This course of study is designed to offer the best of class in clinical and community training that addresses the unique needs of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Team projects, problem-based learning, creative simulation, team teaching, field work, and electronic learning exchanges are just some of the enriching experiences students will enjoy while fulfilling the requirements for the Master of Social Work.
Required MSW Coursework
The Tulane University School of Social Work online Master of Social Work (MSW) Program:
1 Credit - Course Number 7110
This foundation course provides a developmental overview of the breadth of social work, including its definition, scope, history, ethics and values, required competencies, and the basics of becoming a reflective practitioner. The course focuses on the future development of the individual student as a professional. The course defines relationship-centered practice within a clinical-community context as part of the introduction to the TSSW curriculum.
Social Work History and Policy
3 Credits - Course Number 7120
The course focuses on both the historical development of American social welfare policy and the practice of policy analysis in relation to contemporary social welfare policies. Issues central to understanding American social welfare policy such as poverty, racism, sexism, globalization, privatization and faith-based policies are addressed in this course.
Diversity and Social Justice: Theory and Practice
2 Credits - Course Number 7130
This course addresses concerns about social justice and populations-at-risk. A clinical-community approach is used to teach foundational concepts, theories, and topics related to human diversity, oppression and social justice. The meta-emotional themes of Connection/Disconnection, Power/Diminishment, Purpose/Invisibility, provide a relationship-centered framework to understand diversity and social justice for social work practice. The course structure consists of small class sections designed to support a psychologically safe environment for students to learn the skills necessary for having ‘tough conversations’ related to diversity and social justice. These discussions - led by two faculty from diverse social groups - center on issues related to age, social class, culture, ethnicity, race, gender, gender orientation, and disabilities. A strengths perspective is used to understand how different social behaviors and policies support and/or oppress individuals, families, groups, and communities. Student Learning Partners are used throughout the course to provide opportunities to understand our unique cultural selves and appreciate difference and diversity in others.
Intro to Organizational and Community Practice
2 Credits - Course Number 7140
This foundation course addresses community practice as it relates to human service agencies with special attention to non-profit and grassroots organizations. Building upon 2 theoretical approaches to human service organizations/agencies and their distinct at tributes, the course addresses key practice knowledge, skills, and values that promote, develop, and maintain organizations that effectively meet community and client needs. This course also emphasizes models of community intervention as integral to the social work professional’s role in community and addresses challenges working with diverse populations in terms of community engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation.
Theories of Human Behavior Across the Life Course I
2 Credits - Course Number 7210
Kurt Lewin’s ‘nothing so practical as a good theory’ paradigm provides the philosophical base for this course. Meta theoretical principles are used to understand theories of human relationship development across the lifespan. These meta theoretical principles - connection and disconnection; power and diminishment; purpose and invisibility - provide an overarching perspective for social workers to function as clinical community social workers with a relationship centered focus. These principles are applied to child and adolescent development and to issues related to diversity, oppression, class and social justice. This is the first semester of a two-semester sequence.
Theories of Human Behavior Across the Life Course II
2 Credits - Course Number 7220
In this required second semester course of the two semester sequence, the focus continues to center around Kurt Lewin’s ‘nothing as practical as a good theory’ paradigm. (Kurt Lewin, 1944, University of Iowa Studies in Child Welfare) The meta theoretical principles are used to continue to understand theories of human relationship development as they relate to the life span issues of adult development. Those principles - connection and disconnection; power and diminishment; purpose and invisibility - also highlight continuing discussions about diversity, oppression, class, social justice and the intersectionality of the ‘isms’ with each other.
Community Organization and Policy Advocacy: Theories and Practice
3 Credits - Course Number 7230
This methods course addresses community organization which is a form of social work practice that works through collective response to structural inequities. Through organizing - mobilizing people to combine their resources to act strategically on behalf of common interests - social workers aim for social change found through collective human potential. Through policy practice and policy advocacy, a social worker can transform the desires of community into laws and regulations that help achieve the goal of social and economic justice. Policy practice is an integral element of social work as practiced in all settings-at the local, state, and national levels, as well as within micro, mezzo, and macro levels of intervention.
Intro to Direct Social Work Practice
3 Credits - Course Number 7310
This three-credit foundation course is the first of three direct practice methods courses (it is followed by Methods II and Advanced Methods). It focuses on teaching students a broad and integrated variety of helping methods that span individuals, families, and groups within a clinical-community perspective. The central vehicle for navigating and managing these many systems is the social worker-client relationship, or Relationship-Centered Practice. Students will learn how to engage, assess, and facilitate change in small systems within the context of larger systems such as neighborhoods and communities. Students will learn to perform major social work practice roles and communication processes as well as procedures necessary for resource development, linkage, and utilization.
Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups
3 Credits - Course Number 7320
This required methods course is the second of two foundation courses and integrates clinical with community practice. It contains distinct modules for practice particularly with individuals and families, and with small groups. The course continues to emphasize relationship-centered practice as a central premise for intervention, addressing traditional direct service approaches.
Advanced Clinical-Community Practice
3 Credits - Course Number 7330
This advanced course integrates material from Methods I and Methods II and builds on content delivered in Theory, Tools, Professional Foundations and Field. The focus of the course is on the application of advanced relationship-centered clinical-community methods to a variety of complex cases. While students in this course are also taught advanced methods for discrete areas of practice (e.g., advanced case-management, intervention and termination, treatment matching, policy analysis, direct action organizing, locality development), integration of practice skills and professional identity is driven by the use of cases that require students to challenge and ‘work across’ conventional conceptualizations of ‘micro,’ ‘mezzo,’ and ‘macro’ practice.
Research for Evidence-Based Social Work Practice
3 Credits - Course Number 7410
This course focuses on the principles and process of Evidence-based Practice (EBP), a methodology for making practice decisions that emphasizes formulating practice questions, locating and evaluating information to answer these questions, applying the knowledge gained to practice situations, and evaluating outcomes. Essential to this approach is the core competency of critical thinking, which will be introduced and developed. Also inherent in EBP is the competency of information literacy, which will be addressed as students are familiarized with information resources vital to social work and learn strategies or accessing them. Additionally, students will work towards the effective use of acquired knowledge with others. Students will learn to utilize some of the written, verbal, and visual tools underlying the core competency of communication skills. They will also begin to explore the competency of team building with particular emphasis placed on working in learning groups.
2 Credits - Course Number 7420
In Program Evaluation, students continue to acquire knowledge, values and skills for reflective, relationship-centered, evidence-informed clinical-community social work practice. The focus is on the role and importance of program evaluation to social work practice and the application of research methods to the evaluation of social work programs and interventions. Students will learn applied qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods useful to social work administrators for designing and carrying out evaluations to develop and improve social programs. They will also learn to create an evaluation proposal based on a review of the literature and identification of appropriate methods for the proposed evaluation.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
3 Credits - Course Number 7430
In this three-credit course, students continue to develop skills related to the access, creation, utilization, and dissemination of knowledge for social work practice. The course focuses primarily on the principles, methods, and applications of quantitative and qualitative data analysis used in clinical-community social work research. The course emphasizes the practical application of data analysis knowledge in both assessing the quality of existing research evidence and contributing to knowledge through systematic inquiry on topics of concern to social work practitioners and their clients. The utilization of computer applications for data management and analysis is stressed. In addition, in preparation for presenting the outcomes of their Professional Projects in the fourth semester Capstone Course, students are introduced to principles and techniques of effective verbal and visual presentations.
2 Credits - Course Number 7440
The Capstone Seminar in relationship-centered, clinical-community practice is designed to be integrative of all the previous foundation and advanced courses. The goal is to produce a graduate who is more grounded in professional identity, and in social work’s values and propose. This is accomplished through an inquisitive, dialectic process between students and professors. Fundamental questions will be raised about the nature of social work’s mission, the nature of knowledge for social work and the exercise of social work practices.
Field Practicum and Seminar I
5 Credits - Course Number 7520
Students spend three days weekly in field instruction for three consecutive semesters beginning with this Spring course. Field placements are in community agencies where professional social work supervision is provided to guide the development of a full range of social work practice skills and helping the learner assume a professional social work role. As is possible, placements are made in accordance with a student’s stated learning objectives and professional career goals. Tulane School of Social Work maintains close ties with agencies in the development of the educational focus of field instruction.
Field Practicum and Seminar II
5 Credits - Course Number 7530
Students spend three days weekly in field instruction during this Summer semester course. Field placements are in community agencies where professional social work supervision is provided to guide the development of a full range of social work practice skills and helping the learner assume a professional social work role. As is possible, placements are made in accordance with a student’s stated learning objectives and professional career goals. Tulane School of Social Work maintains close ties with agencies in the development of the educational focus of field instruction.
Field Practicum and Seminar III
5 Credits - Course Number 7540
Students spend three days weekly in field instruction during this Fall semester, which is taken during a student’s fourth and final semester at Tulane. Field placements are in community agencies where professional social work supervision is provided to guide the development of a full range of social work practice skills and helping the learner assume a professional social work role. As is possible, placements are made in accordance with a student’s stated learning objectives and professional career goals. Tulane School of Social Work maintains close ties with agencies in the development of the educational focus of field instruction.