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Master of Social Work

Mission & Goals


Consistent with the urban mission of the university, the mission of the MSW Department is to prepare beginning generalist and advanced social work practitioners to practice competently and effectively with urban families, groups, organizations, and communities. The program is committed to the alleviation of human suffering and the improvement of the quality of life for urban residents. Because African Americans make up a substantial percentage of the urban population, and are also over represented among urban residents facing unrelenting social and economic problems, the program has a major focus on preparing its graduates to address, systematically and strategically, issues of poverty and socioeconomic disadvantage, interpersonal and community violence, substance abuse and mental health problems, social injustice and discrimination.


  1. To prepare autonomous practitioners committed to working competently and effectively with urban individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities;
  2. To socialize students to the values and ethics of the profession of social work;
  3. To address challenges, issues and problems of the urban environment toward the alleviation of human suffering and enhancing the quality of the life of oppressed, at-risk, and vulnerable populations;
  4. To develop an appreciation for the historical and contemporary contributions of African Americans to the field of social welfare as the context for urban social work practice;
  5. To prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and commitment to address oppression and social injustice in all forms;
  6. To promote the fullest understanding of the reality and complexity of human diversity as a basis for culturally competent social work practice.


Upon completion of the program, students will:

  1. Demonstrate well grounded knowledge, values, and skills required for advanced social work practice with urban populations;
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to the basic values and ethics that guide social work practice, an ability to resolve ethical dilemmas, and the ability to engage in ethical decision making;
  3. Demonstrate capacity to embrace ethnic and racial differences, demonstrate respect for cultural diversity, and demonstrate the capacity for working effectively with diverse client populations;
  4. Demonstrate commitment and skills in the promotion of social justice and equality and the elimination of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism, and other forms of oppression;
  5. Demonstrate effective oral, written, and technological communication skills in the use of self with diverse clients, colleagues, and community members;
  6. Demonstrate the capacity to utilize the generalist perspective as the foundation for building advanced knowledge and skills in a field of social work practice.