Areas of Study



For continuation in the major, a student must earn a grade of C or better in courses requiring mastery of principles, methodology, and practice and demonstration of professional values and ethics considered necessary for satisfactory performance in the profession (SWK 335, 337, 436, 482, 484, 486, and 494). A GPA of 2.5 or above is required to be accepted into the major. Students must also maintain an overall GPA of 2.5 to remain in the major. Internships may be repeated only with permission of the department. In major courses, students must also demonstrate English language skills commensurate with professional requirements.

In major courses, students must also demonstrate English language skills commensurate with professional requirements. Students are encouraged to have completed ENG 102/GSR 102 or the equivalent before beginning the major.

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Core Curriculum 43
Pre-Major Courses 13
Major and Related Courses 56
Free Elective Courses 8

Required pre-major courses 13 hours

To be taken during freshman or sophomore year:

This course addresses human biology through the lens of evaluating scientific claims. Students will learn about select organ systems (reproductive, skeletal and muscular, immune and nervous systems) and about human genetics in a way that helps them make decisions relevant to their daily lives. The course focuses on developing skills that scientists use: basic experimental design, research methods, and scientific writing. It also teaches the language of biology and especially how to critique arguments related to human biology that we encounter in the media. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.

This course covers discussion of the basic structures of American government (the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary), important processes such as elections and basic principles and theory of governance in the American system.

An introduction to the scientific study of human behavior, providing an overview of the major issues, methods, and contributions of psychology. Content areas include development, language, learning, cognition, physiological psychology intelligence, and abnormal and social psychology.

Sociology attempts to understand how societies function. The course explores how social forces influence our lives and our chances for success. It also examines social groups, the relationships among social groups, and the ways groups get and maintain power.

Required social work courses 50 hours

This course is an introduction to the profession of social work. It is the required first course for social work majors and is also open to students exploring the field of social work as a possible career. The course traces the historical development of the social work profession within the context of the social welfare system, introduces the generalist model of social work practice, surveys the major field of practice and populations served by social workers, and addresses the role of evaluation and research in the profession. Guest speakers from the community and field trips to community agencies provide exposure to programs and services and the roles of social workers.

This three-credit course is designed for students and professionals to improve their written and ASL communication skills within the field of social work. Students in the course will learn strategies for improving their writing and academic ASL through experiential learning. The course will cover a variety of communication topics in areas such as human behavior in the social environment, social work practice, social policy, and research. Students will learn strategies for writing agency-based reports, such as case studies, focus group reports, grant writing, and professional letters and communicating the information in some of these reports using professional academic ASL skills.

This course explores the history and values of the social work profession in relation to the development of the social welfare system as well as traditional American values involved in the evolution of the current system. It also considers various conceptions of social welfare, their application in social welfare programs, and their implications in practice. Issues and policies that affect diverse populations who have experienced oppression and discrimination are examined.

The goal of this course is for social work students to enhance their assessment and intervention knowledge, value base, and skills in order to more effectively work with a variety of client groups. The course is designed to focus on different populations each week. Students are taught knowledge, values, and skills related to specific assessment and intervention techniques that have been found to be most effective with each client group. Some examples of the wide range of diverse populations covered are working with: children with cancer, adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, working with gangaffiliated youth, victims of bullying, suicide and military personnel, adolescents in juvenile detention, adolescent victims of sexual assault, and adults with gambling disorders.

The course examines human behavior from conception through very old age. Throughout the course, the physical, intellectual, social, and emotional growth of individuals and families (micro systems) are studied. Each aspect of development is examined in the context of the environment's influence upon optimal growth. Additionally, attention is given to the interplay among culture, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity upon human behavior through the life course.

The course explores human behavior in communities, organizations and groups (macro systems). An overarching ecosystems perspective is emphasized for understanding how each macro system can enhance people's optimal health and well-being. Aspects of diversity are incorporated throughout the course in the form of issues that affect human behavior. Throughout the course, content about the macro social environment is directly related to generalist social work practice using case material.

This course provides students an opportunity for examination of personal attitudes, stereotypes, biases, and misconceptions that affect ethnic-competent professional practice. Attention is given to increasing students' knowledge, understanding, appreciation, and sensitivity to diversity, oppression, and racism, and the implications of each for social work and other human services. While the course addresses the cognitive and conceptual aspects of learning, primary emphasis is on the affective process. In addition to learning about racism, discrimination, power/powerlessness, and ethnocentrism, students participate in experiential groups and role play. These exercises provide opportunities to explore new ways of thinking, feeling, and responding to people who experience discrimination or oppression because of their race, ethnic background, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation, or because they are deaf or hard of hearing.

This is the first course in the social work practice sequence and emphasizes the generalist model as the framework for all social work practice using a problem-solving approach. A major focus of the course is on the development of skills for practice with individuals within the context of social work values and ethics. Cross-cultural considerations and other differences between social worker and client are addressed throughout the semester. The course includes a weekly lab that provides opportunities for learning interviewing skills through the use of videotapes and role play.

Case Management is a required course in the practice sequence. It introduces students to case management and the various methods of intervention used with the process. Among the case management processes discussed are assessment, intake interviews, and documentation. Specialized practice skills used by case managers are also discussed. Students are taught methods for determining benefit eligibility, learn the rules and principles for referral making, and acquire knowledge related to the major income and maintenance and support programs. Ethical and legal issues surrounding case management in the context of client autonomy, informed consent, and confidentiality are discussed and applied to case material. The course includes a pre-field experience that requires weekly visits to a human services organization for the purpose of observing the case management process. The course is open to social work majors only.

This course focuses on the development of knowledge and skills for social work practice with families and groups. Particular attention is given to families in which one or more members is deaf or hard of hearing, to other minority families, and to practice issues with groups of deaf people and groups of other minority people.

The course focuses on quantitative research methods that is a required part of the foundation curriculum that provides social work students with generalist skills needed in the social work practice. This course provides an overview of research and evaluation procedures in social work, deepening and expanding concepts and skills to evaluate client system progress and program effectiveness with ethical considerations. Students systematically monitor and evaluate types of quantitative designs including single-system design, survey research, and program evaluation. Students critically analyze and interpret the quantitative data and results by using appropriate statistical analysis as well as evaluating the strengths and limitations of research designs and discussing how the data and results can be used for the implications of future research studies, practices, programs, or policy.

The course focuses on qualitative research methods that is a required part of the foundation curriculum that provides social work students with generalist skills needed in the social work practice. This course provides an overview of research and evaluation procedures in social work, deepening and expanding concepts and skills to evaluate client system progress and program effectiveness with ethical considerations. Students systematically monitor and evaluate types of qualitative designs including individual interviews, focus groups, observations, and ethnographic case studies. Students critically analyze and interpret the qualitative data and results by using appropriate statistical analysis as well as evaluating the strengths and limitations of research designs and discussing how the data and results can be used for the implications of future research studies, practices, programs, or policy.

This course focuses on the development of skills for planned change in organizations and communities. The problem-solving process learned in previous social work practice courses is applied to problem analysis, goal formulation, and implementation of change within organizations and communities. Field practicum agencies, human service organizations, and other programs and services in the community are assessed, needs and problems are identified, and strategies for planned change are developed. Specific attention is given to strategies for change that will benefit traditionally underserved populations such as deaf and hard of hearing people, racial and ethnic minorities, women, people with disabilities, gays and lesbians, and older people.

This course is part of a sequence with SWK 486. Each semester students have approximately 225 hours of practicum. They spend 16 hours per week within a practicum agency carefully selected to provide professionally supervised experiences and opportunities to develop skills for generalist social work practice working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

This is the second semester course following SWK 484; students remain in the same practicum agency to ensure that there is sufficient time to develop plans and implement interventions at all levels in the attainment of skills for generalist social work practice. There are again approximately 225 hours of internship.

This course taken in the final semester of the major focuses on furthering the process of integrating social work knowledge, values, and skills. Students draw upon and apply knowledge of generalist social work practice and the specific knowledge, values, and skills required for work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The objective of this course is to enhance the students' ability to practice social work in the internship and to be prepared as beginning professional level generalist social workers upon completion of the program.

Elective social work and related courses 6 hours

3 credits of SWK and 3 credits of your choice:

This course focuses on present-day American families, comparing them to families throughout history and exploring implications for the future. Special attention is given to the racial and ethnic diversity of contemporary families and strengths and challenges these families confront. The impact families have on society along with the impact public policies have on families are examined throughout the course.

Covering basic concepts and research in the areas of marriages, families, and intimate relationships, students address the challenges and opportunities individuals have in these areas as they move through the lifespan. Topics include family structures and functions, sex/gender roles, courtship and dating, cohabitation, unions and marriages, parenting, divorce, remarriage, and stepfamilies, with an emphasis on the diversity of today's relationships today and how they have changed from the past.

This course uses an ecological approach to understanding the interactions of the child in the family and the community. Special emphasis is given to the ways that the family, community, and society can work together to provide the best environment for the development of children.

This course explores the influence of parents on children and children on parents. Special attention is given to how their roles and relationships change. Important issues confronting parents and children today are addressed and students learn a variety of positive discipline techniques.

The purpose of the course is to increase students¿ understanding of life span theories, human behavior theories, and intervention models and techniques when working with people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or additional identities (LGBTQ+). Although the emphasis will be on a social work perspective, students from various majors will benefit from this knowledge if they plan to work with LGBTQ+ people or if they would like this knowledge for their personal benefit. Important issues covered include sexual-minority identity formation; internalized homophobia; transference and countertransference issues; theories of assessment and intervention; and, cultural competence.

This introductory course explains sociological perspectives on gender. Focusing on American experiences with gender, the course covers gender socialization, gender roles, and gender inequality. This course also addresses ''nature vs. nurture'' debates, which seek to understand to what extend gender roles are formed by biology or society.

This course is an elective that examines topics related to understanding the psychosocial issues associated with HIV/AIDS and the various roles human service professionals assume for the delivery of services. The course provides an opportunity for students to explore personal and societal values related to HIV/AIDS and to gain a beginning knowledge of the types of assistance available to persons living with the illness. Particular attention is given to the impact of HIV/AIDS upon families and care givers in the context of coping strategies and the human service delivery system's response to their needs.

The course explores the strengths and challenges of adoptive family life from a systems perspective and introduces current theory and research that informs social work practice in the field of adoption. The course addresses from a developmental perspective the life long impact of adoption on the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children. Topics discussed include emotional processes involved with infertility and the decision to adopt, adoption and developmental stages, issues related to open adoption, and transracial adoptions.

This 3-credit course will provide an introduction into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ (LGBTQ+) Studies. This course will use texts, articles, speakers, literature, and film to bring students to a deeper understanding of LGBTQ+ cultures and communities. This course will educate students on the central concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity within historical, political, and societal frameworks. Throughout this course, students will work towards an understanding of the intersectional dynamics of privilege and oppression as they relate to LGBTQ+ individuals and culture by exploring the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and their partners/families. Special attention will be given to each Unit on LGBTQ+ issues within the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities.

This course introduces the student to the fields of child welfare with an emphasis on child maltreatment. It looks at child abuse and neglect in all its forms (physical, sexual, emotional) in an ecological context (individual, familial, social, and cultural forces that interact with one another to cause abuse). Students are introduced to the historical context of child maltreatment, the current social policies that are in place that affect the protection of children, and the role of the social worker in child protection. Also covered are the procedures for child abuse investigation and reporting, interviewing the child and family, and the role of the court system. Controversial issues and opposing viewpoints are considered such as imprisonment of abusers, effectiveness of prevention programs, foster care, and proposed policy changes designed to reduce violence and harm to children.

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Intensive supervised study and research on topics of the student's selection.

This course prepares the student in one of the helping professions to understand the primary issues related to the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs, including narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and marijuana. The impact of drug use on the individual, the family, and society will be examined, including the psychological ramifications of children of alcoholics and drug abusers. Emphasis will be on the development of intervention skills and identifying the person who is abusing chemicals. Knowledge of community resources and programs, with attention given to accessibility to deaf substance abusers, will be covered.

Program Outcomes

Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior


Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice


Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice


Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice


Engage in Policy Practice


Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations & Communities


Evaluate Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities


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B.A. in Social Work (BSW)

Hayley Stokar

Concetta Pucci

Edward Miner Gallaudet (EMG) 210



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