Summary of social work graduate programs prepared by Melissa C.F. Becker, MSW, September 2000
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University of California-Los Angeles

Identity: Multiculturalism, critical inquiry and empirically tested interventions. "The overarching mission of the Department of Social Welfare is to develop the empirical basis for social work practice and to train the next generation of leaders for the social work profession. The principal characteristic of graduate study in social welfare is inspiring independence and originality of thought in the pursuit of knowledge. Students are expected to achieve mastery of a comprehensive body of professional knowledge and skill, including the ability to systematically organize and carry out investigations of professionally significant issues."

Hours: 76 units; quarter system; course credits vary by year.

Pre Reqs: BA; 7 courses in the Humanities and socio-behavioral sciences, including a minimum of three socio-behavioral courses; 1 course in elementary statistics with a grade of B or better; and 1 course with human biology content (examples include anthropology, psychology, sociology).

Program Structure: Students are expected to attend full time and to complete the program without interruption. In rare cases a part time program is allowed.

Foundation: 38 units. During their first year, students are introduced to the foundations of social work practice with a combination of classroom instruction and field experience in two major areas of social work methods: clinical work with individuals, families and groups (SWIFG), or "micro," and work with organizations, communities and policy settings (SWOCPS), or "macro." Courses include: Theory of Social Work Practice IFG (1, 2, and 3); Theory of Social Work Practice OCPS (1,2 and 3); Dynamics of Human Behavior 1 and 2 (HBSE); Foundations of Social Welfare Policy; Research Methods; Cross-Cultural Awareness; and 2 Electives.

Concentrations: 38 units minimum. In the second year, students select one of the two practice methods areas (SWIFG or SWOCPS) as a concentration and complete related advanced coursework and field practicum. Specializations in five major areas are offered: gerontological social work; school social work/youth services; child welfare; mental health services; and health services.

All MSW candidates must pass an oral comprehensive examination in the spring quarter of their second year. This exam covers the entire range of students’ programs of study.

Practicum: Approximately 1,200 hours are required in two field placements over the two-year period, for which a total of 21 units of pass/fail academic credit are given. Field days are full eight-hour days, usually three days per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Field placements may include evening hours.

Electives: Electives vary by year and concentration. In addition, all students are required to take at least one course outside the department sometime during their two year program.

Dual Degrees: JD/MSW; combined MSW/Ph.D. program.

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This page posted September 23, 2000