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Jun 1, 2023
Faculty and Staff
Master of Social Work (MSW)
A fully online graduate degree for the Master of Social Work program has been approved by the Council on Social Work (CSWE) and is in the process of being implemented. The currently implemented curriculum remains face-to-face.
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 61 credit hours of program 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. 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 17 credits of field practicum (approximately 1012 hours of field practicum) and 44 course credits.
MSW students must achieve an ASLPI rating of 2 by the end of their foundation curriculum, prior to admission into the concentration curriculum. Students are responsible for scheduling their ASLPI evaluations by appointment with the ASLPI Center Center early in the fall semester of their first year in the program.
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.
The MSW program consists of 61 credit hours of online program 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.
Summary of Requirements
*An elective course (3) may be taken any semester of the program.
Semester I – Fall (16 Credits)
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.
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.
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-requisite: SWK 771
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.
Foundation Field Practicum I comprises a semester-long, 16 - 20 hour-per-week, supervised experience in a social service agency or school and a bi-weekly seminar class. Under the guidance of experienced MSW 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. Additionally they are expected to understand organizational structure, the specifics of service delivery in their setting and community services available to their client populations. 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. Students are required to complete 250 hours in the field practicum setting before the end of the semester.
Co-requisite: SWK 741
Semester II – Spring (15 Credits)
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.
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.
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.
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.
This course follows successful completion of SWK 771. Students return to their agencies a week prior to the start of classes for 16-20 hours a week. 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. Students are required to complete 250 hours in the field practicum setting before the end of the semester.
Prerequisite: SWK 771. Co-requisite: SWK 742.
Note: Advanced standing students must take one 3 credit elective in the concentration year.
Semester III – Fall (12 Credits)
This required course examines dysfunctional behavior in the context of
developmental and environmental stresses. Ego psychology as a personality theory is considered as a means to understanding the development of adaptive and maladaptive ego functioning. This course surveys the varied manifestations of adult psychopathology including psychotic disorders, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, affective disorders, eating disorders and addiction.
Prerequisites: SWK 705, 706, 741, and 742
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 and SWK 706
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.
Co-requisite: SWK 713
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.
Co-requisite: SWK 751
Semester IV – Spring (15 Credits)
This online course is designed for students who are preparing for Service Providers and careers working with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Based upon the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), this course explores the biopsychosocial implications of both congenital and acquired hearing differences and their possible impacts on communication, education, participation, and quality of life. A special emphasis is placed on the diversity of communication needs and choices among deaf and hard of hearing people. Areas examined include interprofessional practice among counselors and audiologists, sound and hearing, the anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism, etiologies of hearing difference, hearing measurement, audiometric interpretation, auditory (re)habilitation, and multisensory communication technologies including hearing aids, cochlear implants, group listening systems, telecommunication devices, captioning and alerting systems. Practical applications of these topics for service providers and professionals are emphasized.
This course presents specialized content about social welfare policies affecting deaf and hard of hearing people and people with disabilities. These policies are discussed within the framework of analysis and evaluation to determine future directions for policy. The impact of the service delivery, funding, and organizational systems on the implementation of policy will be considered. The course will look at policies for people who are deaf-blind, developmentally disabled, and chronically mentally ill.
Prerequisite: SWK 711.
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
*An elective course (3) may be taken any semester of the program
Semester I – Fall (9 Credits)
Semester II – Spring (9 Credits)
Semester III – Fall (8-10 Credits)
Semester IV – Spring (9 Credits)
Semester V – Fall (12 Credits)
Semester VI – Spring (12 Credits)
Generalist Year Competencies:
Gallaudet University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Title IV approved institution. The Gallaudet Department of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) on the...
Completed application form. See
2021-2022 MSW Student Handbook 2019-2020 MSW Student Handbook
The employment for Social Workers is expected to grow 13% from 2019 to 2029, with an average annual salary of $50,470. Learn more here.
The employment of Social and Community Service Managers is expected to grow by a 17% rate from 2019-2029, with an average annual salary of $69,600.
Learn more about careers in social and community service management.
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