Master of Social Work

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The Master of Social Work (MSW) is considered the terminal degree in the social work profession. Content and course work in the MSW program will prepare graduates to function in professional social work positions in a wide variety of settings, including health care agencies, child and family services, public social service organizations, the criminal justice system and the public schools.

The advanced curriculum provides an in-depth education, through the classroom and practicum, to prepare graduates for advanced, specialized practice. Topics include applied research, social policy and advanced content in social work practice models and methods. The intent of this graduate program is to enable learners to develop skills in the concentration area of Advanced Integrative Practice.

This graduate program also prepares learners to collaborate with other human service professionals and with the community. Graduates from this MSW program will be prepared to address the social welfare needs of a complex society.

The MSW program is designed as a part-time evening program and consists of two program options: a three-year MSW program, which is designed for graduates of baccalaureate programs in any major, and an Advanced Standing MSW program, which is designed for eligible graduates of baccalaureate programs in social work or social welfare. Advanced Standing allows students to enter the advanced level of the MSW curriculum.

Pursuant to the achievement of the Social Work program’s mission, the MSW program has been designed as a competency-based curriculum committed to preparing graduate students for practice.

Program Goals

The MSW curriculum has been developed to enhance both breadth and depth in professional education and to respond to changing social work practice needs. The curriculum reflects the faculty’s commitment to a set of core MSW Curriculum values and principles.

The program’s curriculum is framed by a set of core values, which flow directly from its mission. Primary among these is the School’s commitment to social justice. 

Corollary values include commitments to multiculturalism, to social change, and to collaboration and empowerment. Further, the program is dedicated to bringing these commitments to life in its curriculum through pedagogical strategies that recognize the essential synergy between knowledge and action, and that provide opportunities for generative learning.  

The MSW Program has three over-arching goals:

  1. To prepare students for generalist practice including basic knowledge and skills for understanding and solving complex social problems within the values of professional social work.
  2. To prepare students for advanced professional practice in an area of concentration in a way that fosters social work leadership, effective social interventions, a commitment to a just and human diverse society, and a commitment to public service.
  3. To provide access to social work education to residents of the south Puget Sound region.

The MSW curriculum is organized around these core principles and builds upon the Curriculum Goals. 

Program Objectives

As a result of their class and field education, MSW graduates should be able to:

  1. Understand the values and ethics of the social work profession and practice accordingly, including mindful use of self and ongoing development of professional skills and knowledge.
  2. Understand the forms and mechanisms of discrimination, and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice and are non-discriminatory and respectful of client and community diversity.
  3. Understand and interpret the history of social welfare and its contemporary structures and issues.
  4. Apply the knowledge and skills of a generalist perspective to practice with systems of all sizes.
  5. Acquire and critically apply theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to understand individual development and behavior across the life span and (or) the interactions among individuals and between individuals, and families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  6. Articulate the role of policy in framing social work practice, understand the impact of major social welfare policies on those who are served by social workers, workers themselves, agencies, and welfare systems, and be able to advocate for just, effective, and humane policies and policy implementation processes.
  7. Understand and critically analyze current systems of social service organization and delivery and be able both to practice within them and to seek necessary organizational change
  8. Engender the empowerment of diverse and disadvantaged individuals, groups, and communities through effective, culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment, treatment/intervention and outcomes evaluation
  9. Make well-reasoned and well-informed judgments based on professional values and ethics, critical self-reflection, evidence, and the appropriate use of supervision and consultation
  10. Apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional social work practice, including the ability to critically evaluate major practice frameworks, research evidence, and their own practice.
  11. Contribute to the profession’s knowledge base and practice through disciplined inquiry, dissemination, and institutionalization of evidence-based practice and policy models.

Foundation Curriculum Goals

The MSW Foundation curriculum provides a foundation year educational experience that builds on an undergraduate, liberal arts degree and prepares students to enter into a concentrated area of social work practice. Through successful completion of the foundation curriculum, graduates of the UW Tacoma MSW Program will be able to complete the program objectives, which specify the knowledge and skills required for accomplishing our goal of preparing students for generalist practice.

Advanced Curriculum Goals

The MSW advanced curriculum builds on, broadens, and deepens the generalist foundation and prepares students for competent and effective social work practice in an area of concentration. Graduates will accomplish the objectives, which flow from our goal of preparing students for advanced professional practice.

Curriculum Competencies

The primary goal of the curriculum is to provide social work students with the critical skills, value base and knowledge to advance social justice, multiculturalism, social change, collaboration and empowerment in their professional roles. This goal is operationalized through 10 core competencies:

  1. Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
  2. Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
  3. Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  4. Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
  5. Engage in Policy Practice
  6. Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  7. Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  8. Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  9. Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

MSW Program Evaluation Competency Benchmarks

All Council on Social Work Education programs measure and report student learning outcomes. Students are assessed on their mastery of the competencies which comprise the accreditation standards of the Council on Social Work Education. These competencies are dimensions of social work practice which all social workers are expected to master during their professional training. A measurement benchmark is set by the social work programs for each competency. An assessment score at or above that benchmark is considered by the program to represent mastery of that particular competency.

Part-time Program of Study

The MSW program offers a 3-yr, part-time, evening study cohort program option as well as a part-time, evening Advanced Standing, 18-month program option. All Advanced Standing applicants must meet specific criteria to be eligible for admission consideration. There are no full-time MSW study options available at UW Tacoma.

Advising

The Social Work Program Graduate Advisor is responsible for helping students with the technical pieces of graduate student life — deadlines, forms and formal procedures. Registration, course scheduling, graduation requirements and grade issues are all areas where the graduate advisor can assist you. The graduate program advisor also functions as a liaison to the Graduate School. To make an appointment, please contact the Social Work Program Office at 253-692-5820 or email tsocial@uw.edu.

Each student entering the MSW Program is also assigned a Faculty Advisor. The Faculty Advisor supports the student by offering guidance related to entry into the school and its culture, socialization into the profession, and various opportunities to address issues of common concern to MSW students: developing career goals, completing learning plans, balancing family and career, grappling with ethical and value dilemmas, and dealing with challenges in interactions with student peers, professional colleagues, and supervisors. Some of the advising activities take place in the context of informal group activities that are facilitated by the Advisor, and others through individual consultation. An important role of the Faculty Advisor, in addition to providing the more structured guidance and support activities previously mentioned, is to ensure that every student has a strong link to an individual faculty member throughout the program. Students are encouraged to turn to any faculty member regarding specific issues. For instance, you may meet with someone who is doing research or practice in your area of interest. Such “informal advising” is common and highly encouraged. You may contact faculty directly by email or by phone numbers listed in the directory online http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/.

The Field Coordinator is responsible for the management of field education, advisement and approval of students for practicum placements. The Coordinator also is responsible for liaison and problem-solving with agencies if there are difficulties in the placements, and assignment of grades for the practicum courses.

Model Program of Study (3yr MSW)

► Students admitted Autumn 2016 and beyond:
First Year: Professional Foundation (25 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn (6 cr) T SOCW 501: Social Policy And Economic Security 3
  T SOCW 502: Human Behavior and Social Environment I 3
Winter (6 cr) T SOCW 503: Human Behavior and Social Environment II 3
  T SOCW 504: Cultural Diversity and Societal Justice 3
Spring (7 cr) T SOCW 510: Practice I: Introduction to Social Work Practice 3
  T SOCW 514: Practice V: Foundation Practice Skills 3
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 1
Summer (6 cr) T SOCW 511: Practice II: Intermediate Direct Service Practice 3
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 3
Second Year: Professional Foundation and Advanced Curriculum (24 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn (6 cr) T SOCW 512: Practice III: Community and Organizational Practice 3
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 3
Winter (6 cr) T SOCW 505: Introduction to Social Welfare Research 3
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 3
Spring (6 cr) T SOCW 535: Advanced Research for Advanced Integrative Practice 3
  T SOCW 540-560 : Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Summer (6 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 3
  T SOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Third Year: Advanced Curriculum (26 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn (10 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 4
  T SOCW 531: Advanced Integrative Policy and Advocacy 3
  T SOCW 532: Advanced Integrative Practice I 3
Winter (8 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 5
  T SOCW 533: Advanced Integrative Practice II 3
Spring (8 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 5
  T SOCW 536: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3

Total credits: 75

(1) Foundation Practicum totals 400 hours (10 credits)
(2) Advanced Practicum totals 680 hours (17 credits)

► Students admitted Autumn 2015 and prior:

Effective Winter 2012

First Year: Professional Foundation (24 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn (6 cr) T SOCW 501: Social Policy And Economic Security 3
  T SOCW 502: Human Behavior and Social Environment I 3
Winter (6 cr) T SOCW 503: Human Behavior and Social Environment II 3
  T SOCW 504: Cultural Diversity and Societal Justice 3
Spring (6 cr) T SOCW 510: Practice I: Introduction to Social Work Practice 3
  T SOCW 514: Practice V: Foundation Practice Skills 3
Summer (6 cr) T SOCW 511: Practice II: Intermediate Direct Service Practice 3
  T SOCW 523: Introduction to Practicum 1
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 2
Second Year: Professional Foundation and Advanced Curriculum (24 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn (6 cr) T SOCW 512: Practice III: Community and Organizational Practice 3
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 3
Winter (6 cr) T SOCW 505: Introduction to Social Welfare Research 3
  T SOCW 524: Foundation Practicum (1) 3
Spring (6 cr) T SOCW 535: Advanced Research for Advanced Integrative Practice 3
  T SOCW 540-560 : Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Summer (6 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 3
  T SOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Third Year: Advanced Curriculum (27 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn (11 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 5
  T SOCW 531: Advanced Integrative Policy and Advocacy 3
  T SOCW 532: Advanced Integrative Practice I 3
Winter (8 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 5
  T SOCW 533: Advanced Integrative Practice II 3
Spring (8 cr) T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (2) 5
  T SOCW 536: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3

Total credits: 75

(1) Foundation Practicum totals 360 hours (9 credits)
(2) Advanced Practicum totals 720 hours (18 credits)


Model Program of Study (Advanced Standing MSW)

► Students admitted Winter 2018 and beyond:

Effective Winter 2018

First Year (19 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Winter
(7 credits)
T SOCW 598: Integrative Seminar 5
TSOCW 597: Social Welfare Research 2
Spring
(6 credits)
T SOCW 535: Research for Advanced Integrative Practice 3
T SOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Summer
(6 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 3
TSOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Second Year (26 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn
(10 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 4
T SOCW 531: Advanced Integrative Policy and Advocacy 3
T SOCW 532: Advanced Integrative Practice I 3
Winter
(8 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 5
T SOCW 533: Advanced Integrative Practice II 3
Spring
(8 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 5
T SOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Total 45

(1) Advanced Practicum totals 680 hours (17 credits)

To check for eligibility for the Advanced Standing MSW, please refer to the Advanced Standing MSW page.

► Students admitted Winter 2017 and prior:

Effective Winter 2012

First Year (19 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Winter
(7 credits)
T SOCW 598: Integrative Seminar 5
TSOCW 597: Social Welfare Research 2
Spring
(6 credits)
T SOCW 535: Research for Advanced Integrative Practice 3
T SOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Summer
(6 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 3
TSOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Second Year (27 credits)
Quarter Course Credits
Autumn
(11 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 5
T SOCW 531: Advanced Integrative Policy and Advocacy 3
T SOCW 532: Advanced Integrative Practice I 3
Winter
(8 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 5
T SOCW 533: Advanced Integrative Practice II 3
Spring
(8 credits)
T SOCW 525: Advanced Practicum (1) 5
T SOCW 540-560: Advanced Integrative Practice Selective 3
Total 46

  (1) Advanced Practicum totals 720 hours (18 credits)