Bachelor of Arts in Social Work: Course Descriptions
As a student in the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work program, you’ll need to take the following eight courses in the sequence outlined on the B.A.S.W. Plan of Study page, plus complete a fieldwork placement accompanied by a biweekly integrative seminar.
SOWK 6050 – Human Rights and Social Justice (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to the human rights and social justice perspectives and how they intersect with social work values, ethics, and practice in local and global contexts. Students learn a practice framework that integrates a human rights perspective, which promotes the dignity, respect, and well-being of all persons, with a social justice perspective which seeks to understand, challenge, and combat oppression, unequal access to resources, and social inequities. Students engage in critical self-awareness and apply an integrated practice framework for use with
individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities that advance human rights and social and economic justice.
SOWK 6208 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3 credits)
This is the first of a two-semester course sequence. In this class, students learn a systemic way of thinking. The course focuses on the open-ended, part/whole nature of all the systems with which social workers interact: the individual, family, small groups, community, and society. We look at how each system is interdependent, has its own structure and continually affects larger and smaller systems. Additionally, students learn theoretical explanations for oppression and related inequities in society, plus we consider how to evaluate these theories through the lens of human rights and social justice. We use a case to illustrate the application of systems thinking to an oppressed group and the communities that are formed as an adaptation. The case also relates to the concept of capacity building and facilitates an analysis of the bi-directional nature of change between the community and the individual.
The course also focuses on human development from infancy through late childhood in the context of families and communities, using a risk and resilience lens. We also explore concepts of primary prevention and early intervention. We introduce the concept of trauma, looking at the impact of domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect on young children and their families. We also examine family and community supports as promotional factors of well-being in light of the central role of early attachment and research in neurobiology. In addition, we include content on immigrants, linking an investigation of risk and protective processes among children and the schools, families, and communities within which they are embedded.
SOWK 6209 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment II (3 credits)
This course, the second in a two-semester sequence, looks at the promotion of well-being, human rights, and social justice, including the roles of social supports, life stressors, coping strategies, and resilience factors within the life course development of adolescents, adults, and older adults. At each of these stages we examine the roles of risk and protective factors in the bio-psycho-social and ecosystemic environment. We approach the topic of death and dying from a life-course perspective, and we examine spirituality as a resource for coping and resilience. We also examine how immigration and the refugee experience affect developmental pathways. At the end of the course, students are able to identify and discuss existing risks and strengths of individuals, families, and communities at different points in the life course during adolescence, adulthood, and late adulthood.
Prerequisite: SOWK 6208 – Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
SOWK 6801 – Social Work Practice in Research I (3 credits)
This is the first of a two-semester course sequence. In this class, students are introduced to social work research, covering the scientific method from the development of a researchable hypothesis to the point of data collection. The course focuses on social work problem formulation, provides a basic introduction to methodology, and also includes selected research experiences. The material covers the following areas: developing a researchable question; the values and ethical and political issues involved in developing that question; narrowing and specifying the question; sampling; design; data collection; and measurement techniques. Each topic is addressed through readings, lecture material, and practical application. The practical application is usually related to the class research project.
SOWK 6802 – Social Work Practice in Research II (3 credits)
This course, the second in the two-semester research sequence, continues to teach social work research through a combination of didactic and experiential methods focusing on human rights and social justice. Students also continue learning how to understand and evaluate social
work research. In addition, they work on the class research project, with an emphasis on the analysis and interpretation of the data collected. Through this work, students learn how research informs practice, and practice informs research.
Prerequisite: SOWK 6801 – Social Work Practice in Research I
SOWK 6321 – Generalist Social Work Practice With Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities I (3 credits)
This is the first of a two-semester course sequence. This course covers generalist social work practice skills in the beginning phase of the helping process with individuals, families, groups, and organizations. Initially, students learn and practice basic communication and interviewing skills that are essential to the helping relationship within all system sizes. Following the introduction of these basic skills, students learn the tasks and skills required in the beginning phase of practice, including preparation, engagement, first interview skills, and case documentation. Students then learn the process of collecting and organizing data from individuals, organizations, and communities using a strengths perspective. The course also introduces the process of analyzing and synthesizing this data for the purposes of identifying promotive and risk factors, problem formulation, and assessing the level of client economic, political, physical, mental, social, spiritual, and educational well-being. We also examine and practice steps that ensure a collaborative contracting process that link assessment to intervention and evaluation.
SOWK 6322 – Generalist Social Work Practice With Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities II (3 credits)
This course, the second in a two-semester sequence, continues to build the skills of generalist social work practice with individuals, families, and groups. The course begins by examining the common structureof social work practice, which includes the beginning, middle, and end phase with multi-level practice (individual, family, group, organization, and community). We discuss in detail the skills and interventive roles relevant to the middle and end phases of intervention with individuals, families, and groups, while adding knowledge and skills involved in the beginning phase of working with families and groups. The course also emphasizes the practice and application of generalist social work skills through the use of role-playing and other interactive exercises based on case examples representative of the client populations with whom the students work.
Prerequisite: SOWK 6321 – Generalist Social Work Practice With Individuals, Families, Groups, and Communities I
SOWK 6006 – Social Welfare Policy and Services (3 credits)
This course introduces students to the underlying values, assumptions, and philosophical perspectives as well as the social, economic, and political factors that have influenced the development of this country’s social welfare system, including its goals, policies, and programs. Content from this course is intended to help students: 1) learn the history, mission, and philosophy of the social work profession and the evolution of social welfare policy; 2) develop a beginning understanding of major social policies that have been created specifically to address the needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities—particularly those that live in poverty; 3) be able to apply to practice the policies and services rendered by local, state, regional, national, and international agencies using comprehensive frameworks with special attention to human rights, equity, and social justice; 4) understand that improving well-being is the goal of effective policy change; and 5) recognize policy implications for social work practice.
SOWK 6901 – Field Practicum and Integrative Seminar (9 credits)
Students participate in this required integrative seminar, which meets 15 times over the course of the academic year, while completing their fieldwork assignment. The purpose of the seminar is to assist students in combining what they learn in the classroom with what they learn in the field. In addition, the seminar provides students with a forum where they can share their experiences in the field and classroom, learn about ways social workers function in different settings, work toward the development of increased self-awareness, receive additional knowledge to supplement their academic and field experience, and learn to mutually support one another. The Field Practicum and Integrative Seminar are structured as a capstone course integrating competencies from both their social work coursework and the broader Fordham University undergraduate core curriculum. Through this course, students will be prepared to enter into agency-based social work practice as well as advanced social work education.