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Social Work


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 opportunity 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.

  • SWK 1300

    Introduction to Social Justice and Social Welfare

    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.

  • SWK 2200

    Child Welfare Policy and Practice

    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.

  • SWK 2210

    Family Violence

    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.

  • SWK 2400

    Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SOC)

    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

  • SWK 2500

    Engaging Multicultural Students and Families

    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.

  • SWK 2600

    Ethics and Leadership in a Multicultural Society

    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

  • SWK 2650

    Wounded Hearts: Interdisciplinary Exploration of Trauma and Recovery

    The understanding and interest in the study of trauma has increased dramatically in the past twenty years. The impact of trauma has bee 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.

  • SWK 2700

    Trauma Across Social Contexts (DIV)

    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 traume-informed manner.
    Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

  • SWK 3000

    Social Welfare Research (SOC)

    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

  • SWK 3100

    Social Welfare Policy Analysis (SOC) (DIV)

    Study of the past, present, and possible future of social welfare programming with an emphasis on the general process of policy making, including the interaction of social, economic, and political influences. The course will include 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

  • SWK 3300

    Introduction to Social Work Practice

    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 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

  • SWK 4200

    Advanced Social Work Practice

    Advanced study of generalist social work intervention with agencies and community systems with 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

  • SWK 4300

    Integrative Seminar

    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

  • SWK 4610

    Social Work Field Placement I

    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.

  • SWK 4620

    Social Work Field Placement II

    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.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …