Course List

Master of Science in Social Work

Master of Science in Social Work online degree at the University of Louisville Online

When registering for classes each semester, please refer to the curriculum plan you have selected. Use the curriculum plans to ensure you proceed through the MSSW program as quickly and successfully as possible.

Note: Students are required to follow their chosen curriculum plan every semester when registering for courses. Students who chose a specialization must refer to the Advanced Standing 30-hour curriculum plans for more information regarding electives for each specialization.

Practicum Info: Foundation Practicum requires 16 hrs/week or 450 hours/year and Advanced Practicum requires 18 hrs/week or 500 hours/year of supervised practice be completed in a social service organization in your state of residence prior to graduation (check state authorization).

Advanced Standing 30-hour Curriculum Plans [PDF]
Regular 60-hour Curriculum Plans [PDF]


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Category Online Courses Credit Hours
Foundation Level Courses1

SW 601 – Human Behavior & the Social Environment I (3)
SW 602 – Social Welfare Institutions, Policies & Services (3)
SW 603 – Social Justice Practice (3)
SW 604 – Social Work Practice I (3)
SW 605 – SW Practice II (3)
SW 619 – Human Behavior & the Social Environment II (3)
SW 622 – Issues in Policy and Service Delivery (3)
SW 626 – Research Methodology & Design (3)
SW 670 – Foundation SW Practicum I (3)
SW 671 – Foundation SW Practicum II (3)

30
Advanced Level Courses2

SW 640 – Advanced Social Work Practice II (3)
SW 641 – Advanced Social Work Practice I (3)
SW 668 – Advanced Research Practice I (3)
SW 669 – Advanced Research Practice II (3)
SW 672 – Advanced Social Work Practicum I (3)
SW 673 – Advanced Social Work Practicum II (3)
SW 677 – Advanced Social Work Practice III (3)

21
Advanced Level Electives2 [choose 3 courses]

PHST 600 – Introduction to Biostatistics (department approval required) (3)
PHEP 601 – PHEP 601 Introduction to Epidemiology (department approval required) (3)
SW 615 – Mental Health (3)
SW 627 – Military Social Work (3)
SW 628 – Military Social Work Specialization Seminar (fall)* (3)
SW 629 – Military Social Work Specialization Seminar (spring)** (3)
SW 633 – Social Work and Human Sexuality (3)
SW 636 – Death & Grief (3)
SW 642 – Psychopathology (3)
SW 647 - Psychosocial Oncology Seminar I (3)
SW 648 - Psychosocial Oncology Seminar II (3)
SW 649 – Psychosocial Oncology Specialization Integrative Seminar I (fall)* (3)
SW 650 – Psychosocial Oncology Specialization Integrative Seminar II (spring)** (3)
SW 657 – Group Methods (3)
SW 659 – Introduction to Family Therapy Practice (3)
SW 660 – Motivation & Change (3)
SW 661 – Advanced Issues in Substance Abuse Treatment (3)
SW 662 – Substance Abuse (3)
SW 678 – Advanced ADCS Practicum Seminar (fall)* (3)
SW 679 – Advanced ADCS Practicum Seminar (spring)** (3)
SW 681 – Social Gerontology (3)
SW 682 – Social Work with Older Persons (3)
SW 684 – Spirituality and Social Work (3)
SW 686 – PPP Supervision I* (3)
SW 687 – PPP Supervision II** (3)
SW 691 – Mental Health Integrative Seminar I* (3)
SW 692 – Mental Health Integrative Seminar II** (3)

9
  Minimum Total for MS in Social Work (Standard 60-hour program) 60
  Minimum Total for MS in Social Work (Advanced Standing 30-hour program ONLY) 30

1All Regular 60-hour program MSSW students must begin with the Foundation Level Courses

2All Advanced Standing 30-hour program MSSW students begin with the Advanced Level Courses and/or Advanced Level Electives

* Must be taken with SW 640 Adv SW Practice II and SW 672 Adv Practicum I

** Must be taken with SW 677 Adv SW Practice III and SW 673 Adv Practicum II



Sample Course Descriptions

SW 601 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on macro theories as well as the impact of social and economic forces on individuals and social systems.


SW 602 Social Welfare Institutions, Policies and Services

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on the historical context and evolution of social welfare policy, and how dominant values and contextual factors shape policy in a broad range of social welfare arenas.


SW 603 Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice Practice

This foundation course designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills for social work practice with people who are subject to various forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and ableism operating at the individual, community and institutional levels of society. Diversity, strengths, and social justice practice are emphasized. Developing greater professional and personal awareness about the impacts of various forms of oppression are addressed.


SW 604 Social Work Practice I

Prerequisite: SW 670 (or concurrent); Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on the development of the knowledge and skills necessary for generalist social work practice with individuals, families and small groups. This class is designed to provide students with an understanding of the social work profession's mission, values, ethics and roles.


SW 605 Social Work Practice II

Prerequisite: SW 604; SW 671 (or concurrent); Restricted to students admitted to the Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on the development of the knowledge and skills necessary for generalist social work practice with larger groups, organizations and communities.


SW 619 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II

Prerequisite: SW 601 and restricted to students admitted to the Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on the theories and knowledge of the human biopsychosocial development, including theories and knowledge about the range of smaller social systems in which individuals live. Content about values and ethical issues related to biopsychosocial theories are included.


SW 622 Issues in Policy and Service Delivery

Prerequisite: SW 602 and restricted to students enrolled in the Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on the interrelationships between problem conceptual conceptualization, policy options and their impact on social work practice and clients. Students develop their ability to critically assess current service delivery problems as they impact client need, giving particular attention to vulnerable population groups.


SW 626 Research Methodology and Design

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. This course provides students the foundation knowledge for scientific inquiry. Ii covers all aspects of the research process from problem formulation to writing of the research report. It introduces students to qualitative, quantitative, and single-subject methods of conducting research and evaluating practice.


SW 670 Foundation/Generalist Social Work Practicum I

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. Corequisite: SW 604 or SW 701. This course is a generalist fieldwork experience based on the strengths model of social work practice and taken concurrently with the Social Work Practice 1 course. This practicum assists the student in developing a social work perspective and skills working with a wide range of client systems: individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, communities and the larger society. The practicum experience provides for the integration of theory, learned across the foundation courses related to human behavior, diversity, organizational and community dynamics, policy and research.


SW 671 Foundation/Generalist Social Work Practicum II

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. Corequisite: SW 605. This course is a generalist fieldwork experience based on strengths model of social work practice and taken concurrently with the Social Work Practice I course. The practicum assists the student in developing a social work perspective and skills working with a wide range of client systems: individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, communities and the larger society. The practicum experience provides for the integration of theory learned across the foundation courses related to human behavior, diversity, organizational and community dynamics, policy and research.


SW 640 Advanced Social Work Practice II

Prerequisite: SW 605 or admission into the 30 hour program; SW 672 (or concurrent); Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on using advanced problem-solving practice models and critical thinking skills designed to guide everyday decisions social workers make, whether they function as direct service providers or case managers supervisors.


SW 641 Advanced Social Work Practice I

Prerequisite: SW 605 or admission into the 30-hour program and either registration in the Summer preceding SW 640 in the Fall or 640 (or concurrent) in the Fall; Restricted to students enrolled through Kent School of Social Work. The focus of this class is on assessing, engaging, planning and executing projects for and in collaboration with organizations and communities. Advanced SW Practice I will extend and deepen the knowledge gained in SW 605 by teaching practical skills in such areas as creating change, conducting assessments, networking, leadership, strategic planning, project development and management, team work, meeting management, community planning, community development, community organization, budgeting and finances, fundraising and grant writing, marketing and interfacing with the media, with a special emphasis on working with groups and organizations.


SW 668 Advanced Research Practice I

Prerequisite: SW 626 or admission into the 30 hour program. Access to a social services agency where projects from this class can be implemented (via practicum, work, or other access to an agency). Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. This course prepares students to critically appraise information gathered through literature reviews, practice wisdom, and consumer perspectives to inform best practices in social work. A plan to incorporate critically appraised information into current micro and/or macro social work practice is developed and implemented.


SW 669 Advanced Research Practice II

Prerequisite: SW 668 and restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. Access to a social services agency where projects from this class can be implemented (via practicum, work, or other access to an agency). This course prepares students to disseminate best practices information to micro and macro practice settings, and evaluate the impact of their dissemination efforts via use of quantitative and qualitative methods and analysis.


SW 672 Advanced Social Work Practicum

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. Corequisite: SW 640. This course focuses on the application of advanced theory, knowledge and skills covered in the advanced level curriculum. Students will integrate the competencies developed in their advanced year with practice experience. Student will use theoretical understanding of advanced level social work practice, social policy, social work values and ethics, and communication skills to guide practice interventions.


SW 673 Advanced Social Work Practicum II

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. Corequisite: SW 677. This course focuses on the application of advanced theory, knowledge and skills covered in the advanced level curriculum. Students will integrate the competencies developed in their advanced year with practice experience. Student will use theoretical understanding of advanced level social work practice, social policy, social work values and ethics, communication skills to guide practice interventions.


SW 677 Advanced Social Work Practicum III

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through Kent School of Social Work; SW 605 or admission into the 30-hour program and SW 673 (concurrent). The focus of this class is on reinforcing, integrating and building on practice skills learned in Advanced Practice I & II (SW 641 & SW 640). Students learn integration strategies and practice skills rooted in solution oriented, cognitive, behavioral, systematic approaches to promote change at multiple levels of social systems using a case based learning approach.


SW 615 Mental Health

Focus on theory, critical issues and problems in mental health.


SW 627 Military Social Work

This course is designed to develop competence in providing services to active duty, reserve, National Guard, veterans, and their families. It focuses on a wide range of challenges, strengths, and interventions that social workers need to learn and utilize in practice when working with this population. It is recognized that returning veterans from the Global War on Terrorism and their families in addition to the millions of veterans from previous military service likely will exceed the capacity of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veteran Affairs, consequently, many of these service members will be seeking assistance from social workers in the civilian sector.


SW 628 Military Social Work Seminar I

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Military Social Work specialization. Military social work is a specialization of social work that provides services to persons who have served or are serving in the military and their families. MSSW students who are specializing in military social work are required to take this one credit hour seminar per semester that extends over two semesters of their final year at Kent School of Social Work.. It provides students with an opportunity to integrate the theoretical knowledge that they are learning in the classroom with practical experiences in their field placements. In the seminar students from different practice settings will participate and share the diversity of problems and approaches to the practice of military social work.


SW 629 Military Social Work Seminar II

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Military Social Work specialization. Military social work is a specialization of social work that provides services to persons who have served or are serving in the military and their families. MSSW students who are specializing in military social work are required to take one credit hour seminar per semester that extends over two semesters of their final year at the Kent School of Social Work. It provides students with an opportunity to integrate the theoretical knowledge that they are learning in the classroom with practical experiences in their field placements. In the seminar students from different practice settings will participate and share the diversity of problems and approaches to the practice of military social work.


SW 633 Social Work and Human Anxiety

This course provides knowledge about physical, behavioral, cognitive, emotional and spiritual aspects of human sexuality.


SW 636 Death & Grief

Social workers, regardless of their specialty area or practice setting, will be interacting with persons experiencing death and grief. The main purpose of this course offering is to prepare master's level social workers for effective practice with person experiencing terminal illness as patients, families or caregivers and persons coping with grief and loss across the life span.


SW 642 Psychopathology

Prerequisite: Restricted to Kent School Students. This course examines concepts of labeling theory, stigma, strengths perspective, and the clinical use of diagnostic classification of psychopathology from a social work perspective. The implications of various definitions of psychopathology and the uses of diagnostic systems to inform practice policy and to promote social justice are considered.


SW 647 Psychosocial Practice in Oncology: Interpersonal Practice

This course focuses on learning and applying clinical competencies in the psychosocial care of cancer patients and their families. Students will learn to select appropriate evidence-based interventions and develop an identity as oncology social workers.


SW 648 Psychosocial Practice in Oncology: Community approaches to Promote Health Equity

This course focuses on the knowledge base and practice skills that are needed to make macro-level change in order to eliminate the disparities in health outcomes for persons with cancer.


SW 649 Psychosocial Oncology Seminar I

Students will participate in an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum in palliative care (iCope). The seminar will assist with planning future goals for their career development upon graduation.


SW 650 Psychosocial Oncology Seminar II

Students will participate in an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum in palliative care (iCope). The seminar will assist with planning future goals for their career development.


SW 657 Group Methods

All major aspects of group life are explored and there is an emphasis on the purposes, content, and forms of various group experiences. The social worker's role in facilitating the group process is detailed and there is a special emphasis placed on the beginning processes associated with group methods.


SW 659 Introduction to Family Therapy Practice

Prerequisite: Restricted to students enrolled through the Kent School of Social Work. This course is designed to familiarize the social work student with a family systems framework and a broad range of established family systems that have shaped the practice of couple and family therapy. Theory and technique will be reviewed to assist the development of process skills necessary for addressing the multiple dynamics associated with counseling individuals, couples and families through the lens of marriage and family therapy.


SW 660 Motivation and Change: the process of change and strategies to elicit intrinsic motivation

Prerequisite: Admitted to Kent School of Social Work. Understanding the process of behavior change and developing interviewing skills that elicit intrinsic motivation to change. Class content is in the form of books and guides on Motivational Interviewing, a popular proven practice method.


SW 661 Special Issues in Alcohol and Drug Counseling

This course includes highly specialized and advanced topics in addiction treatment to prepare students to begin practice in Alcohol and Drug Counselor training. Content will round out and complete a basic course of study for alcohol and drug counselors that was not adequately addressed in substance abuse and motivational interviewing classes. These advanced topics will 1) generally aid students in submitting the application for certification as alcohol and drug counselors, 2) provide students with required case management training for working in a licensed alcohol and other drug treatment facility, and 3) prepare students for working within multidisciplinary teams and gain familiarity with clinical supervision methods utilized in substance abuse treatment programs. 4) Students will become familiar with the use of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) a very common assessment tool widely used in substance abuse treatment settings. The complexity and demonstrated efficacy of specialized treatment for substance abuse disorders is well documented and preparation to work with this problem will be valuable across a range of populations; including, but not limited to individuals treated in traditional and non-traditional treatment settings. Evidence based knowledge is progressively improving the effectiveness of treatment. This course will utilize a convergence of knowledge to prepare students for their role in advancing the treatment of alcohol and other drug dependency.


SW 662 Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders

Prerequisite: Restricted to Kent School of Social Work students. Examines current issues associated with substance abuse. Prevailing paradigms related to substance abuse are explored and pragmatic intervention strategies for dealing with those abusing substances are presented and applied.


SW 678 Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counseling Specializations Practicum Seminar

Fall Semester Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Alcohol and Drug Counseling Specialization. This is a required seminar for Advanced Practicum ADCS students designed to achieve two goals: 1) Enhance knowledge of research supported group counseling methods in the treatment of substance abuse (all students); and one of the following: advance special knowledge and skills related to 2a) criminal justice and treatment of substance abuse immersion practicum students) or 2b) leadership (rotational practicum students)


SW 679 Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counseling Specialization Practicum Seminar

Spring Semester Prerequisite: Enrollment in the Alcohol and Drug Counseling Specialization. This is a required seminar for Advanced Practicum ADCS students designed to achieve two goals: 1) Enhance knowledge of research supported family engagement methods in the treatment of substance abuse (all students); and one of the following: advance special knowledge and skills related to 2a) criminal justice and treatment of substance abuse (immersion practicum students) or 2b) leadership (rotational practicum students).


SW 681 Social Gerontology

Explores societal, cultural, and individual issues associated with aging and the field of aging itself. The field of social gerontology is discussed; the biological, physiological, psychological, and social contexts of aging are examined; and the students explore what it means to age.


SW 682 Social Work Practice with Older Persons

Specific knowledge, skills and values associated with social work intervention with older persons are the emphasis of this course. There is an emphasis on the heterogeneity of the population of older Americans and issues associated with diversity. Taught from a strengths perspective using a narrative approach, this course will provide the learner with pragmatic skills needed to work with diverse populations of older adults.


SW 684 Spirituality and Social Work

Provides an in-depth examination of the meaning of spirituality for social work practice. Students will broaden their knowledge of basic spiritual and religious doctrines and principles and analyze their application to social work by applying this knowledge within various social work settings. This course is restricted to students in the Kent School.


SW 686 Gerontology Specialization Lab I

Corequisite: SW 672. Supervision of student work with a variety of gerontology clients and their families’ community agency settings.


SW 687 Gerontology Specialization Lab II

Corequisite: SW 673. Supervision of student work with a variety of gerontology clients and their families’ community agency settings.


SW 691 Mental Health Specialization Integrative Seminar I

Prerequisite: Completion of Foundation requirements and acceptance into Mental Health Specialization. Supervision of student work with a variety of clients and their families with mental health needs in community agency settings.


SW 692 Mental Health Specialization Integrative Seminar II

Prerequisite: Completion of Foundation requirements and acceptance into Mental Health Specialization. Supervision of student work with a variety of clients and their families with mental health needs in community agency settings.



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