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Elective Courses

You can further customize your learning by adding elective courses. Choose your MSW elective courses from the list below:


Course Code Title Credits
SOCW 6135

Criminal Behavior

Students in this course are provided with a foundation in historical and contemporary biological, psychological, and sociological theories of criminal behavior. Students consider two important questions in forensic psychology: “Who is a criminal?” and “Is criminal behavior a mental illness?” Students explore theoretical issues that result from attempts to explain criminal behavior in forensic populations. They examine groups of offenders, including mentally disordered offenders, sex offenders, violent offenders, and juvenile offenders. Students apply ethical guidelines and standards to the study and research of criminal behavior. They also use concepts and theories to assess the behavior of criminal offenders in case-study scenarios.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6350

Forensic Applications in Community Settings

Professionals must devote considerable attention to forensic psychology perspectives and approaches to address issues such as mass incarceration, the decrease in healthcare availability, and cases in which courts remand treatment in community settings. Students in this course examine forensic psychology theories and perspectives, and then they apply these concepts to various community settings. They are provided with practical assignments and topical readings that focus on working with individuals re-entering the community after incarceration as well as people with a criminal charge who receive community placements rather than incarceration. In addition, students explore less-common applications, such as restorative justice and community crime prevention. They also analyze the impact of personal perspectives and setting on the application of forensic psychology.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6145

Crisis Management

By studying the fundamentals of crisis management and crisis leadership, students develop an understanding of the theories and models related to crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events. Students also explore ethical, legal, and diversity considerations in crisis and trauma response. At the end of the course, students will understand models for training and supporting other counselors in the areas of crisis response applicable to community, national, and international crises. Furthermore, students develop a crisis management plan for their own community.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6336

Crisis, Trauma, and Disaster Response

Students in this course gain an understanding of the personal and systemic impact of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on individuals, couples, families, and communities. Students examine theories and response models as they relate to sexual trauma, crisis in individuals and families, crisis in the community, and crisis in the nation and in the world. They explore and discuss topics related to counselor competencies, vicarious trauma and countertransference, specific diagnoses, and advocacy. Students also engage in assignments designed to provide practical application of crisis assessment. Through contemporary articles and case studies, they consider and discuss cultural, legal, and ethical issues related to crisis, trauma, and disaster events and response.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6362

Human Sexuality

Students are provided with a framework for understanding human sexuality in the context of couples, marriage, and family counseling in this course. Students explore empirically supported counseling approaches related to sexual functioning, intimacy, gender, and sexual orientation. They use a systemic framework for understanding the role and impact of sexuality on couples, marriages, and families. Students also explore and discuss specific topics related to issues of sexual diversity and gender identity.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6103

Introduction to Addictions

Students gain an overview of the addiction counseling profession in this course. They are introduced to aspects of professional functioning as an addiction counselor, including but not limited to: role setting; history, philosophy, and trends in addictions counseling; professional standards; the effects of crises and trauma-causing events on persons with addictions; self-care; and ethical and culturally sensitive practices. Students also explore competencies, credentialing, and other professional issues.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6204

Medical Social Work I

This course is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of the roles and competencies of social workers in medical settings. Students' knowledge of medical terminology, crisis intervention, medical aftercare and discharge planning, mental health evaluations and chemical dependency evaluations, community resources, and medical treatment teams is enhanced. At the end of this course, students will also understand ethical practice with regard to medical social work. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090 and SOCW 6111.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6205

Medical Social Work II

In this course, students are provided with knowledge and skills for supporting vulnerable populations, including individuals and families dealing with acute, chronic, and terminal illness, disability, or the challenges of aging. Students extend their knowledge of support and resources for those dealing with organ transplants; psychosocial aspects of illness and health, grief and loss, and end-of-life decision making. Students enhance their knowledge of ethical group and individual interventions for these vulnerable populations. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090, SOCW 6111, and SOCW 6204.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6410

Military Culture for Social Workers

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of military culture. The focus of this course is on understanding the world of work for military personnel; the sociocultural identity development of military personnel; the experience of military families; support for military personnel and their families; and socioeconomic and other lifestyle challenges for military personnel. As a result of this course, students will be more informed about the mental health and social support needs of these populations. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090 and SOCW 6111.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6443

Psychopharmacology and Biopsychosocial Considerations for Social Workers

The potential for addictive disorders to present like a variety of medical and psychological disorders is common. In this course, students examine how to treat addictions that may coexist with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and other psychological disorders as described in the DSM-IV-TR. They survey a spectrum of psychotropic medications and their use in the treatment of mental, behavioral, and addictive disorders. Students also explore factors that increase the likelihood for a person, community, or group to be at risk for psychoactive substance use disorders. Through this course, students gain an understanding of the basic classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed medications so that they make appropriate referrals within treatment teams. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090 and SOCW 6111.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6411

Social Work in Trauma, Crisis, and Stress With Military Personnel

The specific focus of this course is on the wartime and post-war and combat trauma, crisis, and stress experiences and responses of military personnel. Students in this course will develop an understanding of the short-term and long-term impact of post-traumatic stress and vicarious trauma. In addition to understanding how combat and war-time experiences impact individual military personnel, students will also focus on these individuals' families. As a result of learning in this course, students will be better prepared to provide services and mental health support to trauma, crisis, and stress of military personnel. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090 and SOCW 6111.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6446

Social Work Practice With Children and Adolescents

In this course, students examine empirically supported theories and techniques for working with children and adolescents in the counseling process. Students work toward enhancing their theoretical and practical understanding of the systemic interplay among children, adolescents, families, and the stakeholders in their lives. They engage in coursework and readings focused on a family-systems view of intervention, and they devote special attention to developmental, cognitive, behavioral, educational, multicultural, and environmental issues. Students assess a distinct group of empirically supported interventions aimed at improving individual and family functioning. They also explore legal and ethical issues related to counseling children and adolescents. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090 and SOCW 6111.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6456

Social Work Practice With Couples and Family Systems

The focus of this course is on gaining an advanced understanding of theories and techniques for working with couples, married individuals, and families, as well as to acquire skills for theory integration and theory-based treatment. Through video demonstrations and other topical materials, students witness and examine empirically supported treatments and techniques in prevention, intervention, development, and promoting the well-being of marriages, couples, and families. They explore systemic implications for conceptualization, assessment, treatment planning, and interventions. Students also learn how to assess procedures for critically evaluating relevant research and how to apply these findings to their counseling practices. Additionally, they explore methods of adapting models to meet the needs of a diverse society and the legal and ethical issues related to working in this specialty area. (Prerequisite(s): SOCW 6090 and SOCW 6111.)

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6202

Treatment of Addictions

Students in this course are provided with an understanding of theories, treatments, and  interventions for addiction. The focus of the course is to introduce various models of treatment, recovery, relapse prevention, and continuing care for addictive disorders. In addition, students understand the treatment principles and philosophies of addiction-related programs. Students increase their self-awareness as helping professionals by understanding their own limitations, recognizing when they need additional resources and support, and knowing when and where to refer clients. In addition, students examine substance abuse policies and regulatory processes that influence service delivery in addiction counseling.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6511

Treatment of Forensic Populations

In this course, students gain the foundational knowledge necessary to evaluate and subsequently treat many different forensic populations, such as individuals who have committed sex offenses, used illegal substances, or engaged in white-collar crime. Students analyze the use of traditional forms of intervention, including individual and group psychotherapy, as well as recent developments in intervention, such as restorative justice. Applying the concepts and theories learned in the course, students develop a project scenario in which they feature an offender and describe treatment approaches as well as related ethical, legal, and multicultural factors that may impact treatment. Students also consider and discuss professional identity and goals.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6333

Vicarious Trauma and Compassion Fatigue

To gain an understanding and awareness of vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue for trauma-response-helping professionals, students examine intervention strategies and models for treating and preventing vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue through the lens of counselor educators, supervisors, and clinicians. Applying course concepts, students gain hands-on practice conducting a needs assessment and examining the use of standardized instruments. They also recommend social change related to vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue to inform and better prepare trauma-response-helping professionals. Students engage in course assignments that emphasize the ethical, legal, multicultural, and spiritual implications for wellness and self-care, including personal, professional, and organizational elements. As a final project, students interview a trauma-response-helping professional and develop an organizational wellness plan for their setting.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 6412

Working With Military Spouses, Families, and Children

The nature of military work responsibilities impacts not only military personnel but their families as well. Frequent relocations, extended deployments, parent-child separation, and high-risk jobs all contribute to unique family dynamics. This course is designed to educate students about the experience and unique support needs of military personnel and their families.

(5 cr.)

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application, transcripts, and Acknowledgement Statement. Speak to an Enrollment Specialist who will guide you through the application process. More information for international applicants.



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