https://www.pacific.edu/academics/schools-and-colleges/school-of-health-sciences/programs/social-work.html
Phone: 916.739.7219

Amanda West, Department Chair

Programs Offered

Master of Social Work

  • 16-month Accelerated Hybrid Program
  • 12-month Advanced Standing Program 

Mission Statement

The mission of the MSW program is to develop skilled and compassionate professionals who provide comprehensive and culturally sensitive clinical care using an evidence-based approach. We prepare students to practice in increasingly complex healthcare environments with the purpose of improving people’s quality of life and enhancing human potential for full, productive participation in society. Graduates are expected to become agents of change with excellent client care skills, to value diversity and inclusion, and advocate to promote economic and social justice for individuals, groups and communities, in particular those who are underserved.

Program Overview

The MSW program is an accelerated hybrid (classroom and online) program offering two different options.  Students with a Bachelor’s degree and foundation in the liberal arts/social sciences are eligible for admission to the 16-month accelerated hybrid program, which can be completed in four trimesters with a new cohort starting each Fall trimester.  Students with a Bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) are eligible for admission to the 12-month advanced standing program, which can be completed in three trimesters with a new cohort starting each Spring trimester. 

The MSW curriculum complies with CSWE standards and align with the competency-based education framework introduced in the 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. The design of the generalist practice curriculum centers on the nine core generalist social work competencies to identify and assess the student’s abilities to practice within the field of social work. The design of the specialized practice curriculum centers on our extension of these generalist competencies to practice within the area of healthcare social work.

The healthcare social work practice curriculum enhances and extends the core generalist competencies and the values of the social work profession that are introduced, reinforced, and mastered in the generalist curriculum.  The specialized healthcare practice curriculum builds on generalist practice in three ways. First, knowledge, skills, values, and cognitive and affective processes acquired in generalist courses and a 15-week intensive generalist internship are further developed and applied to more complex and specific areas of practice in healthcare. Second, students, with generalist level knowledge and skills in hand, are given the opportunity in the 31-week intensive specialized practice internship to face a range of medical and health related challenges, in inpatient and outpatient healthcare settings and in the community, for providing service to individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Thirdly, after mastering the generalist competencies, students will be prepared to learn the importance of multidisciplinary knowledge and further develop their interprofessional teamwork skills via interprofessional education and field learning opportunities during the final two trimesters of the program.

Accreditation Status

The MSW Program has Candidacy Status for accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education's (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation.   The program is going through CSWE's three-year accreditation process and expects to be fully accredited by November of 2022.  Students who graduate before the program is awarded Initial Accreditation will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once Initial Accreditation is attained.   More accreditation information can be found at: CSWE’s FAQ on Accreditationhttps://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Information/Frequently-Asked-Questions

Admission Requirements

For the most current information regarding the application process and requirements, please visit the website.

Master of Social Work

The MSW program is a full-time program with a cohort-based plan of study. Students are required to enroll full-time and must advance through a pre-determined curriculum in sequence with their cohort.  Students are required to successfully pass each required course in a given trimester in order to advance to the subsequent trimester with their cohort.  Students who do not pass a required course (with a passing grade being ‘B-‘ or higher), or who withdraw from a required course, will not be able to progress with their cohort in the program.  Students may only be able to progress with their cohort or rejoin the program at a later date if recommended by the program’s Student Progress Committee and approved by the Program Director.

The program's hybrid curriculum is designed with two options: a 16-month sequence for students with any other undergraduate degree totaling 55 units, and a 12-month advanced standing sequence for students with a Council on Social Work Education accredited BSW program totaling 32 units.

Traditional Sequence — 16 months (55 units)

Trimester 1 (Fall)
SOCW 201Social Work Theory & Practice I3
SOCW 203Research-Informed Practice3
SOCW 205Policy & Advocacy in Social Work Practice3
SOCW 207Diversity & Social Justice3
SOCW 209Social Work Skills Lab3
Trimester 2 (Spring)
SOCW 211Social Work Theory & Practice II3
SOCW 213Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)3
SOCW 215Social Work in Health Settings3
SOCW 225Generalist Practice Field Seminar2
SOCW 287AGeneralist Practice Field Placement3
Trimester 3 (Summer)
SOCW 217Clinical Interventions in Health3
SOCW 219Social Determinants of Health2
SOCW 231Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment3
or SOCW 233 Gerontological Social Work
SOCW 227Specialized Practice Field Seminar I1
SOCW 287BSpecialized Practice Field Placement I3
Trimester 4 (Fall)
SOCW 221Advanced Policy in Health Systems3
SOCW 223Practice-Informed Research in Health Settings II3
SOCW 231Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment3
or SOCW 233 Gerontological Social Work
SOCW 229Specialized Practice Field Seminar II1
SOCW 287CSpecialized Practice Field Placement II3

Advanced Standing Option Sequence — 12 months (32 units)

Note: One of the two required electives may be taken in Trimester 1 from another program in the School of Health Sciences if available and approved by the student’s academic advisor.

Trimester 1 (Spring)
SOCW 213Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)3
SOCW 215Social Work in Health Settings3
SOCW 231Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment3
or SOCW 233 Gerontological Social Work
Trimester 2 (Summer)
SOCW 217Clinical Interventions in Health3
SOCW 219Social Determinants of Health2
SOCW 231Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment3
or SOCW 233 Gerontological Social Work
SOCW 227Specialized Practice Field Seminar I1
SOCW 287BSpecialized Practice Field Placement I3
Trimester 3 (Fall)
SOCW 221Advanced Policy in Health Systems3
SOCW 223Practice-Informed Research in Health Settings II3
SOCW 229Specialized Practice Field Seminar II1
SOCW 287CSpecialized Practice Field Placement II3

Social Work Courses

SOCW 201. Social Work Theory & Practice I. 3 Units.

This course introduces a range of prevention and intervention methods grounded in generalist social work theory and the person-in-environment framework. A unifying framework of micro, mezzo and macro level practice for working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities is introduced. The framework includes the practice phases of engagement, assessment, planning/contracting, intervention, evaluation, termination/referral, and follow-up. Students will gain a foundation upon which they can continue to add and build social work practice skills. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Social Work program. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 203. Research-Informed Practice. 3 Units.

This course introduces students to social work research. It focuses on understanding quantitative and qualitative research methods in advancing the science of social work and evaluation of social work practice.Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Social Work program. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 205. Policy & Advocacy in Social Work Practice. 3 Units.

This course introduces students to the underlying values, assumptions, and philosophical perspectives that have influenced the development of the U.S. social welfare system and services. Students will learn about policy formulation, analysis, and the role of advocacy in service development and delivery within social work practice settings at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Prerequisites: Admission to the Master of Social Work program. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in an online format.

SOCW 207. Diversity & Social Justice. 3 Units.

This course introduces students to the global intersections and interconnections of diversity, human rights and justice. Students will develop an understanding of an integrated practice framework that advances human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice issues. Theories and strategies of human need and social justice are covered to prepare students to advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice domestically and internationally. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Social Work program. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 209. Social Work Skills Lab. 3 Units.

This skill-based course is anchored in the knowledge base of generalist social work theory & practice. Students will develop competency in performing essential social work skills to prepare for the generalist and specialized field placement. Specific skills focused on include demonstration of ethical and professional behavior and engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with clients and constituencies. Prerequisite: Admission to the Master of Social Work program. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a lecture format.

SOCW 211. Social Work Theory & Practice II. 3 Units.

This course builds on integrating social work practice through a unifying framework of micro, mezzo and macro level practice for working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The framework will focus on integrating practice, leadership and technology skills to develop and provide social work services that advance social justice and improve well-being. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 213. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). 3 Units.

This course introduces students to the concepts and language of mental health and mental disorders with a primary focus on the widely used classification system of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). Students learn to distinguish mental health diagnostic categories and gain skills in the diagnostic process. The goals of the course are to further students’ competence in incorporating strengths in a comprehensive, multidimensional assessment and prepare students to practice in integrated health care settings. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in an online format.

SOCW 215. Social Work in Health Settings. 3 Units.

Building on core knowledge common to all fields of practice, this course examines advanced practice skills and interventions relevant to health care settings in work with individual clients, families, groups, and interdisciplinary teams. Social work practice is explored in the context of the psychosocial consequences of illness and current health care delivery. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 217. Clinical Interventions in Health. 3 Units.

This course builds on generalist social work theory and practice with the addition of more intensive focus on assessment and intervention techniques with clients and constituencies. Students will develop service delivery plans based on the selection of appropriate theories, intervention models, and evidence-informed intervention utilizing a practice orientation that attends to human rights and social justice for diverse individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 219. Social Determinants of Health. 2 Units.

This course focuses on the systematic study of social and economic conditions under which people live that determine their health. How social influences such as income, living conditions, education, infrastructure, religious affiliation, healthcare, social capital, stress, gender and race affect health and longevity will be explored. The role of public policy in shaping outcomes for communities will be examined. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 221. Advanced Policy in Health Systems. 3 Units.

The course introduces a rights-based approach to leading innovation and social change through policy practice and advocacy. Using human rights and social justice principles, students will learn how to use specific policy and advocacy frameworks to plan for and lead strategies that facilitate social change with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

SOCW 222. Practice-Informed Research in Health Settings I. 1 Unit.

This course builds on basic understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and analysis. Students gain knowledge and skills to use appropriate research methods for empirically based knowledge building and to enhance program and practice effectiveness. Content includes single system and group design and formative and summative approaches to practice and program evaluation. Prerequisites: Prerequisites include admission to the 16-month Traditional Program or 12-month Advanced Standing MSW Program and cohort progression, or permission of instructor.

SOCW 223. Practice-Informed Research in Health Settings II. 3 Units.

This course builds on basic understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods and analysis. Students gain knowledge and skills to use appropriate research methods for empirically based knowledge building and to enhance program and practice effectiveness. Content includes single system and group design and formative and summative approaches to practice and program evaluation. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 225. Generalist Practice Field Seminar. 2 Units.

This course will coordinate with the General Practice Field Placement and use a problem-based learning approach. Exceptions may be granted by the MSW Program’s Student Progress Committee (see MSW Program Handbook and MSW Field Handbook). This course is taught in a lecture format.

SOCW 227. Specialized Practice Field Seminar I. 1 Unit.

This course will coordinate with Specialized Practice Field Placement I and use a problem-based learning approach. Exceptions may be granted by the MSW Program’s Student Progress Committee (see MSW Program Handbook and MSW Field Handbook). This course is taught in a lecture format.

SOCW 229. Specialized Practice Field Seminar II. 1 Unit.

This course will coordinate with Specialized Practice Field Placement II and use a problem-based learning approach. Exceptions may be granted by the MSW Program’s Student Progress Committee (see MSW Program Handbook and MSW Field Handbook). This course is taught in a lecture format.

SOCW 231. Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment. 3 Units.

This course provides an overview of social work practice with alcohol and substance abusers, including the role of family systems, community networks, and experiences of trauma. The course prepares students for assessment, detection, and intervention for harmful alcohol and substance use in human services settings, with an emphasis on health care settings. The course provides a basis for understanding the prevalence of alcoholism and substance abuse, introduces models and theories of addiction and treatment, and develops skills in engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation for alcoholism and substance use with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 233. Gerontological Social Work. 3 Units.

This course provides knowledge and skills for gerontological practice in the areas of health and mental health with older adults. The course emphasizes practice with clients from diverse backgrounds, including minority and disenfranchised populations at the micro and mezzo levels. Students in other University of the Pacific graduate programs may take this course as an elective with the permission of the instructor. This course is taught in a hybrid format.

SOCW 287A. Generalist Practice Field Placement. 3 Units.

A field internship to develop generalist social work skills while supporting individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Students are expected to attend their field placements three days per week for 15 weeks.

SOCW 287B. Specialized Practice Field Placement I. 3 Units.

A field internship to develop integrative practice skills for supporting individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities within an area of specialized practice related to health social work in an interprofessional practice setting. Students are expected to attend their field placements three days per week for 15 weeks.

SOCW 287C. Specialized Practice Field Placement II. 3 Units.

A field internship to develop integrative practice skills for supporting individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities within an area of specialized practice related to health social work in an interprofessional practice setting. Students are expected to attend their field placements three days per week for 15 weeks.

SOCW 293. Special Topics. 1-4 Units.

Special Topics.

Program Learning Objectives

This program is designed to prepare students to practice competently in an increasingly complex healthcare environment and gain the skills and knowledge to be innovators in social work. Graduates will:

1. Critically analyze and use evidence to guide decision-making and clinical skills to promote best practices.

2. Use knowledge of social work practice theories and policy frameworks and evidence-based practice to develop strategies to promote high quality care, innovation, and organizational change, targeting social justice and promotion of human rights.

3. Work in inter-professional teams to develop a compassionate and culturally sensitive, patient-centered approach to healthcare.

Course Credit Not Granted For Life and Work Experience

The MSW program does not grant social work course credit for life experience or previous work experience. Both life and work experience, past and present, cannot be a substitute for field education experience or any generalist or specialized practice courses.

Social Work Faculty

Amanda West, Program Director, Master of Social Work from U.C. Berkeley; Doctoral from U.C. Berkeley; Post-doctoral training from the Department of Psychiatry at U.C. San Francisco, Awest@pacific.edu

Nurit Fischer-Shemer, Assistant Clinical Professor, Master of Science & Technology Education from Ben-Gurion University; Master of Social Work from University at Buffalo; Ph.D. in Social Welfare from University at Buffalo, nfischershemer@pacific.edu

Katie Savin, Assistant Clinical Professor, Ph.D. Candidate in Social Welfare at U.C. Berkley; Master of Social Work from Hunter College, ksavin@pacific.edu