Master of Social Work

Social work is a profession in which practitioners work directly with individuals, families, and groups, helping people cope, change, and solve problems in all facets of their daily lives. Social workers also work with community stakeholders, organizations, neighborhoods and communities, and in activities such as community organization and development, policy and legislative advocacy. They are employed in a wide variety of agencies, positions, and areas of service, such as mental health, aging services, domestic violence, child welfare, school social work, healthcare services, geriatric social work, and substance abuse treatment and prevention. In addition, social workers may advance to positions of management of social service agencies or establish their own private practice. The uniqueness of social work as a profession includes the emphasis on the person-in-environment, identification with the most marginalized and oppressed of society, and commitment to core values of social work-social and economic justice, respect for the worth of others, cultural diversity, and the principle of self-determination for individuals, families, and groups. At both the BSW and MSW level social workers may be licensed for social work practice within their state.

The BSW degree also allows students to apply for Advanced Standing in the MSW Program.

The Master of Social Work {MSW) Program at UNLV prepares students for professional social work careers in the areas of direct practice with individuals, families, and groups, and in management and community practice. The mission of the MSW program is to educate students to work with populations in urban settings, utilizing generalist, problem-solving, empowerment, and social justice approaches. Special attention is given to the mastery of multiple practice issues, attendant upon the present plural and diverse populations in American society. Students may elect Direct Practice or Management and Community Practice as their area of concentration. The Direct Practice concentration prepares students for advanced social work practice with individuals, families, and groups. The Management and Community Practice concentration prepares students for advanced practice in policy advocacy and management of human service organizations and agencies at the local, state and national levels.

Learning Objectives

Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.

  • Make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to context;
  • Use reflection and self-regulation to manage personal values and maintain professionalism in practice situations;
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication;
  • Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes; and
  • Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.

Engage diversity and difference in practice.

  • Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels;
  • Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences; and
  • Apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.

Advance human rights and social, economic and environmental justice.

  • Apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels; and
  • Engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.

  • Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research;
  • Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings; and
  • Use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery.

Engage in policy practice.

  • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services;
  • Assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services;
  • Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies; and
  • Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies.

Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies;
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies;
  • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies; and
  • Select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies.

Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies;
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies;
  • Use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes;
  • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies; and
  • Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals.

Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes;
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes;
  • Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes; and
  • Apply evaluation findings to improve practice effectiveness at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.