The Catholic University of America

... Become a Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work program at the School of Social Service seeks to prepare advanced practitioners who, consistent with their chosen concentrations, act as agents of change to promote individual and societal well-being. The goals of the M.S.W. program, in keeping with the goals of the school and grounded in the liberal arts, ensure the education of social workers whose practice is rooted in traditional values and theory but is also current with the demands of the changing practice environment. The curriculum is designed so that all students in the M.S.W. program will develop competencies as social work practitioners.

MSW Foundation Curriculum

Human Behavior and Social Environment (571) utilizes an ecological and systems perspective, examines the bio-psycho-social-spiritual human development across the life cycle. Normal development with a framework for the micro, mezzo and macro theories will be examined. Developing theories of strength and resilience, the impact of economic forces at the micro and macro levels will be emphasized.

Human Development and Psychopathology (572) utilizes a “life course perspective” to focus on human growth and development, this course critically analyzes pathological human behavior. It integrates and compares normal development with pathology and places an emphasis on how multiple dimensions of person and environment are influenced by time to produce unique life journeys. As in SSS 571, strength and resilience, all forms of diversity and oppression, and the impact of social and economic forces are emphasized as salient influences on life course trajectories and pathology.

Diversity in a Multicultural Society (570) presents a strengths perspective, this course examines the resilience of populations-at-risk, particularly people of color, persons with disabilities, and gays and lesbians. It focuses on diversity in a global environment, including issues of discrimination, institutional racism and economic deprivation. It intends to enhance/develop self-awareness and sensitivity for a culturally competent social work practice.

Social Welfare Policy and Services I (581) presents the historical and contemporary context for understanding social work practice. Students learn the political and organizational processes that are used to influence policy as well as develop skill in analyzing policy.

Social Welfare Policy and Services II (582) teaches students how to analyze social policy, to understand the legislative and budget processes and to develop and implement advocacy strategies to effect social policy change. The course is focused on effecting policy change with and for vulnerable and stigmatized populations and issues of power and oppression are considered throughout the semester.

Social Work Research (590) provides a basic understanding of the research process and methods used by social scientists. Students learn to develop a systematic approach to practice problems, to formulate specific research questions, and to select and interpret appropriate statistical techniques.

The generalist model of social work practice is introduced through the two Generalist Practice courses (605 - Individuals, Families and Groups, and 606 – Groups, Organizations and Communities) and Integrative Field Seminars (673/674). Supplementing supervised practice in the field internship (16 hours/week), the weekly field seminar provides the opportunity for practicing skills through role play, case and project presentation and seminar discussion. The seminar instructor serves as the liaison between the field agency and the school, maintaining and enhancing that link.


NCSSS provides an M.S.W. degree with substance. I wanted an education backed by a sincere, dedicated and professional staff of faculty and administrators who share enthusiasm for the field and the desire to promote ethical practice. I feel competent and effective in my new career and credit the solid foundation I built at NCSSS.

Gini Webster, M.S.W. 2004

 ♦ Foundation syllabi

 ♦ Foundation field placement settings

 ♦ Masters Student Association