The online Master of Social Work program offers specialized courses of study in which you can focus on a specific area of practice through a combination of elective courses. You may choose one of four specialized courses of study, or customize your own individualized course of study.
As an MSW student, you may also pursue a certificate program. The certificate programs will prepare you to become an expert in a specific practice area through a structured course sequence. Learn more about certificates.
This specialization prepares you to promote the overall well-being of children and families in school settings, child protective services, hospitals, and community-based mental health centers. You will be prepared to engage with children, adolescents, and family systems coping with addiction, mental illness, attachment-related problems, and trauma.
As a student, you will learn about the impacts of attachment and trauma on development, functioning, and interpersonal relationships. You will also study different clinical approaches applicable to children, adolescents, and families struggling with various issues across numerous contexts.
Advanced clinical courses for the Child and Family Specialized Course of Study include: Alcohol, Drugs, and Social Work Practice; Child and Adolescent Trauma; Attachment, Neurobiology, and Social Work Practice; Human Sexuality and Social Work Practice; and Advanced Group Work With Diverse, Vulnerable, and Resilient Populations.
Trauma and Interpersonal Violence
This specialization focuses on evidence-based practice approaches to trauma-informed care, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and child-adolescent trauma. You will gain an understanding of how traumatic attachments inform interpersonal relationships, self-perception, and emotional regulation throughout one’s life cycle.
Moreover, recommended courses focus on acquiring advanced clinical skills in group work, narrative therapy, or concurrent problems such as addiction or mental illness that often result from traumatic stress.
Advanced clinical courses for the Trauma and Interpersonal Violence Specialized Course of Study include: Child and Adolescent Trauma; Attachment, Neurobiology, and Social Work Practice; Alcohol, Drugs, and Social Work Practice; and Advanced Group Work With Diverse, Vulnerable, and Resilient Populations.
Mental Health and Addictions
This specialization focuses on helping those struggling with mental health disorders and/or addictions. You will develop skills in rapid assessment and thorough evaluation. You will also learn to use several treatment modalities and develop treatment relationships that apply to a wide range of clients over time or in brief encounters.
Upon completion of this specialization, you will have the skills required for positions in a range of settings, including inpatient units, detoxification facilities, and partial hospital programs, as well as mental health clinics and family agencies.
Advanced clinical courses for the Mental Health and Addictions Specialized Course of Study include: Alcohol, Drugs, and Social Work Practice; Advanced Group Work With Diverse, Vulnerable, and Resilient Populations; and Perspectives on Severe Mental Illness.
Health and Aging
When you specialize in this area, you may focus on practicing in health-related settings devoted to providing services to older adults, including acute care hospitals, medical specialty clinics, schools, and senior centers. As a student, you will develop an understanding of inter-professional practice and interventions in larger systems, as well as the policy contexts that shape health care delivery and the social work role in interdisciplinary collaboration.
Additional coursework such as advanced group work or cognitive behavioral therapy enables you to learn specific practice approaches commonly used in the aforementioned settings to help clients increase coping skills and reduce stigmas related to chronic illness or being elderly.
Advanced clinical courses for the Health and Aging Specialized Course of Study include: Human Sexuality and Social Work Practice; Social Work Practice in Health Care; Advanced Group Work With Diverse, Vulnerable, and Resilient Populations; and Attachment, Neurobiology, and Social Work Practice.
Individualized Course of Study
If you choose to pursue this course of study, you can select advanced clinical courses based on your interests and career goals. You will develop advanced clinical skills in the areas of practice where you have the most interest, or explore new interests related to practice approaches, fields of practice, or specific populations.