Graduate Catalog

2014 – 2015


2013-2014 Graduate Catalog Archive

Office of Graduate Studies
McKelvie Hall, 102 W. Rosedale Avenue
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-436-2943
Fax: 610-436-2763
gradstudy@wcupa.edu

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Revised March 2014

Social Work


Reynolds Hall
650 Reynolds Alley
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
610-436-2664
Dr. Buck, Chairperson and M.S.W. Program Director
Ms. Robb, Director of Field Education

Professor [top]

Gwenelle O’Neal, D.S.W., Columbia University

Associate Professors

Nadine Bean, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
Wan-Yi Chen, Ph.D., Columbia University
Linda Ello, Ph.D., Rutgers –The State University of New Jersey

Assistant Professors

Page Buck, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College
Amber Holbrook, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College
Michael Pfeiffer, Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College
Julie Tennille, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Programs of Study [top]

The Department of Social Work is approved to offer the M.S.W. by West Chester University and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The M.S.W. is a 60-hour program with a concentration in direct practice with individuals and families. The program can be completed in two academic years of full-time study and three or four years of part time. However, qualified applicants who have earned a B.S.W. within the past five years from a CSWE-accredited program may qualify for advanced standing and reduce their time of enrollment.

The first year of study focuses on foundation or generalist social work practice, and the second year focuses on the concentration. Besides course work, students are placed in field practica in social service agencies concurrently with practice courses. Advanced study in working with individuals and families is augmented by six hours of graduate-level electives taken in the department or throughout the University. Also, as a requirement for graduation, students complete and defend a practice research paper.

Students applying to the program should meet the following criteria:

  • GPA of 3.00 (students who do not meet this requirement may be considered for provisional status). The Department of Graduate Social Work does not give credit for life experience or previous work experience.
  • For admission, competency is required in the following areas: humanities, English composition, social sciences (such as sociology, psychology, and women’s studies) and math/science (preferably human biology and statistics, but other math and science courses will be considered). Competency can be verified by completed course work, CLEP examination, or comprehensive examination. Applications without these core liberal arts requirements will be reviewed; however, applicants will be required to submit proof of competency prior to beginning field practicum.
  • TOEFL score if applicant is not a native English speaker
  • Appropriate visa for international students. International students should follow the admissions requirements outlined on the University’s International Studies website.
  • Evidence applicant has complied with Act 33 and criminal clearance check (required for students’ internships in social service agencies)

A limited number of advanced-standing slots are open to students holding a B.S.W. from a program accredited by the CSWE. This optional form of program admittance allows the student to enter the program during the summer, enroll in three “bridge” courses, and move directly into the concentration (second) year. Those with advanced-standing status can complete the program in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. To qualify for this level of enrollment, applicants must meet the minimum criteria as follows:

  • B.S.W. from a CSWE-accredited program within the last five years;
  • a GPA of 3.25 (based on a 4.0 scale) in the social work major;
  • an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale);
  • an advanced standing recommendation completed by the director of the B.S.W. program that granted their degree;
  • all requirements set for regular admission to the M.S.W. program (see above);
  • no grades lower than a B in the following undergraduate courses: two courses in practice, two courses in policy, two courses in human behavior in the social environment, one course in research methods, one course in statistics, a field experience of at least 400 clock hours supervised by an M.S.W. field instructor.

Because the number of admission slots for advanced standing is limited, students who do not meet the criteria or are not admitted to this status because it is already filled automatically will be reviewed for regular admission.

Students applying to the program who have completed work in other accredited M.S.W. programs should make an appointment with the director to review official transcripts of previously completed work. Courses for transfer credit will be evaluated for compatibility with the West Chester University M.S.W. curriculum on the basis of similarity in course objectives, textbooks, assignments, and required readings. Only practice and policy courses from CSWE-accredited programs will be considered for transfer into the practice and policy sequences.

Students wishing to transfer credits taken in programs other than social work may petition to have courses in human behavior, research, and elective areas considered. The same criteria referred to above will apply to these requests.

Transfer requests should be put in writing with supportive documentation – transcript and course syllabi – and submitted to the director. Transfer credit is limited to courses in which a grade of A or B was attained. No credit is given for prior life or employment experiences.

For more information on the graduate social work program see the department's website, www.wcupa.edu/_ACADEMICS/sch_sba/g-sw.html.

Master of Social Work [top]

Course of Study

Typically, M.S.W. students enroll in 15 hours each semester. The program is broken down into two segments, the foundation and concentration years. Following is the course of study generally taken by students in the program.

Regular Full-Time Program

Year 1

Fall Semester (15 semester hours)
SWG 501, 511, 541, 554, and 596

Spring Semester (15 semester hours)
SWG 502, 533, 555, 564, and 597

Year II

Fall Semester (15 semester hours)
SWG 534, 561, 562, and 598
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Spring Semester (15 semester hours)
SWG 535, 542, 563, and 599
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Part-Time, Four-Year Program

A part-time study plan is offered to a select number of students. Those admitted to this plan must commit themselves to the following schedule:

Year 1

Fall Semester (6 semester hours)
SWG 511 and 541

Spring Semester (6 semester hours)
SWG 533 and 555

Year II

Fall Semester (9 semester hours)
SWG 501, 554, and 596

Spring Semester (9 semester hours)
SWG 502, 564, and 597

Year III

Fall Semester (9 semester hours)
SWG 561, 562, and 598

Spring Semester (9 semester hours)
SWG 542, 563, and 599

Year IV

Fall Semester (6 semester hours)
SWG 534
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Spring Semester (6 semester hours)
SWG 535
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Advanced-Standing, Full-Time Program

Students enrolling full time in the advanced-standing track follow the course schedule below:

First Summer Session (May - June) (6 semester hours)
SWG 503 and 511

Second Summer Session (June - July) (3 semester hours)
SWG 564

Fall Semester (15 semester hours)
SWG 534, 561, 562, and 598
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Spring Semester (15 semester hours)
SWG 535, 542, 563, and 599
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Advanced-Standing, Part-Time Program

Students enrolling part time in the advanced-standing track follow the course schedule below:

First Summer Session (May - June) (6 semester hours)
SWG 503 and 511

Second Summer Session (June - July) (3 semester hours)
SWG 564

Year I

Fall Semester (9 semester hours)
SWG 561, 562, and 598

Spring Semester (9 semester hours)
SWG 542, 563, and 599

Year II

Fall Semester (6 semester hours)
SWG 534
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Spring Semester (6 semester hours)
SWG 535
500-600 level elective*
*Electives can be taken outside of the dpeartment with approval and also during the summer.

Course Descriptions [top]

Social Work
Symbol: SWG

501 Social Work Practice I (3) This course provides an introduction to generalist social work practice including its models, purpose, method, values, and ethics. It incorporates a problem-solving framework and ecological systems perspective and stresses the influence of diversity on practice.

502 Social Work Practice II (3) This course focuses on change theories, intervention strategies, and extended knowledge and skills for working with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. PREREQ: SWG 501.

503 Integrative Social Work Bridge Course (3) This course, required of all advanced-standing students, provides preparation for entry into the second year concentration in direct practice with individuals, families and communities. It integrates foundation values, knowledge, and skills from the content areas of social work practice, human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policy, social work research, and field practicum. PREREQ: Admission to the advanced-standing M.S.W. program.

511 Human Behavior in the Social Environment: The Dialectic of Oppression and Liberation (3) Within the context of a diverse and stratified society, this course examines the impact of discrimination and oppression on members of special groups, i.e., ethnic minorities, women, elderly, disabled, gays, and lesbians while considering the effects of diversity on human behavior and attitudes. It also considers the richness of human diversity.

533 Methods of Social Work Research (3) This course provides students with a theoretical foundation in the method of social work research. The characteristics of scientific inquiry, the structure of theories, problem and hypothesis formulation, models of research design, sampling, measurement, and the logic of casual inferences are taught.

534 Advanced Research Methods (3) In this course students learn advanced qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills, evaluation of one's own practice, and program evaluation. Particular attention is given to preparation for the student's applied research project. PREREQ: SWG 533.

535 Applied Social Work Research Seminar (3) Under the direction of a faculty member, M.S.W. candidates in the seminar propose, complete, and defend a research project that demonstrates their command of theory integration and research methodology as it applies to social work practice. Successful completion of this capstone course satisfies the Office of Graduate Studies requirement for a comprehensive examination for a master's degree. PREREQ: SWG 534.

541 Social Welfare Policy and Services (3) This course emphasizes the historical, economic, political, and philosophical foundations of American social welfare policy.

542 Advanced Social Work Policy Analysis and Change (3) This course emphasizes advanced level critical and comparative analysis of social policy. Theories of social and organizational change, administration, and legislative advocacy also are reviewed and applied to policy implementation. PREREQ: SWG 541.

554 Human Behavior in the Social Environment (3) This course uses a developmental and ecological perspective to explore the interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural systems, and the influence of human diversity and economics as determinants of human behavior of individuals and families.

555 HBSE: Groups, Organizations, Communities (3) Using both critical and systems approaches, this mezzo/macro level course focuses on assessing the impact of diversity, culture, and oppression on group, organizational, and community development. Multicentric models of group, organizational, and community behavior will be explored and implications for social work practice examined. PREREQ: SWG 511 and 541.

561 Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (3) Building on the problem-solving framework, this course focuses on theory-integrated practice. Particular attention is given to psychological, cognitive/behavioral, and social structural theories. PREREQ: SWG 502. COREQ: SWG 598.

562 Advanced Social Work Practice with Families (3) This course will include advanced knowledge and skills for work with families. The focus is on the major theoretical approaches to work with families, including family systems, structural family therapy, and symbolic experiential family therapy. PREREQ: SWG 502. COREQ: SWG 598.

563 Advanced Social Work Practice in Communities (3) This course will focus on approaches to social change in communities including planning, locality development, and social action models of community organization. Emphasis will be placed on advocacy, empowerment, and social justice with locational, identificational, and interest communities. PREREQ: SWG 502. COREQ: SWG 599.

564 Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Mental Health and Illness (3) Using a bio-psycho-social ecological template for analysis, this course examines major childhood, adolescent, and adult psychiatric disorders. The impact of the medical model, the DSM IV, and managed care are evaluated in light of social work values and practice. PREREQ: SWG 511, 541, 554.

570 Social Work and Substance-Use Disorders (3) This course reviews the major theoretical approaches to understanding substance-use disorders and to assessment and treatment with individuals, families, groups, and communities. The pharmacology of drugs and alcohol and the nature of addiction are included, as are the influence of culture, ethnicity, gender, the peer group, and mental health disorders. The principles of self-help and therapeutic communities are applied.

571 Social Work with Older Adults (3) This course reviews the status and position of older Americans in society, the community, and the social service delivery system. There is a focus on social work assessment and intervention with elderly clients regarding issues of health, chronic illness, intellectual and emotional status, depression and dementia, relations with the family, care-giving social networks, poverty, retirement, death, and bereavement. Specific approaches to working with older adults are reviewed. PREREQ: SWG 502 or permission of instructor.

573 Advanced Theory and Practice with Severe Mental Illness (3) This course focuses on diagnostic theories and principles of assessment and intervention with the severely mentally ill. PREREQ: SWG 502, 564, or permission of instructor.

574 Micro-Practice in Occupational/Industrial Social Work (3) This course covers theory, knowledge, and skills necessary for conducting micro-level practice in workplace settings. PREREQ: SWG 502 or permission of instructor.

576 Social Work in Child Welfare (3) This course focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and service needs of families and children in the child welfare system. It examines issues and builds practice skills related to assessing risk to safety in families, child maltreatment, family preservation services, and substitute care such as kinship care, foster care, residential treatment facilities, and permanency planning including adoption. PREREQ: SWG 502 or permission of instructor.

577 Social Work in Disasters: From Mental Health Services to Recovery through Rebuilding (3) This course focuses on the characteristics, strengths, and service needs of individuals, families, and communities that have experienced a disaster (whether natural or manmade) with resultant mass trauma, deaths, and extensive loss of housing and infrastructure. The course considers individual and family events within their ecological context (including global) and works to build sensitivity to and acceptance of various family forms, community alliances, and cultural patterns. This course will cover all aspects of disaster relief work including mental health services, psychological first aid, critical incident stress management, community recovery, and policy development for disaster preparedness and community rebuilding. PREREQ: SWG 502 or 503 or permission of instructor.

590 Seminar in Social Work (3) In-depth topics in social work offered to complement the program's concentration and not offered in required courses.

591 Independent Study in Social Work (1-3) An independent project developed by a student under the guidance of a specific faculty member.

596 Practicum I (3) This course is a structured field experience at an approved social agency for 250 hours during the semester. Students learn the beginning application of the generalist model of practice and professional social work roles. COREQ: SWG 501, 554.

597 Practicum II (3) This course involves a structured field experience at an approved agency for 250 hours during the semester. Students continue developing the role of beginning professional social worker and methods of social work practice while using the generalist model. PRERQ: SWG 596. COREQ: SWG 502, 564.

598 Practicum III (3) This course involves a structured field experience at an approved social agency for a total of 300 hours for the semester. Students incorporate advanced-level intervention skills with individuals, families, and communities into their professional roles. PREREQ: SWG 597. COREQ: SWG 561, 562.

599 Praticum IV (3) This course involves a structured field experience at an approved social agency for a total of 300 hours during the semester. The student's experience in field practice culminates through coordination within the professional role: integration of theory to practice with individuals, families, and communities; knowledge of the impact of social policy; the role of research in practice; and the influence of diversity and oppression. PREREQ: SWG 598. COREQ: SWG 563.