The VCU School of Social Work offers a graduate professional curriculum accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) leading to the Master of Social Work degree. Starting in 2021, there will be a fall-only cohort admitted for the Advanced Standing track of the M.S.W. Program, a 42-credit-hour option that requires a B.S.W. degree from a CSWE-accredited program and a separate application process.
Students will learn how to become effective clinical practitioners through the development of an evidence-based and trauma-informed approach in their work and receive the training and guidance to become licensed practitioners. Graduates of this program will be able to address personal and social problems; formulate, implement and evaluate policies and programs; engage in knowledge development for the profession; and influence community decision-making. The educational program focuses on service to and empowerment of people who experience oppression or vulnerability due to inadequate or inequitable distribution of personal, social or institutional resources. Within this context, social work practice is defined as the application of professional knowledge, skills and values across a range of settings and populations for the prevention and amelioration of personal and social problems.
The interactions among persons and their environments are the primary targets of social work practice. Services provided by social workers include the restoration, rehabilitation, maintenance and enhancement of optimal functioning of individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. Knowledge for social work practice is based on analysis and critical application of qualitative and quantitative research from within the profession and related social, behavioral and biological sciences. Skill in professional practice is based on the differential application of theories and research findings about people in their sociocultural and organizational contexts. Skill is developed by the social worker through the educational process, self-critical practice and the use of supervision and consultation. Values in social work practice are articulated in the profession’s code of ethics and reflect the core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of each individual, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.