Summary of social work graduate programs prepared by Melissa C.F. Becker, MSW, September 2000
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Foundation Policy

University of California–Los Angeles

Social Welfare Policy and Services sequence description: Extending throughout both years of the program, courses in this area give students an understanding of basic policy issues, provide a critical analysis of the organization and performance of social welfare agencies and programs, and examine how those organizations and programs reflect the philosophy and values of the social work profession and of society as a whole. Courses offered in this sequence include the history and philosophy of social work, the foundation of social welfare policy, and a series of electives that focus on current social policy issues. 

M221A. Foundations of Social Welfare Policy: Nature, roles and history of welfare institutions in different societies; applicable social system theory of different components of the welfare system; theory and research about welfare policies and organizational forms.

221B. Social Welfare Policy and Services II: Understanding of significant theoretical constructs and relevant empirical evidenced dealing with how organizations develop and maintain their internal functions. Development of beginning skill in organizational analysis. Special attention to organizational analysis of social welfare services.

220. History and Philosophy of Social Welfare: History of social work as a field: body of knowledge, method and process, and point of view analyzed within context of economic, political, social, philosophical, and scientific climate of the period.

223. Seminar: Social Work Profession: Nature and role of social work in contemporary society; relationships with other professions; probable future trends in the profession; social work ethics, professional organizations, certification licensing; professional responsibility for continued self-criticism and improvement of the profession.

Fordham University

SWGS 6006. Social Welfare Policy and Services: The first of two required courses covering the content of social welfare policies and services, this course introduces students to the ways American society has provided for human needs and addressed social problems through the social welfare institution, and to the underlying values, assumptions and philosophical perspectives that explain the development of this country's social welfare system. The major forms of social provision are addressed in an historical framework that traces the development, expansion, contracting, reorganization and (at times) their elimination. Special attention is given to how economic, political, and social forces lead to differential policies and provisions with racial, class and gender dimensions as well as to inequities, and social and economic injustices. The role of the social work profession in influencing social welfare is emphasized.

SWGS 6007. Social Policy Analysis, Advocacy and Practice: This is the second of two required courses covering content on social welfare policies and services. Building on the first course, this course introduces the knowledge, skills, and strategies necessary to examine the impact of specific social policies on clients, agencies, service delivery, and practice and to influence these policies as participants in the major arenas where policy is analyzed, formulated, implemented, and changed. Prerequisite: SWGS 6006. Concurrent advanced field practice required.

Virginia Commonwealth University

602. Social Welfare Policy, Community Planning and Organizational Practice I: Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Corequisite: SLW 601. First of two foundation courses on social welfare policy practice in communities and organizations focusing on social and economic policies in light of the principles of social and economic justice. Introduces the social work role of policy practitioner as change agent in legislative, community, and organizational arenas. Uses social/behavioral knowledge and social work intervention models to create and apply analytical frameworks for assessing program, organizational and policy effectiveness. Surveys historical evolution of social welfare policy and contemporary provision of social welfare services. Establishes historical and current importance of values in policy formulation. Develops skills in identification of need, designing strategies for change, and policy analysis.

606. Social Welfare Policy, Community Planning and Organizational Practice II: Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SLW 601 and 602. Corequisites: SLW 610. The second of two foundation courses on social welfare policy and practice in communities and organizations focusing on social and economic policies in light of the principles of social and economic justice. Explores legislative/political processes. Examines values and ethical dilemmas facing professional social workers in organizations and communities. Presents effects of policy on social work practice. Develops skills in legislative lobbying, advocacy, design of change strategies and tactics, policy analysis, and task group leadership.


Georgia State University School of Social Work

SW 7600. Social Welfare Policy: This course focuses on the development of social welfare policies and programs in the United States. Critical study of policy formulation and analysis is emphasized, as well as the current status and accessibility of social welfare services to people who are most vulnerable because of status, age, health, or economic circumstances. The influence of social values on the political and policy development processes are highlighted as they relate to the differential allocation of material and social resources. By applying various analytical models to discuss the policy process and outcome, students will explore various social worker roles in advocacy, empowerment, and politics, necessary to bring about social and economic justice in the community system.



University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work

SWK 4102. Social Policy and Social Welfare in the Canadian Context: This course examines Canadian social welfare within the context of the transition from modernity to post-modernity.  Two related questions that anchor the course are:  (1) If the unfettered global market is so positive and beneficial why are more and more people in need?; and (2) Why is the modernist welfare state in such rapid decline?  Initially some of the meanings of our post-modern culture, including what it means for social welfare, will be explored followed by an historical analysis of the rise of social welfare and social work.  Current issues - aging and social policy, women and poverty, aboriginal and multicultural welfare concerns - will be discussed in more depth.

 More specifically, the course objectives are:

1. To learn about the social, political, ideological and economic forces which have affected the development of social welfare programs, the social work profession, and the nature of human need in Canada from the nineteenth century to the present;

2. To think about various approaches and interpretations for understanding social problems and social welfare issues all within the trichotomy of race, class and gender;

3. To explore the public/private dimensions of need provision;

4. To acquire an appreciation for some of the current scholarship in the field.


The main form of instruction will be ten lectures and two sessions devoted to smaller group discussions provided by the instructor, teaching assistants and guests.  Dialogue and exchanges of views will be encouraged and we will try to nourish a sense of community in the classroom where individual voices are valued and listened to. Education in the context of this course is seen as the practice of freedom and liberation.


University of Minnesota–Duluth Department of Social Work

SW 1210. Global Issues: Global problems of war, peace, national security; population, food, hunger; environmental concerns, global resources; economic and social development; human rights. Examines issues from a global problem-solving perspective. Value, race, class, gender differences. Offered in day school and as an individualized learning program course on the World Wide Web.

SW 5201. Social Welfare Policy: Historical development of field of social welfare in the United States and emergence of social work profession. Social policy analysis techniques and ways to influence social policy and vulnerable/minority issues.


Boston University School of Social Work

Social welfare policy sequence description: Social Welfare Policy. Courses in social welfare policy comprise conceptual, substantive, and analytical material. Students are exposed to multiple understandings of urban social problems and approaches to addressing them through public policy, as well as to the current constellation of policy interventions affecting particular populations and problems. They also study different ways of analyzing and appraising social policies in their formation and implementation stages.

Social Welfare Policy I: Context of Social Welfare Policy.

Social Welfare Policy II: Social Problems & Social Policy.


Hunter College School of Social Work

SSW 701. Social Welfare Policy & Services I.

SSW 702. Social Welfare Policy & Services II.

Temple University School of Social Administration

401. Social Welfare Policies and Services I: An introduction to American social welfare policies and social service programs in their historical, political, economic and social context. Methods of social problem analysis. The social work profession as a social institution.

402. Social Welfare Policies and Services II: Prerequisite: S.A. 401. A continuation of S.A. 401. Methods of social policy analysis and advocacy in the public policy arena, including skills in argumentation and lobbying.

406. Community Encounter: Community and classroom activities intended to orient students to social service needs and to professional roles in meeting them.


New Mexico State University School of Social Work

MSW 500. Social Problems and Social Welfare Policy: An overview of social and economic problems in the United States and the historical and current social welfare policies aimed at alleviating these problems. Emphasis on developing an awareness and ability to change policies which impact on vulnerable populations. Required. Prerequisite: majors or consent of instructor.


University of Utah Graduate School of Social Work

SOWK 6201. Social Policy I: Intro to Social Welfare Policy: Introduces students to the history and development of social welfare policies and institutions in the United States . Students are provided opportunities to acquire and apply skills for policy analysis in income maintenance, poverty, social security, civil rights, and family policy arenas.

SOWK 6202. Social Policy II: Social Policy Practice-Diversity: This course builds upon the knowledge, skills, and values introduced in Social Policy I. It introduces students to additional variables for social policy problem definition, policy development, and analysis: race, gender, poverty, and sexuality--in order to develop effective and efficient interventions for organizational and institutional change, aimed at enhancing the well-being and life chances and opportunities of oppressed people.


Gallaudet University Department of Social Work

SWK 711. Social Welfare Policy and Services: This course introduces the student to the range and structure of social welfare policies and services in the United States, with some material from other countries for international comparisons. The course will look at how these policies reflect societal values in responding to human needs, populations at risk, and social problems. Historical perspectives on current policy choices and issues will be discussed. The course will discuss the professional role of social work in evaluating and developing social welfare policy and will identify opportunities and skills needed in the process of planned policy change. 


Portland State University Graduate School of Social Work

SW 520. Social Work and Social Welfare Policy: Course defines and describes social welfare policy and the policy making-process. Examines historical and contemporary issues and their impact on the profession of social work and the institution of social welfare. Emphasis is given to the development of policy-practice skills from the perspective of a worker in a human service organization. Highlights the relationships between social problems, social policies, social programs, and social work practice.


George Warren Brown, Washington University in St. Louis

Social Welfare Policies and Services.


Columbia University

T6801. Social Welfare Policy: An overview and assessment of current social welfare policies and programs and the factors that influence their development. Special attention to income maintenance, personal social services, and in-kind benefits.


SSA University of Chicago

SSA 300. Social Intervention: Programs and Policies: This two-quarter course introduces students to the issues and problems associated with social welfare interventions at the community, agency, and policy levels. Students are expected to learn and exercise skills in analyzing the components of current policies, designing programmatic alternatives, anticipating substantive, operational, and political advantages and disadvantages, weighing benefits against financial costs, and making sound choices among imperfect alternatives. While focusing on public policies, the course will include consideration of the impact of policies and programs on individuals and families. The course will give students a thorough substantive grounding in several critical areas of social work practice including those of poverty and at least two social service areas such as mental health and child welfare.


Case Western Reserve University

SPPP 470. Social Policy.


University of Southern California

533. Social Welfare I: Origins and development of major welfare programs in this country.

535. Social Welfare II: Structure and operation of current American social welfare programs (social policy analysis).


University of Texas–Austin

382P. Social Problems and Social Welfare Policy: Historical perspective on the development of social problems and the social welfare institutions, programs, and policies that are created in response to those problems including policy and analysis.


University of Pennsylvania

601. History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare: This course offers an historical perspective for understanding current issues of social welfare and social work. It examines the social, racial, political, and economic forces which explain the development of social welfare and social work in the United States. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of gender and race in shaping social policy. Programs, policies, and issues are analyzed as responses to long-term changes in social and economic conditions in the United States and the needs and demands of oppressed groups for full participation in the life of the country.

611. Contemporary Social Policy.


University of Michigan

SW 530 (790). Introduction to Social Welfare Policy and Services: This course surveys the history of social welfare and the social work profession, a broad array of U.S. social welfare services, and the evolution of social work values and ethics. Emphasis is placed on major fields of social work service such as: income maintenance, health care, mental health, child welfare, corrections, and services to the elderly. Analytic frameworks with regard to social welfare policies and services will be presented. These frameworks identify strengths and weaknesses in the current social welfare system with respect to multiculturalism and diversity; social justice and social change; behavioral and social science theory/research; and social work relevant promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation programs and services.


Howard University School of Social Work

Social Welfare Policy & Services I (all students).

Social Welfare Policy & Services II (for social service management & community organization majors only).


University of California–Berkeley

220. Introduction to Social Welfare Policy: Analysis of issues in social welfare policy and recent trends shaping the development of the American Welfare state.


University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

101. Foundations of Social Welfare and Social Work: Introduces public welfare policy through lecture and discussion of the purposes public welfare serves, and a description of the most important programs created by those policies.


University of Wisconsin–Madison

605. The Field of Social Work: Nature, purpose, function, and organizational content of the profession. Historical development; a consideration of the development of the social welfare institutions, formation of social welfare policies and their impact on practice, and the role of the social work professional.

606. Social Policy: Analysis of policy issues as applied to such fields as poverty, discrimination, crime, physical and mental health on both national and state levels.


Smith College School for Social Work

160. History of American Social Welfare: This course is designed as an introduction to the field of social welfare in the United States and the development of the social work profession. The course focuses on the history of social welfare and social work in this country. It demonstrates the link between the economic, political, social and ideological systems that influence the development of social welfare policy. Particular attention is given to the social welfare needs and contributions of racial groups, primarily African Americans, women, and other oppressed and disadvantaged groups.

161. Introduction to Social Problem Analysis: This course focuses on the essential elements of social problem analysis and the development of social welfare policies and services. The entire class will analyze the problem of poverty, examining the various approaches to defining the problem, its prevalence and correlates, competing theories and hypotheses regarding its causation and maintenance. Students will critically evaluate income maintenance and employment policies. Students will apply the framework to other selected social problems.

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This page posted September 23, 2000