Initiative is a collaborative effort comprised of leading social work organizations and other stakeholders committed to securing federal and state investments related to recruitment, training, retention and research that strengthen the social work profession and the communities it serves.
- Grassroots advocacy teaches you how to take action on federal and state issues important to social workers. The Grassroots Toolkit is a great resource for lobbying and contacting your members of congress.
A state social work license is. . .
- Issued to regulate the practice of social work
- Issued to protect the public
- Issued by and useful only in the jurisdiction (state) where the holder plans to practice.
Licensing requirements vary from jurisdiction. Visit the state regulatory board directly or the Association of Social Work Boards , for a list of social work state licensing agencies or for a comparison of state regulations .
Credentials and Certifications
NASW credentials and certifications provide recognition to those social workers who have met national standards for higher levels of specialized knowledge, skills, and experience. Credentials and certification enhance your state license and attest to your commitment to advanced social work practice.
Ethics and Best Practices
The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday professional conduct of social workers. NASW. Our Code of Ethics addresses:
Leadership Series Documents
Social work can be a very rewarding profession. However, transforming passion for your profession into a vibrant and satisfying career is not always easy. The NASW Leadership Ladders series is designed to assist social workers with successfully navigating their careers. Whether you are new to the profession, a second-career professional or a mid-career professional, these tips will help you broaden your sphere of influence and take on the challenges that can catapult you to the next level in your career!
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Social Work Courses
WCSU Department of Social Work
Course descriptions, updated ay 19-20.
SW 200 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare Services 3 credits
This course is designed to introduce students to the social work profession and the wide spectrum of social welfare services in their contexts for practice: public, non-profit, and proprietary settings. It offers the students an introduction to the competencies which underlie the practice of social work. The generalist model of social work practice will be used as a framework for teaching and learning. Pre requisite : C+ in SOC 100 .
SW 210 Social Welfare as an Institution 3 credits
This course, which is the first in a two-part social policy sequence, provides a historical and analytical assessment of social welfare as an institution, using a framework of social theories and definitions of social welfare conditions, policy goals, program design, and service delivery. It examines the evolution of social welfare in the United States and globally. It also examines contexts for practice in ways to advance human rights and social and economic justice. The functions of social work as a profession are explored in areas such as income security, family and children’s services, and health care services. Prer equisite : C+ in SOC 100 .
SW 215 Human Behavior and the Social Environment 3 credits
The focus of this course is on conceptual frameworks that explain the interrelatedness of genetic, biological, emotional, psychological, societal, cultural, and environmental conditions. This course also examines the factors that foster or impede social functioning and their effects on individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations, and society. Prerequisites: C+ is SOC 100, BIO 100 or BIO 132, or permission of department chair.
SW 220 Cultural Diversity 3 credits
This course provides students with a theoretical understanding of culture, ethnicity, oppression, gender, and race that informs clinical assessment and intervention. Focus is on the psychosocial dimensions of disempowerment and social work practice building on client strengths. Students will explore the differences in types of prejudice and their etiologies as well as the similarities in the consequences for those experiencing prejudice and discrimination. Emphasizing the Connecticut region, this course will analyze the significant racial, ethnic, and other differences affecting professional social work practice. Comparison to other countries’ diversity issues will be made. Theoretical approaches, case studies and experiential exercises will be used to deepen the understanding of self and others. Prerequisites: C+ in SOC 100, or permission of the Department Chair. Priority given to SW and HPX majors.
SW 300 Social Work Research 3 credits
This course introduces students to research concepts and skills relevant to generalist social work practice with client systems of all sizes. The purpose of this course is to prepare generalist social workers to use social work practice experiences to inform scientific inquiry, including reading, interpreting, evaluating, and generating social work research and knowledge; and to use research to inform social work practice. Prerequisites: SW 200 and MAT 100. Open only to social work majors.
SW 306 Social Work Junior Field Practicum and Seminar 3 credits
This is the first field experience in a social service agency. The field practicum is for 8 hours per week over a period of 13 weeks, with a required one-hour weekly seminar. This seminar is designed to provide students with an opportunity to conceptualize and evaluate their developing competencies, participate in collaborative peer learning, and integrate the field experience with the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of generalist social work practice. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 309 and acceptance to Professional Level I in the major. Co-requisite: SW 310. Spring semester.
SW 309 Social Work Practice I 3 credits
Utilizing the conceptual frameworks of generalist social work practice, this course focuses on the development of interpersonal and interviewing skills, values and ethics of the profession, and the professional knowledge base. Professional use of self is also emphasized. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 200 (or permission of chair), C+ in PSY100 and C+ in SOC 100. Fall Semester.
SW 310 Social Work Practice II 3 credits
This course is a continuation of SW 309, Social Work Practice I. Emphasis is on generalist social work practice competencies in assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individual, families, and groups . Models of intervention with diverse client systems and in varied social systems are also emphasized. Students’ professional identity is enhanced. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 309 and acceptance into Professional Level 1. Corequisite: SW 306. Spring semester.
SW 311 Social Work Practice III 3 credits
This course is a continuation of SW 310, Social Work Practice II and the first of a two-course sequence designed to provide an opportunity for students to gain supervised macro level practice experience. This course emphasizes generalist social work competencies in assessment, intervention, and evaluation with task groups, communities, and organizations. The interrelationships among social work practice, social work research and social policies are highlighted, as are the professional responsibilities to contribute to social work practice and to work toward promoting social and economic justice and ending oppression . Professional use of self with diverse client systems and with changing organizations is expanded. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 310 and acceptance into Professional Level II. Corequisites: SW 320 and SW 325. Fall semester.
SW 312 Social Work Practice IV 3 credits
This course is a continuation of SW 311, SW Practice III. Students will utilize generalist practice social work skills as they engage in a supervised macro practice experience. They will engage in community organizing with an existing group, organization, or coalition to address a community or campus concern. In collaboration with community, students will gather and utilize data to assess community strengths and needs, use interpersonal skills to work effectively with large groups, problem solve, negotiate, mediate, advocate with community groups, develop action plans, and agree on a focus of work to support existing community actions. Emphasis is on initiating actions to achieve goals, analysis, and evaluation of interventions. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 311, Corequisite SW 321 and SW 400. Spring semester.
SW 320 Social Work Senior Practicum and Seminar I 6 credits
This is the first of a two-semester field experience in a social service agency. The field practicum is for 16 hours per week over a period of thirteen (13) weeks, and attendance at a two-hour weekly seminar is required each semester. The practicum is designed to provide students with direct experience in the delivery of social services within an assigned setting under the supervision of a professional social worker. Students will engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. In the seminar students conceptualize and evaluate their competencies, apply knowledge to practice, and participate in peer learning. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 306 and acceptance to Professional Level II in the major. Corequisites: SW 311 and 325. Fall semester.
SW 321 Social Work Senior Practicum and Seminar II 6 credits
This is the second of a two-semester field experience in a social service agency. The field practicum is for 16 hours per week over a period of fifteen (15) weeks, with a required two-hour weekly seminar. This is an advanced field experience course with emphasis on deepening and broadening the students’ practice competences. The seminar provides students with further opportunities to conceptualize their field experiences and engage in evaluation of their own practice. It also provides a forum for discussion of practice questions and issues, as well as postgraduate planning opportunities. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 320. Co-requisites: SW 312 and SW 400. Spring Semester.
SW 325 Senior Seminar on Policies and Issues 3 credits
This course is divided into two sections; the first half focuses on advanced policy practice and the second half focuses on understanding poverty through an exploration of economic concepts and principles and their applications in everyday life. For the policy concentration, it prepares students to engage in policy practice by building on the knowledge gained in SW 210. Definitions of social policies, ways in which policies are promulgated, developed, and implemented, and issues which lack policy direction will be addressed. Students learn how to analyze the interrelationships among research, policy and program development, the dynamic relationship between policy and practice, how to advocate for policies that promote social well-being, and how to engage in policy practice. For the economics concentration, students are introduced to basic economic concepts, principles, and issues that affect their work, the social work profession, and the social work organizations and communities around them. It provides students with an orientation to economic structures and theories, domestic and global perspectives on poverty, economic inequities, and economics in both micro and macro social work practice. Prerequisites: C+ in PS102 and C+ in SW 210 and acceptance to Professional Level II in the major. Corequisites: SW 311 and SW 320. Fall semester.
SW 400 Senior Integrative Seminar 3 credits
SW 400 is a capstone course taken in the last semester of study in the social work major. In this course students demonstrate their competencies in both the theoretical and practice knowledge bases and integrate their learning from the entire social work curriculum. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 311, C+ in SW 320 and C+ in SW 325. Corequisites: SW 312 and 321. Spring semester.
Electives are offered based on student interest and instructor availability
SW 211 Mental Health and Social Work: A Survey Course 3 credits
This course is designed to provide an overview of the history of mental health in the United States and the unique yet broad role of the social work profession. Relevant social and governmental agencies and polices as well as the importance of advocacy will be studied. The course will include focus on the impact of cultural and social norms and expectations on those who have been identified as well as their families, the role of the media in the general population’s understanding of mental health, an overview of assessment and diagnosis and a discussion of special populations. This is a survey course, meant to provide a foundation for work as a generalist social worker or future clinical study at the graduate level. Prerequisite: SOC 100 .
SW 245 Child Welfare: Theory and Practice 3 credits
This course is designed to provide a practice model which is family focused and child centered for helping families at risk. The course examines the complex interplay of policy and law as they affect practice and service delivery. The course is grounded in ecological approaches, cultural competency, principles of family continuity and the historic values of the social work profession. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 200 and C+ in SW 210, or permission of the instructor.
SW 260 Aging 3 credits
This course provides an introduction to gerontology, focusing on the physical, psychological, social, emotional, and environmental aspects of aging. It also provides and overview of social policies and issues affecting older persons and social program for older persons. Prerequisite: SOC 100.
SW 270W Writing for the Human Service and Health Care Profession 3 credits
This writing intensive (W) course is designed for students intending to pursue a professional career in such fields as social work, education, nursing, and other health services. Using a writing-to-learn approach, students will respond in writing to a range of texts from across disciplines and genres in order to deepen their understanding, exercise, critical thinking, and enhance clarity of written communication in the human service and health care professions. This class may make use of shared writing and reading, small group exercises, and other peer reading and responses. All readings and exercises will reflect professional values and concerns. Prerequisite: WRT 101 or permission of the instructor.
Social Work Courses (SWK)
Swk 6601 - introduction to social policy development and the effects community and organizations (3).
This course is designed to assist students in developing a working understanding of American social policy, and the system, its response to human need and its relation to the organized profession of social work. Emphasis is placed on identifying and examining social, political, economic, legal and cultural concepts that influence policy formation, program development and service delivery. This course also explores the effects of social policy at the community level, including organizations, formulating coalitions, engaging in participatory planning and economic development.
SWK 6604 - Human Behavior In The Social Environment I (3)
The overall purpose and primary focus of this course is the exposure to and acquisition of knowledge about the development of human behavior within the social systems of individuals, families, groups, communities, institutions, and organizations. This course will provide through a series of lectures, participatory discussions and in-class activities, a framework with which to gain a professional understanding of human behavior from an ecological systems perspective.
SWK 6605 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment II (3)
The overall purpose and primary focus of this course is the exposure to and acquisition of knowledge about the development of human behavior within the social systems of individuals, families, groups, communities, institutions, and organizations as this relates to the adult to elderly aspects of the life span. This course will provide through a series of lectures, participatory discussions and in-class activities, a framework with which to gain a professional understanding of human behavior from an ecological systems perspective.
SWK 6606 - Direct Practice Methods with Individuals and Families (3)
This course focuses on direct social work practice with individuals and families based on an ecological multi-level systems framework and a strengths perspective. Knowledge, skills and values essential to the professional relationships (including mutuality, collaboration and respect for the client system) are developed. Knowledge, skills and values essential to implementation of a variety of social work roles are acquired through examination and analysis of appropriate practice models through experiential classroom activities and critiques of case studies.
SWK 6608 - Theory and Practice with Groups (3)
This course is an introduction to theory and practice with diverse groups to assist students in developing a contextual understanding of group dynamics over the course of the group process. Viewed through the lens of race, culture, and gender, this course will emphasize group functioning within a strengths-based, resiliency framework.
SWK 6612 - Foundation Pre-Practicum and Seminar (3)
This course is designed to prepare the Foundation student to enter into Foundation Practicum. Students will draw upon all previous foundation coursework to successfully apply and secure an approved Foundation Practicum placement. In this course, students will be required to submit the necessary documentation to be approved to take the block (3) of Foundation Practicum and Seminar classes. Prerequisites: Must have approval of academic advisor.
SWK 6614 - Cultural Diversity (3)
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to examine and integrate current trends, issues, and dynamics as they relate to professional social work practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities. The effects of race, class, ethnicity, age, disability, and sexual orientation are examined as related to interpersonal, inter-group, inter-group, and inter-system power struggles and differences.
SWK 6620 - Social Work Practice with Women (3)
This course is designed to facilitate an understanding and appreciation of diversity among women utilizing multiple practice perspectives (including feminist theories). In addition, it is designed to foster a critical understanding of the dynamics and consequences of social and economic injustices, inclusive of but not limited to discrimination and oppression in formulating our assessment and treatment plans with women and the critically assessment and challenge of policies that negatively impact women.
SWK 6622 - Crisis Intervention (3)
Direct Practice techniques for dealing with crisis. Crisis theory, stress management and time-limited intervention will be examined.
SWK 6645 - Principles of Non-Profit Organizations (3)
This course provides students with introductory knowledge about nonprofit organizations, including their historical and contemporary roles in human services, and their unique structure and governance, as well as their social, political and economic impacts in society.
SWK 6691 - Foundation Research Methods (3)
Basic principles of developing, testing, refining, and using scientific knowledge for direct social work practice are presented. Consideration is given to the development of theory, formulation of testable problem statements, the design of appropriate strategies for obtaining and analyzing relevant information, drawing conclusions and applications for use in professional practice, and communication of findings to others.
SWK 6696 - Foundation Practicum and Seminar I (2)
The Foundation Field Practicum and Seminar engages the student in an assigned human service agency. In addition to providing an orientation to the practicum experience, this course directs the student’s study of the practicum client population and agency, promotes the student’s self-assessment and learning goals for professional social work development. This course is the first 134 contact hours at an agency; a second course (SWK 6697, 134 contact hours); and a third course (SWK 6698, 134 contact hours) will complete a total of 402 contact hours at the same agency. Prerequisites: Approved by Director of Field Education
SWK 6697 - Foundation Practicum and Seminar II (2)
The Foundation Field Practicum and Seminar engages the student in an assigned human service agency. In addition to providing an orientation to the practicum experience, this course directs the student’s study of the practicum client population and agency, promotes the student’s self-assessment and learning goals for professional social work development. This course is the second 134 contact hours at the same agency. There will be a third course (SWK 6698, 134 contact hours) completing the Foundation Practicum requirements of 402 contact hours. Prerequisites: Approved by Director of Field Education
SWK 6698 - Foundation Practicum and Seminar III (2)
The Foundation Field Practicum and Seminar engages the student in an assigned human service agency. In addition to providing an orientation to the practicum experience, this course directs the student’s study of the practicum client population and agency, promotes the student’s self-assessment and learning goals for professional social work development. This course is the third and final 134 contact hours at the same agency, completing the Foundation Practicum requirements of 402 contact hours. Prerequisites: Approved by Director of Field Education
SWK 7701 - Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families (3)
Advanced practice with individuals within family systems and community environments are addressed. The course builds form the knowledge acquired in SWK 6606, SWK 6604, and SWK 6605 by expanding the conceptual dynamics of the ecological perspective related to individuals. Topics will include assessing individuals within a family and community context using multiple theoretical orientations.
SWK 7703 - Direct Practice Evaluation (3)
This course is the second research course in the graduate social work curriculum. Building upon the principles of social science research methods acquired in SWK 6691, the content of this course focuses upon the linkages between individual and family centered social work practice and evidenced based social work research.
SWK 7705 - Assessment and Psychopathology (3)
This course provides an overview of social work assessment methods applicable to family-centered clinical practice. Topics include the basic principles of social work assessment (including reliability and validity) and a review of common methods of empirically supported assessment methods.
SWK 7707 - Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups (3)
This advanced clinical practice course teaches group practice skills development for use as a primary treatment modality in clinical social work practice. Theoretical and practice principles of group work are emphasized to enhance understanding and use of “group” as a complex system of roles and interrelationships in a highly experimental format.
SWK 7720 - Special Topics (Social Work with Abusing and Neglecting Families) (3)
This course is a critical examination of current knowledge about the causality and interventions to prevent or remedy child abuse and neglect (more recently referred to as child maltreatment). Attention is given to ethical and cultural issues in defining and intervening with abusive and neglectful families. Legal aspects and implications for social policy and social work practice for prevention and remediation with families are emphasized. The course provides specialized content for graduate students interested in social work practice with families and children. It builds upon foundation content in social policy, social work theory and practice, and research provided during the first year of the graduate study in social work.
SWK 7722 - Social Work in Health Care Settings (3)
This course enables students to explore and evaluate the issues involved in offering effective psychosocial interventions in a health care setting, understand managed care, compete within this environment, and influence the quality of health care. Emphasis on a holistic approach to health care will examine the biological, behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual components of the client within the health care system. The importance of these components as they interact with the individual’s gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation will also be explored. The complex but necessary interaction of the individual’s experiences with family, social, political, and legal systems will also be examined. Finally, and with equal importance, the student’s attitudes and feelings regarding the practice of social work in health care will be explored.
SWK 7724 - Topics in Grant Writing and Program Development (3)
This course serves as an introduction to the process of grant writing in human service organizations as an orientation to the broader funding landscape. Students will develop skills related to effective grant writing including assessing and conveying need, developing programmatic responses to need, the creation and use of logic models, and project/program evaluation.
SWK 7726 - Social Work with Military Families (3)
The course is designed as an elective for graduate students in the School of Social Work who wish to increase knowledge and skills for practice with military personnel, Veterans, and their families. Students will learn about the role of social work within the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs in meeting the needs of active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families. Students will develop a working understanding of the history of military social work, aspects of the military culture that they will need to know in order to be able to develop a strong therapeutic alliance, social and mental health needs and issues facing this ethnically and culturally diverse population, military social work policies and services, and needed advocacy efforts in that regard, evidence-based and other mental health interventions with emerging empirical support for this population, and other ethnic and cultural diversity issues in military social work.
SWK 7730 - ORGM Evaluation (3)
This course provides both the theoretical basis and practical application of evaluation processes and skills for use across human service organizations. Students will be provided with a variety of approaches for evaluation efforts at the project, program, organizational, and community levels. Additionally, students will explore the importance of the evaluative context to include organizational capacity, cultural considerations, stakeholder involvement, and ultimately, communicating the evaluation findings.
SWK 7732 - Program Design and Development (3)
This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to design and implement projects and programs within human service organizations. To do so, students will utilize data driven approaches to determine the need for, and the design of, programs as well learn how to develop and carry out strategic planning efforts to implement and carry out these programs.
SWK 7734 - Advanced Policy Analysis (3)
This course builds upon previous policy coursework in an effort to further the students understanding of the policy landscape and identify opportunities within that landscape to influence the policy making process. Students will be provided with opportunities to apply this knowledge and build practice skills through advocacy efforts, practical policy analysis and political involvement, to politically empower and serve individuals, groups, and communities, at the local, state, and national levels.
SWK 7736 - Organizational Leadership and Management (3)
This course is designed to equip students for supervisory and managerial roles within human service organizations. Topics covered include organizational theory, administrative roles and responsibilities, personnel management, resource development and stewardship, and organizational capacity building. Prerequisites: Foundation Courses completed
SWK 7738 - Organizational Leadership and Management Senior Seminar (3)
This course is conceptualized as a mechanism for students to draw upon all previous courses in the MSW program and integrate and apply all that they have learned. The course is taken prior to and in preparation for field placement. Students will be prepared to demonstrate mastery of the current issues, theories, policies, and methods in the development and management of organizations as applied in the field setting.
SWK 7740 - Social Work Practice with Children and Adolescents (3)
The overall purpose and primary focus of this course is to address Social Work practice methods when working with children and adolescents as well as identify the diverse issues and concerns impacting them. Unique aspects of working with children an adolescent that will also be discussed in this course include impacts at home and at school, ethical and legal consideration as well as best practice methods when working with parents, guardians and educators.
SWK 7742 - Social Work in School Settings (3)
This course presents advanced knowledge and skills essential to providing effective school social work interventions. Students will learn to identify, select an apply evidence-based prevention and intervention methods for use with individuals, groups, families, school personnel, and communities to enhance student learning, development, and school success. Students will acquire the skills needed to effectively practice as a school social worker to enhance student learnings and achievement.
SWK 7769 - Advanced Direct Practice Senior Seminar (3)
This course is conceptualized as a mechanism for students to draw upon all previous courses in the MSW Program and integrate and apply all that they have learned. The course is taken concurrently with the final block field placement. Students demonstrate mastery of the theoretical and empirically-based knowledge from all components of the curriculum, and the ability to apply this knowledge in advanced social work practice with children, youth, and families.
SWK 7796 - Concentration Practicum I (3)
Placement in a social service agency which provides the opportunity to practice and develop beginning professional social work skills under the joint supervision of a faculty and an agency supervisor. Includes a weekly seminar plus a minimum of 170 hours in a concentration agency setting. This is the first of three required practicum courses. Prerequisites: Completion of all Foundation Courses. Must have approval of Director of Field Education.
SWK 7797 - Concentration Practicum II (3)
Placement in a social service agency which provides the opportunity to practice and develop beginning professional social work skills under the joint supervision of a faculty and an agency supervisor. Includes a weekly seminar plus a minimum of 170 hours in a concentration agency setting. This is the second of three required practicum courses. Prerequisites: Completion of all Foundation Courses. Must have approval of Director of Field Education.
SWK 7797 - Concentration Practicum III (3)
Placement in a social service agency which provides the opportunity to practice and develop beginning professional social work skills under the joint supervision of a faculty and an agency supervisor. Includes a weekly seminar plus a minimum of 170 hours in a concentration agency setting. This is the third of three required practicum courses. Prerequisites: Completion of all Foundation Courses. Must have approval of Director of Field Education.
How to write good case notes (social work)
When I was in university, we once had a strange assignment.
We watched a video twice, and we were told to write about what we saw. We were also told to write about our opinions.
When I look back, I realised that was an exercise to teach us how to write good case notes in social work.
Case notes are a part of every social workers’ life. But before you look at how to write better case notes, you need to know why case notes are even important.
This is part of a 2-part series on case notes.
- How to write case notes
- Examples of case notes
Why write case notes?
It builds a better understanding of the client..
During my first shadowing assignment as a social work student, I went to a hostel for people who were homeless. My first day was spent reading case notes. Initially, when I was asked to take out the case files of different clients at the home, I thought: Gosh, I came all the way here…. To read case notes?!
You might find that a really boring exercise.
But as I read through the case notes, I found out the story of the client. His narrative. What had happened to him. How to help him.
It built a picture of the person I was helping. It helped me to see how to move forward in helping.
It forces you to reflect on what has happened, what you’ve done, and how to move forward.
When you write case notes, you are forced to write down what happened.
You’re asked to write down what you’ve done to intervene. A good case note would include an assessment of what has happened based on your professional expertise.
Then, you can suggest how you move forward.
This clarifies how to move forward. When you’re working with complex cases, sometimes it can feel like you’re lost in the jungle.
The case note clarifies that.
Case notes help others to take over.
You might not work with your client forever. The case notes help you to pass on information to the next social worker involved. But it’s not just about the information you pass on.
It’s about the insight .
The next social worker will not understand the specific nuances of the client as well as you. But you can.
When you suggest ways that have worked for the client (such as face to face meetings, or phone calls etc.), you give the social worker a better footing.
It’s like that game where you are running with an egg in a spoon. It’s time to pass it over to the next person. Case notes help to prevent you from dropping that egg.
But before we go onto how to write good case notes, we need to understand what good case notes even are!
What are good case notes?
Good case notes are accurate. They are an accurate representation of what happened, rather than what you think happened.
This is an important distinction.
Essentially, an effective case note is a combination of where you were, where you are, and where you will be going.
Where you were This means that a good case note would paint the history and context of the client you are working with. What happened in the past that resulted in the present situation? Are there things that have informed your actions as you move forward? Why is this so?
Where you are What are you doing with your client currently? What are your actions? What is the situation?
Where you will be going What are your future plans for this client? What do you hope to achieve with this client? What does the client hope to achieve? What needs to be done for this to be achieved?
Many times, I’ve been let down by case notes that have painted quite a negative picture of the client.
However, when I meet him for the first time, I realise that he is not what the case notes painted him out to be.
Being neutral is about separating fact from opinion.
When you are stating an opinion, you need to be clear that you are. For example, when stating an opinion or your own personal assessment, you might try:
- From my assessment, I can observe that X struggles with issues around self-esteem and self-worth.
- **I thought ** this showed how angry X was with his mother.
- ** I believe** that X is lying when he says that he is not angry with his friend for cheating him of his money.
How to write good case notes
Have a method..
You might find case notes to be the most frustrating part of your job as a social worker. That’s understandable. After all, there’s so many clients you work with, so many sessions you have with them, and so many things you need to do!
Case notes? GOSH!
It’s vital that you have a process to keep track of the case notes you’ve written and haven’t written.
You need to have a system which you are comfortable with.
Broadly, there are two ways of doing case notes. The first is immediately after you have a session with a client. There are benefits to this.
Firstly, you are better able to remember what has happened. Secondly, you also stop yourself from building a backlog of case notes you haven’t written.
However, doing this prevents you from clearing other more urgent work that arrives in your inbox.
As social workers, you are probably handling multiple crises a day. Having the luxury to sit down undisturbed after you meet your client to write your case notes is probably … yes, a luxury. A luxury you don’t have.
The other option is to have a batch of case sessions you’ve had and then clear them regularly. I use this method.
Usually, I clear it once every 3 days.
Doing this is helpful because it helps me to be more efficient with my time. I find myself concentrating better when I have a block of uninterrupted time to write the case notes.
Just as you wouldn’t do your laundry one at a time, you might find it helpful to do it in batches.
Secondly, it’s helpful because my mind gets to chew on what happened. Often, I find myself struggling to come up with proper assessments and further actions. Why?
I haven’t had time to think through it. Putting these clients on the back burner in my mind helps me to think through what I should do moving forward. Having some distance from it also helps you to think more clearly.
But there are negatives. Of course, you are likely to forget some key events in your session if you write it later. That’s why I make sure that I write the case notes in 3 days after the initial session.
These are the two methods. What’s most important is that you find a way that fits you. Try one of these methods, and see which suits you better. How do you know? you will
Systemise the method.
You need to have a system. Especially when you need to do so many other things. You need to have a system of writing your case notes, filing your case notes, and making sure that they are easily found. You don’t want to be scrambling for more case notes. Different organisations have different ways of filing too. Some may have an electronic database of clients and case notes attached to them. Others might still be using physical files.
There are different systems that work for different people. What matters is the principle . You need to make sure that your case notes are:
Here’s a system that works for me. You might want to try it.
- After every session with a client, I will record it in my diary.
- Then, I will write the case notes within 3 days.
- After this is done, I have a tick beside the schedule on my planner.
- After I’ve written the case note, I need to file it electronically.
- After this is done, I will put another tick next to the planner.
- At the end of every week, on a Friday afternoon at 3pm, I will look through the sessions on my diary.
- I see if there are two ticks next to every entry.
- I write my case notes on a Microsoft Word document to format, autocorrect, and keep track of it.
- This means that I can refer back to it whenever I need.
- It also makes sure that it can be easily found with a simple Ctrl-F function.
Record every session with a client in your diary.
This is a simple backup to remind you of what you have done in the past. After every session with a client, I will jot it down in my planner to remind me of what I have done.
Dictate your case notes.
You might be tired of writing sometimes. Try dictating it. Go to Microsoft Word. At the menu bar, you will see Dictate. Try it.
Doing good casework involves writing good case notes. What more can you you do to make them better?
Separate observation from opinion in your case notes.
What you see is not the same as what you think you see. Therefore, it’s important to separate your opinion from your observation. When you start your case notes, I like to split it into 3 parts – observations, assessment, and further actions.
In your observations section, state clearly what you saw, heard, touched, smelt, or even tasted. Engage your 5 senses. This is important in social work as our five senses can often give us clues for our assessment.
For example, when I recently worked with someone who was hoarding, I noted that there was no distinct smell in her home. It indicated to me that whilst her home was filled with items, she was not hoarding in a way that made her home deeply unhygienic, pest-infested, or dangerous for her continued living.
Be neutral in your observations for good case notes.
We all view things through a subjective lens. You can never remove this lens. But it is possible to be more aware of it.
When you write your observations, try to include greater description, rather than perception.
Here are two examples to show you the contrast.
Example 1 – He angrily said, ‘Get out of my house!’
Example 2 – He said in a raised voice, ‘Get out of my house!’
In the first example, you can see that the social worker used ‘angrily’. How do you know he was angry, instead of disappointed at your mistrust? Adding your own perceptions like these can color how future social workers work with him. They might see him as a difficult client . Future social workers might assume that he is difficult to work with, and end up being defensive in their conversations with him.
Instead, when you describe by saying, ‘in a raised voice’, it becomes more factual and less judgmental.
Describe chronologically throughout your social work case notes.
Humans are story-telling creatures. We have a bias towards stories, as Rolf Dobelli explains in his book, The Art of Thinking Clearly. That is why we tend to pull seemingly unrelated incidents together to form a coherent story. We do this for our clients as well. For example, when you write about a difficult client in your case notes, you tend to group what happened into themes, rather than chronologically.
Putting observations into themes immediately distorts reality and places our own subjective lens onto what happened.
Thus, describe things as they happened, in the order of when it happened; rather than how you think they happened.
Explain your assessment in your case notes.
When social workers pass me their assessments, I sometimes wonder how they managed to come to such an assessment.
Therefore, in your assessment, it is vital to include what has informed your assessment. Is it a theory, an observation, or a conversation with someone?
Ask for feedback about better case notes from your supervisor.
As the saying goes, feedback is the breakfast of champions. We tend to underestimate how much good feedback from our supervisors can do for us. Their feedback is valuable in helping us to see our flaws. Also, it helps us improve.
Be brave. Ask: is there anything I can do to write better case notes?
Case notes are important in helping you to think through the case. When you recount the incident through writing, it clarifies what happened. But we also need to be careful that we do not continue putting on our own subjective lenses when we write these case notes. This way, we achieve greater clarity on how to move forward.
At the end of the day, you might think that case notes are a pain.
They can be.
But they are a necessary pain to help you to serve your client better. They help you to think about what you’ve done and what you will do. They help you to pass it on to the next social worker. Much like passing an egg on a spoon.
Whilst writing case notes is good, having a system is even better.
It prevents you from dropping that egg.
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Thank you for this as a learning and development lead I will share this with our ASYE and other staff who are developing this skill
That’s great Lisa! I hope it helps your staff and ASYEs!
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Prepare for entry into specialized social work practice.
Columbia School of Social Work offers a program of rigorous coursework that informs and enriches each student’s field experience.
Social Work Courses and Field Requirements
Generalist year, specialized practice year, other program options.
- promoting social and economic justice, particularly for populations at risk;
- practicing with diverse populations; and
- evaluating practice outcomes.
- human behavior and the social environment,
- social welfare policy and services,
- social work practice, and
- field education.
- Human Behavior and the Social Environment I & II (View Course Info)
- Social Work Research (View Course Info)
- Social Welfare Policy (View Course Info)
- Foundations of Social Work Practice: Decolonizing Social Work (View Course Info)
- Direct Practice with Individuals, Families & Groups (View Course Info)
- Advocacy in Social Work Practice (View Course Info)
- Field Education (two terms): In the first year, our Field Education Department matches students with agencies that provide experience with direct social work practice.
- Study plans for the Social Enterprise Administration Management Fellows Program and the Accelerated Policy Program may be accessed here .
- Information on the DBT Program can be found here .
- Two practice courses in the chosen area of specialization (View Sample Courses)
- A required course in the field of practice related to the final-year field placement (View Sample Course)
- A specialized research course (View Sample Course)
- Field Education (two terms): During the specialized practice year, students have more choice in their field internship assignments as the focus shifts to their chosen area of specialization.
- Remaining classroom courses are taken as electives .
- Students enrolled in the Accelerated Policy Program and the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program, mentioned above, have additional required coursework.
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Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Degree – Non-Licensure
Bachelor of Social Work
The Bachelor of Social Work program at Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers a diverse set of courses aimed to increase the understanding of human behavior. Created by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this online social work degree program prepares you to assist in improving the well-being of individuals, families and communities while working with diverse groups of people in a variety of settings. By the end of this online Bachelor of Social Work degree program, you will be prepared to work in entry-level social work practice or begin graduate school.
Earn Your Bachelor of Social Work Degree from GCU
With online programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level, GCU’s mission is to provide a quality education while giving students the flexibility you need to get ahead in today’s complex world. As an online student at GCU, you have access to the same perks and resources as on-campus students, including expert faculty members, generous scholarship opportunities, a state-of-the-art learning management system, online library and more.
This BSW online program adheres to the social work standards and competencies established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). GCU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Bachelor of Social Work program is not yet accredited but is in Candidacy status with the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation.
What You’ll Learn in GCU’s Bachelor of Social Work Degree
In GCU’s Bachelor of Social Work degree, you will explore how the response of individuals to differing variables plays a major role in a social worker’s approach to practice. Classes equip you through developing skills in cultural competency and advocacy while allowing you to gain a deeper self-awareness.
These overall skill sets prepare you to examine human behavior in the social environment by critically analyzing biopsychosocial development from conception through late adulthood using an integrative, multidimensional perspective. Classes offer opportunities to learn, practice and reflect on skills throughout the entire intake, assessment, treatment, evaluation and termination process. The coursework is designed to help graduates make a significant impact on families and individuals.
To complete this online social work degree program, you must take a minimum of 120 credits and pass courses including:
- Human Biology and Social Work Practice
- Introduction to Social Welfare
- Methods of Research in Social Work
- Social Service Delivery Systems
- Social Work Ethics and Decision Making
This form is currently unavailable, but we are still eager to help you! For information regarding GCU and our degree programs, call us at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or utilize our Live Chat feature.
Estimated number of new jobs for social workers from 2019 to 2029 1
This social work degree program concludes with a capstone course, in which you will integrate and apply previous learning through the creation of a project to reflect your knowledge and skills. As a student in GCU’s on-campus or online BSW degree, you will take insight from your academic and field experiences to construct a final project and presentation highlighting your knowledge of assessment, application of theory, practice skills, ethics and cultural sensitivity.
Career Outlook for Social Work Degree Graduates
Graduates of GCU’s Bachelor of Social Work degree are prepared to become entry-level social workers or further their education and obtain their Master of Social Work. Graduates may go on to work in:
- Outpatient facilities
- Integrated healthcare facilities
- Private practices
- Residential facilities
- Child welfare agencies
- Community service agencies
- Policy or program development
Additionally, social workers can expect faster than average job growth in their field over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 90,700 new jobs are expected to open for social workers from 2019 to 2029. 1
Bachelor of Social Work Degree Program FAQs
Is a social work degree useful.
A social work degree is useful for those who want to make it their life’s work to help people overcome difficult challenges in their life, such as poverty, addiction, unemployment, disability, abuse and mental illness. A social work degree focuses on training and cooperating with people of various backgrounds to help them change their environments and improve their quality of life. Armed with this training, social workers guide their clients through creating positive changes and habits in their lives through the development of new and improved skills.
Is a social work degree hard?
Social work degree programs are designed to be demanding to help prepare you for the mental and emotional rigors of a career in social work. However, earning your social work degree will challenge you in ways that prepare you to be an effective, fulfilled social work professional. If you hope to become a social worker who has maximum impact on the diverse lives of those you serve, earning a degree in social work can help you reach your career goals.
Which social work degree should I get?
To be a social worker, you need to hold a degree in social work from an accredited college or university program. The undergraduate degree is the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). Graduate degrees include the Master of Social Work (MSW) and a Doctorate (DSW) or PhD in Social Work.
Earning a social work degree at any level provides a unique education due to the social work profession having its own body of knowledge, values and code of ethics. One unique feature of a social work degree is field placement. In addition to classroom or online study, you will have in-person field experiences that allow you to apply your knowledge and skills in a real-world setting. These settings can include mental health clinics, child and family service agencies and policy organizations. 2
With a Bachelor of Social Work, you will be prepared for entry level positions in areas such as child and family services, mental health, substance abuse, healthcare and correctional treatment. To become a licensed clinical social worker, or to qualify for a program management or leadership position in social work, you will need to earn a Master of Social Work.
1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on 2019, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers .
2 Retrieved from National Association of Social Workers, Types of Social Work Degrees in July 2022.
Campus Course Length
Campus courses for this program are generally 15 weeks. The following courses have different lengths:
- UNV-103 - University Success - 7 weeks.
- SWK-170 - Introduction to Social Welfare - 15 weeks.
- CWV-101 - Christian Worldview - 15 weeks.
- ENG-105 - English Composition I - 15 weeks.
- PSY-102 - General Psychology - 15 weeks.
- MAT-144 - College Mathematics - 15 weeks.
- ENG-106 - English Composition II - 15 weeks.
- SOC-102 - Principles of Sociology - 15 weeks.
- BIO-220 - Environmental Science - 15 weeks.
- SWK-280 - Social Service Delivery Systems - 15 weeks.
- PHI-103 - Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics - 15 weeks.
- COM-263 - Elements of Intercultural Communication - 15 weeks.
- SWK-285 - Foundations of Social Work Practice - 15 weeks.
- SWK-330 - Diversity, Advocacy, and Social Justice in Social Work - 15 weeks.
- SWK-290 - Human Biology and Social Work Practice - 15 weeks.
- SWK-350 - Social Work Ethics and Decision-Making - 15 weeks.
- SWK-355 - Social Welfare Policy and Services - 15 weeks.
- SWK-360 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment I - 15 weeks.
- SWK-430 - Methods of Research in Social Work - 15 weeks.
- PCN-360 - Dom.Violence,Child,Elder Abuse-Fam w/Addiction &Substance Use Disorders - 15 weeks.
- SWK-420 - Trauma-Informed Care - 15 weeks.
- SWK-370 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment II - 15 weeks.
- SWK-450 - Program Management and Leadership in Social Work - 15 weeks.
- ENG-245 - Introduction to Basic Grant Writing - 15 weeks.
- SWK-455 - Generalist Social Work Practice I: Working with Individuals and Systems - 15 weeks.
- SWK-465 - Case Management - 15 weeks.
- SWK-470 - Field Instruction I - 15 weeks.
- SWK-460 - Generalist Social Work Practice II: Groups, Communities, and Organizations - 15 weeks.
- SWK-480 - Field Instruction II - 15 weeks.
- SWK-490 - Social Work Capstone - 15 weeks.
Online Course Length
Online courses for this program are generally 7 weeks. The following courses have different lengths:
- SWK-170 - Introduction to Social Welfare - 7 weeks.
- CWV-101 - Christian Worldview - 7 weeks.
- ENG-105 - English Composition I - 7 weeks.
- PSY-102 - General Psychology - 7 weeks.
- MAT-144 - College Mathematics - 7 weeks.
- ENG-106 - English Composition II - 7 weeks.
- SOC-102 - Principles of Sociology - 7 weeks.
- BIO-220 - Environmental Science - 7 weeks.
- SWK-280 - Social Service Delivery Systems - 7 weeks.
- PHI-103 - Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics - 7 weeks.
- COM-263 - Elements of Intercultural Communication - 7 weeks.
- SWK-285 - Foundations of Social Work Practice - 7 weeks.
- SWK-330 - Diversity, Advocacy, and Social Justice in Social Work - 8 weeks.
- SWK-290 - Human Biology and Social Work Practice - 7 weeks.
- SWK-350 - Social Work Ethics and Decision-Making - 8 weeks.
- SWK-355 - Social Welfare Policy and Services - 8 weeks.
- SWK-360 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment I - 8 weeks.
- SWK-430 - Methods of Research in Social Work - 8 weeks.
- PCN-360 - Dom.Violence,Child,Elder Abuse-Fam w/Addiction &Substance Use Disorders - 8 weeks.
- SWK-420 - Trauma-Informed Care - 8 weeks.
- SWK-370 - Human Behavior in the Social Environment II - 8 weeks.
- SWK-450 - Program Management and Leadership in Social Work - 8 weeks.
- ENG-245 - Introduction to Basic Grant Writing - 7 weeks.
- SWK-455 - Generalist Social Work Practice I: Working with Individuals and Systems - 8 weeks.
- SWK-465 - Case Management - 8 weeks.
- SWK-460 - Generalist Social Work Practice II: Groups, Communities, and Organizations - 8 weeks.
- SWK-490 - Social Work Capstone - 8 weeks.
Traditional On-Campus Tuition
As part of our commitment to keeping tuition rates competitive, GCU has kept campus tuition costs frozen since 2009. While the cost per credits are listed below, the average campus student pays only $8,600 per year* in tuition after institutional scholarships and grants. Speak with your university counselor for more information about estimating the costs of attending GCU.
*2019-20 tuition rates for all courses begin June 1, 2019
*No In-State/Out-State rates
*Traditional campus undergraduate students are required to take a minimum of nine (9) credits in the Traditional Campus format during the Fall and Spring semester
*Traditional campus students taking courses in the online format will be charged the regular traditional tuition rates.
It is the policy of GCU to collect and remit sales, use, excise and/or gross receipts taxes in compliance with state and local taxing jurisdiction regulations, which require the university to remit tax where applicable. Regulations vary by student location. Payment of tax is ultimately the student's financial responsibility to the university regardless of financing arrangements. Per Hawaii requirements: It is hereby stated that students residing in the State of Hawaii will be charged Hawaii General Excise Tax on all transactions. Students living in the District of Oahu will be charged 4.712 percent. Students residing in other Hawaii districts will be charged 4.1666 percent.
*Fees subject to change.
Non-Traditional Tuition (Online and Evening Students)
GCU's non-traditional tuition rates are for students who are interested in pursuing an online degree program or taking evening classes. Speak with your university counselor to learn more about your opportunities for scholarships off tuition through GCU's educational alliances or to find out about options for continuing education for teachers.
This course provides the foundation for students to explain the profession of social work within the social context of the United States. The course explores how society influenced the development of social work as a profession in the United States. Students examine cultural values, social work values, history of social work, and selected theoretical models of social work to demonstrate how these factors influenced the adoption of the general practice framework. In a broad overview, students examine the process to help individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities evaluate and solve problems in using the micro, mezzo and macro system levels to assess the problem and make recommendations for interventions.
This course provides an overview of the purpose, structure, and professional roles of human service agencies including federal, state, and social service delivery systems. Students explore the delivery of services with special populations. This course includes integration of 25 hours of service-learning experience with course material. Prerequisite: SWK-170.
This course provides the theoretical and practical foundation for conducting social work with cultural competency. Focus areas include understanding yourself and others from a variety of diverse backgrounds, the importance of ethics and professional behavior, development of effective communication techniques, and beginning case management and helping skills for working with individuals, families, groups, and larger systems. Prerequisite: SWK-170.
This course provides foundational knowledge of how diversity, advocacy, and social justice exist within social work practice. It offers an examination and application of frameworks to guide and advance social and economic justice and human rights. Students learn skill development related to cultural competency and advocacy for individuals and groups while gaining a deeper self-awareness. Students also learn about the impact of oppression and privilege.
This course provides the foundation for students to learn and examine the impact of human biology on social work practice. The course explores how the human body’s response to differing variables plays a major role in a social worker’s approach and ideology to practice. Students examine mental health, varying human biological determinants, faith, and environmental factors that influence both the individual and the practitioner. Understanding how these biological factors influence mental and physical health is vital to a social worker’s role in assisting others as they navigate from birth to adulthood and inevitably work through the end of life stages. Students in this course examine the impact of biology to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities evaluate how to minimize negative biological outcomes while focusing on the strengths of biology and beliefs to overcome obstacles. This course looks at the impact of human biology from a micro, mezzo, and macro system level providing an overview of the impact a person’s biological response can have in recovering from a life event.
This writing intensive course explores the history, evolution, and application of values and ethics in social work, reviewing theoretical approaches and decision-making models. Students explore components of professional values, personal values, and self-awareness in their application and demonstration of ethical professional behavior as it relates to the NASW Code of Ethics. Students examine the legal or jurisdictional requirements of licensing boards and the intersectionality with professional ethical behavior. Students develop a method for decision making for ethical dilemmas that occur in social work practice at all levels of practice, including micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
This writing-intensive course examines the history of social work as it relates to public policy in social welfare, social health, and civil rights. Roles of social work professionals in policy analysis and evaluation are also examined as well as the interaction between social policy and social work services.
This course examines human behavior in the social environment by critically analyzing biopsychosocial development from conception through late adulthood using an integrative, multidimensional perspective while examining multiple theories of human behavior. This includes a focus on individuals and families. The course emphasizes a social work perspective and key frameworks for social work, with an emphasis on person in environment and systems theory as they describe diverse human behavior in relation to social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and other multicultural backgrounds. Prerequisites: SWK-170, SWK-280, and SWK-285.
This course introduces students to scientific inquiry and the research process used to evaluate and inform the social work profession. Methods of both quantitative and qualitative data methods and analysis are explored.
This course provides an introductory knowledge of trauma-informed care from foundational principles and historical context to practice implementation. The context of trauma is discussed including types of trauma and adverse outcomes related to various systems. It offers an overview of screening, assessing, and treating traumatic stress. Information is provided on the risk of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue for providers.
This course examines human behavior in the social environment at the macro level with a focus on groups, communities, and organizations and their effect on human behavior. The course emphasizes a social work perspective and key frameworks for social work, with an emphasis on person in environment, systems theory, and social justice as they describe diverse human behavior in relation to social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and other multicultural backgrounds. Prerequisite: SWK-360.
This course explores the complexities of leadership and management in the profession of social work, reviewing theoretical approaches and practices. Students examine various components of leadership including leadership styles, self-awareness, motivational methods, financial management, accountability in management, and vulnerability. Students learn to consider the power differential, courage, exploration of the self, life experience, and the impact of these components on the supervisory relationship.
This course introduces students to the fundamental skills of social work direct practice for individuals and family systems within the general practice framework. Students demonstrate a mastery of the social work “helping process.” Students learn, practice, and reflect on their interaction skills within the intake, assessment, treatment, evaluation, and termination process with individuals and families. The course reinforces a variety of organizing theories, builds a variety of social work practice theories, and it broadens the concept of cultural humility and reflective attentiveness. Prerequisite: SWK-370.
This course introduces students to entry-level case management skills. Students identify the various roles and functions of a case manager. A primary focus of this course is the case management process, including how to track and manage a client case load. Through case study analysis, students determine appropriate client assessment techniques and problem-solving strategies. Students explore case manager roles and case management styles in a variety of client populations and nonprofit human service agencies. Students learn to differentiate roles, functions, and styles based on their assessment of the client’s needs and a clear understanding of the agency’s mission, policies, and programs.
This course exposes students to the foundations of social work practice in approved community agencies with professional supervision. The course consists of both classroom course work and field experience hours. The course provides experiential integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Prerequisite: SWK-170.
This course introduces students to the fundamental skills of social work direct practice for groups, communities, and organizations within the general practice framework. Students demonstrate a mastery of the social work “helping process.” Students learn, practice, and reflect on their interaction skills within the intake, assessment, treatment, evaluation, and termination processes with groups and organizations. The course reinforces a variety of organizing, builds a variety of social work practice theories, and broadens the concept of cultural humility and reflective attentiveness. Prerequisite: SWK-455.
This course provides a continuation of foundations of social work practice in approved community agencies with professional supervision. Experiential integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills from concurrent social work courses are practiced. Practicum/field experience hours: 200. Prerequisite: SWK-470.
This capstone course in the Bachelor of Social Work program allows students the opportunity to integrate and apply previous learning through the creation of a project to reflect their knowledge and skills. The student will take insight from their academic and field experiences to create a final project and poster presentation highlighting their knowledge of assessment, application of theory, practice skills, ethics, and cultural sensitivity. Prerequisite: SWK-430.
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* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.
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McMaster’s School of Social Work program places emphasis on the social structuring of individual and community problems, and on social work’s commitment to enhancing social justice and challenging oppression.
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NEWS & STORIES
March 8, 2023
Another Hamilton is possible
There are generations of analyses of alternatives to police that state any ask for more police is both a policy and leadership failure, Ameil Joseph and Sarah Adjekum write. The Hamilton Police Service’s proposed budget increase has reignited calls to defund the police. Last Monday, a demonstration was held in front of city hall […]
January 5, 2023
Social Work Grad students awarded CER Graduate Student Internships
The Community Research Platform (CRP) is a collaborative initiative between the Faculty of Social Sciences and five local community organizations (listed on their website). The CRP works to foster and advance research that is mutually beneficial and contributes to social impact. The CRP has just launched a new Community Engaged Research Graduate Student Internship Program. The CER Graduate Student […]
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Mindfulness and Reflective Writing
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Writing, paired with mindfulness practice, can bring us back to ourselves and connect us to others. During this course, we will learn about and try on contemplative practices paired with writing prompts. During the first week, we’ll meditate on the five senses and write inspired by memory. For the second, we’ll learn about loving kindness meditation and reflect on meaningful relationships. In the third, we’ll explore breath meditation and the practice of writing haiku poetry to connect to the present moment. For the fourth, we’ll explore how compassion connects us to other people and optionally experiment with writing fiction. For the final week, we’ll learn about the connection between gratitude and hope, then write to connect with past experiences and future hopes. During each session, there will be an opportunity to ask questions and share insights, to celebrate our common humanity by sharing our writing and/or practicing mindful listening, and to reflect on the impact of the practices and activities. The course goals include helping participants build resilience, creating a bridge between mindfulness and writing, and fostering a community devoted to authenticity, kindness, and serious play.
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- Contemplative techniques that you can continue to practice after the course
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Social Work Training: Top 25+ Courses & Online Degrees
Gaining and maintaining the skills and licenses necessary for newly qualified social workers to help in family, schools, and healthcare situations requires increasingly flexible and effective education opportunities.
A solid grounding in theory and policy needs to be accompanied by essential skills practiced in real-world situations.
If you are thinking about becoming a social worker, this article provides information on a selection of some of the best bachelor’s and master’s degrees available.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
Qualifications & requirements of social workers, training in social work: top 10 courses and programs, 7 best online programs to consider, 10 master’s programs & postgraduate degrees, positivepsychology.com’s helpful resources, a take-home message.
Practicing as a social worker requires undertaking comprehensive training to earn a master’s degree in social work (often a Master of Social Work, or MSW) and passing an exam to become licensed in the state in which you will work.
There are also different levels of examination, with minimum education requirements for each state that determine the scope of practice (How to become, n.d.).
The requirements vary slightly depending on the field in which the social worker intends to practice, but generally, the United States requires that the person (National Association of Social Workers, 2020a):
- Hold a master’s degree in social work from an approved or accredited college or university
- “Be licensed or certified to practice social work independently”
In the UK, a two-year postgraduate degree in social work approved by the Health and Care Professions Council is followed by a Disclosure and Barring Service check to look into the individual’s past, checking for reprimands, cautions, and convictions (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, 2015).
There are many bachelor’s degree programs to start students on their journey to becoming a social worker, but they typically need to be followed by a master’s degree in social work to practice.
Below is a sample of some of the best options available.
Visit each website, and consider the entry requirements and whether the training, program structure, and location meet your needs.
Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BS), Southern Illinois University, Illinois, US
This undergraduate program combines hands-on learning and research with faculty-led classroom teaching.
Along with a foundation in social work practice and policy, specific areas of study include:
- Parenting children with special needs
- Medical social work
- Cultural competence
- Disaster management
- School social work
- End-of-life care
Find out more on their website .
Undergraduate options in social work, University of Michigan, Michigan, US
The University of Michigan School of Social Work offers valuable programs for undergraduates wishing to learn about social work and develop the knowledge and skills required for further study.
Michigan offers a variety of options for students, including a minor in Community Action and Social Change, and streamlined bachelor’s degrees (BA in Sociology or BS in Health and Human Services) that can be completed in four years and prepare students for a three-semester MSW program.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), University of Georgia, Georgia, US
The University of Georgia offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work.
The bachelor’s degree prepares students to address human needs, especially for vulnerable populations, while understanding social policies and their impact.
The program combines practical experience with a thorough background in theory, including a deeper understanding of power, social justice, oppression, advocacy, and diversity.
The bachelor’s degree offers a fast-track to their master’s program.
Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW), California State University–Long Beach, California, US
The School of Social Work at California State University, Long Beach, provides an affordable yet high-quality undergraduate program to inspire critical thinking.
The degree prepares students to serve vulnerable and oppressed populations across multiple social work roles and engage in collaborative research to support wellbeing in individuals, families, and communities.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Appalachian State University, North Carolina, US
Appalachian State University offers an accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree at its Beaver College of Health Sciences. Its goal is to address local social work issues while engaging with other educational institutes internationally.
The program also offers a minor in social work. Overall, the program aims to help students develop the skills needed to work with diverse clients while encouraging and protecting human rights and social and economic justice.
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin, US
The Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, offers three bachelor’s degree options for students interested in social work. The BSW degree provides undergraduates with an overview of social and behavioral sciences and how they apply to human problems, preparing them for roles in human services, social policy, and addressing social issues.
The program introduces students to social problems and practice methods in child and family welfare, mental health , poverty, developmental disabilities, diversity, ethnicity, and oppression.
Social Work BSc (Hons), University of Brighton, Brighton, UK
Approved by Social Work England, this undergraduate degree results in a generic qualification in social work that can lead to further specialization or registration as a social worker.
Blended approaches to education involve remote and onsite learning with lectures combined with other health professions, including midwifery, medicine, education, and physiotherapy.
Tutorials and lectures are supported by carers, service users, and practitioners from other agencies to offer a more rounded education.
Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BA), University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
With an international reputation for excellence in social work, this undergraduate degree focuses on establishing an ethical and practical career as a social worker.
Graduating students will be well placed to move into a research specialty or begin a social work career as a practice leader, policymaker, or senior manager.
Social Work BA (Hons), University of Kent, Kent, UK
Qualified social workers typically active in research, with wide-ranging practical experience, lead the teaching in this program.
Core social work skills are taught early in the program before exploring trends and issues in adult services and social care for children and families.
Students embark on 100 days of practice learning and 5 skill-development days in the final year.
Social Work BSc (Hons), Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, UK.
This undergraduate degree partners with local social work agencies and service user groups to provide professional training and academic study.
Informed by theory, research, skills, and legislation, students will develop a range of competencies to meet national standards. Upon graduation, students will be able to register as a qualified social work practitioner or take up a research position.
There are many other bachelor’s degrees available. Each offers different study modes: part time, full time, and a mixture of on-campus and remote learning modes.
Consider whether the program prepares you for your goal of future study, research, or social work practice.
Increasingly, education is moving online and, as a result, becoming accessible to wider groups of students of all ages and backgrounds.
The following is a sample of some of the online programs available. Careful consideration should take into account the costs, mode of study, duration, and applicability for future research and job prospects.
Master of Social Work (MSW), Columbia University, remote, US
This top-ranked school offers a master’s degree in social work entirely online. The same high degree of academic excellence is maintained as the on-campus program, and students can complete placements in their own communities.
Online students can access all academic resources remotely, and a social work professional in their community acts as an advisor for the curriculum and helps students working toward career goals.
Master of Social Work (MSW), Case Western Reserve University, remote, US
The highly ranked School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western offers its master’s degree entirely online to working professionals across the country.
The program is designed to fit into busy lifestyles through the use of Zoom and an online learning platform.
Students attend live classes and work closely with peers and faculty members. A dedicated support team is available to address any issues and offers counseling and career services.
Master of Social Work (MSW), University of Southern California, remote, US
This fully online master’s degree in social work can be completed part time or full time and prepares students to become licensed clinical social workers.
The rigorous curriculum is the same as for on-campus students and is delivered to identical high standards.
While the program is rooted in the needs of today’s employers, it builds on the school’s historical strengths, including a focus on early intervention, leadership, core competencies, and prevention and wellness.
Master of Social Work (MSW), University of Denver, remote, US
This online master’s program prepares students to practice social work in traditional and non-traditional settings.
Taught to the same high standards as the MSW on campus, the online program offers students an understanding of social work principles and social justice in multiple settings.
The foundation curriculum provides students with a background of history, values, and ethics in social work, while the concentration curriculum offers a choice of focusing on either mental health and trauma or health, equity, and wellness .
Master of Social Work (MSW), Boston University, remote, US
The goal of Boston University’s School of Social Work is to further social and economic justice, and this is embedded into their online MSW. Full time or part time, each student’s program is tailored to their individual needs, including teaching, research, and practice.
Teaching is done through required and elective online courses and attendance of weekly live classroom sessions. Practical experience is gained through local placements where students live.
Master’s degree in Social Work (MA), Open University, remote, UK
Open University has been teaching remote and online courses for decades.
This MA in social work builds on students’ knowledge of social work theory and legislation, develops critical and analytic skills, and applies their learning to practice.
Accompanied by work placements and a work-based project, the course equips students for qualification as a social worker in either England or Scotland.
Masters in Integrative Health and Social Care (MSc), University of Derby, remote, UK
This master’s degree is completed entirely online, either full time or part time.
It prepares students to deliver effective healthcare in inter-agency settings through policy and strategic development.
Experienced academics with the latest industry expertise teach all courses through an online education portal, group work, and presentations.
Practicing in the US, UK, and beyond requires a graduate degree in social work. We have selected a sample of some of the best master’s programs and postgraduate degrees (The best social work, 2019):
Master of Social Work (MSW), Columbia University, New York, US
Columbia University has been a leader in social work since its School of Social Work was formed in 1898.
This master’s program combines academic theory with real-world practice to provide a foundational understanding of social work practice and student-chosen specialties. Choices include social and economic justice, practicing with diverse populations, and evaluating practice outcomes.
Professional training integrates learning in the classroom with on-the-ground field training.
Master of Social Work (MSW), University of Michigan, Michigan, US
This top-ranked master’s-level social work program offers flexibility, including evening, weekend, part-time, and online study options.
Opportunities to study a broad range of subjects in depth include pathways in:
- Interpersonal practice in integrated health, mental health, and substance abuse
- Lifespan perspective study that includes working with families and older adults
- Social work practice, theory, and skills to identify and develop socially just policies
Dual-degree options are available to combine study with other degrees at the University of Michigan.
Master of Social Welfare (MSW), University of California–Berkeley, California, US
This prestigious program consistently ranks highly in preparing students for a range of social work leadership and practice roles.
With a thorough overview of social science knowledge, social welfare policies, and social service organizations, this program also offers students the opportunity to gain specialized skills in areas of their choice.
The focus is on preparing students for both generalized and specialized practice and taking professional social welfare responsibility.
Master’s degree in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration (MA), University of Chicago, Illinois, US
This highly ranked Master of Arts program is equivalent to an MSW, with a broader educational and experiential foundation.
The program’s interdisciplinary nature combines direct social work practice with policy development to equip social workers, social administrators, and policymakers with the skills they need.
Clinical and social administration specializations are available to meet specific career goals.
Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW), University of Texas at Austin, Texas, US
One of the top 10 social work master’s degrees in the U.S., this program aims to prepare students for social work practice through a theoretical and practical background in social work, administration, and policy.
Classroom knowledge combines with supervisor-led field practice and the opportunity to tailor the program to gain the skills needed to meet specific career interests.
Students can take part in global study to gain international experience and a broader understanding of the field.
Master of Social Work (MSW), University of Denver, Colorado, US
Consistently ranked as one of the top social work graduate programs, the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work focuses on transforming lives and communities by responding to real-world needs, including:
- Food and security
- Culturally competent mental healthcare
- Environmental justice
The MSW will help new or established social workers further their careers, and opportunities are also available working with nonprofits, social policy, and clinicians.
Master of Social Work (MSW), Simmons University, Massachusetts, US
This progressive master’s program integrates social justice and multicultural values with practice in the field.
The faculty is committed to an integrated learning experience where advisors work closely with students to offer a coordinated and integrated learning experience.
The format of the program embraces flexibility regarding online, in-person, and blended learning.
Social Work and Professional Practice (MA), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
This MA in Social Research (Social Work and Professional Practice) is recognized as a pathway to research and beyond as a doctoral student. Advanced training is given in social science research methods and their application to social work.
Students can select particular areas of social practice and policy that will further their interests and equip them with the skills to make a difference in their chosen field.
MSc Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, UK
This program provides eligibility for registration as a social worker within the UK and opportunities for employment in health and social care settings.
Course topics include social work purpose, practice, impact, human growth and development, and social policy. Students also perform research in various social settings.
This master’s degree includes two placement blocks and culminates in writing a dissertation in an area of interest.
Master of Social Work (MSW), University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
This program offers students with an undergraduate degree the opportunity to pursue a professional qualification and prepare to be social work practitioners within local, state, and international organizations.
Taught by award-winning staff, the students combine classroom study with high-quality placements to promote change at individual, community, and policy levels.
We have many tools and worksheets available to help improve communication skills, empathy, and emotional awareness in social work, including:
- Anger Exit and Re-Entry Routines Social workers often face anger and conflict in family situations. This worksheet helps clients recognize when best to disengage from conflict or difficult conversations, cool down, and re-engage later to facilitate greater insight and joint problem-solving.
- The Win–Win Waltz Worksheet Finding a way to address the concerns of more than one party can be a difficult balance and requires empathy and a good understanding of their underlying concerns. This worksheet can help two people arrive at a win-win outcome by exploring each person’s concerns and co-creating possible solutions.
- Levels of Validation Listening and validation are valuable skills in social work, where it is important to understand the issues faced by the client. This short self-assessment helps social workers and other helping professionals consider the level at which they typically validate the feelings and experiences of their clients, ranging from mindfully listening to radical genuineness.
- Active Constructive Responding Similarly, this handout presents a 2×2 matrix of communication styles ranging from destructive to constructive and passive to active, highlighting the differences between each with examples.
- What is Working Within the Family When working with families, it can be helpful to begin with a positive focus on that family’s strengths. This activity helps family members identify and share what they feel goes well within the family or household as a means to celebrate and build on successes.
- 17 Positive Psychology Exercises If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others enhance their wellbeing, this signature collection contains 17 validated positive psychology tools for practitioners . Use them to help others flourish and thrive.
With greater numbers of social workers required over the coming years to meet the growing needs of society, high-quality, flexible education is becoming increasingly essential (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
Students and newly qualified social workers must have “knowledge of human development and behavior; of social, economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors” (National Association of Social Workers, 2020b).
According to the National Association of Social Workers, social work practice requires a thorough and professional foundation in social work values, principles, and techniques. Only then can social workers successfully support individuals, families, groups, and communities, and further improve legislative processes and social and health services.
Becoming a social worker involves a considerable commitment of time and finances to meet education, training, and licensing requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to find the most appropriate program to meet your personal needs and practice in your preferred location.
Use this article to become familiar with some of the best social work programs available, follow the links to explore entry criteria and areas of study, and make an informed education decision.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free .
- The best social work programs in America, Ranked. (2019). U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/social-work-rankings
- How to become a social worker: 7 Steps to consider. (n.d.). Social Work License Map. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://socialworklicensemap.com/become-a-social-worker/
- National Association of Social Workers. (2020a). Social work federal requirements . Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.socialworkers.org/Advocacy/Policy-Issues/Social-Work-Federal-Requirements
- National Association of Social Workers. (2020b). Practice . Retrieved April 25, 2021, from https://www.socialworkers.org/Practice
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. (2015). Social worker. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.ucas.com/ucas/after-gcses/find-career-ideas/explore-jobs/job-profile/social-worker
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021, April 9). Social workers: Occupational outlook handbook. Retrieved April 25, 2021, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-6
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College of social work.
Professors: Abell, Ai, Anderson, Petscher, Radey, Thyer, Wilke; Associate Professors: Boel-Studt, T. Gomory, Killian, Lacasse, Munn, Noel, Pettus-Davis, Schelbe, Tripodi; Assistant Professors: Mathias, Renn; Teaching Faculty III: Ashmore, Boone, Deckerhoff, Dwyer-Lee, F. Gomory, Stanley, Verano; Teaching Faculty II: , Kintz; Teaching Faculty I: Edwards, Goldman, Jackson, Johnson, Legaspi, Osborne; Research Faculty I: Eikenberry, Oehme, Pryce; Instructional Specialist I : Greil-Burkhart
The College of Social Work offers programs of study leading to: (1) the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, designed to enable students to offer direct services to individuals, families, groups, and communities at the generalist level of social work practice; (2) the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, designed to develop advanced skills to engage in professional social work practice with concentrations in either clinical social work or social leadership; and (3) the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, which is designed to advance the social work profession through the development of researchers/scholars and educators.
Particular attention in all of our course offerings is given to the application of practice without discrimination and with respect, knowledge, and skills related to clients' age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
For complete details of undergraduate degree requirements, plus a description of the College of Social Work, its opportunities, and available financial assistance, refer to the "College of Social Work" chapter of this General Bulletin , or our Website at https://csw.fsu.edu/ . Refer to the Graduate Bulletin for graduate programs.
Minor in Social Welfare
A minor in social welfare requires twelve hours in social work courses with a grade of "C–" or better in each course; SOW 3203, SOW 3350, and two SOW electives. At least six hours must be completed at FSU. An application is required for the minor and to be registered for SOW 3350 and SOW 3203. Please note that the minor does not qualify a student to apply for advanced standing graduate programs in social work or for professional certification or licensure.
Computer Skills Competency
All undergraduates at Florida State University must demonstrate basic computer skills competency prior to graduation. As necessary computer competency skills vary from discipline to discipline, each major determines the courses needed to satisfy this requirement. Undergraduate majors in social work satisfy this requirement by earning a grade of "C–" or higher in CGS 2060, CGS 2100, or an equivalent course approved by the program director.
State of Florida Common Program Prerequisites
The state of Florida has identified common program prerequisites for this University degree program. Specific prerequisites are required for admission into the upper-division program and must be completed by the student at either a community college or a state university prior to being admitted to this program. Students may be admitted into the University without completing the prerequisites, but may not be admitted into the program.
At the time this document was published, some common program prerequisites were being reviewed by the state of Florida and may have been revised. Please visit https://dlss.flvc.org/admin-tools/common-prerequisites-manuals for a current list of state-approved prerequisites.
The following lists the common program prerequisites or their substitutions, necessary for admission into this upper-division degree program:
Social Work, General
- BSC X005 or BSC X085 or BSC X010 or PCB X099
- ECO X000 or ECO X023 or ECOX013
- SYG X000 or SYG X010
Definition of Prefix
SOW —Social Work
SOW 1054r. Human Services Experience (0-1) . (S/U grade only.) This course entails a direct human service experience in a social services agency or community organization or program. Thirty hours of volunteer services are required per credit hour. Through the volunteer experience, students are able to observe the application of social work knowledge and skills within a human service program and to learn about the role social workers play in generalist practice settings with systems of all sizes. May be repeated to a maximum of two (2) credit hours.
SOW 3203. The Social Work Profession (3) . In this course, students begin to identify with the social work profession, its history, mission, and core values, and conduct themselves in accordance with the ethical principles that guide professional practice. Students also learn how the social work profession engages in policy and practice to address issues of social and economic well-being. They begin to recognize the social, political, economic, and environmental influences on client systems of all sizes and apply them to the conduct of social work practice.
SOW 3350. Interviewing and Documentation (3) . This course covers the basic elements of interviewing and documentation utilizing the values and ethics of the social work profession. Students develop the foundation skills such as rapport-building, information-gathering, and record-keeping in order to conduct interviews with clients.
SOW 3933. Seminar in Global Social Work Ethics (3) . This course gives emphasis to factors driving and arising from social, political, and cultural issues, and to potential ethical conflicts associated with them. Students consider the conceptual and theoretical bases for ethical concerns, including their implications for social welfare practice and policy decisions. The course identifies and critiques ethical dilemmas, with consideration for resolving social justice and social welfare service delivery challenges arising when competing interests collide. Students consider ways in which ethical principles vary depending on the auspice or body from which they arise, comparing and contrasting priorities and values of global, national, or ethnically or religiously identified professional associations.
SOW 4104. Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3) . This course focuses on reciprocal relationships between human behavior and social environments. Content includes system theory, an ecological perspective, and life course theories that focus on human development at the individual and family level, including interactions between and among systems of all sizes, including groups, societies, and economic systems.
SOW 4108. Women's Issues and Social Work (3) . This course is designed to acquaint students with the factors that affect women throughout life and the role that social work plays in addressing these issues.
SOW 4152. Human Sexuality (3) . This course is a survey of issues and problems associated with human sexuality, intended for social workers and others in helping professions. Emphasis is placed on sexually oppressed groups, sexual life cycle from a psychosocial perspective, and student's attitudes and values regarding sexuality.
SOW 4232. Social Welfare Policies and Programs (3) . This course provides a beginning understanding of the relationship between social welfare and social policy from a social work perspective. Students engage in policy practice to address social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services across diverse populations. Attention is given to critical analysis of the role that social work and social welfare policies and programs play in advancing human rights and social and economic justice.
SOW 4247. Homelessness in America: People, Programs and Policies (3) . This course covers poverty in the United States, with particular emphasis on homelessness. It includes content related to values and ethics in programs and policies as well as cultural diversity among people in poverty. Particular attention to those who suffer from poverty and other societal oppression, such as those who are also people of color, women, gays, lesbians, HIV positive, or disabled.
SOW 4290. Ethical Issues in Social Work Practice (3) . This course provides students with a framework of knowledge and skills to prepare them for effective and ethical decision making that is congruent with codes of ethics and standard practice in the social-work profession. Also explored are the principles of ethical decision making and various value systems.
SOW 4323. Social Work Practice with Groups (3) . Prerequisite: SOW 4341. This course focuses on the development of the generalist practice skills of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with social work client and community groups. This course covers practice skills that contribute to group effectiveness, including composition, structure, dynamics, goal setting, and evaluation. Course content also includes examining the empirical base of a range of theories and models for social work with groups.
SOW 4341. Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families (3) . Prerequisite: SOW 3350. This course focuses on the development of the generalist practice skills of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals and families in social work. The empirical bases of a range of theories and models of social work practice are examined, along with applications to generalist social work practice. Ways to promote social and economic justice while practicing as a social worker are also discussed.
SOW 4360. Social Work Practice with Communities and Organizations (3) . Prerequisites: SOW 3350 and SOW 4341. This is one of three courses in the practice foundation curriculum. The course is designed to introduce students to a range of theories and models of social work practice from an ecological framework.
SOW 4403. Introduction to Social Work Research (3) . This course introduces students to qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to provide an understanding of a scientific, analytic, and ethical approach to building knowledge for practice. Students' mastery of course content prepares them to develop, use, and effectively communicate empirically-based knowledge. Research knowledge is used by students to provide high-quality services; to initiate change; to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery; and to evaluate their own practice from an evidence-based perspective.
SOW 4414. Statistics for Social Workers (3) . This course introduces students to quantitative tools used to describe and interpret data used in social work practice, research, and policy formation. The course content prepares students to understand, interpret, and conduct the statistical analyses necessary for the evaluation of effective social work practice, social policies, and social programs. Students learn to plan and conduct analyses guided by an understanding of social work values and ethics. Specific topics to be covered in class include descriptive statistics, basic probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, correlation, and regression.
SOW 4454. Grant Writing and Grant Management (3) . This course covers the basics of proposals: purpose statements, background and justification, aims or objectives, personnel, timeline, methods, budget, and evaluation, and how to effectively manage grants once they are funded. The needs of disenfranchised groups or communities are discussed in this course, along with the particulars of proposals that may be most effective in meeting such needs.
SOW 4510r. Undergraduate Field Instruction (6–12) . (S/U grade only.) Prerequisites: A 3.0 GPA in social work courses and completion of all the required social work courses and prerequisites. Corequisite: SOW 4522. In this course, supervised direct social work experience is provided in various human service settings. May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours.
SOW 4522. Integrative Field Seminar (2) . Corequisite: SOW 4510. This course assists students in the integration of their social work courses with social work practice. The course utilizes an ecosystems perspective, focusing on the student's ability to apply the knowledge and skills of generalist social work practice to systems of all sizes. This course has been approved for the Liberal Studies requirements for Scholarship-in-Practice and thus is designed to help students become applied and lifelong learners. Majors only.
SOW 4602. Social Work in Health Settings (3) . This course focuses on social work practice in health settings from a "person-in-environment" perspective, preparing students with an understanding of the roles that social workers play in health settings, the structure of health care delivery systems, organizational and professional ethics and standards, challenges we face in health care policy, and patient issues and how to help to address these issues. Specific knowledge and skills in a health care setting are addressed, including biopsychosocial assessments, chart documentation, treatment planning, and discharge planning.
SOW 4615. Family Violence Across the Lifespan (3) . This course provides an ecological perspective emphasizing the interconnections between individuals experiencing violence and their social environments. Emphasis is placed upon broad coverage of all-important aspects of child abuse, incest, intimate partner violence, rape, and elder abuse. This course is appropriate for students who wish to gain skill in detecting and responding to incest situations for clients, sexual assault survivors, and victims of intimate partner violence or elder abuse.
SOW 4620. Diversity and Social Justice (3) . This course enhances student understanding of human diversity and prepares students to engage in a lifetime pursuit of cultural competence. Students are encouraged to reflect upon and discuss the intricacies of their own particular dominant and/or minority social statuses and their relations to other individuals and communities. The course is designed to train students to apply theoretical frameworks to the forms and mechanisms associated with diversity, differences, and oppression. Emphasis is placed on enhancing respectful and empathic communication, and on the advancement of social and economic justice and human rights in national and global contexts.
SOW 4633. The Social Worker in the Public School System (3) . This course introduces students to school social work practice and related issues, such as biased educational practices, behavior, economic constraints, physical and emotional problems, and community and family adversity.
SOW 4645. Gerontological Social Work (3) . This course introduces students to social gerontology and gerontological social work. Topics cover the demography of aging and the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of aging; social and health care policies that impact older persons, their caregivers, and the aging network of services; the impact of ageism, sexism, racism, ablebodyism, beautism, and homophobia on our work with older people; as well as the promotion of dignity, self-determination, and socio-economic justice for older people.
SOW 4650. Child Welfare Practice (3) . This course provides a framework of values, knowledge and skills necessary to practice with vulnerable children and their families. The major focus is on social work in public child welfare in the State of Florida. The course utilizes an ecosystem perspective for understanding and assessing the special needs of at-risk children and families. Specific attention is on assessing families and children using the State of Florida's Safety Decision Making Method and other family assessment instruments.
SOW 4658. Child Maltreatment and Child Welfare (3) . This course provides students with knowledge and skills related to the theory, research, and implications of child and adolescent maltreatment for child development and psychopathology. Course content is presented within the context of child welfare practice and social work with children and adolescents in public agencies and programs. Particular attention is given to common psychological disorders that result from maltreatment and accompanying treatment issues. Issues related to individuals, families, groups, and communities are covered and attention is given to working with ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians, and persons with disabilities. Particular attention is given to federal and state child welfare statutes including Chapter 39, Florida statutes including the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the range of services provided by the Department of Children and Families and other agencies.
SOW 4665. Theory and Practice of Social Work in Criminal Justice Settings (3) . This course focuses on criminal theories and on the development of both evidence-based and generalist social-work practice skills pertinent to working in criminal-justice settings, alongside the individuals in the criminal-justice system. Focus is placed on theory and practice for social workers in corrections, prisoner-reentry programs, and juvenile-justice settings. The course covers the philosophy and practice of restorative justice and victim-offender mediation programs, emphasizing the needs of both offenders and victims.
SOW 4702. Substance Abuse and Misuse (3) . This course provides fundamental knowledge of the aspects of substance misuse in American society. Students examine the etiology and epidemiology of substance misuse, treatment approaches and major policies and programs relevant to the prevention and treatment of substance misuse. Special attention is given to substance use and misuse among specific populations including adolescents, older adults, women, racial and ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians and persons with disabilities. The effect of substance misuse on families, communities and social systems are examined utilizing a systems approach.
SOW 4784. International Social Work and Social Welfare (3) . This course prepares students for international social-work practice and for transitional work with immigrants, refugees, international migrants, etc. The course introduces international perspectives in the social-work field and offers varied examples of social-work practice in the U.S., and in Western, Central European, and Caribbean nations and examines the impact of the global interdependence on social-work practice and policy and helps students learn to critically analyze varied practice approaches utilized in dealing with international welfare issues.
SOW 4905r. Directed Individual Study (1–4) . Prerequisites: Eight credit hours in social work, a 2.75 GPA, and instructor permission. May be repeated to a maximum of eight semester hours. See departmental guidelines.
SOW 4911r. Honors Work in Social Work (1–6) . Prerequisites: Junior standing, a 3.2 or higher GPA, and instructor permission. This course consists of a thesis, completed over a period of two or three semesters, based on traditional library research and critical analysis. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.
SOW 4935r. Seminar in Social Work: Selected Topics (3) . May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours as topics change.
SOW 4940. International Community Engagement (3) . (S/U grade only.) Prerequisites: Acceptance into the College of Social Work Alternative Spring Break program along with international travel during FSU's scheduled spring break. This course utilizes a service learning experience in an international social services organization to introduce students to international social work practice and a range of global social issues that shape human welfare and social development.
For listings relating to graduate coursework, consult the Graduate Bulletin .
Writing & Literature
The Writing & Literature students have a genuine passion for reading and writing. Students complete rigorous coursework in Creative Writing, Literary Study, and Writing Studies, with considerable freedom to design their own course of study. Students work closely under the guidance of a faculty mentor to create a publishable body of creative and scholarly work for their senior portfolio.
By integrating these three areas of exploration, students will receive a well-rounded education in writing. Work in Creative Writing will help students develop their voice and gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in today’s publishing environment. The close reading and criticism performed through Literary Study will help students better understand and analyze literature. Experience in Writing Studies invites students to consider the composition, circulation, and purpose of writing in professional, academic, civic, and digital contexts. This interdisciplinary approach to writing will prepare students for a fulfilling writing life as well as a variety of careers, including professional writing, publishing, marketing, or graduate-level study.
Some students receive funding from CCS to support their research or creative activities through the Traveling Undergraduate Research Fund.
The purpose of the Writing & Writing and Literature curriculum is to provide students with the grounding and guidance that will allow them to successfully pursue their independent scholarly and creative endeavors.
Freshman and Sophomore colloquia in the three areas of study provide exposure to the forms of inquiry within these related fields and to the cutting edge research of UCSB faculty in these disciplines. Most upper division courses are taken in various College of Letters and Science Departments, such as Comparative Literature, English, Writing, the languages, and ethnic studies.
The latter half of a student’s undergraduate career focuses on pursuing an independent project in research and/or creative writing, which culminates in the Senior Portfolio.
For a full list of requirements, please download the major sheet on the right of the page.
Psychodynamic training programs
Hi, I'm a provisionally licensed social worker (LCSW in Massachusetts) working in outpatient psychotherapy after graduating last year. I'm interested in filling in some of my CEUs with training on psychodynamic work. Unfortunately, most of the psychodynamic training programs I'm finding are quite intensive, with a 2-4 year commitment, and don't count for CEU credits. The time commitment itself isn't really a problem, it's just that I can't financially justify paying for such an intensive program if I'm still going to have to pay for CEUs on top of it (which my workplace doesn't cover). Does anyone know of a training program that's either online or local to Massachusetts or Rhode Island, and would count for CEU requirements for a Massachusetts LCSW/LICSW?
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Summer 2023 Courses
His 144 introduction to health, medicine, & society.
Instructor: A. Gallagher Format: Online Real Time Session: Summer III
What does it mean to be healthy? What does it mean to be sick? And how have human beings tried to control health and illness? This course explores the many ways that humans have sought to understand bodies, to control disease, to comprehend death, and to deal with atypical bodies and minds. In this class, we will read and talk about the history of medicine, of course, but also touch upon a variety of social and cultural factors that help us to better understand the progress (or lack thereof) of scientific medicine: race, gender, ability, sexuality, class, colonialism, and oppression, among others. We will begin in ancient times and end in the modern era, but take a winding path on our journey, touching on everything from Egyptian death practices to eugenics to HIV/AIDS. The history of medicine is not a straight forward accounting of ingenuity and discovery, but rather a wild, crazy, sometimes gross, often horrifying, story about people and the worlds they lived in. USH, PRE
HIS 161 US History I
His 162 us history 2.
Instructor: E. Seger Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer III
This is not your high school history class. We won't ignore presidents and generals, but we will push beyond them to look at ordinary people, popular culture, and the ideas that shaped American history from the end of the Civil War to the present. From Robber Barons and Captains of Industry; to radical unionists and free-lovers; from the rise of Jim Crow to civil rights activism; from Victorian bustles to flappers and feminists; from the New Deal to the Tea Party; we cannot understand the present without understanding how these stories have transformed America over the last century and a half. We will use film, music, and compelling stories about men and women living through the issues of their day to show that history is not just a list of names and dates. USH **NOTE: HIS 161 is not a prerequisite for HIS 162 . Students may register for one, both, and in any order.
HIS 199 Social and Cultural History of Soccer
Instructor: P. McDevitt Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer I
This first-year seminar probes the recent history of soccer to analyze larger social, political, cultural, and economic processes. The main concerns of the course are wide-ranging, and include exploring the relationships between sports and politics, popular culture and national identity, gender and equality. We will explore the following questions: How and why did soccer become the world’s most popular sport? How has the growth and professionalization of the sport influenced the construction of race, gender, and national identities? How has soccer reshaped debates about human rights, equality, and citizenship? And, how do debates over the team composition, designation of home locales, and even playing styles of the U.S.'s men's and women's national squads reflect, and potentially recast, larger conversations about citizenship and national identity?
These questions signal the need to think broadly and historically about the ties between sport and society. They are intended as starting points, and will be complemented by new questions and concerns that students will raise in discussions and individual assignments, group presentations, and research papers. The aims for this course are threefold. First, students will strengthen critical reading and writing skills through weekly assignments designed to sharpen written and oral communication. Second, students will acquire first-hand historical research experience through the production of an original research paper. This process immerses you in the thick of scholarship, and will enhance awareness about methodology and historiography. And, finally, in framing this course in an Americas perspective, I invite students to think about the interconnected and transnational arenas through which ostensibly local (and national) histories of soccer play out.
HIS 208 US in the World
Instructor: R. Adams Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer I
This course focuses on the relationship of the United States with the broader world from the War of 1898 to the "War on Terror" in the early 21st century. During this period the United States emerged as a global superpower whose military, economy, and culture had a broad, transformative impact on much of the world. At the same time, the projection of American power overseas changed life in the United States dramatically. This course focuses on the overt and subtle connections between the United States and the world. It will enrich our understanding of American foreign relations, along with the myriad of ways Americans have engaged with peoples abroad¿as soldiers, missionaries, tourists, traveling musicians, corporate executives, activists, and immigrants. Among the major themes and topics discussed will be wars, diplomacy, the global economy, the growth of international organizations, human rights, pandemics, environmental crises, consumer culture, the Cold War, human rights, terrorism, and globalization. USH
HIS 219 Latin America and the US
Instructor: J. Labbie Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer III
This course explores the intertwined histories of Latin America and the United States from the Age of Revolutions forward through history, literature, and film. The course has three concrete goals. First, it aims to introduce students to critical themes in Latin American history. Second, this course challenges traditional narratives of U.S. History by asking students to take a second look at key topics in U.S. History that appear different when seen from a Latin American vantage point. Third, this course will expose students to the rich literary and visual culture that is a product of North-South, cross-border relations in the Americas. Equipped with proficiency in the history of 200 years of political, economic, social, and cultural exchanges between Latin America and the United States, students in HIS 219 will be able to understand and contextualize contemporary issues in the Americas such as migration and immigration, Americanism and Anti-Americanism, cultural and economic imperialism, environmental issues, and cross-border, social justice, and anti-globalization movements. AAL
HIS 301 Historical Writing
Instructor: C. Casteel Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer I
This course is designed to help students develop the essential skills of good historical writing: the ability to synthesize a wide variety of secondary information, construct nuanced interpretations of primary source material, formulate original historical arguments, and tell engaging, meaningful stories about the past. Students will practice these four foundational areas (synthesis, analysis, argumentation, and narration) through a variety of informal and formal writing assignments, including blog posts, in-class writing, book reviews, and a research essay. In addition, students will gain experience presenting their work orally and visually.
HIS 318 History of Ireland
Instructor: A. Morin Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer I
This course is an introduction to the history and historiography of Ireland from the seventeenth century to the present, with an emphasis on Ireland's social, cultural and political history from the Cromwellian invasion to the Good Friday Peace accords. While the past is important to most modern cultures, it is particularly central to modern Irish society. The past (or various interpretations of the past) is so often used as ammunition in the on-going battle over the relationship between the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The goal of the class will be to untangle the intertwined threads of history, legend, propaganda, and folklore which comprise the Irish vision of the past. Topics covered include: the 1798 United Irishmen's Rebellion, the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Catholic Emancipation, the Great Famine/An Gorta Mor, the Gaelic Renaissance, the Home Rule movement, the Troubles, the Irish Diaspora, and the roles of the religion, sport, music, drama and literature in the creation of the Irish nation. EUR
HIS 391 China and the World
Instructor: S. Wan Format: Online Real Time Session: Summer III
Survey of Chinese views of the world order, exchanges in material culture across China's borders, and the ways in which Chinese governments and people have interacted with the world from the imperial era to the present era of the rise of China. This course is the same as AS 391 , and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements. AAL, PRE
HIS 406 War & American Memory
Instructor: S. Handley-Cousins Format: Online Asynchronous Session: Summer I
This research seminar explores the many ways Americans have remembered and commemorated war in their history. From colonial wars of settlement in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to our current "war on terror," we will examine the formal and informal ways Americans have memorialized their martial experiences, and how those memorial strategies have shaped American society. And we will debate the profound ways that the experience of war, both for soldiers and civilians, have transformed lives for better and for worse. Students will engage with the topic though a variety of primary and secondary sources, including works of literature, visual images, and film. Students will conduct primary source research on a topic of their choosing in relation to the themes and questions of the course. USH
Martinez | Stanford needs a course on Taylor Swift’s social media marketing
Five weeks into winter quarter, I learned from a friend that a Taylor Swift course was being offered. ITALIC 99: All Too Well (Ten Week Version), taught by Nona Hungate ’24, is “an in-depth analysis of Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well.’” The course recognizes Swift’s brilliant songwriting skills while giving Stanford students the opportunity to learn how to analyze literature. I do not think I have ever felt so sad about not being enrolled in a course.
The closest I have ever gotten to taking a course about Taylor Swift was my Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) 1 class, “From Green Cards to Gaming Avatars: Forms of Identity,” with lecturer Nissa Cannon. The only aspect of the class that related to Swift was one line in the course description: “Why does Taylor Swift’s album art present a different version of her than a Vanity Fair profile?” Although none of the actual class content was about Swift, I took that singular line and ran with it — my final research-based argument paper was about Swift’s TikTok marketing skills.
In researching Swift’s marketing skills, I realized that there is much to learn from Swift aside from her genius songwriting abilities. The public relations and marketing actions performed by Swift and her marketing team could produce a fruitful course syllabus that details various tips and tricks for effective advertising.
Stanford should consider offering a course that revolves around Taylor Swift’s entrepreneurship in the entertainment industry. Particularly, a course that analyzes Swift’s clever and creative social media marketing skills could benefit many students in various fields, from public relations to economics.
For example, in advance of her newest album, “Midnights,” Swift took to TikTok to release a “Midnights Mayhem With Me” series; in each episode, she unveiled the name of a new track. This TikTok series created an immense amount of hype around the album, where fans were unintentionally promoting the album by reposting, commenting, and using “Midnights” sounds.
The course could also analyze Swift’s well-known tactic of placing easter eggs to create speculation and conversations about her projects all over social media. When she consistently hints at there being secret messages in her social media posts, music videos, and even red-carpet looks, fans always take to social media to figure out what message Swift is trying to send.
Additionally, the course could examine Taylor Swift’s incredible ability to market and sell tangible products in a world of streaming. Despite the rise and prominence of Apple Music, Spotify, and other streaming platforms, Swift is one of the few artists that is still able to sell substantial quantities of CDs, vinyl records and cassette tapes. In fact, tangible music products are where a majority of her “Midnights” sales came from .
These sales can be attributed in part to a smart marketing strategy: encouraging fans to buy several copies of the same album. For example, for her “Lover” album, Swift released four physical deluxe versions, with each version containing a different journal with pieces from Swift’s old diaries. In this case, it was nearly impossible for fans to only purchase one deluxe version and miss out on three more journals with content from Swift’s diary.
For “Midnights,” Swift took to TikTok to market a (really cool) merchandise piece. She announced a “Midnights” clock, made up of four different versions of the album on vinyl. When the back sides of the four different versions are put together , they form a clock that’s actually functional if fans purchase an additional clock set.
It is strategies like these, where Swift prompts fans to buy several physical copies of the same album, that translate to sales and thus help Swift retain her relevance.
Courses that critically analyze Taylor Swift’s literary skills and cultural influence are already being offered at universities across the country. The University of Texas offered the course “The Taylor Swift Songbook” last year, which focused on “her songs as literary writing and the ways a popular and award-winning writer uses the same literary devices, figures, and tropes of traditional poetry in her work.” The course instructor, English professor Elizabeth Scala, wanted to focus on teaching students about literary analysis through Swift’s clever writing mechanisms, which involve metaphors and the manipulation of words.
However, universities are not only studying Swift’s songwriting abilities. In 2022, adjunct instructor Brittany Spanos taught a course at New York University (NYU) about Taylor Swift that delved into various topics essential to understanding the entertainment industry. It also taught students about Swift’s role in perpetuating the youth and girlhood culture in pop music, social media usage and its impact on the music industry, issues of copyright and ownership, and the prevalence of image and race in contemporary music.
A new Stanford course about Taylor Swift could teach new ideas in addition to those taught at the University of Texas or NYU, such as the current impact of TikTok on Swift’s career. The unique Taylor Swift brand crafted by Swift and her marketing team could be fascinating to anyone wanting to work in the entertainment industry or learn more about her enduring cultural influence that never goes out of style.
Alondra Martinez '26 is a freshman from Los Angeles, California. She intends to major in Political Science and Communications.
Social work is a writing-intensive discipline. Whether we work with individual clients in direct practice, work with administrators in community organizing, or conduct social-work research, we will write, revise, and proofread for the rest of our professional lives.
In summary, here are 10 of our most popular social work courses Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change Psychological First Aid Social Services for Families, Seniors and Those with Disabilities Columbia University The Arts and Science of Relationships: Understanding Human Needs: University of Toronto
Social Work Online CE Institute NASW offers hundreds of CE courses in a variety of formats — webinars, webcasts, podcasts, presentations, and more. All courses offered through this program are accredited by either the NASW National Office or one of NASW Chapters and NASW members receive discounted prices.
The Best Writing Style for Social Work Majors Social work combines many academic disciplines, but typically, social work courses call for assignments to be formatted in APA style, though this may vary between schools, programs, and individual professors.
A Q&A feature with questions asked by social work students and answered by a social work writing tutor in the 2013-2014 academic year. Writing Courses. Soc Wf 250 Writing for Social Welfare Courses Links to an external site.W. Offers an engaging space for social welfare students to develop, practice, and strengthen college-level writing using ...
From methods of collecting and presenting evidence, to drawing conclusions and writing up a final report. Available Formats. ISBN: 9780857259837. Paperback. Suggested Retail Price: $43.00. Bookstore Price: $34.40. ISBN: 9780857259844. Electronic Version. Suggested Retail Price: $39.00.
The courses are available 24/7 by downloading the audio file or reading the transcript. Professional Networking Strengthen and grow your social work career through networking with your colleagues around the globe and in your community. Attend NASW Chapters face-to-face events to meet professional social workers in your community.
Social Work Courses. WCSU Department of Social Work Course Descriptions ... SW 270W Writing for the Human Service and Health Care Profession 3 credits. This writing intensive (W) course is designed for students intending to pursue a professional career in such fields as social work, education, nursing, and other health services. ...
tailored to social service providers and health providers, respectively. The description says social workers can benefit from both streams. It's accredited by both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Clinical Practice Macro Practice, Policy work Diversity
Social Work Courses (SWK) SWK 6601 - Introduction to Social Policy Development and the Effects Community and Organizations (3) This course is designed to assist students in developing a working understanding of American social policy, and the system, its response to human need and its relation to the organized profession of social work.
Although instructors express concerns about social work students' writing skills, little research has been conducted. One remedy is a social work-focused writing course. This study assessed a required writing course with a sample of 49 baccalaureate students. From online pre- and posttest surveys, 2 student outcomes improved significantly: self-reported scores for writing self-efficacy and ...
Record every session with a client in your diary. Dictate your case notes. Separate observation from opinion in your case notes. Be neutral in your observations for good case notes. Describe chronologically throughout your social work case notes. Explain your assessment in your case notes.
All students are required by the CSWE to take courses in: human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, research, social work practice, and field education. This last requirement, field education, is the most distinguishing feature of a specialized social work degree.
This writing-intensive course examines the history of social work as it relates to public policy in social welfare, social health, and civil rights. Roles of social work professionals in policy analysis and evaluation are also examined as well as the interaction between social policy and social work services.
About Social Work. McMaster's School of Social Work program places emphasis on the social structuring of individual and community problems, and on social work's commitment to enhancing social justice and challenging oppression. Learn more about the school of social work.
Tuition. $320.00. Schedule. Apr 24 - May 22, 2023. Sun. Writing, paired with mindfulness practice, can bring us back to ourselves and connect us to others. During this course, we will learn about and try on contemplative practices paired with writing prompts. During the first week, we'll meditate on the five senses and write inspired by memory.
You can improve your social work skills by following these steps: 1. Make a list of your current skill set Evaluate your current skills to learn more about how comfortable you feel, and to identify abilities you want to develop. Take notes or list how you work and what skills you might need to improve.
Social Work Training: Top 25+ Courses & Online Degrees 9 May 2021 by Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D. Scientifically reviewed by Jo Nash, Ph.D. The employment of social workers in the United States is projected to grow by 13% from 2019 to 2029 to meet the growing needs of society (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
View courses for Nevada social workers. Mandated Nevada "Ethics" Requirement. The NASW-CA Online CE Program is approved through the Nevada Board of Examiners for Social Workers. Pursuant to NAC 641B, the NV required "ethics" coursework must address the topics of professional boundaries, confidentiality, or dual relationships. ...
A minor in social welfare requires twelve hours in social work courses with a grade of "C-" or better in each course; SOW 3203, SOW 3350, and two SOW electives. At least six hours must be completed at FSU. An application is required for the minor and to be registered for SOW 3350 and SOW 3203. ... Grant Writing and Grant Management (3). This ...
Zoom 5150 Trainings are from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. After the training, participants will need to take the test in-person at the Learning Partnership office, 1075 E. Santa Clara St. 2nd floor, San Jose, 95116. The test must be taken the same day as the training at one of the following times: 1:00 - 2:00 pm. 2:00 - 3:00 pm.
The Writing & Literature students have a genuine passion for reading and writing. Students complete rigorous coursework in Creative Writing, Literary Study, and Writing Studies, with considerable freedom to design their own course of study. Students work closely under the guidance of a faculty mentor to create a publishable body of creative and ...
Unfortunately, most of the psychodynamic training programs I'm finding are quite intensive, with a 2-4 year commitment, and don't count for CEU credits. The time commitment itself isn't really a problem, it's just that I can't financially justify paying for such an intensive program if I'm still going to have to pay for CEUs on top of it (which ...
Format: Online Asynchronous. Session: Summer III. This course explores the intertwined histories of Latin America and the United States from the Age of Revolutions forward through history, literature, and film. The course has three concrete goals. First, it aims to introduce students to critical themes in Latin American history.
The University of Texas offered the course "The Taylor Swift Songbook" last year, which focused on "her songs as literary writing and the ways a popular and award-winning writer uses the ...