Master of Social Work

Advanced Clinical Practice Concentration

The Master of Social Work Program mission is to prepare graduate students for professional advanced practice in becoming leaders through the provision of social work services that promote social and economic justice, and human rights locally, nationally and globally. The program further expects graduates the contribute to the empowerment of people/groups that experience discrimination and oppression.

The School of Education & Social Services' online M.S.W.—with a concentration in advanced clinical practice—prepares you to engage, assess, intervene with and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Graduates are prepared to be leaders in advanced clinical social work practice serving all populations, in particular the elderly, military personnel, members of the workforce, and peoples and groups that experience discrimination and oppression.

Advanced clinical practice courses explore:

  • Clinical practice with individuals
  • Social work practices in the military, including issues facing military service members and their families
  • Clinical practice with couples and families, including issues of gender, ethnicity, empowerment and multiculturalism
  • Ethical foundations in social work practice
  • Psychopathology
  • Relationships between the social environment, cultural influences, and emotional and mental health
  • Evidence-based social work research methods, including single case designs, needs assessment, program evaluation, and application of evaluation methods results

You will also achieve a broad background in social work through general M.S.W. courses including those that explore:

  • Ethical principles to guide professional practice
  • Critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments
  • Diversity and difference in practice
  • Human rights and social and economic justice
  • Research-informed practice and practice-informed research
  • Human behavior and the social environment
  • Policy practice that advances social and economic well-being

The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).


Degree Requirements

The M.S.W. program is only available to students who are residents and physically living in the states of Florida, Georgia and Virginia. Classes are attended via webcam and presented online, which allows for face-to-face interaction in the convenience of your own home. Given this innovation of a full-time graduate online program, students should enter the program knowing that they will have to meet for weekly evening classes via webcam, be available for daytime internship hours, attend one weekend seminar on University campus in the summer, and adjust their lives to meet the demands and expectations of the Saint Leo University MSW full-time online program. Please review the two year program curriculum and all MSW Program information on the Saint Leo website to make an informed decision regarding meeting the demands of the program (www.saintleo.edu/masterofsocialwork).

The full-time, two-year, 63-credit M.S.W. is also available as an accelerated one-year program for students who have already complete a B.S.W. degree from a CSWE-accredited program within the last five years, as well as a three-year program for student who cannot meet the curriculum course outline of the two-year program.

Foundational Year - Fall (12 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • SWK 510 Human Behavior in the Social Environment I 3

    This course, the first of two required courses in human behavior in the social environment, is designed to prepare the student to understand human development across the life cycle, focusing on the interactions between and among systems (cultural, biological, social, psychological, and life-style) that make an impact on human development. This course will provide knowledge and an understanding of human development from conception across the lifespan. To illuminate this topic, an exploration of theories of change, and individual and family behavior as understood from a biopsychosocial and spiritual perspective is introduced. Theoretical explanations of development derive from the interactions of biological, psychological, and social sources, with special emphasis placed on systems theory.

  • SWK 520 Social Welfare Policy 3

    A description of the major components of the social welfare system in the United States. This course includes the historical development and philosophy behind our present social welfare system and uses current social welfare programs as examples. This is a course designed to focus on the policy making process within the social welfare system. The primary emphasis of this course is on macro systems, not micro systems. The course will describe what social policy is and explore the various ideas, philosophies, beliefs, and attitudes that have led to the development of various social welfare programs in the United States. Recognizing the fundamental duty of the social work profession to promote social equity and justice, this course looks at the values that underlie various policy approaches and identifies policy shifts rooted in recurring tensions or controversies. Consequences of different policy approaches are examined in light of their impact on racial and ethnic minorities, gay men and lesbians, women, the poor, and persons with mental and/or physical challenges. The student will also look at international policy as a comparison.

  • SWK 530 Methods of Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families 3

    This is the first required practice course in the graduate social work curriculum. Employing a generalist practice perspective, this course introduces students to social work values, knowledge, and skills essential for beginning social work practice with diverse populations. This course will introduce the student to generalist practice in social work, emphasizing the differences among micro, macro, and mezzo approaches. Building upon the liberal arts foundation courses, it is the first course in the social work practice sequence. Students will become familiar with the foundation of professional social work knowledge, values, and skills and will explore closely the ethical dilemmas inherent in social work practice. The NASW Code of Ethics will be used to study professional values. This course will examine systems theory, the ecological perspective, and the problem solving method in micro level practice. Students will begin to develop skills through the use of case presentation, role-play situations, video taping and feedback, and class discussions. Micro practice skills will be emphasized with particular attention given to the development of skills in working with ethnically, racially, and gender sensitive cases. This course will present practice content on people of color, women, children, the aged, disabled, and gay and lesbian persons. It will emphasize the impact of discrimination, economic deprivation, and oppression of these groups.

  • SWK 540 Social Work Research Methods 3

    This course provides a detailed examination of the techniques and methods of social research as they relate to evaluation of social services and social work practice. The course is designed to introduce students to the scientific method of inquiry within the context of advanced generalist practice and research problems. Special attention will be given to applied research methodologies that will enhance the student's use of evidence-based social work knowledge and skills. The following topics are explored: hypothesis construction; formulating a research design; measurement; data collection methods; elementary and social statistical data analysis; and, the ethics, politics, and uses of social research. Students are introduced to the various ways in which these underpinnings are designed to aid in the development of the appropriate language, knowledge, and skills for the application of research methods associated with advanced generalist social work practice.

Foundational Year - Spring (11 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • SWK 550 Human Behavior in the Social Environment II 3

    From a person-in-environment perspective, this course focuses on individual development over the life span; on the theories and knowledge about the range of social systems in which individuals live; how human behavior affects and is affected by these systems; how these systems promote or deter human health and well-being; and an introduction to critical thinking and an opportunity to apply its principles. In addition, this course covers issues of diversity, including practice issues with clients from differing social, cultural, racial, and class backgrounds; issues of social and economic justice and oppression; practice issues as they relate to clients belonging to populations at risk; and issues involved with systems of all sizes, including macro systems.

    Prerequisites: SWK 510

  • SWK 560 Methods of Social Work Practice with Groups 3

    This course builds on SWK 530 in preparing students for a generalist approach to social work practice. This methods course is designed to provide students with an understanding of social work practice with groups using the classroom as a laboratory for developing group leadership skills. SWK 560 expands basic knowledge, values, ethics, and skills, with an emphasis on mezzo level problem solving. This course includes theories and techniques for planning, assessment, direct intervention, and advocacy with small groups and families. The strengths and problem solving methods of practice with small groups and families are emphasized. SWK 560 illustrates the relationship between micro and mezzo skills and continues an emphasis on ethical decision making and issues of diversity in social work practice. The goal of the course is to provide students with experiential learning opportunities for skill development in leading and becoming effective members in a variety of groups.

    Prerequisites: SWK 530

  • SWK 580 Field Practicum I 5

    The purpose of Field Practicum I is to give students the opportunity to apply theory to social work practice. The student will engage in implementing generalist social work practice skills. Students are expected to participate at their field agency placement two days a week (16 hours a week). A seminar will be offered in conjunction with the field practicum. It will facilitate the process of integrating social work knowledge, skills, values, and a liberal arts base into a set of practice competencies necessary for the performance of beginning social work practice. The seminar will meet two hours per week for sixteen weeks. *SWK 580 Field Practicum I is 16 normal daytime work hours per week for 16 weeks = 256 hours 2-hour seminar

Foundational Year - Summer (10 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • SWK 570 Methods of Macro Social Work Practice 3

    This course introduces macro practice concepts to the clinical social work student. The focus is on the exploration of leadership, administrative, planning, and community roles in social work practice. SWK 570 emphasizes the use of generalist skills in macro practice. The application of practice skills in problem identification and definition, assessment, data collection, planning, implementation, and evaluation are applied to macro intervention throughout the coursework. The course illustrates the relationship between, and the integration of, micro, mezzo, and macro skills, and continues the emphasis on ethical decision making and issues of diversity in social work practice. Various social work roles including that of advocate, activist, broker, and case manager will be explored.

    Prerequisites: SWK 530, SWK 560

  • SSWK 590 Field Practicum II 4

    The purpose of Field Practicum II is to give students the opportunity to apply theory to social work practice. The student will engage in implementing generalist social work practice skills. Student are expected to participate at their field agency placement two days a week (16 hours a week). A seminar will be offered in conjunction with the field practicum. It will facilitate the process of integrating social work knowledge, skills, values, and a liberal arts base into a set of practice competencies necessary for the performance of beginning social work practice. The seminar will meet one hour per week for sixteen weeks. *SWK 590 Field Practicum II is 16 normal daytime work hours per week for 16 weeks = 256 hours 1-hour seminar

    Prerequisites: SWK 580

  • SWK 610 Leadership (One weekend On-campus attendance required) 3

    The purpose of this course is to help students become more effective leaders and to better understand the demands of leadership. The student will learn leadership knowledge and skills required to succeed in the workplace. The course defines leadership as a process of influencing an organized group to accomplishing its goals. Major research findings will be presented that can give leaders insight about how to become more effective in analyzing and responding to situations. The course builds on macro content taught in social work courses and theories of individual and group behavior presented in foundation courses on human behavior in the social environment. *(required for all second-year and advanced standing students)

Second Year - Fall (12 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • SWK 615 Advanced Clinical Practice with Individuals 3

    This course builds upon the comprehensive understanding of the interactions of human behavior and the social environment explored in foundation practice courses. SWK 615 is designed to facilitate competent practice in the planned change process with greater depth and breadth and specificity for generalist social work practice. It provides increased knowledge and skills for the integration of values and ethics that will enable students to practice using an ecological perspective at the advanced level. Evidence-based practice is emphasized in the application of theory and the evaluation of practice.

  • SWK 620 Ethical Foundations in Social Work Practice 3

    This course builds upon the basic concepts and methods of scientific inquiry used to facilitate knowledge and evaluate practice. The following topics are explored: single case designs, needs assessment, program evaluation, and application of evaluation methods results to social work practice in both clinical and managerial settings.

  • SWK 625 Psychopathology 3

    This course is an advanced practice class that is required in both the advanced clinical practice and management concentrations. The course provides an overview of mental health assessment and diagnostic tools, including the Diagnostic Statistical Manual diagnostic criteria, and examines treatment strategies and techniques. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between the social environment, cultural influences, and emotional and mental health.

  • SWK 635 or SWK 655 : (3 Credits)3
    • SWK 635 Social Work Practice in the Military (Elective)

      This course provides a comprehensive and in-depth examination of the practice of military social work. This course provides a historical context and a thorough review of the specific practice of social work with the branches of the U.S. military. The course examines the unique culture of the military community and the issues facing military service members and their families.

    • SWK 655 Substance Abuse Assessment and Intervention (Elective)

      This is an elective course which is available to M.S.W. students who have completed the foundation curriculum. The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the assessment and treatment of persons with substance-related disorders. Attention is directed to the pharmacology and etiology of substance abuse and dependence, assessment tools and processes, and treatment options. Other topics explored in the course will include family dynamics, adult children of alcoholics, co-occurring disorders, and populations at risk of substance-related disorders. This course will implement the strengths perspective in the assessment and treatment of addiction. Students will be expected to examine their own values, beliefs and behaviors in response to clients labeled as “addicts”. Students will have the opportunity to explore how their values and beliefs about addiction can facilitate or limit their ability to do effective social work practice with people involved in addictions. Students should leave this course with a better understanding of themselves and of those affected by addictions.

Second Year - Spring (10 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • SWK 630 Advanced Clinical Practice with Couples and Families 3

    This course links theory and practice in consideration and application of the major models of family therapy. Family and couples issues of gender, ethnicity, empowerment, and multiculturalism are explored, as are intervention strategies in correcting maladaptive couple and family interactive patterns. The course illustrates the relationship between, and the integration of, micro and mezzo, with an emphasis on ethical decision making and issues of diversity in social work practice.

  • SWK 640 Evidence-Based Social Work Research Methods 3

    This course builds upon the basic concepts and methods of scientific inquiry used to facilitate knowledge and evaluate practice. The following topics are explored: single case designs, needs assessment, program evaluation, and application of evaluation methods results to social work practice in both clinical and managerial settings.

  • SWK 645 Field Practicum III 4

    The purpose of Field Practicum III is to give the student the opportunity to implement advanced social work practice theory and skills in either the advanced clinical practice concentration or the management concentration. The student is expected to participate at their field agency placement two days a week (16 hours a week). The student is expected to carry a caseload of 3-5 cases in order to implement interventions integrating advanced theories and interventions on all levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. Students will be prepared for autonomous advanced social work practice. A seminar will be offered in conjunction with the field practicum. It will facilitate the process of integrating social work knowledge, skills, values, and a liberal arts base into a set of practice competencies necessary for the performance of advanced social work practice. The seminar will meet one hour per week for sixteen weeks. *SWK 645 Field Practicum III (16 normal daytime work hours per week for 16 weeks = 256 hours plus 1-hour seminar)

Second Year - Summer (7 credits)

  • Course
  • Course Name
  • Credits
  • SWK 660 Field Practicum IV 4

    The purpose of Field Practicum IV is to give the student the opportunity in implementing advanced social work practice theory and skills in either the advanced clinical practice concentration or the management concentration. The student is expected to participate at their field agency placement two days a week (16 hours a week). The student is expected to carry a caseload of 3-5 cases in order to implement interventions integrating advanced theories and interventions on all levels: micro, mezzo, and macro. Students will be prepared for autonomous advanced social work practice. A seminar will be offered in conjunction with the field practicum. It will facilitate the process of integrating social work knowledge, skills, values, and a liberal arts base into a set of practice competencies necessary for the performance of advanced social work practice. The seminar will meet one hour per week for sixteen weeks. *SWK660 Field Practicum IV (16 normal daytime work hours per week for 16 weeks = 256 hours plus 1-hour seminar)

  • SWK 633 or SWK 647 : (3 Credits)3
    • SWK 633 Advanced Clinical Social Work with Older Adults (Elective)

      This course provides an intensive examination of practice issues related to strengths based, empowerment-oriented social work practice with older adults and their families. Students gain an understanding of developmental issues of adulthood and late life, as well as the application of empirically-supported assessment and interventions in real life situations. Students will apply a cultural competent approach by gaining an increased understanding of the needs, strengths and sociocultural diversity of older adults and their caregivers and applying culturally competent assessments, interventions, and evaluations.

      Prerequisites: Successful completion of all foundation courses and SWK 610, SWK 615, SWK 620, SWK 625, SWK 635 or SWK 655, SWK 630, SWK 640, and SWK 645

    • SWK 647 Social Work with Deployed and Re-Deployed Military and thier Families (Elective)

      This course provides an in-depth examination into the impacts of deployments on military members and their families. It includes a comprehensive review of new and emerging evidence-based individ- ual, family, and community interventions designed to help military members and their families re-cover and adapt to these deployments. Students will obtain a thorough understanding of combat-related Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), Secondary PTSD, along with suicidality, substance abuse, and domestic vio-lence among these member and their families. This course will enable graduate students to under-stand the prevalence, severity, impacts, and treatments of these conditions and problems. Students will be able to apply material from this course to their future clinical practice with active duty, Na- tional Guard, Reserve, retired, and separated military members and their families. They will be equipped for entry-level social work within on-post/base mental health and social service clin- ics/hospitals, Veteran’s Affairs clinics/hospitals, community social service/mental health agencies, and private practice clinics.

      Prerequisites: Successful completion of all foundation courses and SWK 610, SWK 615, SWK 620, SWK 625, SWK 635 or SWK 655, SWK 630, SWK 640, and SWK 645

Total Credits 62