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- Department of Social Work
- Master of Social Work (School Focus Area)
Master of Social Work (School Focus Area)
Dr. Martha Sheridan, Coordinator of School Social Work Focus Area
Hall Memorial Building, Room S338C
The master of social work program at Gallaudet University prepares students for advanced social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. Graduates possess the knowledge and skills to enter the profession as practitioners in various settings, such as schools, health care agencies, family and child welfare agencies, mental health settings, disability organizations, corrections agencies, organizations that provide services to senior citizens, etc. Graduates possess knowledge and skills in areas of direct generalist practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Graduates may practice in areas such as policy, research, program development, and agency and community work.
The MSW program consists of 60 credit hours of study. The foundation curriculum consists of courses in eight core curriculum areas: human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, research, field education, values and ethics, diversity, and populations at risk, including social and economic justice. Foundation students attend a concurrent field practicum with courses, entering the field of practice for two eight-hour days a week at an internship site. Students complete the first year of study with approximately 500 hours of field practicum experience in addition to course and lab credit.
The advanced curriculum concentration courses consist of advanced content in all of the curriculum areas. Graduates expand and deepen knowledge and skills acquired during the foundation year and develop special knowledge and skills needed for practice with deaf and hard of hearing populations. Students in the advanced year have a full semester of courses in the fall semester and a full block placement in the spring semester with two online courses. During the spring semester, students are placed in settings that require advanced social work practice skills. Students work at their internship sites for four eight-hour days, totaling thirty-two hours per week or 512 hours for the semester in addition to two online courses. At the completion of the second year of study, students graduate with 12 credits of field practicum (approximately 1012 hours of field practicum) and 50 course credits.
Students in the MSW program may apply to participate in a school social work focus area which is part of Gallaudet's Educator Preparation Providers Unit, accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Students take courses specifically related to school social work, including school social work policy and school social work practice. Internship experiences during both years take place in school settings or in other education-related agencies. A student may take an approved elective course in order to enhance preparation to work with deaf and hard of hearing children in schools.
MSW students must achieve an ASLPI rating of 2 by the end of their foundation curriculum, prior to taking the qualifying examination and prior to admission into the concentration curriculum. Students are responsible for scheduling their ASLPI evaluations by appointment with the Center for American Sign Language Literacy (CASLL) on the second floor of the Merrill Learning Center early in the fall semester of their first year in the program. ASLPI scheduling at the CASLL only occurs during a two-week sign-up period only at the beginning of the semester. This is the only time during a given semester that MSW students may secure individual interviews.
Students not reaching the ASLPI rating of 2 in the fall semester must meet with their advisors to develop a plan of activities (ASL classes and interaction activities) which will facilitate skill and rating advancement. It is the student's responsibility to register for these classes and activities, and to schedule subsequent ASLPI evaluations until the required rating is achieved. A rating of 2+ is required for graduation. Students not achieving the ASLPI rating of 2+ are required to provide a portfolio of documentation which would include the ASLPI or SCPI proficiency level(s) obtained and three letters of recommendation from individuals (internship supervisor, academic advisor, or others), along with everything else the students have done to improve their skills. Then the Social Work Department will make a decision based on that information, the student progress in the M.S.W. program, and the population and setting in which the student aims to work.
For more information on the School Social Work Focus Area, please visit the School Social Work Focus Area webpage.
Admissions Procedures for the School Social Work Focus Area
Applicants for the MSW in Social Work must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. For more information, visit the MSW School Focus Area checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Courses' and 'Requirements' tab.
Semester I - Fall
* The following courses are considered clinical course work which in addition to your MSW, qualify you for social work licensure examinations in states which specify clinical course credit: SWK 702, SWK 705, SWK 709, SWK 713, SWK 741, SWK 744, SWK 751, SWK 771, SWK 772, and SWK 783
Semester II - Spring
Advanced Concentration Year
Semester III - Fall
Semester IV - Spring
Grand Total: 60 credits
First and Second Years: Foundation Year
Semester I - Fall
Semester II - Spring
* May also be taken during the summer or any semester of the program
Semester III - Fall
Semester IV - Spring
Third Year: Advanced Concentration
Semester V - Fall
Semester VI - Spring
Grand Total: 60 credits
Approved ElectivesSchool Social Work Specialization Approved Electives
COU 716 - Psychopharmacology for Counselors (1)
This is an introduction to current psychoactive medications used most often in schools and counseling/psychiatric settings today. The course will explore the conditions which respond best to psychoactive drugs, the specific drugs used to treat specific conditions, and the typical dosages used. In addition, it will explore when it is appropriate to suggest medication and also alternative medication, side effects to be aware of, and the benefits gained from the use of psychoactive drugs.
Prerequisites: Graduate level standing.
EDU 765 - The Family Collaboration and Partnership: The ASL/ENG Bilingual Lens (3)
ASL and English Bilingualism at home and in school promotes healthy language development and communication, and creates positive self-esteem among deaf/hard of hearing children from diverse backgrounds. This course/seminar is designed for professionals to acquire the knowledge and skills to work collaboratively with diverse families and other professionals to support the bilingual development and education of young deaf and hard of hearing children. Participants will discuss a working model of bilingual language acquisition (American Sign Language and English), approaches to providing support and encouragement to families, ways to promote positive communication with families, and the creation of culturally responsive and inclusive early childhood educational communities for all families. IN addition, participants will apply a basic working knowledge of Part C and Part B of the IDEA regulations as members of an early childhood education team.
Prerequisites: Department's chair or program director's approval
EDU 771 - Trends in Special Education (3)
This course uses a disability studies approach to familiarize students with major trends and issues in special education, including: historical roots, perception of disability, policies impacting students with disabilities, labeling, overrepresentation, and discipline. Other topics in the course include developing Individualized Education Plan (IEPs), examining instructional practices, and working with families. This course will prepare teacher candidates to work with children and youth with a broad range of disabilities and educational needs.
EDU 773 - Home-School Continuum: Collaboration with Families, Paraeducators, and Professionals (3)
In this course students will examine current trends and concerns which characterize the changing American family and draw implications for education, students with disabilities and their families. They will examine family, community and school structures, patterns and relationships. Students will explore a variety of theories, concepts, principles, and models utilized when implementing effective family, school, and community partnership, in addition to collaboration among IEP team members and when working with other professionals, in regard to students and families with special and diverse needs. Students will identify and discuss the uses and applications of community and school resources in supporting families and students with disabilities. They will also learn and stimulate techniques for interacting with parents and examine collaboration strategies for interdisciplinary team efforts. In addition, students will focus on topic/challenges that face families with children with disabilities such as: sibling support, respite care, financial planning, transition planning, independent living and IEP meetings.
HSL 707 - Audiology and Hearing Technology for Educators and Counseling Professionals (3)
This course is designed for professionals who work or are preparing to work with individuals with hearing loss. Using an ecological perspective, this course facilitates an understanding of the biological aspects of hearing loss as well as implications for the psychosocial systems. Areas examined include the scope of practice for audiology, sound and hearing, the anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism, etiologies of hearing loss, hearing measurement, audiometric interpretation, aural rehabilitation, and hearing technology including hearing aids, group listening systems, cochlear implants, telecommunication devices and alerting systems which facilitate communication in educational and social contexts. Practical applications of these topics for education and the counseling professionals are explored.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
ITF 700 - Socio-Cltrl & Political Ctxts for DHH Infants, Toddlers and their Families (3)
This course is the first course in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program and serves as an orientation to the program. This course requires both on-campus and online participation. Participants will examine perspectives on working with young deaf and hard of hearing children, their families, and communities and will discuss the historical foundations of birth-to-three programs and services. The impact of early hearing detection and intervention principles and practices on newborn hearing screening and programs will be addressed. The course will provide an overview of the following topics: professionalism, advocacy, ethics, dispositions, diversity, and other factors that impact deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers and their families. Resources to support collaboration, leadership and change will be included. Evidence-based research and best practice guidelines that benefit deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers and their families will be addressed.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program, or permission of instructor(s).
ITF 701 - Com, Language & Cognitive Dev: DHH Infants and Toddlers (3)
This course is the second course in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program. The course requires on-line participation. The course addresses language, communication, and cognitive development and developmental milestones. Participants will examine socio-cultural factors that impact linguistic, cognitive and communication development from diverse perspectives. The course addresses language learning models for ASL and English, bilingual, multilingual and dual language learning. Participants will explore visual, auditory and tactile modalities, technological devices for supporting language and communication development, and the research that underlies current practices. Participants will explore how professionals with varying disciplinary expertise can collaborate to provide support to families to enhance their child's development. Family language learning models including Deaf Professional/ Advisor programs and family sign language programs will also be addressed.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program and completion of the ITF 700 or Permission of Instructor(s).
ITF 702 - Ldrsp Persp on Families with DHH Infants and Toddlers: Their Cultures and Comm (3)
This course is the third course in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program. The course requires on-line participation. This course examines family systems' perspectives and the interrelationships among the young child who is deaf or hard of hearing, family and communities. Family and community cultures, values and beliefs will be explored. Participants will understand the importance of building relationships and the research underlying the importance of family support systems, acceptance and accommodation. Emphasis will be on collaboration with professionals from different disciplinary backgrounds, leadership and advocacy. The course will address strategies and resources that promote family and professional collaboration, family-to-family support networks, and family involvement.
Prerequisite: Admission into the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program and completion of ITF 700 and ITF 701
ITF 705 - DHH Infants Toddlers and their Families: Capstone Project Part 1 (1)
This course provides the opportunity for candidates in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and Families: Collaboration and Leadership (ITF) Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program to engage in a leadership or collaborative project related to deaf and hard of hearing infants, toddlers and their families. The course focuses on the development of a capstone project proposal. The course is conducted entirely through distance learning.
Prerequisites: Admission to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infants, Toddlers and their Families: Collaboration and Leadership Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program and ITF 700; or permission of the Instructor.
SWK 702 - Play Therapy (3)
This course is designed to give the candidate exposure to the various play therapies: play room, sand tray, art, movement and psychodrama. Through reading, lecture, class discussion, case presentations, and role play simulations, candidates will become familiar with various techniques used with children in therapy and counseling. Candidates will discuss the applicability of these theories in working with deaf and hard of hearing children and youth; as well as in working with children and youth with differing cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Prerequisite: Graduate level standing.
SWK 705 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment I (3)
This foundation course affirms the central focus of social work practice as the person or human group in interaction with the social environment. Its purpose -- to understand the problematic transactions between people and their environments; its goal -- to use this understanding to restore and enhance mutually beneficial transactions between people and society through reciprocal tasks and adaptations. Concepts of biopsychosocial development across the life span will be presented. The family will be considered as an open system with functions that shift at stages of transitions.
Prerequisite: Graduate level standing.
SWK 706 - Human Behavioral and the Social Environment II (3)
This course examines the behaviors, functions, and structure of groups, communities, and organizations. Students are introduced to theories that explain interactions within and between each of these larger systems. Students are also given an opportunity to apply many of the theoretical concepts used to explain the behaviors of individuals and families learned in the first semester Human behavior course, to behaviors exhibited by larger systems (groups, communities, and organizations). The course also addresses issues related to equitable distribution of goods and services that may be encountered by macro systems.
Prerequisite: SWK 705.
SWK 709 - Social Work Perspectives on Dysfunction (3)
This elective course examines dysfunctional behavior in the context of developmental and environmental stresses. Ego psychology as a system of personality theory is considered as a means to understanding the development of adaptive and maladaptive ego functioning. The course surveys the varied manifestations of adult psychopathology, including psychotic disorders, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, affective disorders, eating disorders, and addictions.
Prerequisite: SWK 705 and
Corequisite: SWK 706.
SWK 711 - Social Policy and Social Services (3)
This foundation course is an introduction to the understanding and appraisal of social services and social policies in the United States. The social values and economic and political factors which guide their development will be discussed. Attention is given to the role of social work in evaluating and changing policies.
SWK 713 - Issues in Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations (3)
This concentration course, taken in the second year, focuses on human behavior and the social environment of deaf and hard of hearing populations. The course looks at the complex interplay of psychosocial, system, and ecological forces in the life cycle development of individuals who experience deafness. The course explores forces of oppression and political and economic influences that impact the behavior, adaptation, and functioning of deaf and hard of hearing people.
Prerequisites: SWK 705, SWK 706, and passing the qualifying exams.
SWK 717 - Cultural Competence (3)
This course examines theories of cultural and ethnic identity, literature related to the cultures of women, deaf and hard of hearing people, gay and lesbian people, ethnic minorities of color, and people with disabilities. Because of the complexity of culturally competent social work practice, students are required to examine personal prejudices, stereotypes, and belief systems that negatively affect the provision of services to diverse populations. Readings on oppression, identity, and minority cultures are supplemented with presentations by experts from the community and dialogue with them. The course uses classroom exercises, written assignments, and objective measurements to increase self-awareness in the context of the student's personal identity and attitudes about difference based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.
SWK 741 - Social Work Practice I : Individuals (3)
This course is the first Foundation Year practice course given during the first semester of the MSW program. The course focuses on knowledge, values and skill development in social work practice with individuals with an opportunity to develop interviewing skills. The generalist social work model of practice is introduced, which includes engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, termination, and follow up. Particular attention is placed on social work ethics, diverse populations and populations at risk.
Co-requisites: SWK 744 and SWK 771
SWK 742 - Social Work Practice II (3)
This is the second foundation course in the sequence of social work practice courses. It focuses on the knowledge, values, and skills required for effective intervention with larger systems of organizations and communities. It builds upon knowledge of interventions with individuals and groups to develop foundation skills such as advocating for clients within complex systems, building coalitions, negotiating with diverse groups, assessing community needs, program evaluation, development, management, proposal writing, understanding budgets, and supervision.
Prerequisite: SWK 741.
SWK 744 - Social Work Practice with Families and Small Groups (2)
This course is a foundation year social work practice course which focuses on the development of social work knowledge, values and skill in work with families and small groups. Students learn how to formulate assessments, develop goals and intervention strategies in work with families and small groups. This course introduces students to a variety of theoretical approaches that can be applied to diverse families and groups including those who are vulnerable or at risk.
Co-requisites: SWK 741 and SWK 771
SWK 751 - Practice with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations: Micro Interventions (3)
This practice course is taken in the concentration (second year) of the Masters degree program focusing on advanced social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing individuals, couples and families. The course emphasizes the development of culturally sensitive application of strategies and interventions in social work practice. Theoretical models of practice such as family systems theory, ego psychology and brief solution therapy will be applied to deaf and hard of hearing populations. The course deepens and broadens the development of approaches to address ethical dilemmas in practice within Deaf communities.
Prerequisites: Passing the qualifying examination
Co-requisites: SWK 713
SWK 752 - Practice with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations: Macro Interventions (3)
This is the second concentration practice course with a focus on specialized knowledge and skills needed to work with organizations and communities of which deaf and hard of hearing people are a part. Building on the foundation year principles of intervention with organizations and communities, this course prepares students for macro practice with a diverse population of deaf and hard of hearing people in communities and organizations. Using an empowerment framework, this course focuses on the processes of empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing populations, and interventions that increase their access to political and social processes in communities and organizations. The course addresses ethical issues presented in practice with deaf communities, such as accessibility, communication and language choices, power, oppression and related cultural factors. Topics include grassroots organizing, planning, grant writing and fund raising, administration, social action, needs assessment methodology and program evaluation skills. Empowerment theory, group theory and the strengths perspective are applied in work with deaf and hard of hearing populations.
Prerequisite: Passing the qualifying examination
Co-requisite: SWK 751
SWK 755 - Qualitative Social Work Research (3)
This three-credit course is a required part of the foundation curriculum that provides social work students with generalist skills needed in the social work profession. This course provides students with an understanding of qualitative research design and evaluation procedures, focusing on concepts and skills required to evaluate practice and program effectiveness. Students evaluate alternative designs or models for research and evaluation, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, visual media comparisons, observational studies, and archival/document designs. Students learn to analyze qualitative data by applying appropriate content coding techniques. In addition, they learn to interpret the results, critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the research designs, and reflect upon how the results can be used for future research or practice.
SWK 756 - Quantitative Social Work Research (3)
This three-credit course is a required part of the foundation curriculum that provides social work students with generalist skills needed in the social work profession. This course provides students with an understanding of quantitative research design and evaluation procedures, focusing on concepts and skills required to evaluate practice and program effectiveness. Students evaluate alternative designs or models for research and evaluation, including group and single-system designs. Students learn to analyze quantitative data by applying appropriate statistical tests. In addition, they learn to interpret the results, critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the research designs, and reflect upon how the results can be used for future research or practice.
SWK 760 - School Social Work Practice (3)
This course exposes students to the specialized knowledge, skills and values needed for effective social work practice with deaf and hard of hearing children and their families within the complex ecosystem of their educational settings, and broader communities. Focus is on 1) assessment, intervention and prevention in the school setting; 2) collaboration and referral to outside agencies, 3) detection and reporting of child abuse and neglect; 4) interprofessional collaboration between social workers and educators to meet the complex needs of at risk students. Traditional school social work practice (family and group counseling, parent education, crisis intervention and advocacy) and emerging models of service delivery (play therapy modalities, and prevention activities such as psycho-educational approaches in conflict resolution, substance abuse prevention, etc.) in schools will be covered. School social work roles and functions ranging from formalized data collection procedures and assessment through contributing to and monitoring the ISP process to purely clinical interventions are covered. This class builds upon school social work policy, human behavior, and research courses. Societal, cultural, institutional, diversity and familial values will be explored in relation to practice and student success.
Prerequisites: SWK 705, SWK 706, SWK 741, and SWK 742
SWK 761 - School Social Work Policy (3)
This course builds a base of knowledge, skills and values among graduate social work students which will prepare them for work with deaf and hard of hearing children, adolescents and their families, within the context of the educational setting. Students will develop an understanding of laws and policies which impact the ecosystem of the child which relates to school social work and mental health policies, educational placement and access, poverty, violence, child abuse and maltreatment, substance abuse, domestic violence, healthcare, social justice and accessibility. Skills in assessing policy needs, evaluating policy and policy implications for deaf and hard of hearing children, their families and the educational system will be developed. Students will also develop skills to effect change in policies and programs which impede the deaf child's success in school. this course is grounded in professional social work values and ethics and examines their implications for policy.
Prerequisites: SWK 705 and SWK 711.
SWK 771 - Foundation Field Practicum I (3)
Foundation Field Practicum I comprises a semester-long 16-hour-per-week supervised experience in a social service agency or school and a bi-weekly seminar class. Under the guidance of experienced M.S.W. social work internship supervisors, students do initial and ongoing assessments, plan and implement interventions designed to bring about personal growth, empower clients and client systems, and promote social change. The bi-weekly class sessions are designed to help students integrate the field experience with theory application and practice interventions with peers in a small group environment.
Co-requisites: SWK 741 and SWK 744
SWK 772 - Foundation Field Practicum II (3)
This course follows successful completion of SWK 771. Students return to their agencies approximately two weeks prior to the start of classes for 16 hours a week for 17 weeks. Understanding of generalist social work theory and the development of intervention skills are expanded during this semester. Students refine and deepen the goals of their learning contract, as well as the skills of assessment and intervention with clients and client systems.
Prerequisite: SWK 771
Co-requisite: SWK 742
SWK 783 - Advanced Field Practicum with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations (6)
Students in advanced year have a full block placement in the spring semester while taking two additional online courses. During the semester, students are placed in internship settings that require advanced social work practice skills. Students work at their practicum sites for four eight hours days totaling thirty-two hours per week, or 512 hours for the semester. The field practicum is an agency or school carefully selected to promote learning in the concentration focus of deaf and hard of hearing populations. An experienced MSW field instructor supervises the student in practicum. The goal of the practicum is for students to deepen their knowledge and skills in social work practice, particularly with deaf and hard of hearing populations. The practicum serves as a vehicle for students to integrate knowledge, skills, ethical and professional values, culturally competent practice approaches, and ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of each social work intervention.
Prerequisites: SWK 771 and SWK 772
SWK 791 - Research Practicum I: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations (3)
This course builds on principles of research taught in the first year; the student applies them to an area of interest within the concentration focus of deaf and hard of hearing populations. During this semester, students will develop a proposal for a research project or thesis. Each phase of the research process (topic development, literature review, development of problem statement, conceptual framework and methodology) will be reviewed; additional material will be taught as needed for application of general principles to the areas of research with Deaf and Hard of hearing populations. The final assignment for the course will be the student's completed application to the Institutional Review Board in preparation for data collection and analysis during the second semester.
Prerequisite: SWK 756.