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-221   The Life Cycle (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) An introduction to life span development from conception, through birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence and the various stages of adulthood. Explores perspectives on the physical, psychological and social aspects of development over time. Examines human diversity as well as similarities in growth and development. Prerequisites: SO101 or PY101.

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 (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) Explores persistent social problems such as poverty, inequality, and oppression, unemployment, family violence, and substance abuse using historical, philosophical, and social science perspectives. The development of social policies and services as institutional responses to these problems are described and analyzed. Prerequisites: SO101.

SW-330   Social Work Practice: Individual, Family & Small Groups Laboratory (Fall; Yearly; 2.00 Credits; S) Supervised field work in an approved social work agency. Provides opportunity to observe agency function and apply beginning social work practice skills. Corequisite: SW331. Prerequisite: SW230.

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 (Fall; Yearly; 3.00 Credits; S) A conceptual study of the meanings, nature, scope, implementation and evaluation of social policy as it relates to issues of social welfare. Prerequisites: SW231 and ND.SS215.

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.