Social Work Curriculum

Social Work is the study and practice of how best to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities with solving problems, meeting needs, and addressing concerns. Its problem solving approach emphasizes an ecological systems perspective, cultural competence, an acknowledgement of system strengths, and a multigenerational outlook.

Juniata's Social Work Program has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education since 1981and its curriculum is designed to meet the professional and educational standards of the Council. The primary goal of the program is to prepare students for entry-level professional social work practice. An important secondary goal is to provide students with an exceptional professional foundation for graduate study.

The curriculum has five main components

Human Behavior and the Social Environment

Students develop an understanding of theories and knowledge of human bio-psycho-social development, including knowledge about the range of social systems with which individuals interact and in which social workers must be able to intervene.

Social Science Research

Students hone their skills for a scientific, analytical approach to building knowledge for social work practice and for evaluating social service delivery in all areas of their practice using applicable and ethical standards of inquiry.

Social Policy and Services

Students demonstrate the ability to describe and analyze social problems and social policies from philosophical, organizational, and scientific perspectives, and in both historical and contemporary contexts. Students learn about the political, organizational, and analytical processes they can use to influence policy making in their professional lives.

Social Work Practice

Students develop a mastery of the knowledge, values, and skills that are used in their professional practice for enhancing the well-being of people and improving the ecological conditions that affect people adversely. This includes developing competency in the relational, interviewing, problem-solving and counseling skills that social workers use daily.

Field Practicum/Professional Semester

Students apply their social work knowledge, values, and skills in a fourteen week, full-time internship under the supervision of a seasoned professional. By the completion of the Professional Semester students ought to be fully prepared for an entry-level BSW position in social work.


SW-214   Integrated Research Methods & Stats I (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) An integrated course sequence applying processes of social inquiry to the assessment of historically oppressed and vulnerable populations, and of the interventions used to help those populations. This course integrates key research concepts and commonly used quantitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences, with the ability to communicate effectively about research with written and verbal skills. The course teaches students not only to conduct social science research but also to consume and utilize social science research in a critical way, including in practice as a helping professional.

SW-215   Integrtd Research Methods & Stats II (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) The second part of an integrated course sequence applying the scientific process to the fields of Social Work and Sociology, emphasizing key research concepts, commonly used quantitative and qualitative methods, and the ability to communicate effectively about research with written and verbal skills. The course teaches students not only to conduct research but also to consume and utilize research.

SW-221   The Life Cycle (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,WK-SI) This course provides an introduction to lifespan development from conception, through birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and various stages of adulthood. Explores perspectives on the biological, psychological, and socio-cultural aspects of development over time. Examines human diversity as well as similarities in growth and development, utilizing theory and research. Discusses implications for prevention and intervention related to common developmental challenges and adversities. Pre-Req or Co-Req: FYC-101 or EN-110 or EN-109

SW-230   Introduction to Social Work Practice (Spring; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; S) Examines the generalist knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession. Emphasizes interviewing and communication skills, the development of a helping relationship, the strengths perspective and problem solving strategies. Prerequisites: SO101 or permission of instructor.

SW-231   Social Problems & Social Welfare (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,WK-SI) This course explores persistent social problems including poverty, inequality, unemployment, homelessness, family violence, substance abuse, and lack of healthcare access, using historical, philosophical, and social science perspectives. The development of social policies and services as institutional responses to these problems are described and analyzed. Over the course of the term, students will review a significant body of literature related to a social problem/policy of choice, and conduct a case study with a community member who has experienced consequences of that same problem/policy. Prerequisites: FYC-101, EN-110, or EN-109.

SW-241   Children, Youth, and Family Services (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; CW,S,WK-SI) This course involves a critical analysis of child and family services, practices, and policies, while exposing students to the challenging risks and needs, traumatic and institutional experiences of high-risk youth and families, as well as sources of strength, protection, and resilience. Students will participate in analyzing and interpreting research using needs assessment data provided by the instructor, and complete a scaffolded research paper assignment to analyze a specific issue of interest.

SW-330   Social Work Practice: Individual, Family & Small Groups Laboratory (Fall; Yearly; 2.00 Credits; S,SW-LE) This concurrent laboratory for SW-331 allows students to gain further experience working in a social service agency through participation in volunteer work, which is supervised and evaluated by a human service professional within the agency. Through this work, students have an opportunity to apply the skills needed to work with vulnerable client populations, including engaging, assessing, and intervening. Co-Req: SW-331. Pre-Req: SW-230.

SW-331   Social Work Practice: Individual, Family & Small Groups (Fall; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; S) Explores the problem solving process used in social work practice with individuals, families and small groups. Interviewing and problem solving skills, family systems analysis and group process are refined in preparation for beginning practice with individuals, families, and small groups. Corequisite: SW330. Prerequisite: SW230.

SW-332   Social Work Practice: Large Groups, Organizations and Communities (Fall; Yearly; 4.00 Credits; S,CW) Focuses on the problem solving processes employed in the delivery of social work services at the agency, institutional and community level. Primary consideration is given to the systems approach to communities and the techniques, strategies, and roles utilized by the worker in assisting communities and groups to attain satisfying and developmental levels of social functioning. Prerequisite: SW230.

SW-333   Social Welfare Policies and Services (Variable; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S,CW) A conceptual study of the meanings, nature, scope, implementation and evaluation of social policy as it relates to issues of social welfare. Prerequisites: SW-231 and SW-215.

SW-399   Special Topics (Either Semester; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits) Allows the department to offer topics not on the regular course offerings. Prerequisites and corequisites may vary by title.

SW-490   Social Work: Professional Semester (Spring; Yearly; 12.00 Credits; S) Full time supervised senior capstone field experience in an approved social work agency. Students integrate the knowledge, values and skills of the social work profession with experiential learning in preparation for assuming the responsibilities of an entry-level social work professional upon graduation. Corequisite: SW495 Prerequisite: Permission.

SW-495   Professional Semester: Research Seminar (Spring; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Involves research and discussion of practice issues of importance to the generalist social worker focusing on the impact these issues have on student's own practice experience. Corequisite: SW490. Prerequisite: Permission.

SW-TUT   Social Work Teaching Assistant/Tutorial (Variable; Variable; 1.00-4.00 Credits)