Master of Social Work Program

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Curriculum

MSW Curriculum Components

Foundation Curriculum

In the foundation courses and field practicum, you are introduced to social work as a profession. You will learn both historical and contemporary theories and practice methods relating to both the individual and the environment. During the foundation year, you will study human behavior and the social environment, history of social welfare policy, research methods, assessment frameworks, family and community diversity, and social work values and ethics.

In the foundation curriculum you will apply this generalist knowledge of theories and practice methods in the generalist field practicum. The field practicum is completed concurrently with your enrollment in two field seminar courses. The full foundation curriculum is required of all students, with the exception of those admitted with advanced standing. Before beginning the concentration curriculum, all foundation coursework and field hours must be successfully completed.

Concentration Curriculum

After completing the foundation requirements, you will enroll in the concentration curriculum that you selected at the time of application. You will also complete an advanced field practicum. Augsburg offers two concentrations: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) or Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP). In either concentration, you will deepen your knowledge of the primary issues affecting families and communities, develop a range of client-centered approaches to practice, gain a broader understanding of human diversity, develop competencies in practice-based research, and learn practice or program evaluation techniques.

In the concentration curriculum, you will apply this advanced knowledge of theories and practice methods in the concentration field practicum. The field practicum is relevant to your chosen concentration and is completed concurrently with your enrollment in two field seminar courses. As a capstone to your MSW program, you will complete a portfolio project or a summative evaluation project.

Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Concentration

Multiculturalism is a process requiring practitioners to have a deep awareness of their social and cultural identities, as well as the ability to use multiple lenses when working with diverse populations. With person-in-environment as an organizing perspective, multicultural clinical social work practice addresses the biopsychosocial and spiritual functioning of individuals, families, and groups. To this end, graduates of the MCCP concentration develop competence in using relationship-based, culturally informed, and theoretically grounded interventions with persons facing challenges, disabilities, or impairments, including emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders.

Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Concentration

In the tradition of Jane Addams, the heart of macro social work practice is directing energy toward changing agency, government, and institutional policies that obscure or oppress people. While many social workers view their role as focused on individuals and families, social workers must actively seek equality and justice for clients within agencies, institutions and society. Social work leaders must advocate for social change where necessary to ensure social justice. Similar to the MCCP concentration, it is important to address macro level social work practice within the context of cultural understanding and awareness. The Multicultural Macro Practice concentration (formerly Program Development, Policy and Administration) responds to this demand for leadership.

The macro social work practitioner recognizes the strengths and abilities of individuals and communities to implement change. The social work macro practitioner works with these individuals to do so. In the MCMP concentration, you will learn the knowledge and skills necessary to work with others to achieve needed social change. You will also learn to develop, lead, guide, and administer programs that serve diverse people in a variety of settings.

Portfolio or Summative Evaluation Project

  • Portfolio Project (MCCP students)

The goal of the MCCP Portfolio is to enhance the integration of theory and practice, as well as to offer more vivid portrayals of a student’s academic and professional experience than traditional assessments. By definition, portfolios are formative (i.e. designed for guided reflection and self-evaluation). However they are also summative documents in that they illustrate students’ competencies. All MCCP students are required to create a portfolio during their final year of study. Items in a portfolio might include videos, process recordings, reflective statements, writing samples, case analyses, term papers, electronic submissions, policy activities, feedback from service users, self-evaluations of personal progress, and links to references.

  • Summative Evaluation Project (MCMP students)

All social workers must evaluate their practice to determine whether they are helping or harming clients. While in the concentration practicum, MCMP students will design and implement a program evaluation for their summative project. This project requires integration and application of knowledge and skills from both the foundation and concentration curricula. Students develop their research while in their field internship and are advised by their field seminar professor. Students conduct and present this evaluation/research project during their final year of study.

Master’s Thesis

Students in both concentrations have the option of completing a thesis in addition to either the portfolio or summative evaluation project. Credit for the SWK 699 general elective is given for this option. Students work with a thesis advisor to develop more in-depth research skills contributing to social work knowledge. To pursue the thesis option, students should notify the MSW program director by the end of spring semester of the foundation year.