Master of Arts in Social Work — 2-Year Program

Purpose

The Master of Social Work program offers a 62-semester-hour course of study, and 450+ hours of field internship work per year. The School of Social Work seeks to integrate Christian scholarship within the discipline of social work. Upon completion of the prescribed curriculum, the student should be able to demonstrate mastery of the theories, methods, techniques, and values of the social work profession as prescribed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The student should be able to integrate their personal faith within the program’s curriculum and understand how this impacts them both personally and professionally. It is the program’s goal that students graduate with the ability to differentiate personal belief systems from their client’s beliefs and conduct themselves ethically as advanced practice social workers, working with diverse and vulnerable populations in a variety of settings.

Within the context of a Christian university, this program is dedicated to providing a community environment where each individual is viewed as unique and valuable with varied gifts and abilities to use in service to others.

Mission Statement

The mission of George Fox University’s School of Social Work Masters Program is to prepare graduates for worldwide leadership and service as social work professionals who integrate the values, knowledge, and skills of social work with the highest competence and ethical integrity within public and private human service organizations, faith communities, and religiously affiliated agencies.

Degree Outcomes

Students completing the MSW program will be able at an advanced level to:

  • Exhibit competence in generalist and advanced social work practice with diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills in applying knowledge and ethical principles to social work practice and in evaluating scientific inquiry including practice-based research.
  • Consider and apply the values and ethics of the profession in every aspect of practice and understand the ethical integration of Christian faith in practice, including nondiscrimination in the areas of age, class, culture, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.
  • Enhance the well-being of people and communities locally, regionally, nationally, and around the world.
  • Apply an ecological systems perspective, empirically supported theoretical frameworks, and evidence-based social work practice methods to all levels of practice.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the GFU School of Social Work graduate program (MSW)

Admission to the GFU School of Social Work graduate program is conducted by formal application. Qualified students will be admitted regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, age, or disability. The applicant's packet will be considered complete when the following parts have been received:

  1. A completed online application and application fee; An official transcript from each junior college, college, or university in which baccalaureate coursework was taken.
  2. A written response to questions related to the applicant’s reason for applying, professional goals and interest, work and/or volunteer experiences, and reflection on case-related materials.
  3. Recommendations: Three strong professional references who can attest to the applicant’s ability in these areas: intellectual competence; potential for academic success; the ability to work with people around sensitive issues, including people from diverse backgrounds; possession of critical thinking and communication skills; a sense of values and ethics; and potential as a professional social worker. At least one of the recommenders must be an academic reference having been the instructor of the applicant in a classroom setting. Recommenders must submit these directly to the School of Social Work graduate program using the online link provided. If a letter is included, the letters must be written on institutional or business letterhead.
  4. Current resume.

Admission Requirements

The graduate program requires that all applicants have either a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States or proof of equivalent education at an international institution of higher learning.

The Admissions Committee will only review an application that is missing no more than one prerequisite course. The applicant will be expected to complete all undergraduate prerequisites prior to enrolling in the program.

Applicants are expected to have a record of undergraduate study and experience that is predictive of success in graduate study. A minimum admissible grade point average is 2.75.

A satisfactory grade point average in and of itself does not guarantee admission to a graduate program. Approval for admission is provided after consideration of the assessment and review processes conducted by the graduate admissions committee.

Applicants are evaluated based on the admissions criteria specified in the Admissions Criteria section of the MSW Student Handbook.

The graduate program‘s letter of admission constitutes the University‘s official notification of the admission decision. Admitted students will have a maximum of one year from the date of admission within which to enroll. Attempts to enroll after the one-year period will require completion of another application. The University reserves the right to refuse admission to any applicant whose previous academic record and/or readiness for graduate study in social work is deemed unsatisfactory (MSW Student Handbook).

Transfer Credit

For matriculating students who wish to transfer from another CSWE accredited graduate social work program, the MSW program has a written policy stipulating the transfer of credits as follows.

The Director of the School of Social Work may approve up to 15 hours of coursework for inclusion into the MSW standard two-year degree requirements or up to 9 hours of coursework in the advanced standing program. Students may only transfer a maximum of 15 semester credits for the 2-year program or 9 semester credits for the advanced standing program in order to preserve the integrity of his/her education at the degree granting institution; field practicum credits will not be transferred.

The Director, in consultation with MSW faculty, will make decisions about acceptance of transfer of credit.

No credit will be given toward required MSW courses unless the following conditions apply:

  • The courses were taken in a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social work Education.
  • A course description and syllabus is available and the Director judges the courses to be an appropriate substitution for a specific course in the graduate program.
  • Once the Director has advised the student concerning which courses are approved for transfer credit, the student prepares a letter of petition specifying how the courses will be applied to the degree plan.

A petition for transfer credit must fulfill the conditions listed below:

  • Students who wish to transfer credits must make the request and present relevant syllabi and transcripts six (6) weeks prior to the beginning of the first semester of matriculation.
  • The work must have been done while the student was enrolled in good standing as a graduate student.
  • The work must have been done within five years prior to the award of the master‘s degree from George Fox University.
  • The school from which the credits are transferred must be accredited by a regional accreditation agency.
  • No earned grade for transfer credit is less than a B.
  • None of the transfer coursework consists of extension or workshop courses.
  • Petition for transfer of credit occurs after enrollment in the School of Social Work graduate program.

Residence Requirements

Of the 62 credit hours required for the Master of Social Work program, a minimum of 47 credit hours must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. All work leading to the degree must meet the requirements stated in the program transfer policy.

Leave of Absence

If a student must take a leave of absence from the program due to an illness, accident, or other substantial reason that impair their ability to continue coursework or field internship they must submit a written request explaining reasons for requesting a leave. All incomplete coursework or fieldwork must be completed within two years from the date of his or her original start. If they are unable to complete the program in that time frame, they will be dismissed from the program.

The director of the School of Social Work must approve leaves of absence for the Master of Social Work program.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the Master of Social Work degree students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 62 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Maintenance of a minimum average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all academic courses taken and a minimum grade of C for all academic courses taken.
  • Earn a grade of B or higher in all Field Internship courses.
  • Earn no more than two "C" grades in the program.
  • Complete a 480-hour supervised internship in the foundation-year and a 600-hour supervised internship in the concentration-year in an agency setting approved by the School of Social Work.
  • Completion of all degree requirements within four (4) years of matriculation.
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Curriculum Plan

Complete the following:

This foundation course introduces students to diverse populations and helps them understand the different constraints and motivations of people from backgrounds different from their own, providing important lessons for social work practice. The course is designed to increase student's awareness, knowledge, and understanding of issues related to diversity and difference and the implications for social work practice.
This course introduces human rights and social justice concepts in the context of social work history, values, ethics, and practice. Related concepts of oppression, power, privilege, and inequality will also be covered.
This course seeks to apply a basic bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework (theory and knowledge) to serve as a guide in understanding how human behavior is shaped, created, and organized across the lifespan. Social systems, human development theories, and strengths approaches are critically examined to foster understanding of individual, family, group, organizational, and community behaviors and the impact of the larger environment on these systems.
This course will move the student from the conceptual understanding of research methods to the application of research methods in practice. Students will apply scientific methods for building knowledge for social work practice, use ethical standards for scientific inquiry, choose qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, research designs for developing knowledge and systematically evaluating social work practice and human service programs, and the critical review and utilization of research findings. This course will review the basics of statistical thinking, tools, and techniques students need to select, calculate, and interpret appropriate statistics applicable to common data analysis situations related to social work practice and policy.
Social Policy is designed to provide students with an overview of the complexities of social welfare policy issues and analysis. Social welfare policy is the process by which society creates structures to deal with social relationships and social problems. In addition, social work views social policy as a means to inform social advocacy and professional leadership in service of vulnerable and oppressed populations. The content of this course relates to understanding the history of, influences on, and promotion of social welfare and economic justice. Prerequisite: SWKG 500 Introduction to the Social Work Profession
This course provides students with a comprehensive exploration of social work values and ethics, with a particular emphasis on their intersection with religious and spiritual values. Course content includes an examination of ethical issues as they apply to social work theory, research, policy, and practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities along with an exploration of the historical and contemporary relationships between social work ethics and religious belief. Students will acquire and practice the skills of ethical decision-making including values clarification, application of ethical theory, utilization of codes of ethics, and models of ethical analysis. Co- or Prerequisite: SWKG 500 Introduction to the Social Work Profession
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for social work students to apply academic learning to professional social work practice under the supervision of a qualified and experienced social work practitioner. Social Work 576 bridges classroom learning and the practice of social work through faculty coordination of the field experience and facilitation of the seminar sessions. Social Work 576, Foundation Internship I, is a required course for all students in the standard MSW program. It consists of a minimum of 240 hours of applied learning in an agency field setting and a 2-hour integrative seminar that meets weekly at the university. All students participating in field education must meet the entry-level competence required by their field agency. Academic course work will provide an increasing knowledge and skill base from which students serve individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities in various agency settings. Co- or Prerequisites: SWKG 500 Introduction to the Social Work Profession; SWKG 531 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I: Theoretical Foundations; SWKG 591 Social Work Practice I; Families, Individuals, and Groups Additional course fee required.
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for social work students to apply academic learning to professional social work practice under the supervision of a qualified and experienced social work practitioner. Social Work 577 bridges classroom learning and the practice of social work through faculty coordination of the field experience and facilitation of the seminar sessions. Social Work 577, Foundation Internship II, follows the successful completion of Social Work 575, Foundation Internship I, and is a required course for all students in the standard MSW program. It consists of a minimum of 240 hours of applied learning in an agency field setting and a 2-hour integrative seminar that meets weekly at the university. All students participating in field education must meet the entry-level competence required by their field agency. Academic course work will provide an increasing knowledge and skill base from which students serve individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities in various agency settings. Prerequisite: SWKG 576 Foundation Internship I Additional course fee required.
Students apply the steps of the Generalist Intervention Model (engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, and termination/transition) to create care management plans for individuals, families, and groups. Attention is paid to knowledge, skills, and values associated with planned change. Students discover and analyze developmental theories and apply these to the various life stages with special attention being given to human diversity and populations at risk. Students examine biological, psychological, spiritual, and social aspects of the human experience and explore how individuals and families are impacted by the various systems within which they live and work. Students apply knowledge and values of human behavior and the social environment in order to increase their capacity as a generalist social worker. Students strengthen personal and professional awareness as they perform and evaluate helping skills in the beginning, middle, and endings/transitions of planned change. This course is one of the two students take that will inform their capacity to intervene at micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work practice. Co- or Prerequisite: SWKG 500 Introduction to the Social Work Profession
This course is designed to teach students the values, knowledge, and skills for working in and through groups, communities, and organizations to (1) create structures and processes that foster social and economic justice, (2) reduce the vulnerability to distress and deprivation of at-risk populations, and (3) enhance the resources and strengths of persons, families, networks, groups, and communities. It emphasizes organizations, communities, and policies as the target of change, using rational, group problem-solving, and power utilization models. Students encounter the ethical dilemmas endemic to macro practice and analyze the values and beliefs that shape the decision to choose a course of action. The course includes attention to faith communities and religious organizations as contexts for professional practice. Co- or Prerequisites: SWKG 532 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II: Assessment through the Life Span; SWKG 591 Social Work Practice I; Families, Individuals, and Groups
This course is designed to prepare you for the second year of the MSW program. The seminar links your foundation-year curriculum, your practice experience, and the advanced level concentration of your choice. Co- or Prerequisite: SWKG 577 Foundation Internship II

Complete the following:

This one-credit required course is designed for beginning advanced practice students. The purpose of the course is to provide the student with an ability to use the DSM-5 as a tool in mental health field placement settings under guidance from the field instructors. Students will gain an understanding of how to use the manual, and understand the diagnostic language in order to be able to participate in assessment, diagnosis, development, and implementation of mental health service plans. This course will help prepare student to engage in discussions with mental health professionals from various disciplines.
Scientific methods of knowledge development for social work practice; ethical standards for scientific inquiry; quantitative and qualitative research methods; and research designs are applied to critical evaluation of research in your area of concentration and to development of a plan for research project implementation. Students will engage in an advanced research practice experience that enables them to demonstrate the capacity to plan, conduct, and evaluate an agency-based research project. The research proposal is implemented during the Advanced Field Internship and Advanced Research II (SWKG 643).
Concurrent with your enrollment in Advanced Field Internship II (SWKG 677), this course is designed to assist you in completing a major research project related to your concentration internship. You will learn from one another’s work as you help one another refine your work. You will each deliver a professional continuing education presentation to the practice community and faculty, supported by an abstract (brief explanation of presentation topic and content), presentation objectives, a methodology statement, and a vita or resume. Prerequisite: SWKG 642
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for social work students to apply academic learning to advanced professional social work practice in the area of their chosen concentration, Direct Practice or Community Practice, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced social work practitioner. Social Work 676 bridges classroom learning and the practice of social work through faculty coordination of the field experience and facilitation of the seminar sessions. SWKG 676, Advanced Internship I, is a required course for all students in the concentration year of the MSW program who have successfully completed the Foundation Year sequence of SWKG 576 and 577 or their equivalent. SWKG 676 consists of a minimum of 250 hours of applied learning in an agency field setting and a 2-hour integrative seminar that meets weekly at the university. Additional course fee required.
This course is designed to provide an opportunity for social work students to apply academic learning to advanced professional social work practice in the area of their chosen concentration, Direct Practice or Community Practice, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced social work practitioner. Social Work 677 bridges classroom learning and the practice of social work through faculty coordination of the field experience and facilitation of the seminar sessions. SWKG 677, Advanced Internship II, is a required course for all students of the MSW program who have successfully completed SWKG 676 and are in the final semester of their concentration year. SWKG 677 consists of a minimum of 250 hours of applied learning in the agency field setting and a 2-hour integrative seminar that meets weekly at the university. Prerequisite: SWKG 676 Additional course fee required.
These courses are developed to provide social workers with in-depth knowledge on specific topics of interests in fields of practice. Examples of possible courses include: Child Welfare; Play Therapy; Trauma-Informed Practice; International Social Work.
These courses are developed to provide social workers with in-depth knowledge on specific topics of interests in fields of practice. Examples of possible courses include: Child Welfare; Play Therapy; Trauma-Informed Practice; International Social Work.
Social Work Administration prepares students to perform managerial functions in public, nonprofit, and faith-based human service organizations with particular emphasis on those with programs designed to improve family resilience and human wellness. Specific attention is given to the topics of leadership, human resources, fund raising, organizational development, structure and governance, resource management, and efforts to link human service organizations in an integrated community-wide service delivery system. Students analyze and evaluate selected administrative systems, management practices, and programs in their advanced internship agency and design strategies to maximize both their learning and performance in this and other settings. The course emphasizes the school of social work themes of integrating faith and practice, the strengths perspective, and building communities.
The capstone is an integrative seminar at the end of the MSW process intended to provide students the opportunity to help demonstrate their readiness to practice social work at an advanced level in their area of concentration and to contribute to the professional knowledge and development of colleagues. Students will reflect on the major themes, goals, and objectives of the social work program. You will each deliver a professional continuing education presentation to the practice community and faculty, supported by an abstract (brief explanation of presentation topic and content), presentation objectives, a methodology statement, and a vita or resume.

Concentration

Choose one of the following:

Complete the following:
This course provides an overview of theory and models of social work intervention with families, children, individuals and groups. Students learn the philosophy and theoretical constructs of a variety of methods, as well as how to apply those methods with different client systems. Emphasis is placed on both cultural and gender issues, as well as on working with families with both traditional and non-traditional structures.
This theory-based course develops knowledge and skill for the application of research-informed models of direct social work with families, children, individuals and groups. Advanced practice skills are emphasized with particular attention to engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation. Attention is also given to integrating research in direct social work practice with families, children, individuals and groups. Co- or Prerequisites: SWKG 600 DSM-5; SWKG 691 Theories for Advanced Practice Families, Children, Individuals and Groups
This course focuses on current clinical issues that families face, allowing students the opportunity to apply advanced practice theories and methods to particular problem areas.
Complete the following:
This course provides an overview of the theory and models of community intervention essential for social work practice with neighborhoods, organizations, and communities. It addresses issues of community organizing, program development, policy practice, and advocacy at the legislative level. This course presents the conceptual and theoretical foundations for understanding the role of advanced social work community practice. Theoretical models for community practice interventions will be reviewed, focusing on models such as development, planning, organizing, and social action. Global issues, values and ethics, work with diverse and at-risk populations, and the appropriate incorporation of spirituality and religion in competent social work community practice are examined.
The course emphasizes community interventions that are sensitive to human diversity in many forms, including community development, social action and organizing/planning. Knowledge, skills, and the application of social work values prepare students to assess and intervene in communities. The course uses practice theory and methods rooted in professional social work literature. Students also will examine the relationship between religious faith and communities, as well as the role of congregations and religiously affiliated organizations in community practice. In order to accomplish this, this advanced community practice will have a class project as its focus for the entire semester. Co- or Prerequisites: SWKG 600 DSM-5; SWKG 692 Theories for Advanced Practice Community Organizations & Development
This course focuses on current issues in advanced practice with communities and organizations allowing students the opportunity to apply advanced practice theories and methods to particular problem areas.