The Master of Social Work (MSW) is designed to prepare students for professional social work practice with individuals, families, and communities. There are two levels in the master’s degree – foundation and advanced. The foundation curriculum provides students with the knowledge, values, and skills of a generalist social worker similar to that in the bachelor’s degree in social work and is designed for those who enter the program without the bachelor’s degree in social work. The advanced curriculum provides students with concentrations in specialized areas of practice or advanced generalists determined by the needs and demands in the community in which the program is located. These concentrations are generally on the micro, mezzo, and/or macro level and are taken only after the student has completed the foundation curriculum.
The student with a bachelor’s degree in social work can enter the program at the advanced level and the advanced standing degree program is designed for these students.
Master in Social Work Concentrations
The MSW program has two concentrations:
- The micro concentration, Practice with Vulnerable Populations.
- The macro concentration, Leadership and Change.
Within each concentration are specializations, and currently there is one specialization for each concentration. There is an expectation for more specializations as the master’s degree program grows in the future. The current specialization in the micro concentration, Practice with Vulnerable Populations, is Practice with Children and Families, and for the macro concentration, Leadership and Change, the specialization, is Advocacy and Change.
The objective of the specialization, Practice with Children and Families, is to promote well-being for vulnerable children and families by tending to their needs and aiding in their healthy functioning. Persons with a Master’s Degree in Social Work in this specialization can develop a career serving children and their families in public and private agencies that serve vulnerable children or dysfunctional families. This includes the state agency Illinois Department of Children and Families and the many private agencies in the surrounding area that address the needs of these children and their families. These professionals serve in a variety of capacities such as therapists, counselors, advocates, mediators and brokers.
The objective for the specialization Advocacy and Change is to spearhead actions around perceived needs in communities and organizations that serve special populations and communities. Persons with a specialization in Advocacy and Change are prepared to work in organizations and communities promoting actions that will bring about needed changes and enable their healthy functioning. These professionals can work on behalf of organizations in the public arena directing their efforts toward public policies that affect vulnerable populations. They learn how to lobby politicians and present policy proposals on behalf of the organizations serving special populations or constituencies. These professionals also can work on behalf of communities serving the needs of vulnerable populations in a variety of ways.
Academic Catalog Information
Take a closer look at the Master in Social Work and the courses offered toward the degree.
Department and Contact Information
If you are interested in the program or have questions, please contact Social Work.
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