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Department of Social Work

169 Albert W. Brown Building
(585) 395-2324

Chair and Associate Professor: Diane Dwyer, MSW, University of Buffalo; Associate Professors: Kenneth Herrmann, MSW, University of Buffalo; Barbara Kasper, MSW, Syracuse University; Assistant Professors: Carmen Aponte, PhD, Ohio State University; Jason Dauenhauer, PhD, University of Rochester; Linda King, PhD, University at Buffalo; Richard Russell, PhD, Syracuse University; Visiting Assistant Professors: Debra Fromm Faria, MSW, Syracuse University; Sherry Nau, MSW, Syracuse University; Margery Saunders, MSW, SUNY Albany; Coordinator of Field Instruction: Mary Jo Schlecht, MSW, Syracuse University.



Undergraduate Social Work Program

The profession of social work is dedicated to solving and preventing social problems, whether they involve individuals, families, small groups, organizations, or communities. A broad range of employment opportunities exists. Social workers are found in hospitals, public schools, family agencies, industry, courts, probation departments, government facilities, children’s agencies, and in facilities that serve persons with disabilities. The primary purpose of the undergraduate program is to prepare students for beginning professional social work practice. In addition, students are prepared for graduate education and responsible citizenship. The undergraduate major in social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Graduates who continue with their social work education may gain advanced standing in graduate programs because of the accredited status of the major.

Social Work Major
Social work majors must complete a minimum of 54 credits consisting of 12 prerequisite credits plus classroom and field experience in social work totaling 42 credits. Thirty-two credits in social work are allocated to classroom and related learning to help students understand the philosophy, knowledge, values and roles associated with the profession. Ten credits are devoted to the field practicum, which provides students with opportunities to apply and integrate knowledge, skills and values into a beginning level of competence in the practice of social work.

Admission to the Major
Students may indicate their desire to major in social work at any time during the first two years of undergraduate study by registering with the Department of Social Work as an Intent to Major. Such students will be assigned a departmental advisor to assist them with proper course planning and career orientation as they pursue admission to the program. Students wishing to enter the major in social work must submit an application form to the Department of Social Work.

Criteria for Admission to the Major1
Enrollment is limited. The deadline for applications is March 15 for fall semester entry—although some students may be admitted prior to March 15. The program does not admit students for the spring semester. Students seeking acceptance to the major must meet the following criteria at time of application:

  1. Cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or above2

  2. Demonstration of suitability and capacity to enter the profession of social work.

  3. Completion of the following prerequisite courses:

    Course Number Course Name
    SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
    PSH 110 Principles of Psychology
    BIO 281 Elements of Human Biology
    BIO 221 Survey of Anatomy and Physiology
    PSH 202 Introductory Statistics

  4. Completion of a minimum of 54 credits, or an AA, AS or AAS3

    1 Transfer students must consult with the coordinator of social work admissions or the chair person regarding equivalency of courses taken at other institutions.
    2 Grade point averages required of those accepted may be higher depending on the number of applicants.
    3 Delta College students must complete 34 credits and meet all other criteria. (The Delta College curriculum meets the program’s requirement of SOC 100.)

Requirements for the Major

The following four courses are prerequisites for the social work major. All prerequisites must be completed before students enroll in required social work courses.

Course Number Course Name Credits
SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology 3
PSH 110 Principles of Psychology 3
BIO 281 Elements of Human Biology 3
BIO 221 Survey of Anatomy and Physiology 3
SOC 200 Social Statistics (or equivalent) 3
PSH 202 Introductory Statistics (or equivalent) 3
Junior Year  
SWO 301-302 Human Behavior and Social Environment I-II 6
SWO 311 Human Service Systems/Social Policy 3
SWO 321 Human Diversity 3
SWO 322 Social and Economic Justice 3
SWO 341-342 Social Work Methods I-II 6
SWO 310 Social Work Research Methods 3
Senior Year  
SWO 411 Human Service Systems/Policy Analysis 3
SWO 441 Social Work Methods III 3
SWO 451-453 Field Instruction I-II 1
SWO 454 Field Instruction1 10
SWO 455-457 Field Seminar I-II 2
SWO 456 Seminar in Field Instruction2 2

1 Generally, students are enrolled in SWO 451-453; with permission of faculty advisor and field coordinator, students may select SWO 454 to complete the field instruction requirement as an alternative to SWO 451-453.

2 Students enrolling in SWO 451-453 must enroll in SWO 455-457. Students enrolling in SWO 454 must enroll in SWO 456. SWO 441 must be taken with SWO 454-456, or SWO 453-457.

The department offers electives in fields of practice and areas of special interest. Course­selection should be made in consultation with the student’s advisor. Electives are open to non-majors.

Evening Part-time Program
This program is designed to meet most of the educational needs of students who work full-time during the day. Both day and evening matriculated students are assigned department advisors.

Transfer Students
Transfer students meet the same standards for admission and continuance in the social work program as other students. They must consult with the coordinator of social work admissions or the Chair regarding equivalency of courses taken at another institution.
No Credit for Work Experience
The program does not give academic credit for life experience or previous work experience or allow such experience to be substituted for the field practicum or other courses required for the social work major.
Course Sequencing
No student, full or part time, may take any 400-level course required for the major until all 200- and 300-level required courses are successfully completed.

Continuance in the Social Work Program
Continuance in the program after the fall semester of the junior year is contingent upon the following:
1) Maintaining both a cumulative and major GPA of 2.5 or above;

2) Maintaining a grade of “C” or better in every social work course required for the major;
3) Retaking any required social work course in which a grade below “C” is received; and
4) Continued demonstration of suitability and capacity to enter the profession of social work. The above criteria must be met by all students when they enter field instruction in the senior year and before they graduate from the program.

Readmission to the Social Work Program
Requirements for readmission to the program are identical to those for first-time applicants. Any student who postpones entry into or continuance in the planned course of studies after admission to the social work program must submit an application for re-entry.
Review and Appeal Procedures
The social work faculty, meeting as a committee, periodically reviews the progress of each student. The complete formal process for admission and continuance in the social work program, as well as grievance/appeal procedures, may be found in the program guide for the social work program. The program is administered without discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, ethnic or national origin, disability, political or sexual orientation, marital or veteran status.
Program Information
Please consult the Social Work Program Guide and Program Brochure for further and updated departmental policies and procedures.

Social Work Courses

SWO 221 Contemporary Social Work (A). Covers these major areas of study: areas of human need and forces contributing to social problems, institutions designed to meet human needs, range of service professions (concepts, techniques and organizational characteristics), and societal value systems with a national as well as international focus. Develops skills in assessment through independent learning projects and group process. Emphasizes professional behavior. 3 Cr.

SWO 301 Human Behavior/Social Environment I (A,W). Open only to majors. Provides a social work perspective on knowledge and theory related to the human life cycle. Studies the life-span development of human beings in the context of their emotional, physical, intellectual, and social needs. 3 Cr. Fall

SWO 302 Human Behavior/Social Environment II (A). Prerequisite: SWO 301. Open only to majors. As a second course in a two-course sequence dealing with human behavior, applies social systems theory to collective functioning, specifically the interaction of the individual with the small group, the family, the organization, and the community. Integrates knowledge from the social, behavioral, and human biological sciences to provide a comprehensive view of people interacting with their environments. 3 Cr.

SWO 303 Crisis Intervention (A). Provides in-depth study of issues related to the historical background and theoretical bases of crisis intervention and the steps taken in crisis resolution. Develops an understanding of situational and maturational crises. Examines ethical dilemmas related to the use of authority in crisis situations. Explores the implications of crisis intervention with families, groups, and communities. 3 Cr.

SWO 310 Social Work Research Methods (A). Open only to majors. Covers research methods applied to social work practice and human services. Includes research methods, designs, and basic data interpretation; and development of computer skills through data input and data analysis. Emphasizes practice effectiveness and program evaluation. 3 Cr.

SWO 311 Human Service Systems/Social Policy (A). Explores social welfare policies within the framework of historical development and contemporary practices; and evaluation of policies from the perspective of political implications, social work contexts, client needs and economic factors. 3 Cr.

SWO 321 Human Diversity (A,D). Identifies areas of misinformation that perpetuate exclusion of subcultural groups from mainstream opportunities; differentiates covert acts, institutional policies, and ideologies that foster exclusion of culturally diverse groups; and compares such groups to mainstream American culture. Recognizes and deals with students personal feelings regarding a range of minority groups and issues as these negatively or positively affect the provision of service. 3 Cr.

SWO 322 Social and Economic Justice (A). This course introduces students to social and economic justice issues in the United States and internationally. Specific attention will be given to inequality arising from race, class, gender, and age. Students will examine social workers’ roles in addressing these disparities. This knowledge will enhance the student’s understanding of how local, national, and international social policies work to maintain or ameliorate these disparities. 3 Cr.

SWO 331 Experiential Learning (B). Prerequisite: SWO 341. Open only to majors. Course fee. Requires a 50-hour practicum in a social agency, combined with 26 hours of classroom instruction. Prepares students for senior-level field instruction by self-assessment and by analysis of social-service systems. 3 Cr.

SWO 341 Social Work Methods I (B). Open only to majors. Emphasizes a generalist orientation to prepare for entry-level practice. Offers a framework for understanding social work as a delivery system, in which skills are learned and carried out. Places special emphasis on basic skill development, especially written communication with a focus on case recording, written assessments, and other professional written documents. 3 Cr. Fall

SWO 342 Social Work Methods II: Interactional Skills (B). Prerequisite: SWO 341. Open only to majors. Explores the face-to-face service delivery process learned through identification and assumption of client/worker roles in generalist social-work practice. Uses exercises, role playing and simulations to enhance learning. Students learn skills of helping individuals, groups and families. 3 Cr. Spring

SWO 372 Sex and the Life Cycle (A,I). Emphasizes sexual development through the life span with an exploration of biological, psychological, societal, and political forces shaping, determining direction, expression, and lifestyle in positive sexual fulfillment. Uses desensitization exercises for effective handling of feelings and attitudes, and explores selected procedures for dealing with sexual problems. 3 Cr.

SWO 373 School Social Work (A). Covers current practice of social work in school settings; roles and tasks of social workers in educational contexts; skills pertinent to this area of practice; developmental/behavioral issues related to school-age children, with emphasis on the role of parents and community members; stress factors in schools; and various models of social work and personnel collaboration in dealing with student dysfunction. 3 Cr.

SWO 374 Probation and Parole (A). Offers an overview of the history and philosophical foundations of probation and parole in the United States. Covers issues and problems relating to the presentence report, determinate versus indeterminate sentencing, the variety of roles of the probation and parole officer and the legal decisions affecting probation and parole practice. 3 Cr.

SWO 379 People with Disability: Issues, Legislation, Intervention (A,D,I). Covers definition, legislation, and advocacy concerning persons with physically disabling conditions. Places strong emphasis on an exploration of deafness, blindness and cerebral palsy. Provides an historical survey of society’s treatment of physically disabled people. Studies federal and state legislation affecting the civil rights of the physically disabled. 3 Cr.

SWO 411 Human Service Systems/Analysis (A). Prerequisite: SWO 311. Open only to majors. Covers concepts, methods and frameworks used in the analysis and change of social welfare policy; human service systems in relation to social policy; economic and political contexts in relation to social policy; and legislated social policies relevant to the social work profession. 3 Cr. Every Semester

SWO 441 Social Work Methods III (B). Prerequisites: SWO 341 and SWO 342. Open only to majors. Enables students to identify and perform various social work roles and skills at the macro level and to use change-agent skills for group and community social work (e.g., organization and group member roles). Explores social issues and social work attitudes for working with self-help groups, community groups and organizations. 3 Cr.

SWO 451 Social Work Field Instruction I (B). Course fee. Open only to majors. Allows for the application of social-work skills and knowledge to implement tasks and strategies of an entry-level generalist social worker in a service delivery system. 5 Cr. Fall

SWO 453 Social Work Field Instruction II (B). Prerequisites: SWO 451 and SWO 455. Course fee. Open only to majors. Provides a continuation of SWO 451 with an emphasis on elaboration and refinement of skills in a service delivery system. 5 Cr. Spring

SWO 454 Social Work Field Instruction (Block) (B). Course fee. Open only to majors. Combines SWO 451 and 453 in a concentrated, four-to-five day/week block field placement. 10 Cr. Fall

SWO 455 Seminar in Field Instruction I (B). Open only to majors. Provides an opportunity to achieve integration of classroom learning with field experience, and allows for development and integration of responsibilities of social work’s professional role. 1 Cr. Fall

SWO 456 Seminar in Field Instruction (B). Open only to majors. Provides a continuation of SWO 455. 2 Cr. Fall

SWO 457 Seminar in Field Instruction II (B). Prerequisites: SWO 455 and SWO 451. Open only to majors. Provides a continuation of SWO 455. Provides an opportunity to review and integrate course content from all of the program components. 1 Cr. Spring

SWO 474 Child Welfare (A). Covers the historical development of child-welfare services in the United States and other nations, and related social-welfare policies affecting child and society and family. Emphasizes child abuse/neglect, foster care, adoption, exploitation, adolescent pregnancy, and legal status. Examines the rights of the child. 3 Cr.

SWO 475 Women’s Lives (A,D,W). Cross-listed as WMS 475. Examines women as clients, helpers, and policy makers in the context of social forces, values, and attitudes. Explores the theoretical, developmental, political and social implications of women’s changing roles. Open to selected upper-division undergraduates. 3 Cr.

SWO 476 Gerontology (A). Examines the older person as an evolving individual; bio-psycho-social elements in the aging process; major issues related to the older person, the aging process; and the society. Compares the needs of the elderly with the service systems program and discusses methods of intervention specifically needed for the older person. 3 Cr.

SWO 477 Perspectives on Older Adults and the Aging Family (A). Provides in-depth analysis of select issues faced by older adults and their families using a multi-systems perspective and service learning activities. Bridging theory and practice, content utilizes a case study methodology to reflect practice-based situations encountered by health providers, older adults and their families. Topics include family caregiver/care recipient experiences, loss/resiliency, advance directives/end-of-life decision-making, impact of substance abuse on aging families, and elder abuse. 3 Cr. Spring

SWO 478 Developmental Disability (A,D). Examines and analyzes developmental disabilities in individual, family and group-practice experiences; and policy and planning in the development, coordination and implementation of delivery systems. 3 Cr.

SWO 480 Ethical Dilemmas and the Helping Process (A). Examines the nature, basis and expression of value dimensions in the human helping processes used by professional care providers. 3 Cr.

SWO 482 Dealing With Diversity (A,D). Helps students understand the different constraints and motivations of people from backgrounds different from their own. Examines, critical components of social interaction, the concept of race, social class, age, gender, sexual orientation, and the sociology of minorities. 3 Cr.

SWO 492 Topics in Social Work (A). Provides an intensive study of a specific topic with a small group of students. May be repeated for credit if topics are different. 1-6 Cr.

SWO 499 Independent Study in Social Work (A). Enables students to complete an independent project related to either academic or field study in an individually designed course. Enrollment by permission of and in consultation with social work faculty; and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. Credits Vary. 1-6 Cr.

Last Updated 10/27/20

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