Wayne State University

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Master of Social Work

Advanced Year MSW (PDF)

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program at Wayne State University is dedicated to the education of world class M.S.W. practitioners who commit themselves to serving effectively those individuals who are vulnerable or oppressed, to achieving social and economic justice, and to improving the quality of life of individuals, families, groups and communities.

The first year of graduate study is called the “Core Year” and, as mandated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), provides a foundation of basic social work knowledge and skills for all students. The core curriculum stresses fundamentals of social work practice as they relate to individuals, families, small groups, organizations and communities. In field education, theory is translated into practice and includes experiences for students in interpersonal practice and practice in organizations and communities.

The second year of graduate study is designated the “Advanced Year.” Students select their concentration area toward the end of the Core Year or as they enter the Advanced Year. The advanced curriculum builds on the knowledge, values and skills gained in the core curriculum, with the objective of increasing students’ competence to deal with greater complexities of social work practice through a focus on areas of social concern. This advanced portion of the M.S.W. degree program is designed to provide specific knowledge and practice skills in the concentrations of Interpersonal Practice or Innovation in Community, Policy, and Leadership.

The School of Social Work at Wayne State University offers full-time and planned part-time study programs leading to the Master of Social Work. The full-time degree program consists of four semesters of study in which field work is concurrent with class work. Students spend two full days each week in the field and two days in classes for two consecutive years. Required classes in the full-time program may be offered during the day or evening, on Saturdays, and online.

The planned part-time program permits students to complete degree requirements over a three- or four-year period. Part-time study is open only to students who have been formally admitted to the program by the Admissions Director.

All prospective students are strongly encouraged to attend an informational meeting covering M.S.W. curriculum and concentrations, the application process, tuition, social work careers, scholarship opportunities, and much more. For further information on the M.S.W. program, please call the school’s Office of Admissions and Student Services toll-free at 866-WSU-SWRK (978-7975).

Advanced Standing Program

An applicant for admission to the Master of Social Work program who holds a baccalaureate degree from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council of Social Work Education may be admitted with advanced standing. Students admitted with advanced standing are required to complete eight graduate credits toward the M.S.W. degree during the summer term following admission, and subsequently an additional 30 credits in the advanced curriculum of the graduate program, as prescribed within the student’s concentration. Students must complete the following summer curriculum (total 8 credit hours) before enrolling in courses in the advanced curriculum:

S W 7070 – Social Work Practice with Micro, Mezzo and Macro Systems: Cr. 2

S W 7500 – Human Behavior Theory for SW Assessment: Cr. 2

S W 7620 – Social Welfare Policy: Cr.2

S W 7810 – Using and Conducting Research in Social Work: Cr. 2

Students may waive one or more of these summer courses by successfully completing a waiver exam. Contact the Office of Admissions and Student Services for information.

The Master of Social Work requires a minimum of 60 credits of graduate course work or 38 credits of graduate course work for those who hold advanced standing, completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the School of Social Work. The program includes a foundation (core) curriculum at the first level. At the second level, it includes one of two concentrations: Interpersonal Practice or Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership. The core curriculum provides the foundation for the advanced curriculum.

Foundation (Core) Curriculum

The foundation (core) curriculum provides a knowledge base for later study of advanced practice in the concentration. The core curriculum has content in the five major curricular areas: social work practice, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, research, and field education. The core curriculum stresses fundamentals and knowledge of social work practice as they relate to individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities. In field education, theory is translated into practice and includes experiences for students in Interpersonal Practice and Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership. 

S W 7040 – Methods of Social Work Practice: Cr. 3

S W 7055 – Foundation Group Theory and Practice: Cr. 3

S W 7065 – Foundation Macro Theory and Practice: Cr. 3

S W 7560 – Human Behavior in Social Envt. I: Micro Theory: Cr. 3

S W 7660 – Human Behavior in Social Envt. II: Diversity in Multicultural Soc.: Cr. 3

S W 7720 – Introduction to Social Welfare Policy in the United States: Cr. 3

S W 7771 – Field Work Seminar I: Cr. 0.5

S W 7772 – Field Work Seminar II: Cr. 0. 5

S W 7820 – Research Methods in Social Work I: Cr. 3

S W 7830 – Research Methods in Social Work II: Cr. 3

S W 7998 – Concentration Field Work for Social Workers I: Cr. 8

Total credits: 33

During the foundation (core) year, students declare their interest in an advanced curriculum concentration. Students must complete the core curriculum before enrolling in advanced curriculum courses.

Advanced Curriculum

The curriculum of the Advanced Year of the Master of Social Work Program is organized into two concentrations: Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership (I-CPL) and Interpersonal Practice (IP). Each covers a broad scope and there are many related areas of concern. Students choose only one of the two concentrations, the purpose of which is to organize the curriculum so students have a framework upon which to build their second year program. The advanced curriculum builds on the knowledge, values, and skills gained in the foundation (core) curriculum or B.S.W. curriculum for those who have advanced standing, with the objective of increasing students’ competence for dealing with greater complexities of social work practice by focusing on areas of social concern. This advanced portion of the M.S.W. program is designed to provide specific advanced knowledge and practice skills.

OPTION I: Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership (I-CPL)

This concentration contextualizes student learning into three platforms of practice including developing and sustaining effective communities, developing and sustaining effective policies, and developing and sustaining effective organizations through leadership. I-CPL students will deepen their understanding of settings where this practice can take place through field placements that relate to urban social planning, community development, policy analysis and advocacy, program development, and system coordination. A full range of electives is offered to supplement the required sequence of courses, thus permitting students an opportunity to deepen and enrich their knowledge of particular areas of Innovation in Community, Policy and Leadership.

Students select one of the three platforms - 1) Leadership; 2) Community Development; 3) Policy.  The HBSE/Practice course associated with the selected platform is required.

  1. Leadership platform:
    SW 8065 Advanced Systems Theories & Practice (4 cr.)
  2. Community Development platform:
    SW 8075 Theories and Practiceof Community Building/Development (4 cr.)
  3. Policy platform: Under Development (Available Fall 2013)

Students select 3 credits inResearch Methods

SW 8025 – Community Assessment: (1 cr.)

SW 8035 – Techniques of Quantitative Data Analysis: (1 cr.)

SW 8045 – Techniques of Data Interpretation and Presentation: (1 cr.)

SW 8055 – Social Action Research: (2 cr.)

SW 7999 – Research Essay: (2 cr.)

SW 8996 – Group Research Project: (4 cr.)

SW 8999 – Master’s Thesis: (6 cr.)

SW 8881 – Field Work Seminar III: (0.5 cr.)

SW 8882 – Field Work Seminar IV: (0.5 cr.)

SW 8998 – Concentration Field Work for Social Workers II: (8 cr.)

Electives: Variable credit

Total credits: 27-30, depending on the program

OPTION II: Interpersonal Practice

This concentration offers students a particular theoretical orientation and clinical method from among three theory “tracks”: Cognitive-Behavioral, Family Systems, and Psychodynamic. Each track has a corresponding integrative practice methods and human behavior course incorporating content on clinical method and technique, developmental issues, and psychosocial pathology, and each is offered over two consecutive terms. A full range of electives is offered to supplement the required sequence of courses, thus permitting students an opportunity to deepen and enrich their knowledge of particular areas of Interpersonal Practice.

Students select one of the three tracks: 1) Cognitive-Behavioral; 2) Family Systems; 3) Psychodynamic. The HBSE/Practice courses associated with the selected track are required.

        1.     Cognitive-Behavioral track:

                 SW 8340 Application of Cognitive Behavioral Theory to Interpersonal Practice I (4 cr.)

                 SW 8350 Application of Cognitive Behavioral Theory to Interpersonal Practice II (4 cr.)

        2.     Family Systems track:

                 SW 8540 Family Theory (2 cr.)

                 SW 8610 Advanced Interpersonal Practice with Families (2 cr.)

                 SW 8780 Advanced Theories of Diverse Families (2 cr.)

                 SW 8790 Advanced Practice with Diverse Families (2 cr.)

        3.     Psychodynamic track:

                SW 8360 Application of Psychodynamic Theory to Social Work Practice I (4 cr.)

                SW 8370 Application of Psychodynamic Theory to Social Work Practice II (4 cr.)

                SW 8770 – Advanced Policy Analysis: (3 cr.)

                SW 8881 – Field Work Seminar III: (0.5 cr.)

                SW 8882 – Field Work Seminar IV: (0.5 cr.)

                SW 8998 – Concentration Field Work for Social Workers II: (8 cr.)

                Electives: Variable credit

                Total credits: 27-30, depending on program

WSU M.S.W. program assessment of Student Learning Outcomes