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MSW Course Descriptions

The following is a listing of all approved courses in the MSW Program. Most required courses are offered only one semester each academic year. Elective course offerings may vary each semester. You will need to review courses offered per semester by going to https://www.sis.hawaii.edu/uhdad/avail.classes?i=MAN.

SW 606 Social Work Practice with Individuals (3) Beginning practice course introduces students to the basic processes of social work and the roles and skills needed for generalist practice. Relevant theories of social work practice with individuals are explored for their efficacy with various problems and for their applicability to practice with various ethnocultures, social classes, and oppressed populations. Interviewing and interpersonal skill development are incorporated. Pre: admission to MSW program.

SW 607 Social Work Practice with Families and Groups (3) Practice course builds upon the generalist framework and foundation content presented in SW 606. Special emphasis is given on models for assessment, intervention, and evaluation of practice with families and groups. Relevant theories of groups and the principles of group dynamics and group work methods are examined in regard to task, therapeutic, psychoeducational, and social development groups. Family content includes structure, behavioral, communication/experiential, and culturally-specific theories of intervention. Pre: SW 606.

SW 630 Social Welfare Policy & Services (3) Examines in a historical and comparative framework the economic, social, political, organizational, and administrative factors influencing the development, formulation, and implementation of social welfare policies in the U.S. Provides opportunity for the application of various models of social policy analysis in major areas of social welfare programming and service delivery. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 631 Social Work Practice in Communities & Organizations (3) Community conceptualization; organizational roles of developer, enabler, broker, mediator, and advocate; diagnostic and problem-solving technology; the special characteristics of the social worker as community organizer; matrix of structural objectives; sources and use of power; how to build an organization; and interorganizational negotiation. Pre: SW 606.

SW 636 Policies, Programs and Services on Aging (3) Explores policies, programs, and services for older adults. Students learn about the aging network, assess older adults’ needs, link older adults to appropriate services in the community, and track legislative bills that address older adults’ quality of life. Pre: graduate standing or consent.

SW 639 Social and Cultural Aspects of Aging (3) Overview of aging from the biopsycho, socio-economic and cultural perspectives. Explores common theories of aging. Emphasis on bridging the gap between the realm of concepts and theories, and the world of practice in gerontology. Pre: graduate standing or consent.

SW 640 Introduction to Scientific Methods & Principles in Social Work (3) Understanding and interpreting results of nomothetic and idiographic research; design principles and statistical analyses and their relationship to practices; use of published research. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 650 Research Designs & Data Analyses for the Evaluation of Practice Effectiveness (3) Extending the study of scientific methods introduced in SW 640. Covers the range of empirical research methods and data analytic procedures suitable for knowledge building and practice evaluation at all levels of intervention from case to program. Pre: SW 640.

SW 659 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I (3) An overview of social work’s person-in-environment focus as it applies to human behavior in the context of families, groups, communities, and organizations. Using an ecological perspective, theories and evidence about human behavior are introduced and examined. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 660 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II (3) Uses social work’s person-in-environment focus to organize knowledge development about biological, psychological, social, and cultural systems as they are affected by human behavior. It is designed to provide students with an overview of human behavior and healthy and unhealthy development over the life span. Pre: SW 659.

SW 663 Treatment of Chemical Dependency (3) Introduction to treatment of alcoholism and other chemical dependencies. Application of social work strategies in work with individuals and families in disease and recovery process. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 672 Child Welfare as a Field of Social Work (3) Emphasis on the developments in child welfare; issues, concerns with regard to needs and rights, and the application of social work services to problems associated with needs for protection. Review of historical, theoretical, empirical, and legal findings for skill development in intervening in dysfunctional parent/child interaction. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 674 Community and Public Health Practice (2) Community organization and development applicable to the delivery of health services. Understanding community dynamics, mobilizing community groups for effective health care practice and delivery. Pre: PH 647 or consent. (Cross-listed as PH 671)

SW 680 Topics in Social Welfare (v) Current trends in field of social welfare. Recent courses have focused on forensic social work, immigrants and refugees, and leadership in human services. Meets seminar requirement. Repeatable once in different topic. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 690 Practicum (3) 1st semester of foundation-year practicum. Field units are maintained by the school in public and voluntary welfare agencies, as well as in governmental programs. Students receive instruction related to their school experience with social problem situations and an opportunity to see the applicability and to experience the use of concepts and principles in actual practice. Pre: admission to MSW program.

SW 691 Practicum (3) 2nd semester of foundation-year practicum. Pre: completion of SW 690 (or concurrent for block practicum).

SW 696 Health and Aging (3) Biological and physiological changes associated with aging. Social and psychological factors associated with health maintenance. Major threats to health, changing patterns of morbidity and mortality of the aged. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 699 Directed Reading & Research (v) Students, on the basis of special interest, select a faculty member to work with on a problem for which planned individualized study or research is deemed advisable. Pre: consent.

SW 700 Thesis Research (v) Independent research under supervision of a thesis committee. Includes formal proposal and defense of finished research. This option is not currently available.

SW 707 Methods of Group Psychotherapy (3) Designed specifically to train students in theory and practice of leading psychotherapy groups; it includes historical developments, research, theories, and application of group psychotherapy, group techniques and exercises. Pre: SW 607 or consent.

SW 715 Therapeutic Strategies with the Older Adult (3) Focuses on interdisciplinary strategies with older adults: individual, family, and group therapy; eclectic mental health approaches; case management; and environmental intervention. Emphasis placed on the use of these strategies as preventive, as well as supportive, measures for the well, transition, and frail elderly. Meets seminar requirement. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 717 Social Work Practice with Children & Families (3) Advanced practice course for students specializing in social work with children and families. Designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of both theoretical formulations and therapeutic techniques for practice in the field of family and child welfare. Emphasis placed on the development of specialized knowledge and skills for assessment, intervention, and evaluation of a variety of common child and family practice situations. Pre: completion of foundation courses.

SW 718 Seminar in Social Work Practice with Children & Families (3) Designed for students in the child and family specialization and builds upon past knowledge and skill development in practice classes and in the practicum. Students integrate, demonstrate, and extend earlier learning, acquire new knowledge, and learn and practice new skills. Organized around student case presentations in a consultation format. Meets seminar requirement. Pre: SW 717.

SW 722 Social Work Practice in Health Care (3) Didactic and experiential learning activity focuses on the major functions of the social worker in the health field, including assessment, contracting, counseling, advocacy, case management, discharge planning, family group work, and community and team building. Covers health-care policy, research directions in practice, and social work management issues. Pre: completion of foundation courses.

SW 723 Seminar in Social Work Practice in Health Care (3) Through the use of case studies developed by the students, social work practice is examined in three areas of health care: primary care provided in health departments and medical groups, hospital-based services, and long-term care. Meets seminar requirement. Pre: SW 722.

SW 724 Seminar in Social Work Practice in Mental Health (3) Prepares students for social work practice in mental health settings. As the first course in the specialization, it focuses primarily on minor short-term mental dysfunctions (e.g., reactive depression, anxiety). Built on conceptual foundations, including cultural implications of mental health, human ecology, life cycle/events, strengths assessments, and research. Includes a seminar component that involves student case presentations and consultations. Pre: completion of foundation courses.

SW 725 Social Work Practice in Mental Health (3) Prepares students to work with persons who are experiencing major mental disorders and to improve the systems of care that have been developed to serve this population. It reviews the history of the community mental health movement, discusses relevant policies and laws, and describes the current mental health system in the United States and Hawai‘i. Pre: SW 724.

SW 726 Social Work Practice with the Aged (3) Designed for social work students specializing in social work practice with the aged and their families. Examines normative and pathological aging and its impact on physical processes, intellectual functions, and personality. Emphasis is placed on the development of specialized knowledge and skills for assessment, intervention, and evaluation of a variety of issues and needs common later in life. Discussions on the applicability of certain interventions with older adult and the family will be presented along with ethnocultural and gender considerations. Pre: completion of foundation courses.

SW 727 Seminar in Social Work with the Aged (3) Designed for social work students in the aged [gerontology] specialization, builds upon past knowledge and skill development from courses and practicum. Students examine micro and macro interventions used for a wide range of issues and problems encountered by older adults and their families through the use of both case presentation and case consultations assignments. Meets seminar requirement. Pre: SW 726.

SW 737 Social Work & the Law (3) Knowledge of judicial systems and law relevant to social work practice in corrections, child-family welfare, health, and mental health. Skills for effective participation in the legal process are acquired in moot court and in practice for testifying. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 741 Review of Research in Social Work (3) In-depth study of research in a substantive area. Each seminar will be devoted to a particular topic: e.g., foster care of children, effectiveness of social work intervention, etc. Pre: SW 650.

SW 743 Individual or Group Research Project – Plan B (v) 1st course of a two-semester research project. Independent research (group of two to seven students or by an individual student) undertaken under the sponsorship of a faculty advisor. Elements are selection of a topic related to the practice of social work or knowledge relevant to that practice, utilization of empirical research methodology in collecting and analyzing original data, and preparation of a scholarly paper. Pre: SW 650.

SW 744 Individual or Group Research Project – Plan B (v) 2nd course of a two-semester research project. Pre: SW 743.

SW 746 Individual or Group Research Project—Plan B (v) One-semester research project. Independent research (group of two to seven students or by an individual student) undertaken under the sponsorship of a faculty advisor. Elements are selection of a topic related to the practice of social work or knowledge relevant to that practice, utilization of empirical research methodology in collecting and analyzing original data, and preparation of a scholarly paper. Project must be completed in one semester. Pre: SW 650.

SW 774 Cultural Factors in Work with Hawaiians (3) Hawaiian culture, past and present. Explores and examines possible approaches to working with Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians. Special emphasis on supports in the Hawaiian system that may promote maximal functioning for those Hawaiians experiencing problems in today’s society. Meets seminar requirement. Pre: graduate standing.

SW 776 Seminar on Women & Health (3) Women’s health and the role of women health professionals. Current literature and research regarding attitudes, roles, rights, and health care. Pre: graduate standing. (Cross-listed as NURS 744)

SW 790 Second-Year Practicum (v 3-5) Instruction in the field is continued. The practicum of the second [specialization] year provides an opportunity for the student to test out concepts, principles, theories, and alternative approaches in actual practice settings. Pre: SW 691.

SW 791 Second-Year Practicum (v 3-5) Second-semester of specialization year practicum. Same as SW 790. Pre: completion of SW 790 (or concurrent for block practicum).

SW 797 Advanced Social Welfare Policy and Change (3) Builds on SW 630 and emphasizes a more thorough and comprehensive examination of major policies, programs, and populations central to a specialization (Health, Behavioral Mental Health, Gerontology, Child and Family). Students learn a more focused and applied analysis of the relationship between social policy, social policy research, and social work practice. Pre: completion of foundation courses.


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