Carthage’s professional social work curriculum equips students with knowledge, values, and skills necessary for generalist practice. Through required field experiences, the department provides students with supervised opportunities to master the requisite competencies in actual practice situations. Scroll down to read descriptions of the social work courses offered at Carthage, or click on the following links for additional resources.

Introduction to Social Justice and Social Welfare

SWK 1300 / 4 credits 
This course introduces students to foundational critical theories used in deconstructing one’s own identity, privilege, and oppression. Utilizing these critical theories, students will examine the lived experiences of people with intersecting identities and identify how policies, laws, and culture impact different groups. Using a historical lens, this course examines how social injustices were created and perpetuated within the U.S. By understanding historical context, students will critically evaluate systems and institutions that maintain inequities and discrimination. Students will engage in self-awareness, building critical cultural consciousness for social change, develop culturally sensitive practices to manage bias and privilege, and challenge institutionalized discrimination within their fields of study.

Child Welfare Policy and Practice

SWK 2200 / 4 credits 
This course is designed to provide an overview of current issues in child welfare and will explore practice and policy interventions in the child welfare settings. Students will examine the pillars of permanency, safety, and well-being in the child welfare arena and will develop a foundational understanding of issues related to race, age, gender, culture and socio-economic status.

Family Violence

SWK 2210 / 4 credits 
This course addresses concerns about violence against women, specifically domestic violence. The course will discuss historical and cultural factors, feminist origins of the domestic violence movement, dating violence, dynamics of captivity, trauma and recovery, child witnesses, human trafficking, offender issues, treatment, prevention and social change approaches, and nonviolent men’s movements.

Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SOC)

SWK 2400 / 4 credits 
This course will focus on human development and behavior across the life span with a particular focus on how people interact with, adapt to, and are constrained by the world around them. Specifically, we will examine the impact of systems and structures of oppression on human development and well-being. Using an anti-oppression lens, this course focuses on bodies of knowledge and theory that help to explain the intimate and extended contexts that shape human development and the complex interactions between person and context. Content on individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, culture, social structure, and political and economic forces will be covered.
Prerequisites for Social Work majors and Social Justice minor: SWK 1300 and SOC 1000 or department approval.
Prerequisite for all other majors: SOC 1000 or department approval

Engaging Multicultural Students and Families

SWK 2500 / 4 credits 
This course will examine the relationship between schools, families, and communities with a particular emphasis on human diversity in urban environments. Students will explore the diverse range of backgrounds of children who comprise today’s school population, family structures from yesterday to today, schools as social institutions, and schools in their broader contexts, and examine methods, policies, and practices that would lead to improved school, family, and community relationships.

Ethics and Leadership in a Multicultural Society

SWK 2600 / 4 credits 
This course is designed for students coming from any major at the College and examines ethics and leadership from a wide range of professional and disciplinary perspectives. Students will learn about various ethical frameworks and multicultural understandings of ethics and leadership. Students will apply these ethical frameworks to contemporary case studies as a way to develop critical ethical thinking skills, particularly as it relates to socially responsible leadership in our contemporary global society.
Prerequisites for Social Work major and Social Justice minors: SWK 2400 or department approval.
Prerequisite for others: Sophomore standing

Wounded Hearts: Interdisciplinary Exploration of Trauma and Recovery

SWK 2650 / 4 credits 
The understanding and interest in the study of trauma have increased dramatically in the past twenty years. The impact of trauma has been shown to affect social institutions including hospitals, schools, criminal justice systems, local and national economics, and more. The effective recovery from trauma requires an understanding of neuroscience, genetics, psychology, sociology, and the arts. This course offers a unique opportunity to study the subject of psychological trauma through an interdisciplinary lens. This course is distinct from other trauma courses offered at the college in that this course focused on the breadth of trauma’s connection to other disciplines as opposed to the depth of study offered by one disciplinary lens.

Trauma Across Social Contexts (DIV)

SWK 2700 / 4 credits 
Why are so many community leaders talking about trauma? Research is growing on the impact of traumatic stress on the brain, on communities, and on social institutions. This course is intended to broadly cover the implications of trauma across social contexts so that cross-disciplinary learners can approach their clients, patients, students, etc. in a trauma-informed manner.
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

Social Welfare Research (SOC)

SWK 3000 / 4 credits 
An introduction to the methods of social science research. Emphasis on research consumership and on practical experience in gathering, organizing, and analyzing data. Must be taken with SWK 4200 and SWK 4610.
Prerequisite: SWK 3300

Social Welfare Policy Analysis (SOC) (DIV)

SWK 3100 / 4 credits 
Study of the past, present, and possible future of social welfare programming with an emphasis on the general process of policymaking, including the interaction of social, economic, and political influences. The course will include a critical analysis of several specific social welfare issues and problems. Social Work majors should take this course in the spring of Junior year.
Prerequisite for Social Work majors and Social Justice minors: SWK 2600
Prerequisite for others: Sophomore standing or instructor permission

Introduction to Social Work Practice

SWK 3300 / 4 credits 
This is the first course in the generalist practice sequence required for the social work major and is designed to provide opportunities for students to apply and integrate the previous course learning in the development of their social work practice skills. This course will provide social work majors with opportunities to deepen the development of their social work practice by using bodies of knowledge from anti-oppressive, critical social work, and ethical decision-making frameworks. Students will develop more complex and theory-informed practice applications with individuals, groups, and families. Requires 52 hours of observational pre-field experience.
Prerequisite: SWK 2600

Advanced Social Work Practice

SWK 4200 / 4 credits 
Advanced study of generalist social work intervention with agencies and community systems with an emphasis on the acquisition of values, knowledge, and practice skills. Requires 52 hours of volunteer field experience. Must be taken with SWK 3000 and SWK 4610.
Prerequisite: SWK 3300

Integrative Seminar

SWK 4300 / 4 credits 
Weekly seminar to integrate and synthesize social work theory and practice through a critical review of professional ethics. Students will complete their Senior Project in this course. Must be taken with SWK 4620.
Prerequisites: SWK 3000, SWK 4200, and SWK 4610

Social Work Field Placement I

SWK 4610 / 4 credits 
Field instruction under the supervision of an MSW in a social service agency for 225 hours. Application of generalist skills to provide services to individuals, groups, families, and communities. Must take with SWK 3000 and SWK 4200.

Social Work Field Placement II

SWK 4620 / 4 credits 
Field instruction under the supervision of an MSW in a social service agency for 225 hours. Application of generalist skills to provide services to individuals, groups, families, and communities. Must be taken with SWK 4300.