Program Requirements — Master of Social Work

These requirements will apply to students enrolling at AU in the 2018-2019 academic year. Current students can find the requirements that apply to them by consulting the relevant academic catalog.

MSW Program Requirements – 60 semester hours

Foundation Curriculum 27 semester hours

Social Welfare 3 semester hours
SWK6140 Social Welfare Policy and Institutions (3)

Human Behavior and Social Environment 6 semester hours
SWK6150 HBSE I: Theories of Human Development I (3)
SWK6160 HBSE II: Theories of Human Development II (3)

Social Work Practice Theory and Methods 9 semester hours
SWK6370 Social Work Practice I: Individuals and Families (3)
SWK6381 Social Work Practice II: Group Work (3)
SWK6382 Social Work Practice II: Community Practice (3) 

Research 3 semester hours
SWK6250 Research I: SW Research Methods (3) 

Foundation Field Instruction 6 semester hours
SWK6730 Field Instruction I: Foundation Internship (3)
SWK6740 Field Instruction II: Foundation Internship (3)

Advanced Curriculum 18 semester hours

Social Work Practice and Policy 12 semester hours
SWK6500 Social Work Perspectives on Psychopathology (3)
SWK6511 Social Work Practice III: Clinical Theory and Methods (3)
SWK6521 Social Work Practice IV: Advanced Clinical Knowledge and Application (3)
SWK6533 Advanced Social Policy (3) 

Advanced Field Instruction 6 semester hours
SWK6750 Field Instruction III: Advanced Internship (3)
SWK6760 Field Instruction IV: Advanced Internship (3)

Social Work Electives 15 semester hours
Social work electives may be used to complete specializations or coursework of interest.

Optional Specialization Coursework:

Specialization in Addictions

The Addictions Specialization prepares students to work with substance abusing individuals and their families within a primary substance abuse treatment setting. The coursework focuses on educating students about various aspects of substance abuse, challenging some of their own biases regarding this population, and learning specific clinical skills to help the various sub-populations of addictions. Within the clinical concentration, students complete a field internship at an approved addictions site. Upon successful completion of this specialization, students are eligible to take the Illinois Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) examination for state licensure. Students interested in declaring the Addictions Specialization must meet with the Coordinator to complete an interview and required declaration paperwork. Coursework will assist the student with completion of Board registered Mental Illness and Substance Abuse professional (MISA I) requirements, A meeting with the Coordinator is required to enroll in the SWK 5600 MISA I course.

Specialization Courses (must obtain a "B" or higher in all specialization courses)
SWK6340 Survey of Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment (3)
SWK5420 Addictions Counseling I (3)
SWK6400 Addictions Counseling II (3)

Specialization in Administrative Leadership through the Dunham School of Business and Public Policy MBA and MPA Programs

MSW students may take some of their electives from the MBA (Master in Business Administration) and MPA (Master in Public Administration) Curriculum. To complete the Administrative Leadership specialization in the MSW, students are required to complete the following two core specialization courses:

MBA6030 Leadership and Organizational Behavior (3)
MPA6350 Nonprofit Management and Leadership (3) 

In addition, students are required to complete the following selected courses:

MBA6075 Operations Management (3)
MPA6110 Administration of Public Institutions (3)
MPA6450 Public Safety Administration (3) 

Completing the two core and one selected courses for a total of 9 semester hours results in a Specialization in Administrative Leadership, along with the MSW degree. This advanced administration curriculum is ideal for MSW students interested in learning more about management and administration in the field of Social Work and Human Services. 

Please refer to the MBA section of the graduate catalog for course details.

Specialization in Child Welfare

The courses in the Child Welfare Specialization will not only serve to educate our students; they will also continue to promote the field of child welfare and social work. Graduates with the specialization will gain competitive positions aimed directly at serving the needs of children and families involved in the child welfare system.

The School of Social Work has been, and continues to be, committed to making a positive difference in the lives of children. Developing a specialization in child welfare, coursework and field placement internships will address the educational needs of the students while enhancing their work toward improving the lives of children and their families.

The Child Welfare Specialization is a three-course sequence. MSW students have three open electives. The students will participate in at least one internship specific to the field of child welfare in the first or second year of the social work program with an agency that focuses on child welfare. The thrust of this specialization is to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to provide comprehensive child welfare education.

Upon completion of the coursework and field work, students will be eligible to test for their Child Welfare Employee License (CWEL) credential.  Students interested in declaring the Child Welfare Specialization must meet with the Coordinator to complete an interview and required declaration paperwork.

Specialization Courses (must obtain a "B" or higher in all specialization courses)
SWK6700 Effects of Trauma on Children (3)
SWK6720 Vulnerable Children and Families (3)
SWK6725 Child Welfare Services (3) 

Specialization in Faith-Based Social Work 

The Faith Based Specialization prepares students to integrate the understandings of spirituality and faith within the social work profession, and how these experiences shape their practice.  Faith-Based Specializations students will also build effective relationships, understand ethical and cultural considerations, social justice issues, and advocacy issues related to faith-based professional.

The MSW graduate with this specialization will be able to recognize the interpersonal complexities within faith-based practice in order to work towards the individual and family as well as encouraging social reforms that support well-being for all populations

It is open to students of all faith traditions who desire to better understand how their faith contributes to their views and practice as professional social workers...

The faith-based specialization student can span the direct practice of faith-based social work in faith- based environments, such as child welfare agencies, individual and family counseling centers, hospitals, private practice, as well as in religious institutions such as Christian churches, Jewish synagogues, and Muslim community centers, to mention but a few.

The faith-based program of study includes one foundational core course, SWK5598 Spirituality, Meaning Making, and Faith-Based Practice, with either a foundational (450 hours) or an advanced faith-based field placement (600 hours).

Faith-Based Specialization

Faith-Based Specialization Core Foundational Course
SWK 5598 Spirituality, Meaning Making, and Faith-Based Practice (3)

Specialization in Forensic Social Work

The Graduate Forensic Social Work Specialization prepares students to use legal expertise to work in the social work field. The National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW) defines forensic social work as the “application of social work principles to questions and issues relating to law and legal systems.” The coursework focuses on educating students in forensic social work practice and theory, challenging some of their own biases regarding this population, and learning specific clinical skills to help the various subpopulations of forensics. In addition to the coursework, students complete a field internship at an approved site involving forensic involved populations. 

Specialization Courses (must obtain a "B" or higher in all specialization courses)
SWK5300 Forensic Social Work (3)
SWK6720 Social Work with Vulnerable Children and Families (3)
SWK6721 Mediation (3)

Specialization in Gerontology 

Students may specialize in Gerontology within the Health Care Specialization. The focus of this specialization is to provide comprehensive gerontology education to MSW students in order to enable them to be effective practitioners in the field of geriatric services. The specialization courses fulfill the elective requirements for the MSW program. In addition, students complete their advanced field placement in an approved social work gerontology agency.

Specialization Courses (must obtain a "B" or higher in all specialization courses)
SWK6010 Medical Social Work (3)
SWK5100 Social Work Gerontology: Assessment and Intervention (3)
SWK5110 Social Work Gerontology: Biology and Health of Aging (3)
Internship with aging populations to be completed in the advanced year.

For students wishing to obtain the Health Care Specialization in addition to the Gerontology Specialization, one additional Health Care elective is needed. 

Specialization in Health Care

Students interested in medical environments may elect to Specialize in Health Care to prepare for the myriad of Social Work roles in healthcare systems across the United States. The understanding of basic medical terminology, brief and chronic illness and respective treatments, ethics, insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, policy and patient advocacy are considered important components of best practice in health care Social Work.

Specialization Courses (must obtain a "B" or higher in all specialization courses)
SWK 6010: Medical Social Work (3)
AND
Any two Health Care electives listed below: 

SWK5100 Social Work Gerontology: Assessment and Intervention (3)
SWK5110 Social Work Gerontology: Biology and Health of Aging (3)
SWK5200 Suicide Prevention, Intervention, Postvention/Community Action (3)
SWK5250 Perspectives on Infertility and Assisted Reproduction (3)
SWK5610 Social Work with the Exceptional Child (3)
SWK6030 Bereavement Counseling (3)
SWK6035 Hospice SWK (3)
SWK6045 Psychiatric Hospital Social Work (3)
SWK6050 Self-Injury and Eating Disorders (3)
SWK6055 Oncology SWK (3)
SWK6581 Mindfulness (3)
SWK6810 Social Work and the Military (3) 

Internship within a medical environment to be completed in the advanced year.

Specialization in School Social Work - Policy and Procedures for Illinois Professional Educator License with School Social Work Endorsement (excluding Post Graduate MSW students)

All graduate social work students interested in taking coursework toward the Illinois Professional EducatorLicense with School Social Work Endorsement must be in good standing with the School of Social Work and will be required to complete the following procedures: 

  1. Pass the Illinois Test for Academic Proficiency 400 (TAP) its equivalent ACT Plus (with writing) or SAT by December 1st of their Advanced MSW placement. Aurora University strongly recommends that students pass ISBE's academic testing standards prior to beginning their Advanced MSW placement though.
  2. Take and pass the Illinois School Social Work Exam (184) by the end of their MSW studies. School social work students are recommended to complete this exam in the fall of their Advanced MSW placement.
  3. Pass SWK5610: Social Work Practice with the Exceptional Child, which meets HB150 guidelines. The course is recommended to be completed prior to the start of their Advanced MSW placement.
  4. Secure a field placement in the public school setting by actively seeking an internship. Since internships in the school setting are very competitive, it is recommended that students begin to look between January - March of the academic year preceding the advanced-year (school) field placement. Only MSW Advanced placements can be completed in public school districts, under the supervision of a school social worker who has their Professional Educator License, in order to qualify for the school social work specialization and the Illinois Professional Educator License in Social Work.
  5. Complete and return the ISBE 73-44 form to the Coordinator of the School Social Work Specialization within the first 30 days of the MSW Advanced placement.

Students who complete these procedures follow the MSW program, clinical concentration structure outlined in this book. Note: Illinois State Board of Education Requirements for endorsement/licensure are frequently modified. Please contact the School Social Work Program Coordinator for current requirements.

Upon successful completion, students are eligible to apply for the Illinois Professional Educators’ License with School Social Work Endorsement.

Specialization Courses (must obtain a "B" or higher in all specialization courses)
SWK5610 Social Work Practice with the Exceptional Child (3)
SWK6410 School Social Work Policy and Practice I (3)
SWK6420 School Social Work Policy and Practice II (3)
SWK6600 Reading Content and Reading Methods for School Social Workers (3)