Forensic Social Work

This specialization equips students with unique knowledge and skills essential to multi-system, social justice oriented practice with vulnerable populations as related to law and legal systems, including criminal and civil issues surrounding juvenile and criminal justice, human trafficking, immigration, and mandated treatment.

Specialization Highlights

  • Opportunities to integrate specialized forensic social work knowledge and skills in tailored advanced practicum settings
  • Extra supervision in forensic social work to empower students to promote social justice across systems
  • Support in post-graduation placement with forensic social work agencies


The National Organization of Forensic Social Work indicates that forensic social workers may provide:

  • consultation, education, and training to juvenile and criminal justice and correctional systems, policy makers, law enforcement, legal representatives and communities
  • diagnostic and treatment insights regarding persons involved in law and legal systems including children, victims of trafficking, and individuals with cognitive impairment of developmental disabilities as expert witnesses
  • policy and program development and behavioral science research in government, private, and public institutions

What will I learn in the Forensic Social Work Specialization?

Students learn to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities using a strengths-based, person-in-environment perspective to promote social justice for populations involved in law and legal systems.

 Admissions Process

  • Submit a 3-page professional development essay discussing your interests, past experience in the field of forensic social work (human trafficking, corrections, etc), need for professional development, potential contribution and plans after graduation
  • Submit an updated resume • 30-hour applicants: submit specialization essay to Graduate Admissions when applying to MSSW program by December 15th
  • 60-hour students (in good standing): submit essay, resume and complete the application on Kent's website by December 15th the fall before your advanced year.  

Program Requirements

Fall and Spring Advanced practicum of 16 hours/week of field education in an approved forensic social work setting as part of a rotation practicum during your advanced year

SW 618 Social Work Incarceration – ONLINE ONLY

SW 621 Special Populations in the Criminal Justice System – ONLINE ONLY

One of the following: SW 660 Motivation and Change (On-campus and online) OR SW 642 Psychopathology (on-campus and online)

SW 623 Forensic Social Work Specialization Integrative Seminar Fall – ONLINE ONLY (must be taken with SW 640 Adv SW Practice II and SW 672 Adv Practicum I)

SW 624 Forensic Social Work Specialization Integrative Seminar Spring – ONLINE ONLY  (must be taken with SW 677 Adv SW Practice III and SW 673 Adv Practicum II)

* Please note that the Forensic Social Work courses are only offered online

For more information:

Dr. Stephanie Grace Prost, Program Coordinator

phone:  502-852-1964   email: Stephanie Prost

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The MSSW Online program is accredited by CSWE. The University of Louisville is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, bachelor, master's, doctoral, and first professional degrees (D.M.D., J.D., M.D.).