School of Social Work Courses
- SOWK 500: Human Behavior Social Environment I This course studies the life cycle of the individual from in utero through old age and death from a biopsychosocial perspective via multiple theoretical frameworks. Individual growth and development is studied in the context of culture, race, ethnicity, social class, gender, families and other social system. Attention is also given to the impact of trauma, loss, and environmental stressors on the individual and the family.
- SOWK 500E: Human Behavior in the Social Environment
(Restricted to students admitted to Erikson/Loyola dual-degree program)
- SOWK 500E, Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE I) is a foundation-year course in the human behavior and the social environment content area. This introductory course is designed to provide dual degree students in social work and child development with a basis from which to understand human behavior and development over the course of the life span. The course material is taught from bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspectives. A variety of theories are utilized to assist students in understanding the complexity of human behavior, including traditional and recent psychodynamic, family systems, cognitive, and neurobiological theories. Course content includes and is sensitive to human diversity and specifically includes materials on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual minorities, physical challenges, spirituality, and socioeconomic factors as they affect human behavior and development. Modal and expectable behaviors are thus contextualized and used to develop students’ abilities to view clients through a bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework. Students are to utilize this material as a background for assessing strengths, limitations, risk, protective, and resiliency facts Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 501: Human Behavior Social Environment II this course focuses on deepening the student's knowledge of human behavior. Maladaptive patterns of adult psychological functioning are examined.
- SOWK 502: Race/Ethnicity - This course explores diversity in a global environment characterized by color, ethnicity, culture, national origin, class, gender, age, religion, physical or mental ability, gender identity and sexuality. Students will effectively analyze and assess the cultural and institutional context of social justice issues.
- SOWK 503: Individual and Family I - Theory for social work practice is studied, using an integrated social systems and biopsychosocial model. The student is introduced to the profession through its history, its conceptual development and through an examination of the values, knowledge and skills which characterize it. The course content focuses on the worker/client relationship and development of assessment, intervention and evaluation skills
- SOWK 504: Individual and Family II - This course is concerned with social work as intervention with clients. The focus of the course is on individualized treatment planning and execution, based on diagnosis and the social worker's disciplined use of professional skills. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 505: Group Process -This course presents theoretical approaches to social work with small groups, with particular emphasis on the dynamics of small group process and appropriate worker intervention. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 506: Social Work Research - The social work profession depends on knowledge-generating activities using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. In recognition of these needs, this sequence is designed to enable students to prepare for three roles: 1) a competent evaluator of one's own practice and programs; 2) a responsible and critical consumer of social work research; and 3) an active participant in knowledge-generating inquiries. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 507: Social Welfare and Social Work - This course examines social welfare problems, the system of social welfare, and its interrelationships with direct practice and the delivery of services. Particular emphasis is placed on the examination of different political and economic conceptions, as well as the ways in which they shape social programs and social work practice. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 509: Policies and Strategies for Community Intervention - This course provides a review of community organization theory and practice at both the macro and micro levels. Basic models of community organization theory and practice are highlighted, including locality development, social planning, and social action as well as major policy issues that relate to communities. Special attention is given to the historical base of community organization in America, citizen/consumer participation, volunteerism, assessment of community needs, impact of racism, and community work and intervention techniques. Students will examine the range of social work roles and functioning in community organization practice from the personal individual participant perspective to the social worker/ professional organizer perspective, and as a policy-maker. Sample Syllabus
Advanced 600 & 700 Level Courses
Pre-requisites - completion of 500 level courses with the exception of SOWK 506 and SOWK 509.
Pre-requisites - SOWK 509 must be completed before taking 600 level policy courses.
No pre-requisites exist for SOWK 730, SOWK 731, SOWK 732. BSW students are eligible to take these courses in their Senior year.
Pre-requisites - for CADC courses - SOWK 722 must be completed before taking SOWK 723 and SOWK 724.
- SOWK 602: Health Policy and Systems - Health-care systems are examined in the context of social policy and healthcare needs. The effects of different levels of healthcare interventions, changing roles and responsibilities of government, the voluntary sector and the proprietary sector are assessed in relation to access and utilization of health care.Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 603: Brief Treatment - This seminar builds on the student's knowledge of short-term treatment, expanding this knowledge and skill toward understanding, and the practice of brief treatment as a modality of social work intervention. It examines the essential components of brief treatment: selection of clients, goals, focus, treatment approaches and techniques. Differences and common elements of three approaches to brief treatment (task-centered, crisis intervention, brief psychotherapy) are explored and related to social work practices with individual clients. Special consideration is given to the dynamics of the first interview with clients. Emphasis is placed on integrating theory with practice skill through the use of current clinical material from the student's fieldwork course.
- SOWK 604: Advanced Social Work Practice with Groups - Building on the basic course in social work with small groups (SOWK 505), this course focuses on developing deeper understanding and skill in the area of group therapy. The course includes examination of process of "live" group therapy, using the class group as well as the student's field course experience for learning purposes.Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 605: Human Sexuality - This course provides basic knowledge about the physiology and psychology of human sexuality as well as consideration of some areas of sexual dysfunction. In addition to the knowledge component, attention is focused on cultural, societal, and personal attitudes which may affect the student's response to this area of practice. The problems of sexual dysfunction are considered within the context of the client relational patterns and individual adjustments. Current treatment modalities are reviewed and examined within the context of social work values.
- SOWK 606: Practice in Research - This course builds on foundation content offered in Methods of Social Work Research (SOWK 506) and in other areas of the curriculum, including field instruction courses. The course develops the students' integration of research and practice, builds on students' understanding of research paradigms, and adds to their skills in analyzing research studies using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The basic thrust of the course is twofold: (1) to provide students with an initial or continuing experience of designing social work practice; and (2) to involve students in implementing their research studies related to their chosen focus and interests in their advanced year.
- SOWK 607: Development of Psychodynamic Theory- This course will cover five different historical and current areas of psychodynamic theory: 1) drive and structural theory, 2) ego psychology, 3) object relations theories, 4) self psychology, and 5) new theories derived from research on infants. Emphasis is on understanding the evolution of psychodynamic theory over time, (i.e., how different theories have both built upon and diverged from each other, and what their respective strengths and limitations are). Applications to social work practice will be explored and discussed. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 608: Social Work and Law - This course will provide an overview of the legal system, the role of social workers in the court system, and provide tools to assist students in developing reports appropriate for legal review.
- SOWK 609: Social Work Practicum in Schools - This course focuses on the roles of social workers in schools, including provision of direct service, consultation, advocacy, program development and evaluation, and liaison with family and community systems. A perspective on school social work is developed through a historical view of social work in schools and identification of issues in the delivery of social work services in schools. Significant legislation such as laws pertaining to special education, family rights and privacy, and due process will be included. Content areas are supported by value positions stemming from the professional social work value base and the professional code of ethics. This course should be taken concurrently with a school field placement.
- SOWK 610H: Social Policy and Practice/Health/Mental Health - This course focuses on the interface between persons with mental health problems and the service delivery systems which provide them with care. The course is designed to ensure that students selecting this focus have and opportunity to apply critical thinking skills in the consolidation of previously learned material, as well as the use of previous learning in new and more complex situations. Course material deals with the impact of new legislation, changing policy, prevention, and social trends on individuals who suffer from mental health as well as their families, communities, and organizations that serve them.
The course concerns itself with policy development and change, and provides students with experience(s) in integrating the basic areas of social work practice, research, HBSE, methods, and policy in examining their own practice roles currently and in the future.Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 610F: Social Policy and Practice/Families - This advanced course focuses on the interface between children, adolescents, and families as well as the ecosystem. Particular attention is given to the major social institutions influencing children, adolescents, and families: schools, the workplace, the economy, child welfare, health care, and religion. This course content considers the response of families, communities, and organizations to new legislation, changing policy and social trends that impact on their day-to-day existence. Diversity in racial, ethnic, class, sexual orientations, and family composition are addressed in relation to children, families and social institutions as well as policies.
- SOWK 611: Treatment of Couples/Marital Problems - This course explores clinical models and techniques for the treatment of couples with relationship problems. Primary attention is given to the integration of systemic and analytical theories. Specific strategies and techniques are presented and demonstrated via simulations and video. Theories of change in social work treatment are discussed, and students are encouraged to identify their own theoretical framework and capabilities as social work practitioners. Attention is given to the range of symptomatology and dysfunction, including sexual dysfunction and severe disturbances. Diagnosis and treatment of a variety of dyadic relationships are discussed, including unmarried, gay and lesbian couples.
- SOWK 612: Family Assessment and Intervention - The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the field of family diagnosis and treatment. It provides a base of selected theoretical concepts and practice techniques which may be utilized to assess family functioning, organize therapeutic systems and facilitate processes of family development and positive change. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 613: Advanced Family Treatment - This seminar course is designed to deepen student clinical practice competence in family therapy. Through lecture, discussion and experiential exercises, including formation of simulated families, use of case vignettes and films, the course will focus on refining understanding of the therapeutic process and the development of treatment skills. Students will advance their understanding of the relationship between treatment goals and treatment techniques. Students will gain experience on the intellectual and affective levels in executing the roles and tasks of family therapists.
- SOWK 614: Clinical Social Work Practice Health Care - The components of psychosocial assessment and treatment are integrated with the aspects of the medical and physical functioning of the person-situation configuration. Coping tasks of individuals and family members are viewed from a perspective of growth based upon the psychosocial capacities of the persons involved, pre-illness coping patterns, phases of the illness process and prognosis for physical functioning and life. Cultural and class factors are emphasized relative to family health belief systems and how such factors interact with access to and utilization of healthcare services. Students in the healthcare program should take this course with the advanced field placement.
- SOWK 615: Adol. Client: Diagnosis an Treatment - This course emphasizes knowledge of critical dimensions of adolescent ego development (normal and pathogenic) and draws primarily from analytic ego psychological theory. The vicissitudes of therapeutic relationships with adolescents are explored, focusing on stages in the treatment process, the modes of expression available to clinicians, and clinicians' differential judgments regarding technique and communication. While a psychodynamic approach is emphasized within the context of an individual treatment model, some issues relative to family and group psychotherapy will be addressed.
- SOWK 616: Psychotherapy with Adults - This course focuses on the content and process of psychodynamically-based psychotherapy with adults. Course content includes areas of diagnostic evaluation, the phasic treatment process, the therapeutic alliance, transference and counter-transference, frameworks for understanding communications and therapeutic techniques.
- SOWK 617: Principles and Interventions in Clinical Social Work - This course is an advanced concentration practice elective which is designed to assist students who had exposure to theoretical concepts and practice experience in learning to utilize assessment and treatment methods as individualizing rather than as labeling or stereotyping processes. The class focus is on comprehending the communication within treatment relationship themselves both as a basis for assessment and as the route through which social workers can have a therapeutic influence. The content is mainly presente through the use of case material which illustrates varying levels of personality organization, beginning with the disorganization of schizophrenic experience to the more highly refined conflict in neurotic character formation. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 618: Therapeutic Role: Religion and Spirituality - This advanced elective examines the predominate practice theories regarding religion and spirituality for the "person-in-the-situation". Included in the course material are relevant psychodynamic, philosophical, theological and sociocultural understands of the interface between psychotherapy and religion and spiritual beliefs and practices of our clients and of ourselves. This course is designed to assist clinical social workers in their development as critically reflective of and responsive to the diversity of religious and spiritual values, ethics, and principles that contribute to the world-view of practitioners and the people with whom they work.
- SOWK 619: Issues in Treatment of Women - This course focuses on the identification and application of treatment strategies relevant to practice with women. Issues in diagnosis include: high prevalence disorders in women, developmental and role issues, and female identity issues. Relationship issues are identified based on understanding sexism and stereotyping in society and social work as a "female profession." Intervention process issues include focus on female populations including battered, minority, and alcoholic women.
- SOWK 620: Clinical Social Work Practice with Children - This course is designed to help students attain a mastery of the central concepts in direct social work treatment of children. The course begins with an overview of the major mental disorders from which children suffer, and then covers interviewing skills and formulating diagnosis and treatment plans with children. Students are introduced to the various modalities available for clinical social work practice with children, and different theoretical models that have been developed for understanding and treating children.
- SOWK 626: Social Work with Severely Mental Ill - This elective course offers students the opportunity to learn about leading-edge social work approaches to providing humane care for severely mentally ill clients, especially those clients with concomitant substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and severe socioeconomic disadvantage. This course offers students a comprehensive approach to social work practice with this population, which includes outreach, clinical assessment, and treatment planning. Working with the client's environment, collaboration with other systems, advocacy and program development are considered. The course uses a strengths-perspective, in that the emphasis is on understanding the severely mentally ill client's experience of illness and his/her strengths, and improving the processes associated with acquiring care.
- SOWK 631: Clinical Practice: Family Violence - This course will focus on the occurrence of violence, the various theoretical perspectives and the treatment of violence as it is experienced by various family members. The content of the course will include clinical social work assessment and intervention relevant to violence to family members. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 632: Social Work with Aged - The focus of this course is on practice with an aging clientele. It consists of understanding the issues of the developmental process of aging, and examining social work practice issues. The student is helped to develop diagnostic and treatment skills for work with the elderly population. Similarities and differences in treatment approaches with other age groups are reviewed and generic principles identified. Concrete service delivery and individual, family and small group treatment approaches are studied.
- SOWK 644: Ethics: Theory and Application - This is a specialized course designed to provide students with an in depth and critical understanding of the ethical principles and practices within the helping professions. A variety of perspectives (historical, political, etc.) and theories/philosophies (moral authority, paternalism, liberalism, etc.) are utilized to assist students in understanding the complexity of ethics, ethical decision-making, ethical action, and ethical advocacy. The class is structured around five components to understanding and applying ethical knowledge.
- SOWK 645: Crisis Intervention - This course focuses on crises and emergencies, significant and stressful phenomena that are common in all aspects of social work. The definitions and implications of crisis (a period of emotional disequilibrium that lasts for up to 6 weeks) and emergency (an immediate situation that includes the potential for physical harm) are explored. A model of crisis intervention is presented, with a variety of case examples, along with an understanding of the importance of not conducting crisis intervention when a client is not in crisis. The nature of emergencies are also explored, with emphasis on potential suicide, potential violence, and states of impaired judgment that produce vulnerability to harm. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 650: Staff Management and Development - This course is designed to prepare students for leadership and development practice in staff management and development/supervisory1 positions in social/human services organizations. The terms "staff management and development" and "supervision" are used interchangeably.
Content focuses on providing knowledge, values and ethics, and skills in guiding the work and development of others within social/human services organizations. Content areas include but are not limited to staff management and development/supervision principles, models, and styles, staff development, team work, staff selection, legal issues, evaluation and termination, and mediation and conflict resolution.
Students who successfully complete this course should possess effective staff leadership competence in general and for working with diverse and multicultural personnel and clients as well as vulnerable, oppressed and disenfranchised population. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 652: Non-Profit Management- While nonprofits have been the focus of controversy over the years they continue to be one of the main institutions by which goods and services are delivered to society. Nonprofits provide not only basic human needs, but also a means to enhance and expand the public discourse on social issues throughout the United States. This course will examine the evolution of the nonprofit sector and explore some of the critical historical, management, leadership, and institutional development issues that are key to running an effective nonprofit organization. This course is intended to be interactive and will include student presentations, small group exercises, guest speakers, and lecture. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 653: Program Management and Developement - Program Management and Development Practice is a practice course which supports the LDSS domain. There is increasing demand for social workers who can work with diverse communities through program management and development using strengths and empowerment perspectives and social and economic justice principles.
This course builds on the ecological systems perspective that views program development as an arena for social change. Although rationale planning is emphasized, the course illuminates how values, needs and resources influence program design and decision-making. As a major practice strategy used in community development, SW 653 offers a contingency framework that teaches students about the choices, decisions and situations for planning new or adapting programs within the context of diverse communities. It sharpens the skill set necessary for program development within the context of quality improvement and quality management. Finally, it is infused with technology applications to strengthen the collection, analysis and presentation of information for program development and other strategies used in community practice.
- SOWK 654: Social Work Practice in Global, Cross Cultural Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 656: Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Populations
Social Work Practice with LGBTQ Populations is designed to provide students with an in-depth and critical understanding of issues related to individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), as well as their families and the communities in which they live. A variety of perspectives (including historical, political, sociological, psychological, etc.) are examined throughout the course to assist students in understanding the complexity and dynamics of the person-in-environment perspective when working with LGBTQ individuals. The course builds on foundation content in the areas of human behavior in the social environment, practice, policy, and research, and further advances and integrates these content areas through the readings and class discussions. The course begins with establishing a basic understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, then covers topics including gay-affirming models of practice, the coming out process, parenting, human rights, developmental issues facing LGBTQ youth, homophobia, domestic violence, and social welfare policy and advocacy.
- SOWK 713: Nonprofit Management - While nonprofits have been the focus of intense controversy over the years they continue to be one of society’s most treasured and distinguished resources in operation today. These organizations provide not only basic human needs, but also a means to enhance and expand the public discourse on social issues throughout the United States. This course will examine the history, growth and evolution of the nonprofit sector and explore some of the critical management, leadership and institutional development issues that are key to running an effective.
- SOWK 714: Philanthropy, Public Policy, Community Change
- SOWK 722: Introduction to Alcohol and Drugs Disorders: This foundation-level course will inform students about the prevalence of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and how they are implicated in the broad spectrum of social work practice. Students will review the history, epidemiology and pharmacology of alcohol and other common drugs of abuse. The etiology of SUD Abuse and Dependence will be discussed, including the primary, progressive, multi-dimensional nature of addictive diseases. The importance of relevant social systems (e.g., family, work, and community/society) and spirituality in addiction and recovery will be discussed. The role of the social worker in a multi-disciplinary approach to SUD prevention and treatment will be considered. This course is a prerequisite for SOWK 723 and SOWK 724.
- SOWK 723: Clinical Practice in Addiction - This advanced-level course will prepare students to perform the key clinical tasks associated with counseling clients affected by Substance Use Disorders (SUD). These key clinical tasks conform with the “AODA Counselor Core Functions and Skills” articulated by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium and its members, including the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Board (IAODAPCA). The Core Functions and Skills include: screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling (individual, family and group), case management, crisis intervention, client education, referral, reports and recordkeeping, consultation with other professionals and intervention (via workplace, legal system and schools). Prerequisite: SOWK 722
- SOWK 724: Substance Abuse Treatment in Groups - This advanced-level course will focus on the many applications of group work to those contending with addictive disorders. Self- help groups, outpatient psychotherapy groups, psychoeducational groups, and inpatient intensive groups will all be considered, along with the various settings in which group work is conducted with this population. Through a combination of assigned readings, attendance at group meetings and hands-on participation in small groups within the class, the student will gain a working knowledge of how groups function to assist those recovering from addictions. While the primary focus will be on treatment of substance abuse disorders, consideration will also be given to addiction to activities such as sex and gambling. Etiological and legal issues will also be discussed.
Prerequisite: SOWK 722
- SOWK 730: Migration Dynamics and U.S. Social Policy - This course offers an exploration into some of the social policy and social welfare concerns associated with contemporary migration. This exploration is grounded in an economic causes and consequences of migration; public policy regarding migration and the rights of immigrants; and the roles of governmental and nongovernmental local, national and international organizations. Social justice themes related to migration are also identified in this course. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 731: Social Work Practice with Refuges and Immigrants - This is an advanced clinical social work course elective that builds on foundation social work courses. The content of the course will be on the identification and application of clinical social work assessment and intervention of the major migrant groups, to help individuals and families who are currently living in the U.S. The course will build a knowledge base necessary to effectively work with immigrant populations, in general, and with immigrants and violence and trauma in particular. The general topics for this course have been chosen specifically to cover the arenas of immigration (1 brief history of migration experience; (2) the characteristics of immigrants who are currently relocating in the U.S.; (3) the process of acculturation and assimilation, including the controversies embedded in these concepts; (4) the interface of migration and violence and trauma; and (5) the multi-theoretical, ecological process of assessment and intervention with immigrant groups. Sample Syllabus
- SOWK 732: Migration, Social Justice and Human Rights - The conditions that fuel migration, as well as the marginalized and vulnerable positions that many migrants assume once in the U.S., raise a number of social, economic, and cultural challenges, and of course, a myriad of ethical dilemmas. This course offers an exploration into some of the social justice concerns associated with contemporary migration. It addresses distinct theories, and practices, of justice as they relate to concrete dilemmas posed by contemporary migration and immigration policies. Sample Syllabus