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

Identity: The School of Social Work shares with the University a commitment to the advancement of knowledge and applies that knowledge for the fulfillment of human potential through the prevention and amelioration of social problems. The School prepares social work and child development and child care students for competent professional practice and research seeking to maximize human development, human dignity, social justice, and social equity for diverse populations. The School is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship through teaching, community service, research, and the dissemination of knowledge. Consistent with the University's mission to serve the metropolitan area, the School has special concern for the social issues associated with urbanization. The School is recognized as a national leader in education for child welfare practice.

Hours: 58 credits, semester system, 3 hour classes. 40 credits in courses and 18 credits in fieldwork.

Pre Reqs: BA. Students must have a minimum of 60 undergraduate (or undergraduate plus graduate) credits in the liberal arts. Thirty hours out of the 60 must be in the social and behavioral sciences; 30 credits must be distributed between the humanities and natural sciences, of which one of the courses must be Human Biology and another in Descriptive Statistics.

Program Structure: Full time 2 year program; Part time program (up to 4 years). Cannot guarantee that part time students can complete their degree through evening classes alone. Advanced Standing.

Foundation: Foundations of social work research; human behavior and the social environment; social welfare; generalist foundations of social work practice; foundation field work; foundations of social work with diverse populations. May begin concentration courses Spring semester of the first year.

Concentration: Two concentrations: Community Organizing & Social Administration (COSA), or Direct Practice. Applicants are required on admission to designate one skill concentration chosen from the following: Community Organizing (CO), Social Administration (SA), or Direct Practice with Individuals, Families & Groups.

Community Organization requires: Introduction to community organization: history and models; Community organization strategies & tactics; advanced seminar in community organization; one graduate level planning course; two electives. Students who select the CO concentration must also take a concentration-related course in human behavior and the social environment (Collective Behavior and the Urban Environment: Race, Poverty, and Gender) and one in social policy (Social Welfare Policy: Economics and Political Foundations). CO students may also have their own section of a second-year research course which would focus on community research. In addition, students may choose to specialize in Human Services Organizing or Community Economic Development.

Social Administration requires: Intro to Social administration; Financial management for non profit human service agencies; supervision and personnel management; and an elective concentration class. Social Administration students also take concentration-related courses in HBSE (Human Behavior in the Urban Environment); social policy (Human Service Institutions and Public Policy); and research (Administrative Data Processing). In addition, students may choose to specialize in Human Services Management.

Direct Practice requires: Models of Intervention; advanced direct practice - behavioral/cognitive or advanced direct practice - social systems or advanced direct practice — psychodynamic; direct practice with diverse populations; and a direct practice elective. Students must take a human behavior course, a policy analysis course, and a social work research course that have content specific to direct practice. Three direct practice skills courses are required along with one skills elective. In addition, students may choose to specialize in one of the following: CYF, mental health, or health.

Practicum: 1,296 hours of structured learning activities in two distinct field placements approved by the School of Social Work. Student is in the field for three days per week and in the classroom for two days per week.

The regular full-time student usually has one placement in the first year. This placement begins in the second term as a foundation placement and extends through Summer Session I as a concentration-specific placement. It is known as the foundation field placement. In the spring term, students are expected to apply foundation skills to work with people, communities, and organizations. The first term of field (360 hours) runs concurrently with classes; however, during Summer Session I (216 hours), the student is in field placement five days a week. Concurrent field placements usually imply that the student is in the field for three days per week and in the classroom for two days per week.

During the second year, students are assigned a concentration field placement. During the Fall and Spring Terms of field placement (360 hours each), the student's learning focus should build on foundation skills, but should clearly provide opportunities for structured supervised learning in the chosen concentration. These two terms of field placement also run concurrently with classes.

Electives: 7 or 8 course credits; varies slightly by concentration and possible concentration specialization.

Specializations: Certificates: Gerontology; Home and School Visitor/School Social Worker; Child Welfare. Post-MSW certification: Family Therapy; EAP. MS Program in Child Development & Child Care located in SSW.

Dual Degrees: Divinity, Public Administration, International Affairs, Urban and Regional Planning, Jewish Communal Service.

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You can email Melissa: - online since April 1999
This page posted October 15, 2000