Headquartered at IUPUI
Locations on 8 IU Campuses

Course Descriptions

All courses 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted. All courses are not offered on every campus.  See campus advisor. 

Note: SWK-S is for all campus programs and SWK-D is for IU Online (MSW Direct)

  • SWK-S or SWK-D 501 Professional Social Work at the Masters Level:  An Immersion
    This foundation course provides an overview of social work including the definition, scope, history, ethics and values of the profession. This course will provide an orientation to the resources and expectations of graduate education and the MSW program, within the framework of competency based education and an adult learner model. Students will develop basic communication, self-assessment and reflection skills necessary for success in the MSW program. Students will have an opportunity to survey various fields of practice and will begin to identify personal learning goals for their MSW education as well as develop a commitment to lifelong learning as a part of professional practice.

  • SWK-S 502 or SWK-D 502 Research I
    This foundation research course assists students in developing the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of social work practice.  Emphasis is placed upon knowledge of qualitative and quantitative designs, methods, and techniques that inform students of best practices in social work.  Students will recognize the impact of ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and gender identity on the research process and be able to critically review published studies with attention to bias in research. 

  • SWK-S 503 or SWK-D 503 Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
    This course provides content on the reciprocal relationships between human behavior and social environments.  It includes empirically based theories and knowledge that focus on the interactions between and within diverse populations of individuals, groups, families, organizations, communities, societal institutions, and global systems.  Knowledge of biological, psychological, sociological, cultural, and spiritual development across the life span is included.  Students learn to critically analyze micro and macro theories and explore ways in which theories can be used to structure professional activities.  Concepts such as person-in-environment are used to examine the ways in which social systems promote or deter human well-being, social, and economic justice.

  • SWK-S 504 or SWK-D 504 Professional Practice Skills I
    This foundation course offers components of generalist practice theory, skills, and principles necessary for generalist practice with varied populations and client systems (individuals, families, small groups, communities, and organizations). The course introduces and prepares students for competent social work practice through the examination of personal values, professional ethics, and personal demonstration of essential practice skills (beginning, attending, establishing rapport, reflecting summarizing, exploring, questioning, contracting, and establishing clear and well formed goals) that will serve diverse populations with specific attention to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, race and ethnicity. 

  • SWK-S 505 or SWK-D 505 Social Policy Analysis and Practice
    This course examines the processes that influence the development of social policy and social services. Included are legislative and political processes, models of policy analysis, service delivery and policy implementation. Effects of these on people are considered from global, political, economic and social policy perspectives.

    This course is developed around the general proposition that social workers utilize knowledge and skills to carry out roles and functions critical for practice. Such knowledge and skills include the application of social policy analysis, the legislative process, the role and impact of politics and political choice on the quality of life of people, and the effect of economic-social policy decision and judicial actions on social services. In addition, the course examines the variability of the common and uncommon attributes of service delivery systems.

  • SWK-S 513 or SWK-D 513 Human Behavior and the Social Environment II
    This course builds upon 503 (HBSE I) and focuses on developing further knowledge of human behavior theories and their application to practice.  Students will link course content to the concentration that the student has selected.

  • SWK-S 514 or SWK-D 514 Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups
    This course builds on the practice theories, principles, and skills introduced in the Professional Practice Skills course to prepare students for competent social work practice with individuals, families and groups.  A strengths perspective will be emphasized, and students will be introduced to the fundamental components of the task-centered and solution-focused approaches to practice.  The trans-theoretical model of change will be presented, so students can develop skills to engage clients in the process of change.  Students will be prepared to complete assessments and to use intervention skills that will serve diverse populations with specific attention to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, race and ethnicity. 

  • SWK-S 516 or SWK-D 516 SWK Practice:  Organizations, Communities & Societies
    This course provides students with knowledge, values and cognitive skills focused on social work practice at organizational, community and societal levels.  Social work interventions at these levels include involvement of relevant stakeholders in the development and/or modifications of organizational, community and societal policies, programs and practices.

  • SWK-S 517 or SWK-D 517 Assessment in Mental Health and Addictions
    Recognizing the social, political, legal, and ethical implications of assessment, students enrolled in this course critically examine various conceptual frameworks and apply bio-psychosocial and strengths perspectives to understand its multidimensional aspects. Students learn to conduct sophisticated mental status and lethality risk interviews, engage in strengths and assets discovery, and apply the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association and other classification schemes in formulating assessment hypotheses. They gain an understanding of the application of several relevant assessment instruments and learn to evaluate their relevance for service to at-risk populations, including persons affected by mental health and addictions issues. Students learn to collaborate with a diverse range of consumers and other professionals in developing meaningful assessments upon which to plan goals, intervention strategies, and means for evaluation.

  • SWK-S 555 or SWK-D 555 Practicum I
    The MSW Social Work Practicum I is an educationally-directed practice experience under the direct supervision of an approved agency field instructor.  The practicum occurs as a culmination of the Intermediate curriculum, providing opportunities for the application and integration of classroom learning (theories, concepts and practice principles) in a practice setting.  The practicum fosters the development of core competencies in generalist social work practice with emphasis on acquiring graduate-level, strengths-based interpersonal skills for work at all systems levels.

  • SWK-S 600 or SWK-D 600 Seminar in Social Work Practice Variable titles.

  • SWK-S 616 Social Work Practice in Schools (Available at IUPUI and IUN campuses only)
    This advanced level practice course is designed to provide students with an overview of contemporary social work practice in school settings.  Specific topical areas include the historical and contemporary contexts of social work service in school settings, legal mandates for social work practice in schools, social policies and trends in education affecting school settings and social work practice in schools, preventive and intervention methods and roles applicable to diverse populations in school settings, research issues and practice effectiveness, and multiculturalism and diversity issues in social work practice in schools.

  • SWK-S 618 or SWK-D 618 Social Policy and Services (Concentration specific)
    The purpose of this course is to provide intensive study of a specific service delivery system and to provide an opportunity for synthesis and application of learning and practice of policy in that system. The content of the course will build on the values of the profession and focus on the role of the “social policy practitioner” in assisting individuals in the maintenance or attainment of optimal health, social and economic justice, and social well-being. This course examines the relationship of social work values and ethics to social policies and service delivery systems especially as they relate to oppressed populations and discrimination. Opportunities for students will be encouraged for direct involvement in the political and organizational processes used to influence policy and delivery systems.

  • SWK-S 619 Social Work Practice with Children and Adolescents (Available at IUPUI and IUN campuses only)
    This course is designed to develop and broaden student knowledge and skill in direct practice with children and adolescents.  Social work practice will be examined within the context of meta-frameworks that include developmental stages/tasks, sexual development and orientation, gender issues, family context, culture, larger environmental systems, discrimination/oppression, and legal rights and responsibilities.  Emphasis will be placed on practice methods including assessment, interviewing, comparative treatment models, and practice with special populations.

  • SWK-S 623 or SWK-D 623 Practice Research Integrative Seminar
    This course examines a number of single-system designs that can be used to evaluate practice or practice interventions with clients.  The designs, which are n = 1 types of studies, can be used with any size system, e.g., individuals, couples, families, groups, or organizational (agency) units.  Students in this course will learn a variety of single-system designs, the descriptive statistics that are used with such designs, graphing and plotting data, content on binomial and normal distributions, and tests of hypotheses with single-system designs.  In addition, important issues for this course are the values and ethics that relate to the design selection, baseline and withdrawal phases, and appropriate analyses and reports of results.

    This course furthers the knowledge, skills, and values students develop in the foundation-year research course. Students will apply their knowledge and skills in research to evaluate practice or program effectiveness in their concentrations, using research methods that are sensitive to consumers’ needs and clients’ race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and additional aspects important to effective and ethical research.

  • SWK-S 632 Children, Youth and Families Practice I: Working with Children Impacted by Violence in the Family (Available at IUPUI, IUN, and IUS campuses only)
    This course is designed to build individual and group practice skills for work with children and families impacted by child physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and/or family violence. Emphasis will be placed on practice skills with children. Students will practice assessment and intervention skills guided by theories of child development, attachment and bonding, grief, and trauma. The goals of safety, permanency and well-being will be emphasized when assessing risk and trauma and intervening within the child welfare and school systems.   Students will explore cultural differences and issues impacting particular oppressed and underserved populations.

  • SWK-S 633 Children, Youth and Families Practice II: Working with Diverse and Transitioning Families (Available at IUPUI and IUS only)
    This course will focus on the experiences of children and families in the child welfare system.  Content will include interventions with families through all stages of change including preparation for change, separation and loss, the changed family system, reintegration as children transition into a family, and adolescents transitioning into independent living.  Content will include the impact on families when the natural cycle of family development is disrupted.  Special consideration will be given to various family types including adoptive, foster care, kinship, extended, single parent, multi-generational, and homosexual families.  Practice content will emphasize strengths based and family-centered approaches and include knowledge and skill development to help children and families work through their family and personal crisis and grief in a timely manner to achieve permanency for children in safe and nurturing environments within 12 months after separation.

  • SWK-S 634 Group and Community Based Practice with Children and Families (Available at IUPUI and IUS only)
    This course will examine the development of and build skills for the implementation of a wide range of prevention and intervention strategies to support child well-being provided at the community level.  Special attention will be given to the philosophy of empowerment-oriented and client-driven service models.  This course will provide content to build skills in developing and implementing mutual aid and self-help groups to support and educate children and families on issues such as parenting, domestic violence, grief/loss, conflict mediation and child abuse issues.  The course will explore the community as a resource and discuss strategies of collaboration and advocacy services for families and children to prevent out-of-home placement or involvement in other formal child protection/juvenile justice services, such as models of community-building, youth development and family group conferencing/restorative justice.  The course also provides frameworks for identifying and analyzing best practices in group and community-based services for children and families. 

  • SWK-S 636 Special Topics in Social Work Practice with Children and Families:  Involuntary Populations, Addictions and Domestic Violence (Available at IUPUI and IUS only)
    This course is designed to teach strategies and skills for working with families impacted by the challenges of addictions, domestic violence and mental illness. Building upon knowledge of assessment and intervention with diagnosed mental illnesses, students will analyze the relationships between and among the social problems of addictions, mental illness and domestic violence in relation to socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical and mental ability, and other socio-environmental factors of vulnerability. The class will provide students with the opportunities to describe and demonstrate a theoretical understanding of both the dynamics of being an involuntary client and the legal and ethical dilemmas that abound for social work practitioners working with them. The class will provide students with the opportunities to describe and analyze power differentials between the client and worker, as well as, devise, assess and implement strategies to minimize the behaviors that have been identified as “resistance”. The class will provide students with the opportunities to demonstrate knowledge, skills, judgment, sensitivity, and self-awareness necessary to resolve the challenges of social work practice with involuntary populations when utilizing strengths-based, empowerment and eco-systems perspectives.

  • SWK-S 641 or SWK-D 641 - Advanced Generalist I: Engagement and Assessment in a Multi-Systems Framework (Available at IU East and MSW Direct only)
    Professional social work practice involves the dynamic and interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation at multiple levels. Social workers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Practice knowledge includes identifying, analyzing, and implementing evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals; using research and technological advances; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership for policies and services; and promoting social and economic justice.

    The advanced generalist social work practitioner possesses the knowledge, values and skills for autonomous practice that meets the needs of all clients whether “client” is defined as an individual, family, small group, organization, community, or broader societal institution. The advanced generalist differentially applies advanced and current knowledge and skills in engaging, assessing, intervening with client systems of all sizes and in all fields of practice (mental health, addictions, child welfare, aging, among others, and including the intersection of these fields, such as addictions and aging).  In addition, advanced generalist practitioners are prepared to evaluate practice not only for assessment of effectiveness, but also to ascertain if there is need for engagement of other systems.  The advanced generalist practitioner continuously seeks new knowledge about evidence-based practices and enhances skills to adapt to client populations as well as to engage appropriate intervention teams (action systems) to fully meet client needs.

    In this course, learners utilize knowledge of human development, diverse populations, organizational functioning, and community assets to proactively engage and assess client, target and action systems in collaborative helping processes that maximize the potential for effective interventions.

  • SWK-S 642 or SWK-D 642 Advanced Generalist II:  Clinical Interventions with Individuals and Families across Fields of Practice (Available at IU East and MSW Direct only)
    The purpose of this course is to provide intensive study on clinical interventions with individuals, families, and small groups across various fields of practice.  The content of the course will provide opportunities for students to apply conceptual frameworks and ecological/system, strengths and empowerment perspectives to guide the processes of intervention and evaluation in work with individuals, families, and therapy groups. Students learn to attend to clients throughout all the phases of the intervention process from formulation of the intervention plan through transitions to effective termination. Students select appropriate interventions for clients struggling with a multiplicity of issues either through their own knowledge base or in collaboration with other specialized services and professions. Students learn that all phases of direct practice interventions are often helped or hindered by complex interactions with larger systems. In light of this complexity, students learn to advocate for clients and apply intervention modalities (as necessary and appropriate) in organizational and community contexts. In addition, students will learn how to reach out to and adapt services for consumers from diverse backgrounds.

  • SWK-S 651 / SWK-S 652 or SWK-D 651 / SWK-D 652 Practicum II/III (9 credits)
    651 (Practicum II) and 652 (Practicum III) together provide an in-depth advanced practicum experience for MSW students in a designated concentration.  Students complete both of these practicum courses in the same community agency/organization under practice supervision of an approved agency field instructor and academic guidance of a faculty field liaison.

    Practicum II and III build upon the more generalist-focused Intermediate Practicum I and deepen the integration and application of social work knowledge, values, and skills for advanced practice.  Students engage in these advanced practicum courses while enrolled in the required concentration courses.  Students spend a minimum of 640 hours in a setting that provides services and allows students an opportunity to engage in experiences that support mastery of all ten core competencies as operationalized by advanced practice behaviors.

  • SWK-S 661 or SWK-D 661 Executive Leadership Practice
    This course addresses administrative, management, leadership, and supervisory skills necessary for leadership practice. Included are staff hiring, supervision, evaluation, and termination; working with boards and volunteers, leadership styles, strategic planning, and current best practices in administration.

  • SWK-S 662 Fiscal Management and Resource Development (Available at IUPUI only)
    This course focuses on knowledge and skills essential for developing core skills in fiscal management (which will include issues of budgeting, understanding balance sheets, audits, and theories of accounting) and resource development (including fund raising, grant writing and personnel policies) for social work leaders.

  • SWK-S 663  Leveraging Organizational, Community and Political Systems (Available at IUPUI only)
    This course focuses on knowledge and skills essential for understanding, analyzing, and application in organizations, communities and political arenas. Such knowledge and skills include, but are not limited to: organizational theories, structures, and processes; examination and application of rural, urban and virtual community models, themes and practices; and, understand and involvement in political, social action and social change interventions and empowerment practices.

  • SWK-S 664 Designing Transformational Programs (Available at IUPUI only)
    This course focuses on knowledge and skills essential for understanding, applying, and analyzing alternative, transformational models of program, organizational, and community planning. It is designed to enable students to achieve advanced mastery of the models, skills, and techniques of program planning. There is particular emphasis on inclusive, collaborative planning models that foster empowerment of diverse stakeholders in the planning processes.
    The course transcends a focus on the basic technology of program development. It is centered upon applying, analyzing, and evaluating the technology of designing transformational planning as a powerful vehicle for organizational, community, and social change. The methods, roles, functions, and values associated with this course emphasize models, themes, and practices that promote cultural competency, advocacy, ethics, and social justice. The students will master knowledge and skills including, but not limited to: creating a social work program grounded in evidence based practices; applying advanced proposal writing skills; identifying funding and other resources; and, analyzing philanthropic trends.

  • SWK-S 683 Community-Based Practice in Mental Health and Addiction
    Students enrolled in this course examine a wide range of community-based services provided for people with severe mental illness and/or severe addiction problems. Special attention is given to strength-based, client-driven, and evidence-based practice models. Content includes community-based services in areas of case management, employment, housing, illness management, family, dual disorder treatment, and consumer self-help. Students also examine a variety of issues involved in the provision of community-based services such as ethical and legal issues, quality and continuity of care, cultural competency, organizational and financial factors, and other relevant policy and practice issues.

  • SWK-S 685 Mental Health and Addictions Practice: Individuals and Families
    Students enrolled in this course develop knowledge, values and ethics, skills, and judgment necessary for competent application of selected evidence-based, best practice approaches for service for children, youth, adults, and families affected by mental health and addictions issues. Students explore topics such as risk, resilience, recovery, and relapse-prevention; and consider implications of current social and policy factors affecting service delivery to persons affected by mental health and addictions issues. Students learn to discover, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate evidence of practice effectiveness and apply that knowledge in communication, strengths discovery and assessment, hypothesis formation, contracting, intervention and prevention planning, service delivery, and evaluation. Students develop professional understanding and expertise in the application of at least one evidence-based approach for service to individuals and families affected by at least one specific mental health or addictions issues.

  • SWK-S 686 Social Work Practice: Addictions
    The purpose of this course is to provide learners with knowledge and skills relevant to various aspects of social work practice in prevention, intervention, and treatment of selected addictions. Students draw upon previous and concurrent learning experiences and integrate values, knowledge, and skills acquired in other social work courses with the values, knowledge, and skills characteristic of addictions practice. The course assists students to develop a multidimensional understanding of prevention, intervention, and treatment needs of diverse populations and associated social work practice principles, methods, and skills. Students explore the relationships between and among addiction and socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical and mental ability, and other socio-environmental factors of vulnerability. Consistent with strengths and ecosystems perspectives, students consider the impact of social environments, physical settings, community contexts, and political realities that support or inhibit the emergence of addiction problems.

  • SWK-S 687 Mental Health and Addictions Practice with Groups
    Students enrolled in this course develop professional knowledge and skill for group work services to and for persons affected by mental health and addictions issues.  The phases of group development and intervention during the various group work stages provide a conceptual framework for the course experience.  Students learn to serve children, youth, adults and families in groups that are therapeutic, growth producing and life enhancing.  Students examine a number of theoretical perspectives including cognitive behavioral, communications, behavioral, and interpersonal approaches.

  • SWK-S 689 - Interprofessional Approach to the Treatment of Substance Use and Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders (Available at IUPUI only)
    The purpose of this course is to provide learners with knowledge and skills relevant to interprofessional approaches to the treatment of substance use and co-occurring psychiatric disorders.  The course includes prevention, intervention, and treatments of these disorders with diverse populations across the life span. Students draw upon previous and concurrent learning experiences and integrate values, knowledge, and skills relevant to their professional standards of practice.  Consistent with strengths and ecosystems perspectives, students consider the impact of social environments, physical settings, community contexts, and political realities that influence the emergence of substance use and co-occurring disorders.

  • SWK-S 692 Practice Skills for Health Care Settings (Available at IUPUI and IUN only)
    This course will focus upon the role of the social worker in health care settings. Issues such as team building, professional identity, patient advocacy, ethics and managed care will be addressed. Also, the impact of healthcare payment sources and healthcare choices for patients will be explored.

  • SWK-S 693 Practice with Individuals, Families & Communities in Healthcare Settings (Available at IUPUI and IUN only)
    This course examines the impact of illness from the medical, psychosocial and environmental perspectives.  Areas, such as coping with chronic illness, caregiver stress, grieving and loss, medical ethics and violence as a healthcare issue are examined.  The needs of at-risk populations (i.e., children, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, frail elderly, individuals living with HIV/AIDS, etc.) are also examined.

  • SWK-S 694  Practice with Older Adults (Available at IUPUI and IUN only)
    The purpose of this course is to provide health concentration students with increased depth of knowledge in the area of practice with older adults in healthcare areas, such as acute care hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, adult day care and long-term care facilities.  Effective social work practice with older adults relies on knowledge and application of evidence-based theories, assessments and interventions with this population.   

  • SWK-S 696 Confronting Loss, Grief, Death and Bereavement (Available at IUPUI and IUN only)
    This is an issue-oriented social work course on the policy and practice issues in loss, grief, death, and dying across the life span for diverse populations.  The major educational goal is to evaluate and understand the many problems and key resources relevant to social work practice with persons encountering grief, loss, death and bereavement in the context of health care settings.  Students will attain knowledge, values and skills to meet the demands for entry level practice with clients (and their families) encountering chronic or terminal illness.