Online/Blended Degree and Certificate Programs

Curriculum

The Preparation You Need for Advanced Professional Social Work

The Online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) curriculum is characterized by:

  • Experiential learning grounded in academic theory
  • Robust professional development
  • Hands-on instruction and personal advisement—online and in person
  • Engaging, interactive online coursework

This direct practice degree was developed and is taught by the same full-time faculty members and adjuncts who teach the School of Social Work’s on-campus learners. The Online M.S.W. is a part-time program, combining online instruction with two campus visits each year.

Upon successfully completing the program, you not only hold a master’s degree, but also are eligible to apply for licensure as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW).


Program Structure

Standard and One Year Residency Students

Students in the Standard and One Year Residency paths complete their degree in three years. For these students, the Online M.S.W. program comprises eight to nine semesters, divided between a Foundation Year curriculum and an Advanced Year curriculum. Courses are sequential and students take 6 to 10 credit hours per semester, and complete 64 credit hours to graduate. Students take three elective courses, one per semester, for nine credit hours during the Advanced Year. Courses span span 8 to 15 weeks, depending on the semester.

Students in the One Year Residency track are concurrently employed in human services and are eligible to complete an employment-based field placement. They must have several years of experience in the field and are required to complete only one field placement.

Advanced Standing Students

Advanced Standing students hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from a university or college accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and are required to complete only the Advanced Year curriculum. These students can earn their degree in 15 months.


Course Plan by Term

Fall Start
Spring Start

Fall Start

Standard One Year Residency Advanced Standing
FY S1 Fall
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar
SWK 500 SWK 500
SWK 510 - Orientation ROLE SWK 510 - Orientation ROLE
SWK 557 SWK 557
FY S2 Spring SWK 501 SWK 501
SWK 510 SWK 510
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar
FY S3 Summer SWK 511
SWK 542
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar
FY S4 Fall SWK 520 SWK 520
FIELD - SWK 693 (21 or 14 hrs/wk) OSWK 601 - OYR Professional Seminar
SWK 542
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar
FY S5 Spring SWK 521 SWK 521
FIELD - SWK 694 (21 or 14 hrs/wk) SWK 511
AY S1 Summer SWK Elective SWK Elective SWK Elective
SWK 722 SWK 722 SWK 722
FIELD - SWK 790 (15 hrs/wk)
AY S2 Fall SWK 710 SWK 710 SWK 710
SWK 780 SWK 780 SWK 780
FIELD - SWK 778 (21 or 14 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 791 (15 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 790 (21 hrs/wk) or
SWK 778 (14 hrs/wk)
AY S3 Spring SWK 758 SWK 758 SWK 758
SWK 782 SWK 782 SWK 782
FIELD - SWK 779 (21 or 14 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 792 (15 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 791 (21 hrs/wk) or
SWK 779 (14 hrs/wk)
AY S4 Summer SWK Elective SWK Elective SWK Elective
SWK Elective SWK Elective SWK Elective

Any student that opts for the 21 hour a week field, completes field in two semesters, fall and spring. Extended field students complete 14 hours/week in field for the fall, spring and summer terms regardless of foundation or advanced year. OYR students typically choose 15 hours per week for four semesters.

Spring Start

Standard One Year Residency
FY S1 Spring Orientation Orientation
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar
SWK 500 SWK 500
SWK 510 - Recitation Social Work Orientation "ROLE" SWK 510 - Recitation Social Work Orientation "ROLE"
SWK 510 SWK 510
SWK 557
FY S2 Summer SWK 511 SWK 511
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar SWK 542
SWK 502 - Professional Development Seminar
FY S3 Fall SWK 501 SWK 501
SWK 520 SWK 520
FIELD - SWK 693 (14 hrs/wk) OSWK 601 - OYR Professional Seminar
FY S4 Spring SWK 521 SWK 521
FIELD - SWK 694 (14 hrs/wk) SWK 557
AY S1 Summer SWK Elective SWK Elective
SWK 722 SWK 722
FIELD - SWK 694 (14 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 790 (15 hrs/wk)
AY S2 Fall SWK 710 SWK 710
SWK 780 SWK 780
FIELD - SWK 778 (14 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 791 (15 hrs/wk)
AY S3 Spring SWK 758 SWK 758
SWK 782 SWK 782
FIELD - SWK 779 (14 hrs/wk) FIELD - SWK 792 (15 hrs/wk)
AY S4 Summer SWK Elective SWK Elective
SWK Elective SWK Elective
FIELD - SWK 779 (14 hrs/wk)
AY S5 Fall SWK 542

Any student that opts for the 21 hour a week field, completes field in two semesters, fall and spring. Extended field students complete in fall, spring and summer regardless of foundation or advanced year. OYR students typically choose 15 hours per week for four semesters


Online Learning Environment

All Online M.S.W. courses are delivered on the Moodle learning management system. It serves as a hub for faculty and students and is the portal through which students access all coursework.

Some courses have no live components, and students can complete assignments largely on their schedule. Other courses are fully or partially live, requiring students to participate online at scheduled times. Online M.S.W. coursework may include reading, viewing video lectures, completing case assessments, participating in multimedia VoiceThread discussions, and working on group projects.

Students typically devote 10 to 12 hours a week to coursework. Though the online format provides flexibility, most assignments must be completed on schedule.

All practice courses, the Professional Development Seminar and the Field Instruction Integrative Seminar are live, meeting between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. (ET) on Thursdays. Some of these live sessions are recorded and posted to Moodle for students to view at their convenience.

Before starting the program, students participate in a three-week, online learning orientation that provides an overview of the program and learning technology. The first on-campus learning experience also includes a brief orientation and technology training.


On-Campus Learning Experiences

Though the majority of the Online M.S.W. coursework is online, in keeping with the importance of human relationships in social work, we built the program with on-campus learning experiences. They provide distance learners with an opportunity to interact with and learn from each other and their professors in a dynamic classroom environment.

The intensive residencies are held twice annually in August and January, the week before the official academic start of the corresponding Fall and Spring semesters. Many students tell us that the on-campus training is a highlight of their education.

On-campus visits range from two to four days, always incorporating a weekend to accommodate working professionals. Students attend classes from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and have lunch with faculty members and students from other Online M.S.W. groups.

Residencies take place at the main Adelphi University campus on Long Island in Garden City, N.Y. Students are responsible for arranging and paying for associated lodging and transportation. The School of Social Work provides some meals and snacks, and the nearby Homewood Suites by Hilton Carle Place offers discounted room rates. Students must ask for the Adelphi rate when they book their room. This rate is $165.00 for King Studio Suites and $175.00 for King one bedroom suites (last updated February 2018). Reservations can be made by calling 516.747.0230.


Residency Schedule

Fall 2018 Cohort – Residency Dates:

Semester Dates Duration
Fall 2018 August 23-26, 2018 4 days
Spring 2019 January 17-20, 2019 4 days
Fall 2019 August 23-25, 2019 3 days
Spring 2020 January 24-26, 2020 3 days
Fall 2020 August 21-23, 2020 3 days
Spring 2021 January 21-24, 2020 4 days

Spring 2019 Cohort – Residency Dates:

Semester Dates Duration
Spring 2019 January 17-20, 2019 4 days
Fall 2019 August 22-25, 2019 4 days
Spring 2020 January 24-26, 2020 3 days
Fall 2020 August 21-23, 2020 3 days
Spring 2021 January 21-24, 2021 4 days

Field Education

Field education is a central component of graduate social work programs. It teaches students to apply the theory and knowledge learned in the classroom to social work practice in agency settings. You work at human service agencies—directly with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

You gain exposure to diverse problems and people including oppressed populations. Field work assignments consist of diverse practice opportunities. Assignments include conducting face-to-face interviews with clients both individually and in group settings.

As part of this training, students must also work with organizational or community representatives on behalf of clients. Your assignments may include community work, program development, social action or research.

Field courses are graded pass/fail.

How Field Education Works:
The Online MSW field coordinator works closely with distance learners via virtual one-on-one meetings to identify and secure appropriate field work in their geographic area.

If you currently are employed by a social service agency, you may apply for an employment-based field placement with your organization.

The School of Social Work provides best-in-class field education support to students, beginning the planning process with learners early in the Online M.S.W. program. We later assign a faculty field liaison to work closely with you, the field instructor and the agency to ensure that your field training experience meets established educational objectives.

Your faculty field liaison also provides academic advising and oversees the Integrative Field Education Seminar, which runs concurrently with all Foundation Year Field Instruction courses. Students in Advanced Year Field Instruction courses meet virtually at least once a month with their field liaison.

Students complete a Field Orientation during the residency that precedes their field placement and have the opportunity to ask the Online MSW program field coordinator questions during the Professional Development Seminar.

Time Commitment and Timing:
Most Online M.S.W. students can complete their field instruction in two to four semesters, depending on whether they work 14, 15 or 21 hours per week. Students must, however, have some daytime availability on weekdays to ensure we can find a field placement for them. Students with a school placement, however, must work 18 hours each week. School placements begin in September and end in June, and require daytime availability.

M.S.W. students taking the Standard path complete 600 hours of field work during the Foundation Year (first four semesters) and 600 hours in the Advanced Year (second four semesters), for a total of 1200 hours. Fall start students begin their field placement in their fourth semester. Spring start students begin their placement in their third semester.

OYR students take a four-credit professional seminar, SWK 601, concurrent with the Foundation Year practice courses. They complete 900 hours of employment-based field instruction and have several options for meeting their weekly time commitment in their Advanced Year. The chart below describes the course plans available to OYR students depending on their preferred weekly time commitment:

Advanced Year Summer Fall Spring Summer
30 hours per week SWK 796 SWK 797
24 hours per week summer start (24/21/21) SWK 790 SWK 791 SWK 792
21 hours per week fall start (21/21/24) SWK 790 SWK 791 SWK 792
15 hours per week SWK 790 SWK 791 SWK 792 SWK 689

Advanced Standing students complete 600 hours of field instruction, beginning in the Fall semester of the Advanced Year.


Field Education Information and Resources

Please explore these links for more detailed information and resources about field education. You also can also speak to an enrollment counselor at online@adelphi.edu who can connect you with a Field Education officer.

Student Resources
FAQs
Field Instructors
Faculty Liaisons

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Online M.S.W. Courses

This introductory course in social welfare policy focuses on four major themes: the development of social work as a profession; the emergence of social welfare institutions in the United States; the experience of oppressed populations in the United States; the contributions of social work and social movements to the reduction of oppression; and the changing role of government in social welfare. These themes are examined with an emphasis on the philosophical, economic, social, and political forces that shaped the development of social work and social welfare in the United States. The course covers the period of time from the post-bellum or Reconstruction era to the present.

This course develops the student’s ability to analyze, design, and enact social policies based on an understanding of the factors that contribute to the existence of contemporary social problems, especially economic and social inequality and the oppression of specific population groups. The course focuses on: frameworks for social policy analysis and development; conceptualizing; defining, and developing solutions to social problems, the relationship between social constructions of the problems of oppressed groups and the ‘realities’ of their conditions; major political perspectives on the role of government in redressing inequality; the role of social movements in defining and reducing social problems; and how social workers can contribute to the achievement of social justice in the United States.

Prerequisite: SWK 500

The Professional Development Seminar is designed to support students in the Online MSW Program. This non-credit course meets online (synchronously and asynchronously) until students start field and will be facilitated by the program director. Social Work faculty and administrators will be invited to present at the seminars on specific topics related to social work. This seminar is expected to guide students through the field placement application process and the transition from the classroom to a practice setting. Invited speakers will focus on advanced practice related topics that will help students make the connections between theory and practice.

The professional development seminar will include topics such as technology tools, networking, writing a literature review, understanding individual learning styles, adult learning and professional education (roles, behaviors, personal attributes), professional and personal values, professional goals, and developing professional identity.

This is the first of two courses that stress critical thinking in regard to theoretical perspectives on human behavior. The course presents the bio-psycho-social perspective with a particular emphasis on multiculturalism, followed by an exploration of the various social systems that impact human behavior. This exploration includes an analysis of a variety of theories and application to the social systems students address in practice. The course introduces theories about and perspectives on the human life span and begins a discussion of the life cycle, which is continued in SWK 511, covering conception through middle childhood.

The School of Social Work requires all new students to attend R.O.L.E. (Required On-Line Learning Experience). ROLE is an information literacy workshop designed to teach the basics of online research skills for researching and writing scholarly papers. In ROLE, students learn to identify, locate, and harness scholarly information from a variety of sources (print, database, and website) in Social Work and related disciplines. Students’ also learn how to critically evaluate information and use it in an ethical and legal manner. This content has been incorporated into the Professional Development Seminar.

This course builds on the foundations acquired in SWK 510 and continues with a multicultural perspective on the human life cycle. It begins with a brief review of the theoretical perspectives covered in SWK 510. It introduces ego psychology and functional and dysfunctional ego mechanisms as well as providing an exploration of concepts relating to stress and coping. It continues the discussion of the human life span in SWK 510 in the context of social systems and relevant theory, covering adolescence through death.

Prerequisite: SWK 510

This practice course provides foundation knowledge within the context of a generalist intervention model. Knowledge, values and skills for social work practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels will be taught from an integrative practice framework. Students will be introduced to social work values, theoretical concepts, and interventive activities common to all social work practice methods.

This course focuses on the theories and skills necessary for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities as a means of enhancing role performance and social functioning. The development of skills in facilitating the interaction of client systems and environments is emphasized using a systems perspective in relation to problem solving. Crisis intervention, ego support, linking clients to resources, and alleviation of environmental stressors are considered. The small group and groups as representative of communities are examined as vehicles of growth, goal attainment, and empowerment.

Prerequisite: SWK 520

This course emphasizes the systematic nature of oppression and the responsibility of social workers to engage in the struggle for social justice and human rights. The meaning and implications of related concepts such as discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, disability, and aging are discussed. In addition to professional literature, there is an emphasis on experiential learning, encouraging students to get in touch with their own oppression and the biases they have toward others. Students gain an understanding of the practice principles and skills needed to be effective as change agents with diverse populations at the micro, mezzo, and macro level.

This course provides students with the basic tools needed to understand and participate in social work research. It integrates material from epistemology, quantitative and qualitative research design, data collection, management, and analysis into a coherent view of the social research process. This course further provides students with an introduction to basic statistical techniques used in social work research.

The purpose of this course is to prepare graduate students to understand the importance of social work research in the process of their development as professional social workers. This includes helping students to critically evaluate research knowledge and preparing them to use empirical evidence to guide their professional practice, to evaluate their own practice, and to evaluate social service programs in which they work. Students will learn the fundamental concepts and operations in statistics that will aid in their ability to understand and use social work research.

The Professional Development Seminar is designed to support students in the Online MSW Program. This non-credit course meets online (synchronously and asynchronously) until students start field and will be facilitated by the program director. Social Work faculty and administrators will be invited to present at the seminars on specific topics related to social work. This seminar is expected to guide students through the field placement application process and the transition from the classroom to a practice setting. Invited speakers will focus on advanced practice related topics that will help students make the connections between theory and practice.

The professional development seminar will include topics such as technology tools, networking, writing a literature review, understanding individual learning styles, adult learning and professional education (roles, behaviors, personal attributes), professional and personal values, professional goals, and developing professional identity.

SWK 690 comprises the first half of a yearlong, 600-contact-hour field instruction internship completed during the first year of the Online M.S.W. program. The field instruction internship provides the experiential component of social work education in which students work directly with clients in a social agency under professional supervision, with an emphasis on developing foundation skills for work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students are responsible for completing 21 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Students are responsible for completing 21 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Prerequisite: SWK 520

SWK 693 comprises the first half of a yearlong, 600-contact-hour field instruction internship completed during the first year of the online M.S.W. program. The field instruction internship provides the experiential component of social work education in which students work directly with clients in a social agency under professional supervision, with an emphasis on developing foundation skills for work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Students are responsible for completing 14 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Students are responsible for completing 14 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Prerequisite: SWK 520

This course provides an understanding of psychopathology from a social work perspective. Concepts of mental health and mental illness are viewed from a historical and holistic perspective incorporating the impact of socio-economic, gender, racial, ethnic, and cultural factors. The course discusses classification of mental illness, for example anxiety states, mood disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse, dementia and schizophrenia, as set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (4th edition). Emphasis is placed on the explanatory power of theories to inform practice on behalf of people with mental illness.

Prerequisites: SWK 511, SWK 521

This course provides conceptual frameworks for understanding the role of professional social workers in organizational settings and expands students’ capacities to maximize their practice effectiveness in organizations, provide organizational leadership, and contribute to constructive organizational change. Drawing on organizational sociology, social administration, and students’ practice experiences, the course examines the organizational goals, structures, environments, and processes that impact on service strategies, case decisions, and the achievement of professional objectives.

Prerequisites: SWK 501, SWK 521

This course focuses on using and evaluating the knowledge base of social work practice. It applies concepts learned in Research I to the empirical evaluation of one’s own practice, the analysis and evaluation of empirical-based knowledge, and its use in social work practice. The course stresses issues related to the conduct of research in a practice profession, including the relationship between research and practice, the application of principles of critical thinking to both research and practice, and the ethical considerations crucial in research development.

Prerequisites: SWK 521, SWK 557

Students are responsible for completing 14 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Prerequisite: SWK 521

Building on the foundation year, this course focuses on development of the knowledge and skills needed for advanced clinical social work practice with individual clients. Relying on ecological systems theory, the course will present various models for advanced practice, as well as the integration of these models. Teaching of all models will rely on the strengths perspective and be case-based.

Prerequisite: SWK 521

Students examine group work practice in depth with application to social work within an agency context. The course creates a link with the foundation practices courses taught in the first year, as well as content taught in the foundation human behavior and social environment courses. Emphasis will be on addressing conceptual understanding, analytical process and interactional skills necessary for group work practice.

Prerequisite: SWK 521

SWK 790, SWK 791, and SWK 792 comprise a three semester, 900-hour field instruction internship for students in the OYR program. Students are assigned to a field agency or complete a work/study field placement under the auspices of their human service employment during which they engage in supervised advanced direct practice with individuals, couples, families and small groups. Students are responsible for completing 21 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Prerequisite: SWK 521

SWK 790, SWK 791, and SWK 792 comprise a three semester, 900-hour field instruction internship for students in the OYR program. Students are assigned to a field agency or complete a work/study field placement under the auspices of their human service employment during which they engage in supervised advanced direct practice with individuals, couples, families and small groups. Students are responsible for completing 21 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Prerequisite: SWK 780

SWK 790, SWK 791, and SWK 792 comprise a three semester, 900-hour field instruction internship for students in the OYR program. Students are assigned to a field agency or complete a work/study field placement under the auspices of their human service employment during which they engage in supervised advanced direct practice with individuals, couples, families and small groups. Students are responsible for completing 21 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Students are responsible for completing 14 hours per week of In-Field Placement.

Prerequisite: SWK 780

Social Work Electives:

This course is designed to prepare students for practice with immigrants and refugees. One in five clients of social workers is likely to be foreign-born or have a foreign-born parent. This is a result of growing trends of relocation and increasing numbers of immigrants, refugees and asylees relocating for political, economic, familial and personal reasons. Social workers are required to be knowledgeable about and capable of developing strategies to address immigration-related issues. Building on knowledge acquired in the foundation-level courses, this course focuses on the application of this knowledge. The theoretical underpinnings of the course are stress, acculturation and trauma theories, the ecological approach and the strength perspective. The nature of immigration is discussed from a global and national perspective, deepening and expanding content on immigration taught in the undergraduate level course on the culture of ethnic and immigrant groups.

This course is aimed at developing the knowledge and skills necessary for working with individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness, using recovery-oriented, evidence-based practices. It is designed for M.S.W. students and M.S.W. mental health practitioners. Students will become familiar with evidence-based practices within a recovery-oriented paradigm as a general approach to practice. They also will learn about specific evidence-based interventions to use for individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness. Though it is assumed that students will have a basic knowledge of serious mental illness as a prerequisite or corequisite, a review will be provided. Students will learn to examine research literature to determine the various levels of support for specific interventions and essential principles for translating research into practice. Additionally, they will identify the appropriate treatment outcomes that reflect effective, quality mental health practice. Each evidence-based practice presented will also be examined for its utility with diverse groups. Providing assessment and treatment to a diverse group of individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness is the focus of this course and will be discussed in detail. The prerequisite for this course is completion of the foundation year in the M.S.W. program or equivalent, along with completion of SWK 710, Social Work Assessment and Diagnosis.

This course focuses on health social work at the nexus of practice and policy. It provides students with core Advanced Year knowledge applicable to a wide range of settings, populations and fields of practice within the broader domain of health social work. Most social workers in health care provide clinical/direct practice services to individuals, families, groups and communities, often in collaboration with interdisciplinary teams. This work is continuously informed by complex organizational and policy contexts. Social workers in health also directly engage in work at the organizational and policy levels, since so many of the intractable issues individuals, families and groups encounter in U.S. health care systems (e.g., lack of access to quality care; lack of insurance coverage; lack of affordable medications; lack of coordination of care; disparities in health outcomes by race, ethnicity, and gender; lack of cultural sensitivity/competence in the delivery of care) demand coordinated organizational, public health and policy solutions.