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Master of Social Work

Dordt’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers a Christ-centered social work education with courses that are 100% online. With engaging faculty and insightful coursework, Dordt's MSW program will help you to tailor your learning to your career.

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Program Overview

Through Dordt’s MSW program, you will learn about diverse communities and broadening perspectives on social justice all while remaining rooted in the belief that all people are image bearers of God. You will also be equipped to serve others professionally in non-profit agencies, counseling clinics, schools, and government agencies.

  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
  • Engage diversity and difference in practice
  • Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
  • Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  • Engage in policy practice
  • Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • Articulate and understand a Reformed Christian response to social work and social welfare

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program and the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes.

Summer 2022

  • Registration Opens: February 22, 2021
  • Summer Module I: May 17 – July 5, 2022
  • Summer Module II: July 7 – August 25, 2022
COURSE OFFERINGS:
  • SOWK 600 Social Work Ethics and Professional Development (Module I)
  • SOWK 615 Inequality, Diversity, and Social Justice (Module II)
  • SOWK 672 Neurobiology and Social Work Practice (Module I)
  • SOWK 673 Marital & Family Therapy (Module II)
  • SOWK 678 Crisis Intervention (Module I)
  • SOWK 681 Nonprofit Administration and Organizational Theory (Module I)

Fall 2022

  • Registration Opens: April 7, 2021
  • Term Begins: August 30, 2021
  • Term Ends: December 20, 2021
COURSE OFFERINGS:
  • SOWK 501 Foundations of Social Work (History, Philosophy, & Theory)
  • SOWK 511 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • SOWK 520 Practice I Individuals
  • SOWK 612 Psychopathology
  • SOWK 621 Applied Research Project
  • SOWK 670 Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
  • SOWK 674 Play Therapy
  • SOWK 676 Grief
  • SOWK 684 Budgeting & Public Finance (Module II)

Spring 2023

  • Registration Opens: November 1, 2022
  • Term Begins: January 12, 2023
  • Term Ends: May 12, 2023
COURSE OFFERINGS:
  • SOWK 513 Social Work Research Methods
  • SOWK 514 Policy Planning & Analysis
  • SOWK 521 Practice II Families & Groups
  • SOWK 610 Trauma: Theory & Practice in Social Work
  • SOWK 670 Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
  • SOWK 671 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • SOWK 675 Clinical Practice and Adolescents
  • SOWK 683 Quantitative Analysis & Program Evaluation (Module II)
  • SOWK 687 HR Management (Module I)

Spring 2023

  • Registration Opens: November 1, 2022
  • Term Begins: January 12, 2023
  • Term Ends: May 11, 2023
COURSE OFFERINGS:
  • SOWK 513 Social Work Research Methods
  • SOWK 514 Policy Planning & Analysis
  • SOWK 521 Practice II Families & Groups
  • SOWK 610 Trauma: Theory & Practice in Social Work
  • SOWK 670 Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
  • SOWK 671 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • SOWK 675 Clinical Practice and Adolescents
  • SOWK 682 Community Organizing and Advocacy
  • SOWK 685 Grant Writing & Fundraising

All of our courses are fully online. No travel or on-campus residency is required.

To learn more, you can also view the program strengths and learning outcomes for this program.

The Master of Social Work program admits students under regular or advanced standing.

Students without a BSW will be considered regular standing and will be required to complete 18 credits of foundational courses along with 6 credits (450 hours) of foundational practicum. These students will take an additional 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced practicum, and 15 credits of practice specializations of their choice for a total of 60 credit hours. Students may have some foundation coursework waived if the requirement was met in their undergraduate coursework.

Students seeking advanced standing (advanced plus) but have a BSW older than seven years old will be required to complete 9 credits of foundations courses (Social Work Research Methods, Practice I Individuals, Practice II Families and Groups). These students will take an additional 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced practicum, and 15 credits of practice specializations of their choice for a total of 45 credit hours.

Advanced standing students who have completed a BSW within the last seven years will be required to complete 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced practicum, and 15 credits of practice specializations of their choice for a total of 36 credit hours.

Students have a choice of completing the program full-time or part-time. Students will work with the Graduate Studies Academic Advisor to develop a plan of completion. Students are allowed to take a maximum of twelve credits per semester. If a student is placed on probation, they will be limited to a maximum of nine credits until they are no longer on probation.

Social work professor points to writing on the board during a lecture

Course plans based on degree requirements

Accreditation

Dordt's MSW program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission. The program has entered candidacy with Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and will be fully accredited by February 2023. Accreditation status will then be retroactively applied to all who graduate from the program before it is fully accredited.

Mission Statement

The Dordt University Social Work Program empowers students for evidence-informed professional practice and lives of service in the name of Christ. Through engaging perspectives on social justice and practice in communities, the program prepares students for work with diverse populations, recognizing that all people are made in the image of God.

Regular Standing Students

Students without a BSW will be considered regular standing and will be required to complete 18 credits of foundational courses along with 6 credits (450 hours) of foundational field and seminar. These students will take an additional 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced field and seminar, and 15 credits of practice specializations of their choice for a total of 60 credit hours. Students may have some foundation coursework waived if the requirement was met in their undergraduate coursework.

Students will take 18 credits of foundational courses, 6 credits of foundation field and seminar.

  • Foundations of Social Work (History, Philosophy, & Theory) (3): Foundations of evidence-based practice with individuals, families, organizations and communities within a framework of core social work values and practice obligations. Students will examine how their value commitments align with professional social work values. Situations are viewed from an ecological perspective, targeting for change all client and community systems that are contributing to client problems. The history and dominant philosophies of the profession will be introduced.
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment (3): This course introduces a foundational commitment in social work practice to recognizing the whole person. It includes a presentation of a theoretical and conceptual framework for understanding biopsycho-social and spiritual factors in human development across the life cycle. With a focus on the impact of individual relationships, family systems, group dynamics, and societal structures, students will analyze the impact of viewing person through a holistic practice approach.
  • Social Work Research Methods (3): Focused on quantitative and qualitative research methods knowledge and skills with an emphasis on Social Work practice. Includes an emphasis on evidenced-based practice along with a critical evaluation of empirical literature and basic research methodology including construct operationalization; study design; selection, development, implementation, and evaluation of measures and instruments.
  • Policy Planning & Analysis (3): This course will introduce the tools and frameworks of policy analysis. Theories of policy making and analysis will be presented and utilized in course projects. Students will employ policy analysis tools to evaluate social welfare and organizational policies through a variety of evaluative frameworks including professional social work ethics and Christian interpretations of justice and mercy. The students will use planning tools to create change plans to improve policies.
  • Practice I Individuals (3): This course provides an in-depth study of several theories of personality and behavior and their implications for social work practice. Theories and therapeutic approaches will be taught as well as implications for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals across the life span. Application to broader systems are reviewed.
  • Practice II Families & Groups (3): This course provides knowledge and experience of working with families and groups as a system. This includes reviewing and application of assessment and treatment models for groups and families and direct practice in implementing skills needed to lead and facilitate groups.
  • Foundation Field & Seminar: total of 6 credits; 450 hours

Students will take 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced field and seminar.

  • Social Work Ethics and Professional Development (3): This course provides an in-depth discussion of the ethical and legal practice standards in social work. Advanced skills required for effective engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families and groups will be taught through simulated practice. Assignments focus on developing an ethical practice model, social work practice skill development, application of documentation standards, use of evidence-informed practice methods, and integration of legal and ethical issues impacting practice.
  • Trauma: Theory and Practice in Social Work (3): Students will learn how to implement a trauma informed care framework through broader social and institutional policies. Students will acquire diagnostic skills as they relate to assessment and clinical treatment of adults, adolescents and children affected by trauma. Evidenced based trauma models will be taught and the role of psychopharmacology and psychiatric treatment will be reviewed.
  • Psychopathology (3): Human development across the life course is addressed with psychosocial theory’s life stages to assist with the contextualization and integration of theories to meet the needs of diverse populations in practice. Provides a focus on theories that inform social work practice with individuals and families using a bio-psychosocial and spiritual framework. This course will also prepare students to engage, assess, and intervene within the scope of mental health practice. Through thorough and critical examination of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed.; DSM-5), students will develop skills essential for ethical and competent assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.
  • Inequality, Diversity, and Social Justice (3): This course provides advanced theoretical and working knowledge about diversity, culture, and social justice. Students will learn to identify and implement culturally competent strategies at the micro and macro levels when working with diverse groups. Attention will be given to the social work values and Biblical perspective of diversity, human dignity and worth of the person. Current social justice concerns will be considered using a framework of redemption and reconciliation. Implications for policy, service, and clinical treatment will be covered.
  • Applied Research Project (3): This course is designed to support students in conducting evidence-based practice research in an agency setting by evaluating practice and planning for change. Case material will be drawn from real world practice situations students encounter in their field placements.
  • Advanced Field & Seminar: total of 6 credits; 450 hours

Students will choose five practice specialization courses (15 credits).

Practice Specialization Course Options: Clinical Specialization

  • Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (3): Provides an introduction to the evidenced-based practices, motivational interviewing (MI) and solution-focused therapy. Learners will be introduced to the application of MI to increase motivation for change in the areas of substance use, mental health, child welfare, juvenile delinquency, and other social work settings. Students will understand the transtheoretical model of change and its foundational role in MI. S
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (3): on the empirically validated treatment approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy & dialectical behavioral therapy, as therapeutic models used to treat addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
  • Neurobiology and Social Work Practice (3): This course focuses on the understanding and implementation of neurobiology and implications for assessment, treatment, and prevention of clients’ psychosocial conditions. Students will learn to apply neuroscience to social problems, behavioral phenomena, and the human condition in general with significant implications for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Marital & Family Therapy (3): This course is an overview of current theories, methods, and psychological instruments used in marriage therapy interventions. Students apply course material to role-play scenarios during class time. Attention is given to issues of ethnic diversity, blended families, and faith integration. Content includes detection, assessment, and intervention strategies for spousal or partner abuse.
  • Play Therapy (3): This course provides students with exposure to and an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in using play therapy with individuals, families and groups in diverse settings. Students will become familiar with various theoretical practice models and learn to apply those models with children experiencing a variety of problems across diverse populations. This course will expose the student to basic knowledge about play therapy as a component of services to children, including in mental health, child welfare, health and community based settings.
  • Clinical Practice with Adolescents (3): This course focuses on behavioral health issues experienced by children and adolescents, and discussion of the effects of trauma on social and emotional development. Diagnostic issues affecting children and related treatment interventions are explored in the contexts of child welfare, school-based behavioral health, and healthcare settings. Evidence-based modalities and practices are taught, to improve functioning and wellbeing of children and adolescents. Laws and ethics guiding practice
  • Grief (3): This course provides theoretical and applied framework for understanding grief and loss as they relate to social work practices. Skills will be acquired to be able to recognize and respond to grief in developmentally appropriate ways across all age groups. Students will explore differentiations in grief presentations amongst diverse groups and time will be spent discussing a reformed perspective on grief and loss as well as practical strategies for spiritual discipleship during periods of grief.
  • Advanced Behavioral and Social Interventions for Exceptional Children (3): This course is an advanced course for understanding and working with children and adolescents with mild or moderate behavior difficulties. The course examines research and theories on behavior assessment, interventions, and monitoring with special emphasis on providing leadership on behavior interventions in a school or district. You will be encouraged to reflect on children’s normal emotional/behavioral development in order to see problems in their proper perspective. The emphasis is on the instructional process for managing behavior of students within the context of a Christian approach to teaching.
  • Crisis Intervention (3): This course will introduce students to a new and growing field of literature on crisis intervention. Special attention will be paid to mental health issues, emergency preparedness and other crises that require coordinated responses and intervention. Students will learn about and apply best practices in crisis intervention in an organizational setting. Students will think critically about the role of the nonprofit and public sector in the community in times of crisis.

Practice Specialization Course Options: Community Practice and Administration Specialization

  • Organizational and Community Change Planning (3): In this course, students will learn to lead and manage a change effort at the organizational and community levels. Theories of social and organizational change will be presented and critiqued. The course will explore visions of collective human flourishing, and how that influences views on change. Students will be able to develop a plan for implementing and assessing change efforts in both an organizational and community setting.
  • Non-Profit Administration & Organizational Theory (3):This course will focus on organizational theories and administrative matters that are often unique to the nonprofit sector. Students will explore the nonprofit sector as a reflection of civil society creation and development. Topics such as volunteer management, commitment to mission and other management areas will be addressed.
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy (3): This course will focus on community organizing techniques and advanced advocacy skills to promote social and political change. Students will explore examples from the Bible and other religious, academic, and human rights pieces to analyze organizing and Special attention will be paid to the concepts of culture, oppression and privilege and the importance of culturally competent practice in neighborhoods, and communities.
  • Program Evaluation (3): This course will build upon basic quantitative skills to develop a greater understanding of using quantitative analysis in research, both practical and academic, and in program evaluation. Developing skills in evaluating effective and efficient programs will be central to this course. An undergraduate course or working knowledge of statistics is a prerequisite for this course.
  • Budgeting & Public Finance (3): This course will introduce basic principles of budgeting and finance as it relates to the public and nonprofit sector. Students will gain competence in reading, creating, and developing budgets. Forecasting for future sustainability will be addressed in content and in course assignments.
  • Grant Writing & Fundraising (3): This course will prepare students to pursue funding opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Event planning, social media campaigns and other activities of fundraising will be covered as well as an introduction into grant writing. Students will apply their learning with projects from their real-life work in their practicum.
  • Leadership (3): This course will examine the theory and practice of organizational leadership, with an emphasis on leadership in public and nonprofit organizations. This includes a study of the ethical dimensions of leadership as well as aspects of self-knowledge and evaluation that will help students develop effective personal leadership strategies.
  • HR Management (3): This course will introduce and discuss the major topics in Human Resource Management (HRM), particularly as they pertain to employment in the public and nonprofit sector. This course will address the major HRM tasks of workforce design and planning, managing employee competencies, and managing employee attitudes and behaviors while moving through the employment cycle from recruitment, selection, and compensation to evaluation, training, development, and retention.

Advanced Plus Standing Students

Students seeking advanced standing but have a BSW older than seven years old will be required to complete 9 credits of foundations courses (Social Work Research Methods, Practice I Individuals, Practice II Families and Groups). These students will take an additional 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced field and seminar, and 15 credits of practice specializations of their choice for a total of 45 credit hours.

Students will take 9 credits of foundational courses

  • Social Work Research Methods (3): Focused on quantitative and qualitative research methods knowledge and skills with an emphasis on Social Work practice. Includes an emphasis on evidenced-based practice along with a critical evaluation of empirical literature and basic research methodology including construct operationalization; study design; selection, development, implementation, and evaluation of measures and instruments.
  • Practice I Individuals (3): This course provides an in-depth study of several theories of personality and behavior and their implications for social work practice. Theories and therapeutic approaches will be taught as well as implications for assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals across the life span. Application to broader systems are reviewed.
  • Practice II Families & Groups (3): This course provides knowledge and experience of working with families and groups as a system. This includes reviewing and application of assessment and treatment models for groups and families and direct practice in implementing skills needed to lead and facilitate groups.

Students will take 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced field and seminar.

  • Social Work Ethics and Professional Development (3): This course provides an in-depth discussion of the ethical and legal practice standards in social work. Advanced skills required for effective engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families and groups will be taught through simulated practice. Assignments focus on developing an ethical practice model, social work practice skill development, application of documentation standards, use of evidence-informed practice methods, and integration of legal and ethical issues impacting practice.
  • Trauma: Theory and Practice in Social Work (3): Students will learn how to implement a trauma informed care framework through broader social and institutional policies. Students will acquire diagnostic skills as they relate to assessment and clinical treatment of adults, adolescents and children affected by trauma. Evidenced based trauma models will be taught and the role of psychopharmacology and psychiatric treatment will be reviewed.
  • Psychopathology (3): Human development across the life course is addressed with psychosocial theory’s life stages to assist with the contextualization and integration of theories to meet the needs of diverse populations in practice. Provides a focus on theories that inform social work practice with individuals and families using a bio-psychosocial and spiritual framework. This course will also prepare students to engage, assess, and intervene within the scope of mental health practice. Through thorough and critical examination of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed.; DSM-5), students will develop skills essential for ethical and competent assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.
  • Inequality, Diversity, and Social Justice (3): This course provides advanced theoretical and working knowledge about diversity, culture, and social justice. Students will learn to identify and implement culturally competent strategies at the micro and macro levels when working with diverse groups. Attention will be given to the social work values and Biblical perspective of diversity, human dignity and worth of the person. Current social justice concerns will be considered using a framework of redemption and reconciliation. Implications for policy, service, and clinical treatment will be covered.
  • Applied Research Project (3): This course is designed to support students in conducting evidence-based practice research in an agency setting by evaluating practice and planning for change. Case material will be drawn from real world practice situations students encounter in their field placements.
  • Advanced Field & Seminar: total of 6 credits; 450 hours

Students will choose five practice specialization courses (15 credits).

Practice Specialization Course Options: Clinical Specialization

  • Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (3): Provides an introduction to the evidenced-based practices, motivational interviewing (MI) and solution-focused therapy. Learners will be introduced to the application of MI to increase motivation for change in the areas of substance use, mental health, child welfare, juvenile delinquency, and other social work settings. Students will understand the transtheoretical model of change and its foundational role in MI. S
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (3): on the empirically validated treatment approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy & dialectical behavioral therapy, as therapeutic models used to treat addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
  • Neurobiology and Social Work Practice (3): This course focuses on the understanding and implementation of neurobiology and implications for assessment, treatment, and prevention of clients’ psychosocial conditions. Students will learn to apply neuroscience to social problems, behavioral phenomena, and the human condition in general with significant implications for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Marital & Family Therapy (3): This course is an overview of current theories, methods, and psychological instruments used in marriage therapy interventions. Students apply course material to role-play scenarios during class time. Attention is given to issues of ethnic diversity, blended families, and faith integration. Content includes detection, assessment, and intervention strategies for spousal or partner abuse.
  • Play Therapy (3): This course provides students with exposure to and an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in using play therapy with individuals, families and groups in diverse settings. Students will become familiar with various theoretical practice models and learn to apply those models with children experiencing a variety of problems across diverse populations. This course will expose the student to basic knowledge about play therapy as a component of services to children, including in mental health, child welfare, health and community based settings.
  • Clinical Practice with Adolescents (3): This course focuses on behavioral health issues experienced by children and adolescents, and discussion of the effects of trauma on social and emotional development. Diagnostic issues affecting children and related treatment interventions are explored in the contexts of child welfare, school-based behavioral health, and healthcare settings. Evidence-based modalities and practices are taught, to improve functioning and wellbeing of children and adolescents. Laws and ethics guiding practice
  • Grief (3): This course provides theoretical and applied framework for understanding grief and loss as they relate to social work practices. Skills will be acquired to be able to recognize and respond to grief in developmentally appropriate ways across all age groups. Students will explore differentiations in grief presentations amongst diverse groups and time will be spent discussing a reformed perspective on grief and loss as well as practical strategies for spiritual discipleship during periods of grief.
  • Advanced Behavioral and Social Interventions for Exceptional Children (3): This course is an advanced course for understanding and working with children and adolescents with mild or moderate behavior difficulties. The course examines research and theories on behavior assessment, interventions, and monitoring with special emphasis on providing leadership on behavior interventions in a school or district. You will be encouraged to reflect on children’s normal emotional/behavioral development in order to see problems in their proper perspective. The emphasis is on the instructional process for managing behavior of students within the context of a Christian approach to teaching.
  • Crisis Intervention (3): This course will introduce students to a new and growing field of literature on crisis intervention. Special attention will be paid to mental health issues, emergency preparedness and other crises that require coordinated responses and intervention. Students will learn about and apply best practices in crisis intervention in an organizational setting. Students will think critically about the role of the nonprofit and public sector in the community in times of crisis.

Practice Specialization Course Options: Community Practice and Administration Specialization

  • Organizational and Community Change Planning (3): In this course, students will learn to lead and manage a change effort at the organizational and community levels. Theories of social and organizational change will be presented and critiqued. The course will explore visions of collective human flourishing, and how that influences views on change. Students will be able to develop a plan for implementing and assessing change efforts in both an organizational and community setting.
  • Non-Profit Administration & Organizational Theory (3):This course will focus on organizational theories and administrative matters that are often unique to the nonprofit sector. Students will explore the nonprofit sector as a reflection of civil society creation and development. Topics such as volunteer management, commitment to mission and other management areas will be addressed.
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy (3): This course will focus on community organizing techniques and advanced advocacy skills to promote social and political change. Students will explore examples from the Bible and other religious, academic, and human rights pieces to analyze organizing and Special attention will be paid to the concepts of culture, oppression and privilege and the importance of culturally competent practice in neighborhoods, and communities.
  • Program Evaluation (3): This course will build upon basic quantitative skills to develop a greater understanding of using quantitative analysis in research, both practical and academic, and in program evaluation. Developing skills in evaluating effective and efficient programs will be central to this course. An undergraduate course or working knowledge of statistics is a prerequisite for this course.
  • Budgeting & Public Finance (3): This course will introduce basic principles of budgeting and finance as it relates to the public and nonprofit sector. Students will gain competence in reading, creating, and developing budgets. Forecasting for future sustainability will be addressed in content and in course assignments.
  • Grant Writing & Fundraising (3): This course will prepare students to pursue funding opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Event planning, social media campaigns and other activities of fundraising will be covered as well as an introduction into grant writing. Students will apply their learning with projects from their real-life work in their practicum.
  • Leadership (3): This course will examine the theory and practice of organizational leadership, with an emphasis on leadership in public and nonprofit organizations. This includes a study of the ethical dimensions of leadership as well as aspects of self-knowledge and evaluation that will help students develop effective personal leadership strategies.
  • HR Management (3): This course will introduce and discuss the major topics in Human Resource Management (HRM), particularly as they pertain to employment in the public and nonprofit sector. This course will address the major HRM tasks of workforce design and planning, managing employee competencies, and managing employee attitudes and behaviors while moving through the employment cycle from recruitment, selection, and compensation to evaluation, training, development, and retention.

Advanced Standing Students

Advanced standing students who have completed a BSW within the last seven years will be required to complete 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced field and seminar, and 15 credits of practice specializations of their choice for a total of 36 credit hours.

Students will take 15 credits of advanced courses, 6 credits (450 hours) of advanced field and seminar.

  • Social Work Ethics and Professional Development (3): This course provides an in-depth discussion of the ethical and legal practice standards in social work. Advanced skills required for effective engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families and groups will be taught through simulated practice. Assignments focus on developing an ethical practice model, social work practice skill development, application of documentation standards, use of evidence-informed practice methods, and integration of legal and ethical issues impacting practice.
  • Trauma: Theory and Practice in Social Work (3): Students will learn how to implement a trauma informed care framework through broader social and institutional policies. Students will acquire diagnostic skills as they relate to assessment and clinical treatment of adults, adolescents and children affected by trauma. Evidenced based trauma models will be taught and the role of psychopharmacology and psychiatric treatment will be reviewed.
  • Psychopathology (3): Human development across the life course is addressed with psychosocial theory’s life stages to assist with the contextualization and integration of theories to meet the needs of diverse populations in practice. Provides a focus on theories that inform social work practice with individuals and families using a bio-psychosocial and spiritual framework. This course will also prepare students to engage, assess, and intervene within the scope of mental health practice. Through thorough and critical examination of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Ed.; DSM-5), students will develop skills essential for ethical and competent assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.
  • Inequality, Diversity, and Social Justice (3): This course provides advanced theoretical and working knowledge about diversity, culture, and social justice. Students will learn to identify and implement culturally competent strategies at the micro and macro levels when working with diverse groups. Attention will be given to the social work values and Biblical perspective of diversity, human dignity and worth of the person. Current social justice concerns will be considered using a framework of redemption and reconciliation. Implications for policy, service, and clinical treatment will be covered.
  • Applied Research Project (3): This course is designed to support students in conducting evidence-based practice research in an agency setting by evaluating practice and planning for change. Case material will be drawn from real world practice situations students encounter in their field placements.
  • Advanced Field & Seminar: total of 6 credits; 450 hours

Students will choose five practice specialization courses (15 credits).

Practice Specialization Course Options: Clinical Specialization

  • Motivational Interviewing & Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (3): Provides an introduction to the evidenced-based practices, motivational interviewing (MI) and solution-focused therapy. Learners will be introduced to the application of MI to increase motivation for change in the areas of substance use, mental health, child welfare, juvenile delinquency, and other social work settings. Students will understand the transtheoretical model of change and its foundational role in MI. S
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (3): on the empirically validated treatment approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy & dialectical behavioral therapy, as therapeutic models used to treat addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
  • Neurobiology and Social Work Practice (3): This course focuses on the understanding and implementation of neurobiology and implications for assessment, treatment, and prevention of clients’ psychosocial conditions. Students will learn to apply neuroscience to social problems, behavioral phenomena, and the human condition in general with significant implications for mental health and wellbeing.
  • Marital & Family Therapy (3): This course is an overview of current theories, methods, and psychological instruments used in marriage therapy interventions. Students apply course material to role-play scenarios during class time. Attention is given to issues of ethnic diversity, blended families, and faith integration. Content includes detection, assessment, and intervention strategies for spousal or partner abuse.
  • Play Therapy (3): This course provides students with exposure to and an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in using play therapy with individuals, families and groups in diverse settings. Students will become familiar with various theoretical practice models and learn to apply those models with children experiencing a variety of problems across diverse populations. This course will expose the student to basic knowledge about play therapy as a component of services to children, including in mental health, child welfare, health and community based settings.
  • Clinical Practice with Adolescents (3): This course focuses on behavioral health issues experienced by children and adolescents, and discussion of the effects of trauma on social and emotional development. Diagnostic issues affecting children and related treatment interventions are explored in the contexts of child welfare, school-based behavioral health, and healthcare settings. Evidence-based modalities and practices are taught, to improve functioning and wellbeing of children and adolescents. Laws and ethics guiding practice
  • Grief (3): This course provides theoretical and applied framework for understanding grief and loss as they relate to social work practices. Skills will be acquired to be able to recognize and respond to grief in developmentally appropriate ways across all age groups. Students will explore differentiations in grief presentations amongst diverse groups and time will be spent discussing a reformed perspective on grief and loss as well as practical strategies for spiritual discipleship during periods of grief.
  • Advanced Behavioral and Social Interventions for Exceptional Children (3): This course is an advanced course for understanding and working with children and adolescents with mild or moderate behavior difficulties. The course examines research and theories on behavior assessment, interventions, and monitoring with special emphasis on providing leadership on behavior interventions in a school or district. You will be encouraged to reflect on children’s normal emotional/behavioral development in order to see problems in their proper perspective. The emphasis is on the instructional process for managing behavior of students within the context of a Christian approach to teaching.
  • Crisis Intervention (3): This course will introduce students to a new and growing field of literature on crisis intervention. Special attention will be paid to mental health issues, emergency preparedness and other crises that require coordinated responses and intervention. Students will learn about and apply best practices in crisis intervention in an organizational setting. Students will think critically about the role of the nonprofit and public sector in the community in times of crisis.

Practice Specialization Course Options: Community Practice and Administration Specialization

  • Organizational and Community Change Planning (3): In this course, students will learn to lead and manage a change effort at the organizational and community levels. Theories of social and organizational change will be presented and critiqued. The course will explore visions of collective human flourishing, and how that influences views on change. Students will be able to develop a plan for implementing and assessing change efforts in both an organizational and community setting.
  • Non-Profit Administration & Organizational Theory (3):This course will focus on organizational theories and administrative matters that are often unique to the nonprofit sector. Students will explore the nonprofit sector as a reflection of civil society creation and development. Topics such as volunteer management, commitment to mission and other management areas will be addressed.
  • Community Organizing and Advocacy (3): This course will focus on community organizing techniques and advanced advocacy skills to promote social and political change. Students will explore examples from the Bible and other religious, academic, and human rights pieces to analyze organizing and Special attention will be paid to the concepts of culture, oppression and privilege and the importance of culturally competent practice in neighborhoods, and communities.
  • Program Evaluation (3): This course will build upon basic quantitative skills to develop a greater understanding of using quantitative analysis in research, both practical and academic, and in program evaluation. Developing skills in evaluating effective and efficient programs will be central to this course. An undergraduate course or working knowledge of statistics is a prerequisite for this course.
  • Budgeting & Public Finance (3): This course will introduce basic principles of budgeting and finance as it relates to the public and nonprofit sector. Students will gain competence in reading, creating, and developing budgets. Forecasting for future sustainability will be addressed in content and in course assignments.
  • Grant Writing & Fundraising (3): This course will prepare students to pursue funding opportunities for nonprofit organizations. Event planning, social media campaigns and other activities of fundraising will be covered as well as an introduction into grant writing. Students will apply their learning with projects from their real-life work in their practicum.
  • Leadership (3): This course will examine the theory and practice of organizational leadership, with an emphasis on leadership in public and nonprofit organizations. This includes a study of the ethical dimensions of leadership as well as aspects of self-knowledge and evaluation that will help students develop effective personal leadership strategies.
  • HR Management (3): This course will introduce and discuss the major topics in Human Resource Management (HRM), particularly as they pertain to employment in the public and nonprofit sector. This course will address the major HRM tasks of workforce design and planning, managing employee competencies, and managing employee attitudes and behaviors while moving through the employment cycle from recruitment, selection, and compensation to evaluation, training, development, and retention.

Specializations

Dordt’s MSW program offers three program tracks to help students focus their learning for their projected career path:

Admission Requirements

To apply for admission, students will need to:

  1. Fill out the online application
  2. Send in all official transcripts (including undergraduate and graduate)
  3. Submit information for two references (one academic and one professional) on the application. If you are unable to obtain an academic reference please provide two professional references.
  4. Dordt will help lead you through the process of completing a background check at no cost to you.
  5. Write a Professional Goals essay (submit in application)

*If you have had a name change since you graduated, please contact your institution to update the information before requesting a transcript be sent.

Materials can be mailed to:

Dordt University
Graduate Studies Office
700 7th Street NE
Sioux Center, IA 51250

ADVANCED STANDING

Preference for admittance to Advanced Standing will be given to those students who completed their BSW degree no more than seven years prior to application. If students completed their BSW more than seven years before applying to the MSW program, they must demonstrate that they have engaged in continuing education and professional social work practice during a majority of the years since their baccalaureate education.

A copy of the Field Evaluation from BSW field experience(s) documenting satisfactory generalist practice experience and skills in the internship is required. While prospective students may be admitted conditionally based on their performance in the field, full admission is contingent upon receipt of final field evaluation. When the final field evaluation is not available, the applicant must submit the Field Verification Form.

Advanced Standing is granted to all candidates who have satisfactorily met all the following admission criteria.

  • A bachelor’s degree in Social Work (GPA of 3.0 or higher) from a CSWE-accredited college or university.
  • Completion of an essay on MSW and career goals
  • Two reference forms or letters of recommendation addressing the prospective student's suitability for graduate study, especially in social work.
  • Dordt will help lead you through the process of completing a background check at no cost to you.
REGULAR STANDING

Regular standing is granted to all candidates who have satisfactorily met all the following admission criteria.

  • A bachelor’s degree (3.0 GPA or higher) from an accredited institution.
  • Completion of an essay on MSW and career goals
  • Two reference forms or letters of recommendation addressing the prospective student's suitability for graduate study, especially in social work.
  • Dordt will help lead you through the process of completing a background check at no cost to you.

Note: Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

CONDITIONAL ADMISSION

Conditional Admission may be granted to applicants who do not currently meet all the criteria for regular admission.

The student must complete 9 semester hours of graduate credit at Dordt University before conditional status is reviewed. The graduate course work GPA must be 3.0 or higher. Other regular admission requirements must be met before conditional admission status can be changed to regular admission status.

Note: Applicants for whom English is a second language must have an adequate command of English as demonstrated by their performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The institutional code is 6171 and the department code is 3101.

SPECIAL ADMISSION

Special Admission may be granted to those who do not plan to become candidates for the Master of Social Work program but wish to participate in one or more graduate courses. Contact the Graduate Studies Office for more details.

Students can transfer a total of six semester hours of graduate work from accredited programs with a minimum of a B grade.

Note: Courses older than 10 years at the end of a student's Dordt studies will not be accepted for transfer credit.

Write two to three pages total, including sections on:

  • Your motivation for graduate studies
  • Your motivation for entering or continuing in the social work profession
  • Your brief reflection on and response to the four key aspects of the mission and goals of the Dordt University Social Work program. How do you see yourself living out the mission and these core values as a professional social worker? The mission and values of the program are as follows:
  • Explore what the Bible says regarding our treatment of our neighbor, the poor and vulnerable and the call to justice.
  • Affirm that diversity is created good. The richness of this diversity should be honored and respected, and not minimized.
  • Understand the world as it is, exploring the past treatment of vulnerable people, and analyzing the development of institutions and policies that have hurt vulnerable people.
  • Work towards the world as it should be. Equipping competent, professional social workers engaged in lives of service that value the human dignity of each person through direct and indirect interventions.

The numbers

Tuition and fees for 2023-2024 are as follows:

  • Graduate Courses: $790/credit
  • One-time Technology Fee: $300
  • Program Completion Fee: $100

Graduate courses taken for graduate credit are worth three credits.

You may now pay your tuition and registration fees by credit card.

Credit card or online bank payments can be initiated through Dordt's new third party servicing agent, ACI. Dordt University uses ACI for collection of online payments. For credit/debit card payments, ACI charges a fee of 2.65% ($3.95 minimum). For ACH payments from your checking account, ACI charges a fee of $0.75.

The Canadian Exchange Rate is determined the first and 15th of each month and can be viewed online or by contacting the Business Office at (712) 722-6013.

In an effort to make graduate education at Dordt available to as many people as possible, program costs are kept as reasonable as possible. Financial aid in the form of federal loan programs is available. Students who wish to apply online should go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. For more information, contact Harlan Harmelink in the Financial Aid Office at (712) 722-6082.

The Dordt University Federal ID is #001859.

Accelerated Master Of Social Work Program

Dordt's new accelerated Master of Social Work program is now available.

In this program, you'll receive your bachelor's in social work in 3 years, and finalize your master's degree in the fourth year.

FAQ

The MSW program requires 36 credits for students qualifying for advanced standing. Those with a BSW degree older than seven years must complete the Application for Advanced Standing. If approved, these students will be required to take 45 credits. Regular standing requires 60 credits.

Preference for admittance to Advanced Standing will be given to those students who completed their BSW degree no more than seven years prior to application. If students completed their BSW more than seven years before applying to the MSW program, they must demonstrate that they have engaged in continuing education and professional social work practice during a majority of the years since their baccalaureate education. Students can contact grad@dordt.edu with any questions.

A copy of the Field Evaluation from BSW field experience(s) documenting satisfactory generalist practice experience and skills in the internship is required. While prospective students may be admitted conditionally based on their performance in the field, full admission is contingent upon receipt of final field evaluation. When the final field evaluation is not available, the applicant must submit the Field Verification Form.

Students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in an area other than social work will have regular standing.

Yes, all courses are 100% online, with both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities.

Meet your professor

Watch Tara Boer, Associate Professor of Social Work, talk more about Dordt's amazing social work program.

More about Tara Boer

Staff

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