Thursday, November 10, 2022 11:00am, EST
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Designated Emphasis Programs

Students in the master of social work (MSW) program must choose a concentration before they begin the advanced program, the second half of the MSW curriculum. Students must choose either Clinical Social Work or Management and Policy.

In addition to the requirements for their concentration, students may also wish to develop an area of emphasis. MSW students may opt to complete an area of emphasis as they complete their course requirements. An area of emphasis focuses on a student-identified and student-driven topic, population, or specialization. An area of emphasis involves three relevant courses and a field placement. The courses may include a combination of electives, advanced distribution requirements, and an advanced social policy course. These courses also count toward general academic requirements.

Students may also opt to enroll in relevant graduate-level courses from another Rutgers University graduate/professional school. Students must seek prior approval from the School of Social Work's Office of Student Affairs for courses taken from other departments to ensure that courses will be applied toward their MSW degree. An area of emphasis is optional. Areas of emphasis are not predetermined by the School of Social Work. Students are able to develop their own individual, unique area of emphasis. Specific information about the policy and procedures for the area of emphasis will be provided at new student orientation.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Below are the requirements and steps to follow for students interested in a Social Policy Area of Emphasis:

    • Choose the Management and Policy (MAP) Concentration

    • Take three courses related to social policy

      1. SWPS II (required course) counts as one of the three courses.

      2. Two electives

        • SW currently offers one policy elective: Policy Perspectives on Poverty and Inequality (usually offered in the spring and open to students who have taken SWPS I)

        • Any other graduate-level policy-related course in the University or affiliated institutions

    • Request a social policy field placement for your advanced year 

    Social Policy Area of Emphasis can be combined with certificate programs, such as the Certificates in Aging and Violence against Women and Children or other Areas of Emphasis. 

    Sample schedules for Social Policy Area of Emphasis Courses 

    Example 1:  No special certificate programs selected

    Foundation Year

    • Second semester: Policy Perspectives on Poverty & Inequality – SW elective

    Advanced Year

    • First semester: SWPS II

    • Second semester: Gender, Family, and Public Policy – Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

    Example 2: Certificate Program in VAWC (Violence against Women and Children)

    Advanced Year

    • First semester: SWPSII: VAWC (Advanced Social Policy: Violence against Women and Children), Child Welfare Management, or Emerging Issues in Child Welfare and Policy Practice

    • Second semester: Policy Perspectives on Poverty & Inequality

    Example 3: Certificate Program in Aging

    Advanced Year

    • First semester: SWPSII: Health and Aging and Health Care Policy (Bloustein)

    • Second semester: Policy Perspectives on Poverty & Inequality

    Questions about the Social Policy area of emphasis can be directed to Assistant Professor Lenna Nepomnyaschy at lennan@ssw.rutgers.edu.

    View policy related courses at Rutgers

  • Students may earn an Area of Emphasis in Global Social Work which is noted on the MSW transcript. An area of emphasis in global social work requires three relevant courses and an appropriate field placement.

    Social Work Courses (3-Credits):

    • Global Social Work and Social Development – 19.500.545 (elective)
    • HBSE: Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees - 19.910.543 

    Study Abroad (3 Credits) 

    • Israel: Summer Session (Summer – 4 weeks in-country – field placement)
    • China: Summer Sessions (2 weeks in late May - early June; optional 70-hour internship post-course)
    • Romania: Summer Session (Summer – 4 weeks in-country – field placement) 
    • Mexico: Winter Session (2 weeks in early January) 
    • India: Winter Sessions (2 weeks in early January)

    Field Education Opportunities

    In addition, the Office of Field Education works with students with relevant experience and course work to find field placement opportunities in US-based organizations that provide global social work opportunities such as services to immigrants and refugees.

  • The well-being of children, youth, and families is central to the mission of social work. This area of emphasis prepares students to work with children, youth and families in a variety of service settings. An area of emphasis in Children Youth and Families requires three relevant courses and an appropriate field placement. MSW students earn an Area of Emphasis in Children Youth and Familiewhich is noted on their transcript. Please note that students in either the Clinical concentration or the MAP concentration can complete this area of emphasis.

    Recommended Social Work Courses (select three):

    19:910:549 Emerging issues in Child Welfare and Policy Practice

    19:910:547 HBSE: Violence and Abuse in Childhood

    19:910:529 HBSE: Adolescents at Risk

    19:910:513 Clinical Social Work: Adolescents

    19:910:518 Clinical Social Work: Children

    19:910:519 Clinical Social Work: Families 

    19:910: 520 Clinical Social Work: School

    19:910:534 Child Welfare Management

    19:910:550 Play Therapy

    **Please note other classes may apply 

    Field Practice Opportunities

    The Office of Field Education works with students with relevant experience and course work to find placement opportunities that provide services to children, youth and families, including but not limited to schools, child welfare agencies, after-school programs, heath care settings, advocacy organizations, and mental health clinics.

  • The promotion of mental and behavioral health is central to the mission of social work. This area of  emphasis prepares students to employ evidence based interventions with a variety of client populations to promote, restore and maintain behavioral health. An area of emphasis in Mental and Behavioral Health requires three relevant courses and an appropriate field placement. MSW students earn an Area of Emphasis in Mental and Behavioral Health which is noted on their transcript. Please note that students in either the Clinical concentration or the MAP concentration can complete this area of emphasis.

    Recommended Social Work Courses (select three):

    19:910:588 Direct Practice: Theory and Models

    19:910:517 Clinical Social Work: Mental Health

    19:910:523 Clinical Social Work:  Survivors of Abuse and Trauma

    19:910:571 HBSE: Understanding Addictive Behaviors

    19:910:547 HBSE: Loss Across the Lifespan

    **Please note other classes may apply 

    Field Practice Opportunities

    In addition, the Office of Field Education works with students with relevant experience and course work to find placement opportunities that prepare students for practice in mental and behavioral health. Field placement opportunities include, but are not limited to inpatient psychiatric settings, community-based rehabilitation facilities, mental health clinics, substance abuse treatment facilities, family agencies, and other healthcare facilities.

  • Social workers have a long tradition of practicing in health care settings and advocating for the expansion of health care access for vulnerable populations. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (2010) the demand for social work expertise in health has increased.  This area of emphasis prepares students to work to promote health and rehabilitation in a variety of settings. An area of emphasis in Health requires three relevant courses and an appropriate field placement. MSW students earn an Area of Emphasis in Health which is noted on their transcript. Please note that students in either the Clinical concentration or the MAP concentration can complete this area of emphasis. 

    Recommended Social Work Courses (select three):

    19:910:547 HBSE: Loss Across the Lifespan*

    19:910:560 Current Issues in Developmental Disabilities

    19:910:562 Chronic Illness and Disability

    19:910:569 HBSE: AIDS

    19:910:572 Aging and Gerontological Services

    19:910:516 Clinical Social Work: Health

    19:910:525 Clinical Social Work: Aging

    **Please note other classes may apply 

    Field Practice Opportunities

    In addition, the Office of Field Education works with students with relevant experience and course work to find placement opportunities that prepare students for practice in a variety of health-related contexts. Field placement opportunities include, but are not limited to hospitals, health clinics, community-based rehabilitation facilities, mental health clinics, and family agencies.