Date of Paper

5-2017

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Rajean Moone

Department/School

Master of Social Work

Abstract

The current study examines the following question: How well does social work education prepare a Generalist or a Specialist to be in their social work role? Findings from existing research and interviews of five Generalist and five Specialist social workers within the Minneapolis - St. Paul metro area were reviewed to explore the adequacy of the current BSW and MSW curriculum in preparing students for social work practice after completing their degree. Recent literature and responses from interviewees revealed common themes endorsed by both Generalist and Specialist social workers. Both note the relevance of generalist social work curriculum for Generalist and Specialist social work roles and recommend that generalist social work skills continue to be taught in both BSW and MSW programs. However, findings reveal that some components of the social work curriculum need closer monitoring of quality, particularly the field experience and field supervision. Interviewees further suggested that expanding elective courses would allow students to acquire knowledge needed for effective social work in Specialist areas such as geriatrics, child welfare, mental health, community organization, and public policy. Incorporating more elective courses in to the curriculum will also allow BSW and MSW programs to be “all-inclusive” for various students’ interests and enables them to keep up with the changing times of the twenty first century’s social work marketplace. The study concludes with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the current social work curriculum and provides recommendations for social work education that can more adequately prepare students for both Generalist and Specialist social work roles.

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Social Work Commons

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