Discover What's New in Fall 2024

picture of graduates in robes

Our Reimagined Curriculum is Dynamic, Inclusive and Flexible

Beginning in the Fall 2024 academic year, the Crown Family School of Social Work Policy and Practice will introduce a new curriculum* for our Master of Arts Program in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration – one that responds to changing societal problems and equips students with the critical skills, competencies, and values needed to make a greater impact and have more choices when pursuing careers. 

At a time when social workers are needed more than ever, the program provides even stronger training to pursue meaningful and transformative careers. It offers an integrated program so students can expect to make long-term, positive contributions across levels of practice and policy, communities, and sectors.

It maintains the foundational elements essential to the profession, including rigorous instruction in social work and social welfare theories, principles, policy, and research. It also provides specialized training through courses within a set of integrated pathways.

Five distinct pathways focus on transforming justice and violence prevention; integrating health, mental health, and social care; disrupting poverty, economic inequality, and social exclusion; children and families in a system context;  and global health and social development. Each pathway is designed to train students to work across scale – with individuals, organizations, communities and government – providing exceptional training to pursue a range of careers, from direct practice to policy, working both domestically and globally.

*This new curriculum applies to new Fall 2024 applicants; this excludes advanced standing students who will begin in Summer 2024
Key Curriculum Characteristics

Our integrated curriculum is a more holistic approach to social work education and training. It offers students a comprehensive skill set, focuses on intercultural awareness, and emphasizes a deep understanding of the policies and social structures that impact social work and social welfare practice. We aim to equip our students with the ability to address these complex, evolving, and multifaceted social issues to effect social change. 

The curriculum begins with a strong foundation in social work theories, principles, and ethics. Students learn about the historical context of the broad field of social work and social welfare, values, and the core competencies required for professional practice.

Our curriculum incorporates knowledge from various disciplines such as psychology, sociology, economics, political science, law, and public health. This multidisciplinary approach helps students understand the diverse factors that influence social issues. 

Students are exposed to micro-level practice (working with individuals and families), mezzo-level practice (working with groups and organizations), and macro-level practice (policy, advocacy, and community development). This examination equips them to address issues at various systemic levels, and to better integrate policy and programmatic responses.

Students learn how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are understood as the intersection of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation. Various forms of structural oppression and organizational biases are integrated to more fully understand the complexity of diverse experiences. 

Students learn how to critically evaluate research, conduct assessments, and utilize evidence-based practices to inform interventions and decision-making. Students have the opportunity to take advanced-level coursework on data analytics, and other quantitative and qualitative research methods.

The curriculum includes a focus on policy analysis and advocacy skills. Students learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate policies at various levels of intervention, as well as how to influence policy change and advocate for the rights of vulnerable and marginalized populations.

The curriculum includes a focus on direct practice; working directly with individuals, families, and communities to address their unique needs, challenges, and goals. Students pursuing clinically-focused careers will prepare for advanced practice roles through specialized training in substantive areas of interest.  

Human behavior is influenced by the context of the social environment. The curriculum includes studying the impact of various social systems on individuals and communities related to development over the life course.

Ethical considerations and decision-making frameworks are integrated into the curriculum to help students navigate complex issues that may be encountered in their work.

Field education is a critical component of all social work training, providing the opportunity for students to apply their classroom knowledge in real-world settings. 

Empowering Changemakers of Tomorrow

Throughout the program, collaboration and teamwork skills are emphasized as important factors in all work settings. The curriculum is designed to produce well-rounded social work and social welfare professionals who understand social issues across scale and can adapt to the evolving needs of individuals, families, communities, and society. At the same time, the curriculum allows for students to dive deeply into particular career pathways to gain substantive expertise.  Graduates from the program are prepared to make a meaningful impact across a wide variety of career paths, locations, and work settings – to transform communities and lives.