Jun 22, 2024  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 
2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Social Work Major, B.S.

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Social Work majors are required to take the following courses as prerequisites in preparation for the major.  All courses must be completed with a grade of “C-” or better. Students must have completed, or must indicate at the time of admission, the plan to complete these courses prior to the fall semester for which students have been accepted.

Additionally, a grade of “C-” or better is required for each course in this program to count toward the bachelor’s degree. Students should note that programs differ in the minimum grade required.

Required Liberal Arts Perspective Prerequisite Courses

Students must complete the following courses before the fall semester in which they begin the Social Work Program.  Many of these courses will also fulfill General Studies requirements for graduation.

Required Introductory Social Work Prerequisite Courses: 6 credits

Required before the fall semester in which students begin the Social Work program.

Areas of Career Concentration for Social Work Majors

Social Work majors may select one area of concentration to further prepare them for their career goals. The areas of concentration relate to groups identified in the Social Work Department’s mission statement: women and children, gender and sexual minorities, the aging and the developmentally disabled.

All Social Work majors must complete the required liberal arts, introductory and professional foundation courses for the major as previously listed. To complete a career concentration, students must complete the elective credits as listed for each concentration area and must complete their senior field experience in an agency serving the concentration population. The total credits for all career concentration areas are 17, comprised of nine social work elective credits and eight professional field experience credits as listed below. Students may complete only one concentration area.

No Area of Concentration

Social Work majors who do not wish to select a concentration to focus their career must select a minimum of nine credit hours from any of the social work major, 3000-level or upper-division elective courses listed below for the concentrations.

Required Courses:

Total Required Social Work Credits: 54

Child Welfare Concentration

Social Workers assume primary roles in providing intake and ongoing services in all areas of child welfare. The child welfare concentration is designed for students choosing a career as a caseworker and/or supervisor in child welfare services. (Non-majors must have permission of the Social Work Department Chair before enrolling in these courses.)

Total Required Social Work Credits: 54


*Must be completed in an approved county Department of Human Services B child protection unit to be eligible for the Child Welfare Stipend.  See additional information below.

Additional Information:

Since 1995 over $1,500,000 in Child Welfare Caseworker stipends through the Colorado Department of Human Services have been awarded to MSU Denver seniors who are social work majors and who have completed the child welfare career concentration courses. Stipends in amounts ranging from $8,000-$14,000 are awarded to select recipients who are required to complete their professional field experience in a public child welfare agency. A required work pay-back of one year as a paid caseworker in public child welfare must be completed following graduation as a Social Work major.

Developmental Disabilities Concentration

Families with children and/or parents with developmental disabilities are often in need of ongoing family supports. Family support, family-centered service planning and coordination are needed as families negotiate a complex and fragmented service delivery system. This career concentration is designed for students choosing a career in the area of developmental disabilities services.

Early Intervention Concentration

This concentration recognizes the importance of providing, safe, nurturing and stimulating environments during the early, crucial phases of child development from birth through five years of age and the key role social workers have in assisting families in achieving these goals. This concentration is designed for students choosing a career in the area of infant stimulation, early intervention and early education services.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Concentration

Social workers often support families and provide services to children and adolescents with an array of emotional and behavioral problems. Mental health policies and practices including assessment, diagnosis, intervention and evaluation of mental health services for children and their families will be presented from a social work perspective. This concentration is designed for students choosing a career in the area of mental health services for children and adolescents.

Gender and Sexuality Concentration

There are many challenges facing gender and sexual minorities, families and groups in today’s society. The strengths, stresses and life style choices of this population at risk and the role of social workers with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities are the major themes of this area. This career concentration is designed for students choosing a career in gender and sexual minority health, mental health and community services.

Women Concentration

In today’s society, there is an increasing awareness of the need for specialized generalist social work training and commitment to assisting women in overcoming barriers, identifying strengths and supporting goal attainment in a patriarchal society. Social policies and common issues facing women today are explored. Current social work strategies are evaluated from a feminist social work perspective. This concentration is designed for students choosing a career in the area of women’s health, mental health and welfare services.

Aging Concentration

Social Workers provide a variety of supports and services to elderly individuals and their families. Individual needs, strengths, family supports, use of community resources and knowledge of social policies that impact this population are the major themes. This concentration is designed for students choosing a career in aging, health, mental health, home health, and long term care services.

Professional Field Experience

The Professional Field Experience takes place during the fall and spring semesters of the student’s senior year. In order to integrate classroom knowledge with practice and to experience the role and requirements of a professional social worker, the student is placed in an approved social work agency for 16 hours per week.  The student remains in the same agency for both semesters, progressing from orientation to beginning professional competence.  Field instruction is provided to the student while in the agency by an agency employee who is a professional social worker and who has agreed to serve as a field instructor for the Social Work program.

The placement begins during the spring semester of the student’s junior year. Early in the spring semester, students will receive a letter, outlining the field placement process and providing them with the field application, via the Social Work listserv.  Each student will have an individual interview with a member of the faculty during which the placement process will be fully explained, questions answered, and help provided to identify the student’s interest and potential focus for the field experience.  Each student will be referred to several agencies as possible placement sites.  The student is responsible for setting up interviews and obtaining a placement at an approved agency during the spring semester of the junior year.  Students wishing to volunteer at heir agencies during the summer may do so, but they will not receive course credit for this time.  The Professional Field Experience will begin during the fall semester of the senior year.  To discuss this requirement, contact Lynn Kaersvang, B.S.W. Field Coordinator.

Multicultural Requirement

Social work majors are required to take two multicultural courses outside of the Social Work Department. When possible, students should consider focusing on one specific ethnic minority (African American, Asian American, Hispanic, or American Indian). One course must be upper division.

The University also has a multicultural graduation requirement that all students must complete.  The University Catalog contains a list of courses that are approved for the University Multicultural requirement. If a student selects a course that meets both the Social Work and University Multicultural requirement, the course may count for both requirements.

Approved courses that meet both the Social Work and the University requirement are as follows:

Admission to the Major

Students should declare Social Work as their major when they enter MSU Denver through the Office of Advising. To complete the major, students must apply to the Social Work Department for acceptance into the major. Students should have completed or be enrolled in the liberal arts perspective courses and the introductory social work courses when applying for the social work major. Students are accepted once a year. Applications are available February 1 and are due March 1 of each year. Students begin the required professional foundation courses in the fall semester only. Students may not begin the professional foundation courses in the spring semester.

Beginning February 1 of the sophomore year (spring semester), students may obtain an application on the Social Work website, msudenver.edu/socialwork. The application deadline is March 1, or the preceding Friday if March 1 falls on a weekend. Students will be notified of their acceptance prior to registration for the next summer and fall sessions.

Junior transfer students may apply in February and may complete the first six hours of social work classes (SWK 1010, SWK 1020, and SWK 2010) in the summer of the year in which they apply. Junior transfers entering MSU Denver should contact the Social Work Department as soon as possible. Special admission consideration (fall semesters) will be given to those students transferring who have not met the spring application deadline if there is room for further enrollments in the department. Admission to the Social Work Department is not guaranteed.

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Acceptance into the Social Work Department will be based on the student’s capability to achieve academic success, the possession of a value-base consistent with professional social work values and ethics, and the student’s interest in, and commitment to, rendering effective assistance to those in need.

The Social Work Admission Committee is responsible for reviewing student admission packets for acceptance into the department. Evaluation of the following is used:

  1. Completion of SWK1010, SWK1020, and SWK 2010 with a minimum grade of “C.” The requirements for a B.S. in Social Work specify a minimum grade of “C” or better in all social work courses and an overall 2.5 GPA in all social work courses.**
  2. A minimum grade of “C” in all non-social work prerequisite courses listed in this information sheet.
  3. An overall minimum GPA of 2.0 in all college courses. An overall minimum GPA of 2.5 in all college courses is preferred.
  4. Completion of a minimum of 60 hours of volunteer experience in a social work setting. Of these, a minimum of 30 hours must be completed in conjunction with SWK 1020. Certification of Completion Forms for non-SWK 1020 are provided on the department’s website. Final Evaluation Forms from SWK 1020 will be provided in SWK 1020. If you are in the process of completing SWK 1020 in the semester in which you apply, a copy of your SWK 1020 – Learning Contract must be submitted at the time of application. Learning Contract Forms will be provided in SWK1020. A copy of the Final Evaluation must be submitted.
  5. Completion of the Social Work Department’s Application. This is the first portion of the application packet that consists of 21 questions about you and your interest in social work.
  6. Two Statements of Reference from persons other than students, relatives and MSU Denver social work faculty.
  7. Completion of an Admission Application Writing Sample/Personal Statement. The Admission Application Personal Statement must be typed and must reflect good writing skills. Students are expected to produce written assignments at the college level. Students should also reflect commitment to learning, values and ethics of the social work profession, personal awareness and realistic career goals.
  8. A signed Agreement of Completion between the student and the department indicating the sequencing of courses by semester. Students must list the required social work courses by specific semester and must follow this agreed upon plan for completion. If the student needs to amend this plan after acceptance, he or she must submit a revised agreement, which must be approved by a faculty advisor. A copy of this approved amendment must be turned in to the department’s Administrative Assistant for the student’s file.
  9. In some cases, a personal interview may be requested by the Admission Committee.

** Students who have not completed one or more of these courses at the time of application must clearly state their plan for completing the remaining prerequisite or introductory social work courses by Fall Semester, by carefully completing the Agreement of Completion Form. Such students will be considered for admission into the Social Work Department provisionally. Students must complete the course(s) with a grade of “C” or better, as indicated on the Agreement of Completion Form, or their entrance into the Social Work Department will be delayed one year. If these courses are taken at another college, they must be transferred into MSU Denver and evidence of completion provided to the Social Work Department.

Students should be aware that one of the roles of a social worker is to be a “Gate Keeper” for the profession. It is our duty and responsibility as social work faculty members to ensure that all students accepted in the Social Work Department are suitable for the profession, according to the NASW Code of Ethics. (Copies of the NASW Code of Ethics are available at naswdc.org.)

Acceptance into the Social Work Major

The Admission Committee will make the final decision. There are three options when making acceptance recommendations:

  1. Admit to the major without conditions.
  2. Admit with conditions – used at the discretion of the Committee when other questions exist. (Students who, at the time of application, have not completed SWK1010, SWK1020, or any non-social work prerequisite course, will fall into this category pending completion of such courses with a grade of “C” or better.
  3. Deny admission.

All students will be notified in writing of the Committee’s action in time to register for the following semester of summer. In the case of “denial,” the student may petition for a second additional review, as discussed in the admission packet. 

Departmental Policies and Procedures

Below is a summary of the major Departmental policies and procedures. Please visit www.msudenver.edu/socialwork for a current and comprehensive list.

Credit for Life Experience

No credit is given for college-level learning gained through life experience that may be used toward the social work major.

Sequencing of Courses

Adherence to the prerequisites for the social work courses will be the basis for the sequencing of courses. This will insure necessary preparation for students to successfully complete courses throughout the department. Please note: Students who fail to familiarize themselves with the sequencing may delay their graduation up to one year by missing required courses in the appropriate semester. Students who take courses out of order may not receive credit for those courses.

A Grade of “D” or “F” in a Social Work Course

Students receiving a grade of “D” or “F” must see their social work advisor immediately to discuss plans for improving their grades. Students must receive a “C” or better in all social work courses. Students are allowed to repeat a social work course once. Students who fail to obtain a “C” or better after two attempts will automatically be terminated from the Social Work program.

Minimum GPA

A student must maintain a 2.75 GPA in all Social Work courses to stay in good standing in the Social Work program.

Failure to Complete a Social Work Course

A student who receives an incomplete in any social work course must submit a completion plan to the instructor. This plan must be approved prior to registration for the following semester. If a student has more than one incomplete at a time, he or she must receive permission of the B.S.W. Director to register for the following semester. If a student has received an incomplete in a foundation course, the student must complete the coursework prior to the next semester. If a student has received an incomplete in an elective course, the student must complete the course within one semester.  In many cases, students with more than one incomplete will be asked to withdraw from the program until they have successfully finished the incompletes and then may rejoin the program in sequence.

Criminal Background

A student who has a criminal record should be aware that he or she may not be able to obtain a field placement and may not be eligible for licensure as a social worker in the state of Colorado.

Transfer Students

Students transferring to Metropolitan State University must first contact University Admissions. Once they have been accepted into MSU Denver and have had their transcripts evaluated, they will know what remaining General Studies requirements must be fulfilled. Regardless of the number of credits that transfer, students will still be expected to meet the Social Work Department prerequisites. Transfer students should meet with the Department B.S.W. Director for advising.

Social Work Course Equivalency Transfer Policy

All students (transfer and non-transfer students) who intend to major in social work must meet the same admission criteria that includes: completion of the non-social work liberal arts courses and the social work introductory courses. All students who are accepted into MSU Denver must immediately request a transfer evaluation through the MSU Denver Admissions Office.

Junior-level transfer students need to meet with the B.S.W. Director of the Social Work Department to be evaluated on an individual basis and receive their application packets immediately upon entering Metropolitan State University of Denver. Completion of the non-Social Work Prerequisite Courses is required prior to admission into the Social Work Department. Junior-level transfer students must complete the admission packet. Acceptance into the Social Work Department is not guaranteed.

For any social work course substitutions from accredited social work programs, students must submit transfer course syllabi and supporting documentation to the B.S.W. Director or designated social work faculty member for approval. Any social work course substitution disputes between the student and B.S.W. Director or designated social work faculty member will be channeled to the Social Work Admission Committee for review.

The only social work course substitutions from accredited programs that will be considered for transfer are those social work professional foundation courses taken in the junior year, i.e., SWK 3050 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment I, SWK 3060 - Human Behavior and the Social Environment II, SWK 3410 - Introduction to Generalist Practice, SWK 3780 - Social Welfare Policy, SWK 3790 - Research in Social Work, and equivalent social work elective courses. No senior-level social work professional foundation courses, including field experiences, will be considered for transfer into the Social Work Department.

For social work professional foundation courses (excluding field experiences), review of syllabi, including course objectives, content outline, learning activities, theoretical frames of reference, and bibliographies will provide the major basis for determining equivalency. The student must have received a grade of “C” or better in the course. If syllabi omit content that is relevant to MSU Denver Social Work Department’s course content, students may be asked to retake the course, enroll in an independent study to cover the omitted content, or test out of the omitted content.

Any course substitutions other than social work courses must be approved by the B.S.W. Director. If a student has taken a course at another college that has similar content to a non-social work prerequisite course, this course must be accepted for transfer credit by MSU Denver. If this course is not accepted for transfer credit by MSU Denver, the student must appeal the transfer through the University’s Admissions and Records Office. The Social Work Department will abide by the University’s decision.

Scheduling of Classes

In general, the junior-year courses are offered on Monday/Wednesday and/or online/hybrid. The senior-year courses are offered on Tuesday/Thursday, Friday, and/or online/hybrid.

Change of Address

Any time before or after acceptance into the department, please let the office know if you change your address or phone number and also update your address with the University on ConnectU.


ConnectU email is the official means of communication at MSU Denver and within the Social Work Department. Students are responsible for the information sent to their MSU Denver email account.

Departmental Student Listserv

At the time of written acceptance to the Social Work major, students are added to the departmental student listserv with their ConnectU MSU Denver email account. Students are responsible for asking for assistance if they notice they are not receiving these emails and should contact the MSU Denver helpdesk if they are having technical problems accessing their email.

Online Junior Orientation

All students accepted into the Social Work major are required to successfully complete the online Junior Orientation within the specified timeframe announced at the time of admission. Two sessions are typically held over the summer semester before majors start the program. Students who do not successfully complete the online Junior Orientation will be in poor academic standing within the Social Work program and dropped from their core Social Work courses. These students will not be able to start the Social Work major until the following academic year, after they have successfully completed the online Junior Orientation.

Department of Social Work Standards of Professional and Ethical Behavior

The Department of Social Work at the Metropolitan State University of Denver is mandated by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to foster and evaluate professional behavioral development for all students in the social work program. The Department of Social Work also bears a responsibility to the community-at-large to produce fully trained, professional social workers who consciously exhibit the competencies, values, and skills of the social work profession. The values of the profession are codified in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, and the Council on Social Work Education has ten core educational competencies that social workers must master. Given this context, the Social work Department has identified behaviors for the social work student to exhibit in the classroom, the online classroom, field placement, in the Social Work office, through email/phone conversations, and any other interaction that occurs within a professional/academic setting. This document does not include the complete NASW Code of Ethics or the CSWE Educational Policies; however, it highlights particular ethics and competencies to serve as a framework of professional and ethical behaviors for social work students to abide by while at MSU Denver. Other aspects of the NASW Code of Ethics or the CSWE Educational Policies are evaluated academically throughout the program’s curriculum. All students in any social work course will adhere to the Social Work Standards of Professional and Ethical Behavior as indicated in each course syllabi. Visit msudenver.edu/socialwork for a full version of the document. 

Attendance Policy Values Statement

The Metropolitan State University of Denver’s (MSU Denver’s) Social Work Department adheres to the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. In abiding by the standards of the national governing body, CSWE, the MSU Denver Social Work Department provides students and the surrounding communities with a measure of confidence regarding competent, well-prepared, professional social workers at the undergraduate level.

In addition to presentation of course content such as concepts and theories, social work education provides socialization into the profession-the development of an identity as a social work professional. Therefore, classroom sessions meet several learning objectives through the use of lecture, text review, guest speakers, interactive exercises, and student discussion. In order to ensure optimal development of professional identity, classroom attendance is vital. No substitute exists for transactions in the classroom among peers. Discussion includes the negotiation and consensus of terms (i.e., the language of the profession), values, provision of new insights and interpretations, and enhancement of both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Most importantly, students learn from colleagues; absenteeism creates the void of missing voices.

While there are other opportunities for socialization into the profession (Student Association of Social Workers membership and involvement, participation in the department list serve, faculty advising), the most consistent occasion resides in the interaction among students in the classroom with the instructor serving as facilitator.

All students in any social work course will adhere to the Social Work Standards of Professional and Ethical Behavior as indicated in each course syllabi. Visit msudenver.edu/socialwork for a full version of the document. 

Social Work Department Late Paper Policy

Papers/assignments should be turned in at the beginning of the class session for which they are due. Late papers will lose one Grade (i.e.: an “A” paper can only earn a “B,” a “B” paper will earn a “C,” etc.). Students are responsible for letting the instructor know if papers will be late. Papers that are more than one week late will not be accepted, unless a revised due date was previously negotiated with the instructor. Documented emergencies are exceptions to this policy. If there is a late paper policy on your syllabus, that policy takes precedence over this statement.

Social Work APA Policy

All written communication in the classroom environment (online and on campus) will be in American Psychological Association (APA) format. Students must follow the course syllabus for information on which APA edition format to employ.

Advising Appointments

Students who intend to major/minor in Social Work must have an advising appointment with the university’s Academic Advising Center. Contact the Academic Advising Center at 303-556-3680 or advising@msudenver.edu.

Social Work majors must also attend an Information Session. These sessions are offered monthly. Visit the department website for more information, www.msudenver.edu/socialwork.

Junior and senior students who have been accepted into the Social Work program, may make an appointment with their assigned faculty advisor by calling 303-556-3474.

Transfer students with Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing may make an appointment with a Social Work transfer advisor by calling 303-556-3474.

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