Bachelor of Social Work Online Sample Curriculum

UC social work

A Cincinnati social work student writes notes on paper.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

First Year

Diversity & Generalist SW Practice

This course is designed to prepare students to recognize and address issues of diversity in social work practice through the acquisition of knowledge and skills for cultural competence. Cultural competence “refers to the process bay which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultural, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities…” (NASW, 2006). In addition, this course distinguishes implications for culturally competent practice with diverse groups at the micro, mezzo and macro levels. As students gain greater understanding of the strengths, values, family structure, and communication styles of various groups within our society, they will demonstrate the ability to establish a working relationship across lines of difference. Human suffering, oppression, and discrimination result from social and economic justice. With this in mind, this course also includes an emphasis on identifying and eradicating forms of institutionalized oppression and discrimination.

Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling

This course is designed to provide an overview of the field of substance abuse counseling and its graduate level academic trajectories (counseling, social work, psychology, etc.) Students will be oriented to the learning expectations of the program and the university consistent with UC's baccalaureate competencies.

Social Welfare Policy

This course builds upon the basic content of social welfare policy introduced in previous social work courses (SW1050 or SW3030). It presents a framework for analyzing social welfare policy and programs. The framework is applied to examples from policy areas of special interest to social workers, including income maintenance, health care, and personal social services. Students are exposed to some of the major contemporary themes in social policy including universalism and selectivity, entitlements and state control, block grants versus open-ended funding, cash/in-kind benefits, privatization, decentralization, the social role of government and selected topics on the public agenda (e.g. welfare reform, homelessness, child and family welfare).

Human Behavior in the Social Environment I

This is the first course of a two-semester sequence required of all social work majors.  Its bio-psycho-social systems approach focuses on the life stages of infancy, childhood, and adolescence.  The course utilizes a general systems theoretical approach that incorporates concepts from both the ecosystems and family life cycle perspectives.  This course seeks to provide the student with a broad understanding of human behavior and developmental theories such as Erikson, Piaget, Bowlby and other psycho-social theories as well as the research evidence that supports those theories.  The primary goal of this course is the enhancement of the generalist’s ability to apply these theoretical frameworks for direct practice, and to critically analyze policies and programs that affect both individual and family development.

Human Behavior in the Social Environment II

This is the second course of a two-semester sequence required of all social work majors.  Its biopsychosocial systems approach focuses on the life stages of young adulthood through later adulthood.  The course utilizes a general systems theoretical approach that incorporates concepts from both the ecosystems and family life cycle perspectives.  This course seeks to provide the student with a broad understanding of human behavior and developmental theories such as Erikson, Glasser, and other psycho-social theories related to adulthood and aging as well as the enhancement of the generalist’s ability to apply these theoretical frameworks to direct practice, and to critically analyze policies and programs that affect both individual and family development.

Intro to Generalist Social Work Practice

This course is the first in a series designed to prepare students for entry-level professional social work practice. In this course, a conceptual framework for practice at multiple levels of the client system is introduced. The framework uses ecological and systems theory to focus on the person-in-environment and a biopsychosocial perspective to understand human development, behavior and needs. The framework incorporates a planned process of change through a problem-solving model that also considers the clients’ strengths, resources and goals. Students learn the steps in this framework and acquire a beginning understanding of how to adapt it to work with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.

Students are taught the skills needed for effective generalist practice. Basic interviewing skills are emphasized along with skills for development of a professional relationship that reflects the values of the profession and that demonstrates appropriate use of self in service to clients. Emphasis is placed on communicating with clients of differing backgrounds than the students’ own. Students learn basic assessment and intervention methods for work with clients. These may include the solution-focused approach, crisis intervention, case management and brokering and advocacy.

Generalist Social Work Practice with Groups

This course builds upon the Introduction to Generalist Social Work Practice by using ecological and systems theories and the problem-solving framework for generalist social work practice with groups. The main focus of this course will be on the steps of group development including planning a group, clarifying purpose, group composition, group cohesion, assessing group process and member goal achievement and termination processes. Students will develop leadership skills including communication, engagement, facilitation of group process and self-awareness in the role of group leader.  This course will provide opportunities for students’ skill development through discussion and learner-led groups.  Students will learn both task and treatment modalities and the appropriate selection of specific interventions based on research evidence for effective and ethical group practice. Issues of human diversity and their impact on group development will be emphasized.

Basic Pharmacology

This course provides students with concepts in pharmacology explored through the lens of substance use disorders. Students will gain an understanding of the human nervous system, learning how it reacts to addictive drugs and the physiological reasons one becomes dependent.

Social Work Research I

This course covers the basic concepts and methodologies used in empirical investigations of social work problems, in particular, the philosophic basis of scientific inquiry, techniques and principles of measurement, research designs, data collection and descriptive data analysis. Experimental, single system, survey, longitudinal and cross-sectional designs are discussed in relation to knowledge generation, practice and program evaluation and knowledge utilization in social work. Students will use knowledge gained to develop a proposal for a research project to be carried out in Research II. In addition, the influence that personal values have on the conceptualization of research questions will be examined as well as the need to appreciate human diversity when conducting research. The profession’s Code of Ethics will be explored to ensure students understand and follow ethical guidelines when conducting research (e.g., protection of human subjects, informed consent, confidentiality), and mechanisms for compliance (e.g. Institutional Review Boards) will be examined.

Second Year

Mental Health Perspectives in Social Work.

This course will focus on social work with individuals who suffer from mental illness. It will include an overview of the services systems that are currently in place and interact with individuals and families who suffer from the effects of mental illness and mental disorders. Issues for clients and families will be explored and the history of mental illness will be examined in relation to progress that has been made in the service system. Social justice, ethical issues and the elimination of stigma for persons with mental disorders will be focused on. Human diversity will be examined in relation to treatment issues. The course focuses on approaches that enhance problem-solving and coping strategies and are empowering and supportive to clients, both individually and in groups and families.

Professional Issues for Social Workers.

This course will prepare students for the BSW senior field placement. Expectations for professional social work behavior will be discussed and directives for professional conduct will be considered within the context of the NASW Code of Ethics. The importance of skillful verbal and written communication within the agency setting as well as with the client and all parts of the client’s system will be emphasized. Students’ professional interests will be identified and procedures for arranging for the field placement will be explained. By the end of the course, students will have secured a field placement for the following year.

Social Work Research II

This course provides the student with an in-depth examination of research methodologies employed in social work practice. In particular, investigation methods used at the micro and macro levels of practice will be explored. In addition, the influence of personal values, the organizational context, and human diversity on the formulation and research implementation will be a primary focus. Students will utilize information technology for the purposes of (1) data collection, analysis, and presentation; (2) information management; and (3) information retrieval, as they revise and carry out the research project developed in Research I.

Generalist SW Practice w/ Orgs & Communities

This course builds on Introduction to Generalist Social Work Practice and Generalist Social Work Practice with Groups by applying ecological and systems theory and the problem-solving framework to generalist social work practice with macro systems. Students will examine social work theory and methods for practice with communities and organizations. Skills for analyzing organizations, identifying needs for change, and planning and implementing interventions for changing organizational policies and procedures will be emphasized. The definitions of community will be examined, and skills for assessing communities’ needs as well as planning and implementing interventions to improve community well-being will be highlighted. Attention is focused on the ways issues of human diversity affect organizations and communities, and on enhancing the ways organizations can promote social and economic justice for groups experiencing oppression and discrimination.

Assessment and Diagnosis in Substance Abuse Counseling

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to clinical assessment and diagnostic processes in substance abuse counseling. The students will learn the key elements of the multidimensional assessment process, which will include the use of various screening and assessment tools, proper interviewing techniques, and impediments to the assessment process.

Social Work Field I

Field Learning I is the first semester of a two-semester internship designed to give senior BSW students opportunities to apply social work knowledge, values and skills to practical situations. In this placement, the fundamental principles of generalist social work practice will be carried out through engagement, assessment, intervention, or prevention activities with individuals, small groups, families, communities, and organizations. Students will develop their ability to identify the ways that contexts impact the client's circumstances with special attention to the ramifications of diversity matters as well as social and economic justice concerns. Critical thinking skills will be called upon to analyze the ethical aspects of client situations and students will be required to use available research to inform practice.

Social Work Seminar I

This is the first semester of a two-semester Senior Field Seminar designed to promote the integration of social work knowledge, values, and skills learned in the course room with the experiences gained through the concurrent agency-based field placement. In this semester, students will consider common experiences and concerns encountered in beginning fieldwork as they develop an understanding of the organization, take on the role of social worker, and initiate the helping process with clients using the person-in-environment perspective. By reflecting on their own practice, students will begin the transition to professional social worker.

Generalist SW Practice w/ Indiv. & Fams.

This is the final course in a series designed to prepare students for social work practice. This course builds on previous courses by using ecological and system theories and the problem-solving framework for generalist social work practice with individuals and families. Students will explore ethical dilemmas and develop critical thinking skills through application to field work experiences. A major focus will be a refinement of skills for the planned process of change, including engagement, assessment, goal setting, treatment planning and intervention, evaluation and termination. Managing the helping relationship and goal-setting in the cross-cultural context with involuntary clients will be emphasized. Assessment skills will be enhanced through the use of previously acquired knowledge of theories of human behavior and development, issues of diversity and mental health perspectives. Intervention methods taught may include solution focused, motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral, crisis intervention and family treatment strategies. Students will learn to select appropriate interventions based on research evidence for effective and ethical practice. Planned and unplanned terminations will be considered.

Drugs and Behavior

In this course, students will review the individual, family and societal factors that are associated with individual substance use. In addition, this course will explore the biochemical and predisposition variables of chemical dependency, as well as the psychological and behavioral effects on the dependent person and the family system. Primary therapeutic and relapse interventions are presented as well as an overview of prevention models.

Social Work Field II

Field Learning II is the second semester of a two-semester internship designed to give senior BSW students opportunities to apply social work knowledge, values and skills to practice situations. In this placement, the fundamental principles of generalist social work practice will be carried out through engagement, assessment, intervention or prevention activities with individuals, small groups, families, communities and organizations. Students will be able to identify the ways that contexts impact the client's circumstances with special attention to the ramifications of diversity matters as well as social and economic justice concerns. Critical thinking skills will be called upon to determine optimal ethical intervention strategies and students will be required to use available research to inform practice.

Social Work Seminar II

This is the second semester of a Senior Field Seminar designed to promote the integration of social work knowledge, values and skills learned in the classroom with the experiences gained through the concurrent agency-based field placement. In this semester, students will consider common experiences and concerns encountered in beginning fieldwork as they develop an understanding of the organization, take on the role of social worker and initiate the helping process with clients using the person-in-environment perspective. By reflecting on their own practice, students will begin the transition to professional social worker.