Social Work

Social Work Courses

WCSU Department of Social Work

Course Descriptions

Updated AY 19-20


Required Courses

SW 200 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare Services 3 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to the social work profession and the wide spectrum of social welfare services in their contexts for practice: public, non-profit, and proprietary settings. It offers the students an introduction to the competencies which underlie the practice of social work. The generalist model of social work practice will be used as a framework for teaching and learning. Prerequisite: C+ in SOC 100.

SW 210 Social Welfare as an Institution 3 credits

This course, which is the first in a two-part social policy sequence, provides a historical and analytical assessment of social welfare as an institution, using a framework of social theories and definitions of social welfare conditions, policy goals, program design, and service delivery. It examines the evolution of social welfare in the United States and globally. It also examines contexts for practice in ways to advance human rights and social and economic justice. The functions of social work as a profession are explored in areas such as income security, family and children’s services, and health care services. Prerequisite: C+ in SOC 100.

SW 215 Human Behavior and the Social Environment 3 credits

The focus of this course is on conceptual frameworks that explain the interrelatedness of genetic, biological, emotional, psychological, societal, cultural, and environmental conditions. This course also examines the factors that foster or impede social functioning and their effects on individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations, and society. Prerequisites: C+ is SOC 100, BIO 100 or BIO 132, or permission of department chair.

SW 220 Cultural Diversity 3 credits

This course provides students with a theoretical understanding of culture, ethnicity, oppression, gender, and race that informs clinical assessment and intervention. Focus is on the psychosocial dimensions of disempowerment and social work practice building on client strengths. Students will explore the differences in types of prejudice and their etiologies as well as the similarities in the consequences for those experiencing prejudice and discrimination. Emphasizing the Connecticut region, this course will analyze the significant racial, ethnic, and other differences affecting professional social work practice. Comparison to other countries’ diversity issues will be made. Theoretical approaches, case studies and experiential exercises will be used to deepen the understanding of self and others. Prerequisites: C+ in SOC 100, or permission of the Department Chair. Priority given to SW and HPX majors.

SW 300 Social Work Research 3 credits

This course introduces students to research concepts and skills relevant to generalist social work practice with client systems of all sizes. The purpose of this course is to prepare generalist social workers to use social work practice experiences to inform scientific inquiry, including reading, interpreting, evaluating, and generating social work research and knowledge; and to use research to inform social work practice. Prerequisites: SW 200 and MAT 100. Open only to social work majors.

SW 306 Social Work Junior Field Practicum and Seminar 3 credits

This is the first field experience in a social service agency. The field practicum is for 8 hours per week over a period of 13 weeks, with a required one-hour weekly seminar. This seminar is designed to provide students with an opportunity to conceptualize and evaluate their developing competencies, participate in collaborative peer learning, and integrate the field experience with the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of generalist social work practice. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 309 and acceptance to Professional Level I in the major. Co-requisite: SW 310. Spring semester.

SW 309 Social Work Practice I 3 credits

Utilizing the conceptual frameworks of generalist social work practice, this course focuses on the development of interpersonal and interviewing skills, values and ethics of the profession, and the professional knowledge base.  Professional use of self is also emphasized.  Prerequisite: C+ in SW 200 (or permission of chair), C+ in PSY100 and C+ in SOC 100. Fall Semester.

SW 310 Social Work Practice II 3 credits

This course is a continuation of SW 309, Social Work Practice I. Emphasis is on generalist social work practice competencies in assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individual, families, and groups. Models of intervention with diverse client systems and in varied social systems are also emphasized. Students’ professional identity is enhanced. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 309 and acceptance into Professional Level 1. Corequisite: SW 306. Spring semester.

SW 311 Social Work Practice III 3 credits

This course is a continuation of SW 310, Social Work Practice II and the first of a two-course sequence designed to provide an opportunity for students to gain supervised macro level practice experience. This course emphasizes generalist social work competencies in assessment, intervention, and evaluation with task groups, communities, and organizations. The interrelationships among social work practice, social work research and social policies are highlighted, as are the professional responsibilities to contribute to social work practice and to work toward promoting social and economic justice and ending oppression. Professional use of self with diverse client systems and with changing organizations is expanded. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 310 and acceptance into Professional Level II. Corequisites: SW 320 and SW 325. Fall semester.

SW 312 Social Work Practice IV 3 credits

This course is a continuation of SW 311, SW Practice III. Students will utilize generalist practice social work skills as they engage in a supervised macro practice experience.  They will engage in community organizing with an existing group, organization, or coalition to address a community or campus concern. In collaboration with community, students will gather and utilize data to assess community strengths and needs, use interpersonal skills to work effectively with large groups, problem solve, negotiate, mediate, advocate with community groups, develop action plans, and agree on a focus of work to support existing community actions. Emphasis is on initiating actions to achieve goals, analysis, and evaluation of interventions. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 311, Corequisite SW 321 and SW 400.  Spring semester.

SW 320 Social Work Senior Practicum and Seminar I 6 credits

This is the first of a two-semester field experience in a social service agency.  The field practicum is for 16 hours per week over a period of thirteen (13) weeks, and attendance at a two-hour weekly seminar is required each semester. The practicum is designed to provide students with direct experience in the delivery of social services within an assigned setting under the supervision of a professional social worker. Students will engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. In the seminar students conceptualize and evaluate their competencies, apply knowledge to practice, and participate in peer learning. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 306 and acceptance to Professional Level II in the major. Corequisites: SW 311 and 325. Fall semester.

SW 321 Social Work Senior Practicum and Seminar II 6 credits

This is the second of a two-semester field experience in a social service agency. The field practicum is for 16 hours per week over a period of fifteen (15) weeks, with a required two-hour weekly seminar. This is an advanced field experience course with emphasis on deepening and broadening the students’ practice competences. The seminar provides students with further opportunities to conceptualize their field experiences and engage in evaluation of their own practice. It also provides a forum for discussion of practice questions and issues, as well as postgraduate planning opportunities. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 320. Co-requisites: SW 312 and SW 400. Spring Semester.

SW 325 Senior Seminar on Policies and Issues 3 credits

This course is divided into two sections; the first half focuses on advanced policy practice and the second half focuses on understanding poverty through an exploration of economic concepts and principles and their applications in everyday life. For the policy concentration, it prepares students to engage in policy practice by building on the knowledge gained in SW 210. Definitions of social policies, ways in which policies are promulgated, developed, and implemented, and issues which lack policy direction will be addressed. Students learn how to analyze the interrelationships among research, policy and program development, the dynamic relationship between policy and practice, how to advocate for policies that promote social well-being, and how to engage in policy practice. For the economics concentration, students are introduced to basic economic concepts, principles, and issues that affect their work, the social work profession, and the social work organizations and communities around them. It provides students with an orientation to economic structures and theories, domestic and global perspectives on poverty, economic inequities, and economics in both micro and macro social work practice. Prerequisites: C+ in PS102 and C+ in SW 210 and acceptance to Professional Level II in the major. Corequisites: SW 311 and SW 320. Fall semester.

SW 400 Senior Integrative Seminar 3 credits

SW 400 is a capstone course taken in the last semester of study in the social work major. In this course students demonstrate their competencies in both the theoretical and practice knowledge bases and integrate their learning from the entire social work curriculum. Prerequisites: C+ in SW 311, C+ in SW 320 and C+ in SW 325. Corequisites: SW 312 and 321. Spring semester.


Elective Courses

Electives are offered based on student interest and instructor availability

SW 211 Mental Health and Social Work: A Survey Course 3 credits

This course is designed to provide an overview of the history of mental health in the United States and the unique yet broad role of the social work profession. Relevant social and governmental agencies and polices as well as the importance of advocacy will be studied. The course will include focus on the impact of cultural and social norms and expectations on those who have been identified as well as their families, the role of the media in the general population’s understanding of mental health, an overview of assessment and diagnosis and a discussion of special populations. This is a survey course, meant to provide a foundation for work as a generalist social worker or future clinical study at the graduate level. Prerequisite: SOC 100.

SW 245 Child Welfare: Theory and Practice 3 credits

This course is designed to provide a practice model which is family focused and child centered for helping families at risk. The course examines the complex interplay of policy and law as they affect practice and service delivery. The course is grounded in ecological approaches, cultural competency, principles of family continuity and the historic values of the social work profession. Prerequisite: C+ in SW 200 and C+ in SW 210, or permission of the instructor.

SW 260 Aging 3 credits

This course provides an introduction to gerontology, focusing on the physical, psychological, social, emotional, and environmental aspects of aging.  It also provides and overview of social policies and issues affecting older persons and social program for older persons.  Prerequisite: SOC 100.

SW 270W Writing for the Human Service and Health Care Profession 3 credits

This writing intensive (W) course is designed for students intending to pursue a professional career in such fields as social work, education, nursing, and other health services.  Using a writing-to-learn approach, students will respond in writing to a range of texts from across disciplines and genres in order to deepen their understanding, exercise, critical thinking, and enhance clarity of written communication in the human service and health care professions.  This class may make use of shared writing and reading, small group exercises, and other peer reading and responses. All readings and exercises will reflect professional values and concerns. Prerequisite: WRT 101 or permission of the instructor.