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MSW Curriculum

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For more details on course details and degree requirements, view the academic catalog.

GENERALIST CURRICULUM

In the generalist courses and field practicum, students are introduced to social work as a profession. Students learn both historical and contemporary theories and practice methods relating to both the individual and the environment. During the generalist year, students 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 generalist curriculum students apply this generalist knowledge of theories and practice methods in the generalist field practicum. The field practicum is completed concurrently with enrollment in two field seminar courses. The full generalist curriculum is required of all students, with the exception of those admitted with advanced standing. Before beginning the specialization curriculum, all generalist coursework and field hours must be successfully completed

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SPECIALIZATION CURRICULUM

After completing the generalist requirements, students will enroll in the specialization curriculum selected at the time of application. Students will also complete an advanced field practicum. Augsburg offers two specializations: Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) or Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP). In either specialization, students will deepen their 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 specialization curriculum, students will apply this advanced knowledge of theories and practice methods in the specialization field practicum. The field practicum is relevant to a student’s  chosen specialization and is completed concurrently with enrollment in two field seminar courses. As a capstone to the MSW program, students will complete a portfolio project or a summative evaluation project.

Multicultural Clinical Practice (MCCP) Specialization

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 specialization develop competence in using relationship-based, culturally informed, and theoretically grounded interventions with persons facing challenges with their emotional, behavioral, and mental health.

Multicultural Macro Practice (MCMP) Specialization

The Multicultural Macro Practice specialization prepares social workers to develop leadership skills to work across system sizes, with a broad range of problems, while grounded in anti-oppressive and anti-racist social work practices.

Social workers who specialize in macro practice have a wide range of settings in which they practice their skills. Leadership, research and evaluation, community organizing, policy practice, program design and development are just some of the areas in which macro social workers find themselves. Building on the rich diversity inherent in the various practice settings, multicultural macro practice social workers use their understanding of anti-oppressive systemic practices to guide their work. Settings include government agencies, nonprofit organizations, policy settings, and community development programs.

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FIELD WORK AND FIELD PLACEMENT

Social work education goes beyond the classroom. Through the field experience, we expect that students will demonstrate skills to bridge theory and practice. Collaborative efforts between the student, the field agency, and the MSW program are essential to successful learning. The foundation of the practice includes:

  • Ethical, competent professional practice
  • Problem solving within a systems framework and strengths perspective
  • Use of advanced practice theories in Multicultural Clinical Practice or Multicultural Macro Practice settings
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of program or practice activities
  • An understanding of and respect for diverse peoples and cultures
  • Responsibility and service to the local and global community in the interest of social justice
  • A commitment to oppose oppression of all forms

Field Education Format

Under the instruction and supervision of professionally-trained, MSW-level, and program-approved field instructors, generalist students will spend a minimum of 920 hours in two field practica over the course of their MSW program. Advanced standing students (those who have previously earned a BSW) will spend a minimum of 500 hours in one field practicum. Each practicum is spread over two semesters (fall and spring) and is taken concurrently with integrative field seminars, as well as other MSW coursework.

The fieldwork education of the MSW program is divided into two components:

Generalist Practicum puts emphasis on developing competence as a professional generalist social worker. It requires a minimum of 420 hours and is completed by students admitted at the generalist level. Students spend an average of 15 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters in this practicum.

Specialization Practicum places emphasis on advanced practice skills and leadership qualities related to the chosen specialization. It requires a minimum of 500 hours and is completed by all students, including those admitted with advanced standing. Students spend an average of 18-20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters in this practicum.

Process for Field Practicum Selection

Field practica begin in the fall, but the selection process begins the previous spring in collaboration with the other Twin Cities-based MSW programs, the University of Minnesota, the University of St. Thomas, St. Catherine’s University, and Saint Mary’s University. The Twin Cities-based MSW programs jointly host a field fair where students meet a large number of agencies and potential field instructors. Practicum selection involves interviews at approved sites, arranged by the student, and a matching process conducted collaboratively by the field coordinators at the MSW programs in the Twin Cities.

In some instances, students can petition to complete a field practicum at an agency not on the approved list or at their place of employment. Students who wish to do so work with the MSW Field Director for such proposals.

Field Practicum Settings

The Augsburg field faculty are committed to the success of each student in a stimulating and challenging field practicum. Our current list of approved clinical and community practice field sites includes agencies in the following areas of practice:

  • Family and children
  • Child welfare
  • Mental health
  • Crisis intervention
  • Senior resources
  • Family social policy
  • Health and human services
  • Corrections and probation
  • Public and independent schools
  • Youth services
  • Hospitals
  • Developmental disabilities
  • American Indian family services
  • Chronic and persistent mental illness
  • Chemical dependency
  • Court services
  • Immigrant, migrant, refugee services
  • Victims of torture
  • Faith-based social services
  • Neighborhood services
  • Legislation advocacy
  • Housing services
  • Employment services
  • Community organizing
  • Research centers

For more information about the MSW Field Education Program at Augsburg University, please contact the MSW Field Director, Dr. Erin Sugrue, sugrue@augsburg.edu or the MSW Field Coordinator, Lydia Madden, madden@augsburg.edu.


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