Master of Social Work - Advanced Standing
Advanced Standing Degree Option
The Advanced Standing degree option may be selected if a student has earned a baccalaureate degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and meets other admission criteria. If admitted, the full-time student can complete the MSW degree in 3 terms, or 29 credit hours of graduate work.
The program offers two areas of specialized practice. In each specialization, students acquire advanced practice skills and knowledge that build on the standard curriculum. The program’s areas of specialized practice are defined by fields of practice: Clinical Practice and Community Practice. Students complete the Advanced Internship in a setting that allows them the opportunity for preparation for practice in these areas. Students are expected to further refine their learning in their chosen specialization by use of electives.
Each area of specialized practice consists of a combination of courses taken exclusively with others in the specialization. In addition, students in all specializations take the Administrative Practice in Social Work, a Capstone course and Evaluation of Practice courses. These combined courses allow students an opportunity to learn from each other and gain exposure to the other areas of specialized practice.
Students must have completed all standard requirements before enrolling in the advanced social work practice courses. These courses are designed to provide an intensive experience of applying learning in the standard curriculum and advanced practice methods and principles in the specialization to actual practice situations. Students will learn the skills for advanced practice in the area of their specialization and to assess their own practice and establish ongoing professional development.
Students will enroll in advanced internship seminar courses during the terms they are completing the Advanced Internship (see degree plans). Advanced Internship consists of social work preparatory practice in a setting appropriate to the student’s specialization for a minimum of 225-275 hours per term.
During the final term of the specialized year, students engage in a capstone experience, during which they prepare a practice-oriented workshop to present to colleagues and professional social workers, including a faculty evaluator. The Colloquium presentation takes place the last week of the trimester.
Brief Description of Master of Social Work Areas of Specialized Practice
The clinical practice specialization prepares students for advanced, direct practice with individuals, families, and groups in a variety of clinical settings. Students learn to apply evidence-based practice theories and methods of intervention that reflect a person-environment orientation and a strengths perspective. Specific philosophical frameworks include humanism, positivism, and evidence-based methods. The program is based on the development of an eclectic method that offers the opportunity to investigate more specific practice models. Some examples include cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, narrative approaches, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), structural family therapy, therapeutic use of play, and dialectical behavior therapy. Assessment tools and techniques, especially focusing on DSM-5, are critical to the program.
Common professional opportunities for social workers in clinical practice include practice in health settings and practice with children and families. As a result, the clinical specialization provides students with the option to focus on these settings in an advanced practice classes and in their advanced internship. Students in the clinical practice specialization will take practice courses focused on health settings (SWO 5376 Advanced Clinical Practice: Health Settings) and children and families (SWO 5377 Advanced Clinical Practice: Children and Families).
When focusing on health settings, graduates work in public, private, and faith-based organizations including hospitals and primary care clinics, community health centers, counseling agencies, mental health facilities, health education programs, long-term care facilities, hospice, chemical dependency units, and a wide variety of private-practice settings. When studying children and families, graduates work in public, private, and faith-based organizations such as schools, child welfare agencies, family service agencies, juvenile justice systems, residential settings for children and youth, recreational and leisure agencies, marriage and family counseling centers, shelters, refugee and immigration centers, and congregations.
The community practice specialization prepares students for advanced practice with public and/or nonprofit organizations, neighborhoods, communities, congregations, and religiously affiliated agencies. Students learn a variety of professional community practice models that serve to strengthen and enrich communities in local and global settings. Communities can be defined as both geographic (e.g., neighborhoods) and relational (e.g., ethnic communities). The central models are rooted in professional literature, research, and theory, and they include advanced skills in community development, community organizing, and community planning.
The advanced model of development is asset-based community development, which recognizes community struggles but responds most centrally to community assets. Asset mapping is a key skill learned when studying this model.
The advanced model of organizing is consensus-based. Consensual organizing is rooted in consensus-building rather than building on the potential conflict. Negotiation and facilitation are key skills learned with regard to this model.
The advanced model of planning is emergent-based. While most planning requires a rational approach to planning (e.g. the logic model), the emergent model allows for greater flexibility and adaptability when working in diverse contexts. Engagement of stakeholders is a key skill here.
All degree plans may be found on the Garland School of Social Work website, linked below. Students may see what their prescribed program is based on the Clinical and Community Practice specializations.