Graduate Catalog
Social Work

Steven Soifer, PhD
Chair and Professor
Room 230, McCord Hall
(901) 678-2616

Susan Neely-Barnes, PhD
MSW Program Director and Assistant Professor
Room 232, McCord Hall
(901) 678-3438

www.memphis.edu/socialwork/

I. The Department of Social Work offers a program of study leading to the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The purpose of the program is to educate students for careers as professional social workers by combining quality evidence-based academic preparation with field practice experience.

The mission of the MSW program is to educate advanced professional social workers for practice with at-risk populations, particularly children and families. Housed within the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, the Department of Social Work is dedicated to (a) educating social workers with knowledge, values, and skills for evidence-based practice with children and families, (b) advancing the knowledge base of the social work profession and (c) providing regional leadership in the development and implementation of policies, programs and services for at-risk populations, particularly children and families.

Students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements), the requirements of the MSW program and must exhibit high integrity and moral character consistent with the standards of ethical practice set forth by the National Association of Social Workers.

II. MSW Degree Program

A. Program Admission and Prerequisites

A faculty committee of no less than three members will determine admission to the Master of Social Work program. Admission will require a majority vote in favor of the candidate from members of the committee. The following is necessary for application:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Admission is competitive. Generally a grade point average of at least 3.0 or better (A=4.0) for the final 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of undergraduate study is necessary for consideration.
  3. Submission of GRE test scores; admission is competitive.
  4. Experience in a Social Work related field as a paid employee, volunteer or researcher is desirable.
  5. Goal statements for each of the following statements (no more than one page each, typed, double spaced):
    1. Express your understanding of social work as a profession. Discuss the personal attributes that you believe are suitable for the profession of social work.
    2. How did your interest in social work develop? What are your social work related career goals? If you have trained or worked in another field, why are you considering changing your career goals?
    3. What significant life experiences or circumstances have influenced the development of your interest in social work?
    4. What preparations have you made for balancing your outside responsibilities with your academic responsibilities? What is your plan for financing your graduate education?
  6. Provide a professional resume.
  7. Provide three professional references.
    a.) At least one must be from a former faculty member.
    b.) Two of the three must be from sources familiar with your volunteer, internship, or paid work experience

B. Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of sixty (60) semester hours; thirty (30) hours are taken in the foundation curriculum and thirty (30) hours are required in the concentration curriculum.

Thesis Option

    • 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours), 24 semester hours of concentration-level coursework (18 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours), and a minimum of 6 semester hours of SWRK 7996 (Thesis).
    • All courses in the 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours) are required and must be taken with a passing grade before concentration-level coursework, elective semester hours, independent study semester hours, or thesis hours may be undertaken.
    • 15 hours of concentration-level coursework and 6 hours of concentration-level field are required courses.
    • The 6 semester hours of SWRK replace 2 electives and must be taken in two consecutive semesters.
    • A maximum of one elective or independent study must be taken with the thesis option.
    • A passing score on the capstone Comprehensive Examination. The comprehensive examination for the Master of Social Work program consists of three components: 1) an evaluation of the student's ability to meet MSW program competencies in field placement; 2) a student self-assessment of her/his ability to meet all MSW program competencies; and 3) completion of a social work licensure practice examination with a score of 75 or higher.

Non-Thesis Option

    • 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours), 24 semester hours of concentration-level coursework (18 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours).
    • All courses in the 30 semester hours of foundation-level graduate coursework (24 semester hours) and field (6 semester hours) are required and must be taken with a passing grade before concentration-level coursework, elective semester hours, or independent study semester hours may be undertaken.
    • 15 hours of concentration-level coursework and 6 hours of concentration-level field are required courses.
    • 9 semester hours of electives or independent study must be taken with the non-thesis option.
    • A passing score on the capstone Comprehensive Examination. The comprehensive examination for the Master of Social Work program consists of three components: 1) an evaluation of the student’s ability to meet MSW program competencies in field placement; 2) a student self-assessment of her/his ability to meet all MSW program competencies; and 3) completion of a social work licensure practice examination with a score of 75 or higher.
  1. The foundation curriculum provides evidence-based knowledge, behaviors and skills for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The concentration curriculum allows students to extend the basic knowledge gained in the foundation to a more focused advanced evidence-based practice with families and children. Both the foundation and concentration portions of the program emphasize evidence-based practice and critical thinking skills.
  2. To accommodate a wide range of student needs, the MSW program of study offers options for full-time (4 semesters of study; 60 credit hours) and extended study (6 to 8 semesters of study; 60 credit hours). Regardless of progression through the program, the educational components of each sequencing option are the same. The concentration curriculum is generally full-time (2 semesters), although students may choose to extend (3 to 5 semesters). All MSW students follow the same learning expectations for field education, take the same comprehensive exam at the conclusion of the program, and meet the same requirements for graduation. Courses are offered in the traditional classroom settings, on-line and in a hybrid format (combination of traditional classroom and on-line).
  3. Students must follow a structured program of study that includes all of the following foundation courses (30 credit hours):
    7001 Skills for Professional Social Work Practice (3)
    7002 Foundation Practice with Individuals and Families (3)
    7003 Foundation Practice with Groups, Organizations and Communities (3)
    7005 Assessment, Diagnosis and Psychopathology (3)
    7021 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3)
    7022 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (3)
    7025 Scientific Methods in Social Work (3)
    7030 Social Welfare Policy and Services (3)
    7051 Foundation Field Placement I (3)
    7052 Foundation Field Placement II (3)
  4. Upon successful completion of at least 8 of the 10 foundation courses students move to the concentration curriculum, which includes all the following courses (30 credit hours).
    7004 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (3)
    7009 Child Welfare Best Practices (3)
    7010 Violence and the Family (3)
    7011 Mental Health and Disabilities in Childhood (3)
    PADM 7612 Program and Policy Evaluation (3)
    7053 Concentration Field Placement I (3)
    7054 Concentration Field Placement II (3)
    Elective (3)
    Elective (3)
    Elective (3)

C. Retention Requirements

  1. Students in the MSW program must comply with all retention standards of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis.
  2. All students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.00. Should the student’s cumulative GPA fall below that mark, a period of one semester will be allowed to correct the deficiency. At the discretion of the chair, the coordinator of graduate studies in the student’s college, and the Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, this period may be extended one additional semester. Students failing to improve their GPA to an acceptable level in that time will be dismissed from the program.
  3. No more than 6 hours of "C-," "C" or "C+" will be applied toward meeting degree requirements. No grade of a D+ or lower will count toward the degree.
  4. All degree requirements for the Master of Social Work must be completed within 6 years of initial enrollment.

D. Program Requirements

All students seeking the Master of Social Work degree must:

  1. Successfully complete all courses required in the program of study
  2. Abide by the honor’s statement which includes a commitment to engage in professional conduct appropriate for a Social Worker at all times in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
  3. Adhere to all graduate and University requirements as stated in The University of Memphis Graduate Catalog (available from the Graduate School).
  4. Satisfactorily pass a written comprehensive examination in the final semester of study.

III. Advanced Standing Program

The Advanced Standing Program allows outstanding graduates of undergraduate social work programs to complete the MSW in a 37 credit hour accelerated program. Students seeking admission into the Advanced Standing Program must: 1) meet all admissions requirements for the 60 credit hour program; 2) have obtained a BA/BSW degree from an undergraduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) within five years of making application to the MSW; 3) have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher; and 4) have a GPA of 3.3 or higher in their undergraduate social work courses.

Students in the Advanced Standing Program complete seven credit hours of foundation content and all concentration content. Required coursework is as follows:

  1. All of the following foundation courses:
    • 7005 Assessment, Diagnosis, and Psychopathology (3)
    • 7025 Scientific Methods in Social Work (3)
    • 7050 Advanced Standing Field (1)
  2. The concentration curriculum, which includes all the following courses (30 credit hours).
    • 7004 Cognitive Behavioral Interventions (3)
    • 7009 Child Welfare Best Practices (3)
    • 7010 Violence and the Family (3)
    • 7011 Mental Health and Disabilities in Childhood (3)
    • PADM 7612 Program and Policy Evaluation (3)
    • 7053 Concentration Field Placement I (3)
    • 7054 Concentration Field Placement II (3)
    • Elective (3)
    • Elective (3)
    • Elective (3) 


SOCIAL WORK (SWRK)

In addition to the courses below, the department may offer the following Special Topics courses:
SWRK 7060-65. Special Topics in Social Work. (1-3). Topics are varied and announced in the class schedule; may be repeated with different topics. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7021, SWRK 7022, SWRK 7002, SWRK 7003.

 


SWRK 6937 - School of Social Work (3)
Overview of school social work including public education system from the national, state, and local levels; examination fo range of practice and policy issues related to delivery of social work services in school settings. Special emphasis on understanding current federal and state laws as they relate to practice with school-age children and their families. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 2010, 2911, and 3920.

SWRK 7001 - Skills Prof Pract SWRK (3)
The course covers the profession's unique mission, values, roles and typically practice used in the conduct of social work practice. It further examines theories of practice and generalist roles and skills. The course is designed to prepare students for their initial field experience in Field Placement I. The course introduces students to the Practice Wheel as a primary model for serving children and families. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7002 - Individuals and Families (3)
A required foundation course designed to prepare students to apply evidence-based interventions to social work practice with individuals and families. Foundation knowledge and skills are developed in the areas of theory, therapeutic alliance, risk assessment, case formulation, ethical decision-making, critical thinking and evidence-based practice. Particular emphasis is placed on social work practice with culturally diverse, vulnerable and high-risk populations. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7003 - Groups, Orgnztns & Communities (3)
A required foundation course designed to prepare students to apply evidence-based interventions to social work practice with groups, organizations and communities. The course emphasizes mezzo and macro practice skills/roles, evidence based theories, problem solving processes, group dynamics, phases of group development, needed for group work with organizations and community groups. Issues inherent to diversity, at-risk populations and social justice are integrated. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7001.

SWRK 7004 - Cognitive Behavioral Intervent (3)
The course is designed to prepare students to apply cognitive and behavioral theory and techniques to social work practice with single and multiple member systems. The course includes the history and evolution of evidence-based cognitive behavioral intervention approaches and includes integration of problem-solving processes that contribute to planned change. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7002 and SWRK 7003.

SWRK 7005 - Assessmnt,Diag,Psychopath (3)
The course provides students with current information about the assessment and diagnosis of mental disorders utilizing DSM-IV classification system. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the etiology, prevention, assessment, and treatment approaches for a number of commonly diagnosed mental health disorders. Students will identify individuals, social, and systemic issues effecting individuals with a mental illness. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7002, SWRK 7021, and SWRK 7022.

SWRK 7006 - Dual Diagnosis (3)
The course explores models for the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with a psychiatric disability complicated by substance abuse issues. Students will demonstrate an understanding of stabilization, recover, and relapse prevention approaches to assist individuals experiencing a combination of chemical dependency and mental illness. Students will compare and contrast program models and treatment interventions. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7002, SWRK 7021, and SWRK 7022.

SWRK 7008 - Disabilities in Childhood (3)
This course provides current information about the various categories of developmental disabilities and learning disabilities. Students will learn definitions, etiology, and characteristics associated with mild to severe mental retardation and learning disabilities. Students will learn techniques for eliminating maladaptive behaviors, managing aggressive and antisocial behaviors, and strategies to teach children appropriate social skills. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7021, SWRK 7022, and SWRK 7002.

SWRK 7009 - Child Welfare Best Practices (3)
Course focuses on evidence-based practices/programs, and interventions for children and adolescents that have been shown to effectively treat a variety of behavioral/emotional problems. Interventions and programs covered include individual, group, family, and/or community level treatment methods, as well as prevention approaches. Emphasis is on the development of knowledge and skills in assessing and intervening. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 8021, SWRK 7022, SWRK 7002, SWRK 7003, and SWRK 7004.

SWRK 7010 - Violence and the Family (3)
A required concentration course designed to help students develop specialized knowledge and skills for working families who have experienced violence. Particular attention is given to safety planning, crisis intervention, the role of policy on direct practice, specific theories, multi-system interventions, collaborative service delivery and strengths based intervention models. An emphasis will be placed on diverse and at-risk families.

SWRK 7011 - Mental Health and Disabilities (3)
A required concentration course designed to integrate specialized knowledge and skills for practice with diverse children experiencing a range of health and mental health concerns. Recognizing that no single definition of child mental health adequately addresses the diverse families, this course seeks to provide practice frameworks that are culturally sensitive, collaborative, strength-promoting and empowering. PREREQUISITES: SWRK 7021, SWRK 7022, SWRK 7002, SWRK 7003, SWRK 7005.

SWRK 7013 - Treatment of Trauma (3)
An elective course designed to broaden students ability to understand and treat persons exposed to traumatic events. The course examines roles, assessments and intervention strategies for social workers working with clients exposed to specific types of trauma; rape, war, natural disasters. Emphasis is placed on understanding biopsychosocial influences, psychopharmacology, incidence, course, treatment and evidence-based assessment and interventions skills.

SWRK 7014 - Brief Intervention (3)
An elective course designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to utilize brief interventions in social work practice. Theory and practice of planned short-term, and crisis interventions including an introduction to motivational interviewing and solution focused brief therapy are addressed. Learners are introduced to methods for improve treatment compliance and increase motivation for change with specific target populations.

SWRK 7021 - Humn Behav Social Environ I (3)
Course provides a multidimensional understanding of person and environment relationships. An ecological/systems framework together with a developmental approach is used to provide an interactional understanding of human behavior. The course examines life span development from conception through adolescence. Issues of human diversity (i.e. race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation) will be highlighted. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7022 - Humn Behav Social Environ II (3)
Course provides a multidimensional understanding of person and environment relationships. An ecological/systems framework together with a devlopmental approach is used to provide and interactional understanding of human behavior. HBSE II focuses on adult development, with particular emphasis on exploring how individual, social, and systemic issues influence family functioning and parenting practices. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7025 - Scientific Methods (3)
A required foundation course designed to teach research methods and the elements of evidence based practice. The course focuses on social work practice-focused quantitative and qualitative research knowledge and skills including critical evaluation of empirical literature, basic research methodology including construct operationalization, study design, selection, development, implementation, measurement, specific instruments, data management and data analysis using statistical software. PREREQUISITE: Admission into the MSW program.

SWRK 7026 - Evaluative Research (3)
A required concentration course designed to teach students hard skills in ethical program evaluation; statistical analysis techniques; and research findings dissemination and application from the micro to the macro levels and throughout diverse areas of practice. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7025.

SWRK 7030 - Social Welfare Policy/Services (3)
Examines local, state, national and international policies affecting social work practice; exploring the historical process leading to current welfare policy. Using rational and non-rational theoretical perspectives, it presents policy and service domains and the values and philosophies underlying welfare provision. Students explore NASW policy positions, social welfare policy in other countries and comparative policy. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7031 - Rural/Urban Poverty (3)
This course examines the development and analysis of specific policies that impact rural and urban centers with high concentrations of poverty. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction effects of federal policies regarding crime, education, employment and housing, and federal and state income maintenance programs for the poor. The strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to policy development and analysis will be discussed. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7050 - Advanced Standing Field (1)
The advanced standing field course connects generalist curriculum learned in undergraduate social work to the masters-level curriculum at the advanced level. Assignments encourage self-assessment, increase empathy towards populations served, and expose students to core competencies. PREREQUISITE: Admission to the Advanced Standing MSW Program.

SWRK 7051 - Field Placement I (3)
This course provides opportunities for students to integrate what they are learning in the classroom with practical experience in an agency that provides social work services. The first course prepares students for work as generalist social workers, to help them learn to apply critical thinking skills, to increase their range of social work skills and techniques, to understand the importance of the value base and increase their self-understanding. PREREQUISITE: Admission to MSW program.

SWRK 7052 - Field Placement II (3)
The first year of field placement is intended to prepare students for work as generalist social workers, to help them learn to apply critical thinking skills, to increase their range of social work skills and techniques, to understand the importance of the value base and ethical framework of the profession of social work, and to increase their self-understanding. Field Placement II builds on the learning foundation that was established in Field Placement I. PREREQUISITE: Field Placement I.

SWRK 7053 - Field Placement III (3)
The second year is directed toward an area of social work specialization and the development of advanced skills and practice, building on the first year of placement and providing opportunities for more complex application of social work theories, models, values, and ethics. Field Placement III builds on the learning foundation that was established in Field Placement I and II. PREREQUISITE: Field Placement I and II.

SWRK 7054 - Field Placement IV (3)
The second year is directed toward an area of social work specialization and the development of advanced skills and practice, building on the first year of placement and providing opportunities for more complex application of social work theories, models, values, and ethics. Field Placement IV builds on the learning foundation that was established in Field Placement I, II, and III. PREREQUISITE: Field Placement I, II, and III.

SWRK 7070 - Independent Study (3)
Provides an opportunity for directed advanced reading, an advanced field project, and/or research in special areas of social work. Provides in-depth learning opportunites not otherwise available in the regular curriculum. Independent study replaces one elective. PREREQUISITE: SWRK 7021, SWRK 7022, SWRK 7002, SWRK 7003.

SWRK 7996 - Thesis (1-6)
Thesis provides the opportunity for a student to complete an advanced independent research project during a two-semester sequence. Students will develop and apply research skills and produce a comprehensive paper that will contribute to knowledge in the social work profession. The Master's thesis is a two-semester (6 credit hours) commitment that will be completed during the concentration year. Thesis is not required for completion of the Master's of Social Work program. PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of all foundation coursework with a GPA of 3.3 or higher and approval of a thesis proposal by the thesis committee chair.

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