- Department Office: SS 103
- Phone Number: 507-537-6224
- Website: https://www.smsu.edu/academics/programs/socialwork/
In 1990 the Minnesota State University Board and the Minnesota State University’s Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a social work major at SMSU and the major was accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 1996 (retroactive to 1992). The SMSU Social Work Program prepares students to become competent entry-level social work practitioners in a wide range of settings, with emphasis on direct service. The accredited major meets one of the requirements for social work licensure, which is required to practice social work in most settings in Minnesota. The preparation of students for generalist practice to entry-level positions is the primary function of the program. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge, values and skills necessary to practice on an entry-level with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities in a variety of practice settings. The curriculum of the baccalaureate social work program gives students the professional foundation necessary for advanced graduate study in social work. The field education component provides opportunities for students to consider personal and professional options regarding specialization and graduate education.
The undergraduate social work curriculum provides a professional foundation that builds on a liberal arts base and interdisciplinary coursework with an intensive core of social work classes and field practice experience. Students complete a 440-hour field practicum in a social services organization. Students integrate theoretical knowledge, values exploration, and skills development in applying a generalist model of social work practice.
Information on the social work profession, social work careers, and social work licensing in Minnesota can be found on the National Association of Social Workers Web sites at http://www.naswdc.org and http://www.socialwork.state.mn.us.
Note: Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits in order to graduate with a Bachelor's degree.
Formal Admission Process
The SMSU Social Work is an accredited program, requiring all social work students to formally apply for admission to the major. Applications are typically submitted during Fall Semester of a student’s junior year. Criteria for formal admission to the social work major are available from the social work faculty, and can be found in the Social Work Student Handbook. These documents are also available on the Social Work web page.
Requirements for Formal Admission to the Major
- minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5
- minimum overall GPA of 2.5 in the courses required for formal admission to the major
- minimum of 31 earned semester hours of Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC)
- minimum grade of “C” (2.0) in all Social work major courses.
- minimum grade of “C” in ENG 151 Academic Writing (4 cr.) and COMM 110 Essentials of Speaking and Listening (3 cr.)
Nicole Deprez, Assistant Professor
Amber Kinner-Alahakoon, Assistant Professor
James Smalley, Associate Professor
See the "Social Work Program Contact Information" page for more details.
Students talk about wanting to make a difference -to change the world in some way. This course helps students examine their ideas and values related to making a difference. The course emphasizes professional values and ethics and an understanding of historical and current trends affecting vulnerable populations. It offers students an opportunity to explore the wide range of roles and areas of specialization unique to the profession, including case management, direct services, counseling, child welfare, community-based mental health, health care, criminal justice, youth work, forensic social work and generalist social work. Explores the questions: Who needs help? Who helps? Where and How? What motivates people to help?
This is an introductory social work course in which students will learn about the profession of social work, its fields of practice, values and ethics, policies and history of the social work profession, its interactions with contexts which shape practice, and its promotion of social and economic justice to advance human rights, alleviating critical social problems, and promoting well-being. The course will also offer knowledge and practice behaviors in engaging diversity and differences in social work practice. As an introduction to the social work profession, the course will discuss being a professional social worker and how to conduct oneself accordingly.
This course will introduce students to the field of aging and the impact of aging upon the individual, the family, and society. The course will also cover social, cultural, political, and economic issues facing older adults.
This course focuses on how social workers in hospitals and clinics assist people in making better use of health care facilities, in preventing illness, in dealing with the impact of disability on themselves and their families, and in preserving their health. Emphasizes the necessity for effective collaboration with other health professionals in interdisciplinary health teams for optimum services.
This course will acquaint students with issues of substance abuse and other addictive disorders. Students will examine current theories of addiction, discuss various treatment modalities, and come to understand the issues of assessment and intervention. Race, gender, and culture will be addressed throughout the course.
Specialized study in social work, such as social work with select populations or selected issues.
This is an introductory course for students interested in a career in public, private or tribal child welfare services. This course is designed to provide students with an overview of child welfare services from historical, theoretical and practice perspectives. Community-based support services will be reviewed as well as services to children in their homes and services to children outside of their homes. Students will also discuss diverse family contexts and the domains and indicators of child well-being. Students will understand child welfare practice at the micro, mezzo and macro levels within the problem-solving and ecological systems framework.
Selected continuing education topics in social work.
This course is designed to provide students with practice in the use of a variety of interviewing techniques. The course will also allow the student to become acquainted with the professional literature of counseling and the role of ethics in social work and other helping professions.
The theoretical aspects of the systems perspective as a framework for social work practice; integration of knowledge of biological, psychological, social-structural and cultural sources of behavior as they affect or are affected by human behavior; understanding of behavior and environment with a review of micro-level systems and an emphasis on macro-level systems.
An examination of models of generalist practice in working with individuals, families, and small groups from systems, life model, and Person-In-Environment perspectives. Reviews basic interviewing and interpersonal skills. Places emphasis on assessment of strengths and problems at various system levels, contracting, and intervention strategies. Practice evaluation, utilizing single-system designs, is examined.
The course will focus on family roles, family dynamics, group dynamics, group structure and process, group types, functions, roles, stages of development, styles of leadership, skills of conducting groups, techniques, problem resolution and the reality and effects of group termination. The course shall emphasize the diversity of human behavior and experience, and recognize the uniqueness of each individual client.
An examination of models of generalist practice in working with task groups, organizations, and communities. Emphasis will be placed on the role of generalist social work practice with the community, including skills for organizational relationship building, for planning and development of programs, methods of promoting social change, managing political processes, and practice and program evaluation.
Examines quality-of-life dimensions and outcomes of diverse and at-risk populations important to human service professionals, including age, class, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation; dimensions examined include education, employment, health, housing, justice administration, and welfare.
A critical examination of the evolution of social welfare policy in the United States and examination of the importance of social policy knowledge and skills for generalist social work practice. Students will conduct an analysis of specific social welfare policy and/or program.
Limited to eight (8) hours, not more than four hours in a given subject area.
Course preparation for field practicum, including applying for admission to field practicum. Students, in consultation with the field director, select field practicum placements in social service agencies under the supervision of a social worker; includes completion of a learning outcomes contract and field agency orientation; examination of the mechanics of field placement, identification, and discussion of the uses of supervision in field practicum and a review of the NASW Code of Ethics, Minnesota Data Privacy Laws, and Minnesota Board of Social Work Licensing Laws. 40 hours agency orientation.
Capstone, integrative seminar on topics related to social work practice, with attention to issues and problems experienced in field instruction. Concurrent enrollment in SWRK 499 required.
Specialized study in social work, such as social work with select populations or selected issues.
At least 400 hours supervised field practice in community agencies and programs as a practical application of social work knowledge and skills gained from major coursework. Emphasis on direct work with clients, whether individuals, groups, or communities; taken concurrently with SWRK 485 where students use their experiences to analyze social work theory and practice. Concurrent enrollment in SWRK 485, SWRK 415.