Temple University’s School of Social Administration has created a new curriculum for graduate students.
Students preparing for a master’s degree in social work (MSW) now have the opportunity to focus and specialize in various areas relating to their field.
“The new format offers more choices to our students, and it gives them the ability to achieve greater depth in their knowledge of social work,” said Lois Millner, Ph.D., chair of Temple’s department of social work.
The curriculum reforms were motivated by changes in the social work profession.
“The faculty has spent several years examining national trends, working with students and getting input from leading social workers in the regions as we designed this new curriculum,” Millner said.
The school emphasizes developing skills and teaching strategies for social and institutional change in practice methods with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations.
After the curriculum’s reconstruction, three new concentrations emerged. Students may now choose from Clinical Practice, Management and Planning, or Practice with Communities and Policy Arenas.
These concentrations will give students the choice to focus and perform duties to work directly with families and groups, engage in institutional, political and public aspects of community life, or prepare to work in public, non-profit and other human services organizations.
The Clinical Practice Concentration prepares students for “clinical capacity,” according to the MSW handbook. Students practice directly with families, groups and individuals to create social, psychological and economical change.
The Practice with Communities and Policy Arena Concentration is intended to produce social workers that will be politically active. It also links students to government and elected officials, offices, unions and other policy arenas.
The Management and Planning Concentration is tailored to prepare students for policymaking, human resources, program development and various other administrative roles.
Social work graduate students also have the option to specialize in either aging, child and family or physical and mental health. Students can follow these concentrations or mix and match according to their professional preference. Their field placement will coincide with their choice of specialization.
Full time MSW students must complete 60 credit hours of course work and field practice over a two-year period. Field credit can be given for current social work positions or students can be placed in various sites in the Delaware Valley, Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
These agencies and community organizations are intended to prepare MSW students in developmental roles of leadership, advocacy, evaluation and social change practices.
Students who have already earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree may be given advanced standing and therefore qualify for an accelerated format.
An extended format is offered to students who wish to go part time stretching over a three to four year period. It’s recommended that students who work consider the extended social work program.
Full time two-year students complete 48 semester hours of course work and 12 hours of field practice. Advanced standing students complete 29 semester hours and six semester hours of fieldwork.
The MSW program is described as a “rigorous academic program.” Students spend an enormous amount of their days and nights studying, reading, researching and completing assignments.
“We want to educate students that will work for social and economical justice,” Millner said. “The inequalities around the world have gotten worse. We want to emphasize human rights as the major goal of social work practice.”
Raynetta Smalls can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.