Focused Areas of Study


In addition to your area of concentration, you may focus on a current social work issue through our Focused Areas of Study option. With nine elective credits you can concentrate your study on a particular population or social problem that complements your major method of study. Students with a record of coherent academic accomplishment completing all requirements in an area of study will receive a letter of recognition.

Students may choose to organize nine elective credits in one of seven Focused Areas of Study:

Focused Areas of Study Handbook

Download SSW Focused Areas of Study Handbook

Black Studies for Social Work Practice

Designed to provide interested students with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge about issues relative to social work practice with people of African descent and increase practice skills for offering services to this population. Please see page 2 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

International Issues in Social Work

Designed for students who want to include a global perspective in their social work program. Please see page 3 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse in Social Work Practice

Designed to provide interested students with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills about issues relevant to social work practice with children, adolescents, adults and families affected by mental illness and substance abuse. Please see page 5 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

Puerto Rican/Latin@ Studies in Social Work

This area of study is designed to provide a social work perspective on contemporary issues affecting the Puerto Rican/Latin@ population with a focus on their resiliency and strengths. Please see page 7 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

Social Work Practice with Older Adults

Provides MSW students with the additional educational training in both theory and practice that prepares them for practice in the Social Work Practice with Older Adults specialized area. Please see page 9 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

Social Work with Women and Children in Families

Offers MSW students an opportunity to focus their elective course of study on policies, programs, and practice with women, children, and families. Please see page 11 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

Urban Issues in Social Work

Examines issues that affect the context for urban social work practice areas across methods and diverse populations. Please see page 13 in the Focused Areas of Study Handbook for detailed information.

Requirements for the Focused Area of Study Recognition

  • Successful completion of nine elective credits. Of these nine credits, students must take one 3-credit required course that contains the core knowledge deemed to be essential by the Focused Area of Study faculty.
  • A year-long field placement in a field or practice relevant for the Focused Area of Study (required).

The remaining six credits may be allocated as follows:

  • An elective from a carefully selected list of Focused Area of Study electives offered at the School;
  • An elective from a carefully selected list offered in other graduate units of the University;
  • An independent study or special topics course of no more than three credits, approved by the Focused Area of Study Chairperson