Comprehensive Online MSW Curriculum
63 TOTAL CREDITS REQUIRED
The courses included in the online MSW curriculum at New Mexico Highlands consist of 19 core courses and four focus classes and two field practicums, that are two semesters each, for a total of four semesters. Featuring general and clinical practicums, the 63 total credit hours include hands-on learning along with online coursework. Upon graduation, students will have the degree required for social work licensure and be ready to take the ASWB national exam.
While most of the courses are asynchronous, you’ll have one Zoom session each Wednesday from 7:00-9:00pm Mountain Standard Time. In addition, students in the online MSW program attend a Friday and Saturday New Student Orientation via Zoom.
Field Practicum Information
Additionally you are required to complete 928 field practicum hours over four semesters. Field practicums take place in your local community setting. During your first-year practicum, which is generalist in focus, you will complete a total of 448 hours per year. The second-year practicum is clinical in focus and has a requirement of 480 hours. Extra practicum hours accrued during one semester cannot be carried over the following semester. Field practicum hours must be completed in blocks of at least 4 continuous hours. All field practicums have preset / specific semester course sequencing.
Field Practicum Education at Facundo Valdez School of Social Work
Core Course Requirements
This course orients students to the requirements of Field Practicum. Through an emphasis on professional development, including resume writing and interviewing skills along with expectations for professional behavior while in field placement. Field Prep prepares Online MSW students to identify field placement opportunities in their home communities. Course activities and assignments allow students to connect with current practitioners and become more familiar with the breadth of the social work field. Prerequisite: Admission into the two-year MSW program is required.
The foundation research course introduces students to concepts of research for application in various human service contexts. The course covers elements of the research process, research design, statistical analysis, and the ethical issues in conducting research. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are presented, and issues relevant to research focusing on culturally diverse populations. Prerequisite: Evidence of having completed a statistics course within the past five years. SOWK 3300 Research Methods meets this prerequisite requirement.
This foundation practicum sequence is designed to help students apply foundation knowledge of social work skills, values and ethics to practice. By providing a series of supervised assignments and tasks, the practicum experience will expose students to a variety of social work roles. Students will apply generalist social work knowledge, skills and values to practice with individuals, couples, families, groups and communities. Corequisites: SOWK 5510.
This foundation practicum sequence is designed to help students apply foundation knowledge of social work skills, values and ethics to practice. By providing a series of supervised assignments and tasks, the practicum experience will expose students to a variety of social work roles. Students will apply generalist social work knowledge, skills and values to practice with individuals, couples, families, groups and communities. Prerequisites: SOWK 5320, SOWK 5330, SOWK 5410, SOWK 5650, and SOWK 5850.
This introductory course examines current substance use trends, substance misuse prevention strategies and treatment models, as well as DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Substance Use Disorders. Evidence-based approaches relevant to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities are presented, with special emphasis on Hispanic and Indigenous populations of New Mexico and the Southwest. The role of developmental, social, cultural, and environmental factors related to substance use and abuse will be explored, as well as the impact of oppression, and social and economic injustice. Prerequisite: Admission into the two-year MSW program is required.
This course examines the socio-cultural-political-historical context in which social work is practiced, with an emphasis on New Mexico and the Southwest. The course provides a framework for understanding issues of diversity, oppression and social justice within the context of race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability. An interdisciplinary approach allows students to become familiar with the legacies of conquest and colonization in New Mexico and the Southwest, as well as understand how the dynamics of power and changing demographics impact and are impacted by people residing in the region.
This seminar is required during the first semester. It provides students with an opportunity to integrate practice theory with field practicum experience. Instructors will assist students with their understanding and application of social work knowledge to specific programs, issues, and concerns that arise in the provision of social work services. Corequisites: SOWK 5320 and SOWK 5650.
This course presents the foundation skills necessary for the provision of generalist social work services to individuals. The course develops the direct practice knowledge and skills necessary for ethical and competent engagement, problem identification, assessment, intervention design, implementation, and termination with diverse, vulnerable, and at-risk clients. Emphasis is placed on generalist social work practice with Hispanic, American Indian and other oppressed groups of New Mexico and the Southwest. Corequisites: SOWK 5320 and SOWK 5510.
This course focuses on a critical and comparative analysis of frameworks, theories and models of social work practice. The course examines the four forces in psychology as the building blocks of an integrative, multicultural, ecosystems approach to social work practice. Implications of each practice approach for work at the micro, mezzo, and macro level are examined. Emphasis is placed on the evaluation of the practice approaches for work with diverse populations, with emphasis on the Native American, Hispanic and other oppressed populations of New Mexico and the Southwest. Prerequisite: SOWK 5650. Corequisite: SOWK 5340.
This two-semester course sequence critically examines theoretical perspectives of human life course development and the environmental contexts within which development occurs. This first class in the sequence focuses on the impact of families, groups, organizations, and communities on individual functioning. An emphasis is placed on the influence of culture, race and ethnicity on human development and on the effects that oppression and social and economic injustice have on human behavior, with special consideration given to the diverse populations of New Mexico and the Southwest. This is the first course of the two-semester sequence.
This two-semester course sequence critically examines theoretical perspectives of human life course development and the environmental contexts within which development occurs. This second class in the sequence explores bio-psycho-social-spiritual development across the lifespan within environmental contexts. This is the second of the two courses in this sequence.
This course introduces students to Social Work practice in rural contexts and the culture of people who live in rural communities and their unique social problems. Social workers practice, policy, diversity, and ethics in rural communities will be explored to help prepare students for practice in rural contexts. The unique and complex roles that social works who practice in rural contexts will be examined and differentiated for coal work practice in urban communities.
This course introduces students to the evolving field of technology-mediated social work practice. Ethical and legal issues related to telehealth practice are addressed, as well as the clinical skills necessary for effective remote service delivery. Students will also consider how health disparities and digital barriers impact communities in the U.S. Southwest.
This course supports the School’s mission which includes a primary commitment to Hispanic/Latinx peoples in New Mexico and the US Southwest. It will address the multiple factors that impinge on the well-being of Latinx individuals, families and communities, including historical, social, economic, and political, as well as clinical considerations such as nationality, identity, levels of acculturation and evidence-based treatment models that have proven to be effective with Latinx clients.
This course supports the School’s mission which includes a primary commitment to Native American/Indigenous peoples in New Mexico and the US Southwest. It will address the multiple factors that impinge on the well-being of Indigenous/tribal individuals, families and communities, including historical, social, economic, and political, as well as clinical considerations such as urban/reservation contexts, an understanding of sovereignty, tribal law, identity, levels of acculturation and evidence-based treatment models that have proven to be effective with Indigenous clients.
Clinical Concentration Courses
This course will provide an overview of the DSM-5 classification. The cultural, gender, systemic, social and biological contexts for the expression, classification and assessment of conditions will be explores, including the biases and limits of the DSM categorical approach to understanding human nature. The class will utilize lectures, discussions and in-class exercises to emphasize how best to honor the particular strengths of individuals and cultures as they relate to the processes and procedures of diagnostic categorization.
The advanced field practicum sequence is designed to help students continue to develop a professional identity as a social work practitioner as well as to improve practice skills through experiential learning and supervision. This course will build on advanced practice skills learned in the foundation practice courses. Prerequisites: SOWK 5300, SOWK 5340, SOWK 5460, SOWK 5660, and SOWK 5860.
This course is designed to build the quantitative and qualitative skills needed to evaluate the effectiveness of clinical practice and to critically assess the implications of research findings for practice.
The advanced field practicum sequence is designed to help students continue to develop a professional identity as a social work practitioner as well as improve upon practice skills through experiential learning and supervision. This course will build on advanced practice skills learned in the foundation practice courses. Prerequisites: SOWK 6320.
This course examines a range of groups found in historical and contemporary social work practice, and explores group stages and dynamics in the context of various theoretical approaches. Within a social justice framework, special emphasis is placed on ethical and practical issues of group work with historically oppressed populations. Prerequisites: SOWK 5340 and 5860.
This course emphasizes the integration of professional ethics, skills, knowledge, and cultural humility essential to serving as a licensed social work practitioner. Students will also learn the basics of engaging in clinical supervision. Finally, this course will prepare students to enter the field of social work through the development of a professional portfolio and an examination of professional conduct in the field. Social work licensure is a foundation of the profession and students will have the opportunity to practice taking licensure exams to prepare for this important next step. Prerequisites: Admission into the MSW program as an Advanced Standing student or successful completion of all 5000 level MSW courses if a two-year MSW student.
This is the first of two practice courses offered during the concentration year. This class offers students preparation in skills necessary for clinical social work practice with individuals, including interviewing, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning. The western, scientific approach to diagnosis and treatment using the DSM-5 is examined as well as alternative approaches used by diverse clients. Emphasis is placed on practice with Hispanic, American Indian and other oppressed populations of New Mexico and the Southwest. Corequisite: SOWK 6320.
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