Widener

Hybrid Dual Master of Social Work / Master of Education, Human Sexuality Studies Curriculum

Focus on Human Sexuality Within Your Social Work Practice

Our Center for Social Work Education and the Center for Human Sexuality Studies offers a dual degree program that prepares professional social workers to teach, consult, conduct research, and give counsel and therapy in a variety of settings on complex issues of human sexuality.

Students earn two graduate degrees (MSW and MEd) in as little as 3-years by attending classes full-time. Courses are taken each semester in both the social work and human sexuality departments and students are encouraged to incorporate their learning both in the field and classroom.

Our program prepares social workers who are comfortable discussing sexuality in their social work practice, to also be qualified to work in areas that focus explicitly on sexuality, such as human trafficking, individuals with a history of sexual abuse, and gender or sexual identity issues.

The dual degree program in social work and human sexuality consists of 39 credit hours for the MEd Human Sexuality degree, 64 credit hours for the Master of Social Work degree and is offered once a year in the fall.

The MSW/MEd Human Sexuality Dual Degree Curriculum At-A-Glance

Core Curriculum

An overview of the concepts from current research in human sexuality. Students identify their own values, identify those of others, and become at ease discussing the many different topics of sexuality. This course is a prerequisite for all courses taken in the human sexuality program; students must have permission from the instructor to enroll in this course.

This course emphasizes the essential knowledge and conceptual frameworks used in social work to understand and assess human development and behavior in multiple social contexts. The focus is on a normative strengths and resilience perspective. Students are expected to become critical consumers of this knowledge, using it to inform assessment, intervention, and evaluation in their social work practice. Basic concepts of human development and behavior in context are introduced using multidimensional, multitheoretical, and multisystemic frameworks. Elements of diversity and difference such as ethnicity, age, culture, race, social class, gender, sexual orientation, spirituality, genetics, and the social environment are examined to promote the appreciation, understanding, and respect for human difference. This course also looks at how social and economic justice issues impact the development and interaction of the person-in-context. Core competencies and related practice behaviors associated with this course are developed through didactic presentations, experiential activities, class discussions, films, speakers, and online activities.

An examination of human sexual behavior, including identity, roles, orientation, lifestyles, love, and relationships. Included are problems that can affect sexual behavior. Pre- or corequisite: HSED 592.

This course builds on conceptual frameworks of human development, with emphasis on the biological, psychological, and environmental influences on social and emotional disturbances. The course will consider diagnosis and assessment within the framework of culture and life cycle changes. The student will acquire a working knowledge of the DSM-5 and its uses in identifying and classifying mental disorders. Students will also be encouraged to view these disorders within the context of the individual’s culture and environment. This course provides students with the Core Competencies and Related Behaviors for conducting assessment of human psychosocial functioning to inform culturally and socially sensitive social work interventions. Prerequisite: SW 501

This survey course traces sexual mores and concepts as expressed in the writings and art of various cultures and religions over time. Particular focus will be on the sexuality of the early civilizations of the Middle East, the beginnings of monotheism in Judaism, and the spread of Christianity across Europe and North America. These themes will be traced in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries here in the United States. Emphasis will be on identifying conflicting and changing sexual values concerning marriage, premarital and extra-marital sexuality, masturbation, fertility, contraception, gender roles, and homo-bi-heterosexuality over time. The birthing and history of the field of sexology and sexuality education will be placed in the broader historical events of the 20th and 21st centuries. Ethical codes of conduct for professionals in sexology will be compared to other codes of conduct.

This course welcomes the new MSW student to the profession of social work. It addresses both the educational needs of the students while providing a vehicle for community building to support the Center’s learning environment. Students will develop the interpersonal and communication skills necessary to communicate comfortably with clients, in classrooms, on teams, with work groups, and in client groups. The course will focus on the skills for building collegial relationships, increasing comfort with diversity, handling challenging conversations, and managing conflicts. This course will provide the Core Competencies and Related Behaviors to support field internships, beginning work with individuals and small groups, and navigating agency cultures. This course will have a rich experiential component and will utilize individual interactions between dyads, small group work, and large group work as a class, as well as provide opportunities for self-reflection. It is within the context of these dyads and small groups that students will be able to learn and practice effective communication skills, including empathic listening. In addition, students will be supported and guided in their experience and observation of group dynamics as they pass through the stages in their own small groups. Students will have the opportunity to develop insight into their own style of interaction and the roles they play within groups. This course sets the foundation for the practice courses in the curriculum as well as the SW 506 – Foundation Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups course.

This is the introductory course on systems work in the context of sex therapy provision. Case presentations and role-playing are used to illustrate couples’ treatment dynamics and intervention strategies from initial contacts through the treatment process. Special issues in couple therapy are addressed. Prerequisite: HSED 593.

This course is the first of four in the practice sequence. It provides the student with an overview of generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. The course focuses on the values, concepts, and skills necessary to conduct social work practice from a generalist perspective in the context of a social service agency or program. SW 505 – Foundation Generalist Practice is followed by SW 506 – Foundation Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups. These foundation practice courses, along with the two foundation field practica (SW 552 & SW 553), provide a solid grounding in generalist social work practice and prepare the student for the advanced concentration in clinical social work practice with individuals, families, and groups. This course will provide the student with the conceptual framework and techniques of the strengths-based approach to assessing client systems and developing appropriate social work interventions. Critical thinking and experiential learning are emphasized throughout the course. Class discussions, readings, exercises, and assignments will be directed at developing a range of social work skills including: a) analyzing and resolving ethical dilemmas; b) developing and sustaining helping relationships with clients systems; c) conducting assessments of various sized client systems; d) selecting and implementing appropriate intervention strategies with individual, family, small group, organizational, and community client systems; e) working with diverse populations; and f) monitoring and evaluating social work practice interventions. The course is a prerequisite of SW 506 and SW 552.

This course reviews theories and philosophies of education, such that students are prepared to develop interventions for use in psycho-education and professional training. Core content of the course includes community engagement, needs assessment, lesson planning, delivery, and evaluation/assessment techniques, and the development of rationale for educational decisions. Co- /prerequisite: HSED 662.

This course is an examination of the human reproductive system, including fertility control, pregnancy, prenatal development, and birth. Included will be adult sexual functioning, the response cycle, and problems that can affect the system. Prerequisite: HSED 593.

This course focuses on general research methods and their application to social work. The course introduces students to the scientific method; culturally competent research; protection of human subjects; survey, experimental, quasi-experimental, and qualitative research designs; evidence-based research; measurement; sampling; questionnaire construction; and qualitative data collection methods. Specifically, the course prepares students to 1) design social work research related to needs assessments, program evaluations, and practice evaluations; 2) appreciate and understand the benefits of evidence-based practice; and 3) develop the ability to critically evaluate and consume social work research. These areas of social work research are fundamental components of social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

This course covers homosexual and other sexual identities and how they have been the subject of speculation, misunderstanding, and, sometimes, violent attempts at “correction or elimination.” The topics include sexual orientation, gender expression, transsexualism, sexism, heterosexism, and homophobia. Prerequisite: HSED 592.

This is the first of two core courses addressing the competencies and associated practice behaviors related to social and economic justice. This course provides students with the opportunity to examine and analyze the historical, philosophical, and value base of social welfare and social welfare policy. It helps students to understand and define the concepts of social and economic justice, examine the application/manifestation of these concepts (as well as related concepts such as power, class, oppression, and poverty) in American and world history, and to develop generalist skills and core competencies necessary to analyze, influence, and change policy.

This course builds on the introductory courses HSED 592 and 593 and offers advanced understanding of assessment, diagnosis and treatment models for addressing various sexual dysfunctions. Students develop a solid understanding of the use of the systemic sex therapy in assessing and treating sexual dysfunctions. Assessment, diagnosis and treatment interventions will be explored using class lecture, discussions, guest speakers, videotape presentations, and role plays. Prerequisite: HSED 562.

This practicum is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop the skills and resources necessary to provide ageappropriate, psychoeducational, individual or group intervention strategies, treatment goals, practice and evaluation for a variety of clinical cases in a variety of settings, and with diverse populations. Course requirements include supervised hours in the field, regular class meetings with faculty, and case presentations of work representing the practicum. This is the first of two required practica for the clinical track. Prerequisite: HSED 562.

This is the foundation year, two-semester field instruction placement. The field placement provides students with the opportunity to apply the basic knowledge and skills of agency-based social work practice from a generalist perspective. The field placement also provides students with the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the foundation core curricula to social work practice with individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities within an agency setting. Students will work in the field 16 hours per week while enrolled in SW 552. The field seminar is completed concurrently with the field placement. The field seminar is designed to support students in the process of integrating knowledge attained in foundational coursework and applying skills to practice in the field. Much of the focus of the seminar will be on reflection of students’ learning and development as professional social workers. Perquisites: SW 505 and SW 506. For more detailed information about the MSW Field Placement experience view our online guide.

This practicum is a continuation of HSED 695. Course requirements include supervised hours in the field, regular class meetings with faculty and case presentations of work representing the practicum. This is the second of two required practica for the clinical track. Prerequisite: HSED 695.

This concentration level course is designed to build on the practice of generalist social work by refining and deepening the conceptual and technical knowledge of clinical social work practice with individuals. Students will continue to consider principles and assumptions learned in the foundation year with the goal of achieving synthesis on a more advanced level of knowledge, attitude, skill and method. The clinical processes of engagement, biopsychosocial assessment, worker-client relationship, intervention, evaluating practice effectiveness, and termination are considered with an aim toward greater precision of application. More complex theoretical material and intervention methods as well as case situations are utilized and you are encouraged to reflect on past field experience for integration of material. Throughout the semester, attention is given to issues of gender; sexual orientation; and ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity. This course is a prerequisite of SW 639 and SW 637. Prerequisites: SW 506, SW 552, and SW 553.

Building on the foundational work completed in earlier courses, this course examines clinical responses to sensitive issues in sexological practice. Professional insight, experience, and research highlight that the psychotherapeutic relationship is the most significant factor of change. In addition, clients’ value systems adjust to that of their therapists during treatment and remain so after termination. As a result, this course emphasizes countertransferential dynamics and their effects on the psychotherapeutic relationship. Content areas may include abortion, bisexuality, HIV infection, homophobia, pedophilia, pornography, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual pleasure, and power. Prerequisites: HSED 624 and 762.

Focusing on social work practice with families, this course expands systemic thinking by introducing multiple models for family work, including Psychodynamic, Bowen, Narrative, Communication, Contextual, Structural, and Solution-Focused, as well as newer models of family work such as Multidimensional Family Therapy. Using these models and their related theories, students will gain a solid foundation for assessment and intervention with families, knowledge of the family life cycle, and the impact of wider systems on a family’s structure and functioning. The definition of family will be inclusive of many different family forms. Students will examine how cultural issues such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation must be considered while assessing a family’s presenting issues, unique strengths, and vulnerabilities. Students will learn to think critically about the relevance of particular concepts and interventions for each family system, including whether certain “Western” concepts apply to all families. Prerequisite: SW 506.

This course uses an integrative model of sexual health across the life cycle as the central reference when evaluating or treating special populations, such as persons with chronic illness or disabilities. Physiological factors, disease factors, and treatment factors are examined regarding their roles with sexual dysfunctions. The combination of sexual counseling with medical treatment is examined. Specific illnesses and injuries, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, infertility, spinal cord injuries, and their impact on sexuality are reviewed. Special focus is placed on persons with mental illnesses or significant cognitive limitations. The roles of sexuality policies with vulnerable populations are reviewed, with special attention on consenting issues. The ethical implications of practice are central. Prerequisites: HSED 593 and 644.

This is a course on sexological approaches to understanding sexual dysfunctions/disorders that are related to special populations. It will include assessment and treatment considerations in providing sex therapy to special populations. This course is a blend of didactic, informational, and clinical sexology application. Prerequisite: HSED 662.

This advanced-level course builds upon the core competencies and associated practice behaviors addressed in the foundational social and economic justice courses. The course presents theoretical and practical materials necessary for all aspects of practice affecting the social service agency. Conceptualizing agencies as the foundation from which most services emanate, this course prepares students both to effectively work within the organizational context, including developing new programs, and to enhance organizational capacity and treat the agency as a “client” when necessary. Course topics include organizational theory and assessment, management, the budgetary process, fundraising, program development, proposal writing, technology, and program evaluation.

These courses comprise the two-semester concentration-level field placement. Students work in a supervised social work setting for three days (twenty-four hours) per week for a total of 680 hours for the year. Field Instruction III and Seminar and Field Instruction IV and Seminar provide students with the opportunity to further examine and integrate the theories and skills of agency-based clinical social work practice with individuals, families, and small groups; to develop and refine clinical assessment, intervention, and evaluation skills; and to consolidate their own identity as a professionally disciplined and self-aware professional social worker. Field Instruction III and Seminar and Field Instruction IV and Seminar build upon the generalist social work practice perspective introduced in the prerequisite courses. Prerequisites: SW 505, SW 506, SW 552, SW 553, SW 630, and SW 639. For more detailed information about the MSW Field Placement experience view our online guide.

This seminar is designed to build upon the clinical competencies and associated practice behaviors of SW 630 Clinical Social Work with Individuals by helping refine and deepen conceptual and technical knowledge of the clinical process in the context of agency-based social work practice. The seminar focuses on issues related to the agency-based social work practice context, considering the dimension of time in terms of how it can be exploited to promote change (short-term treatment) and examining how principles of change are operationalized by social work practitioners applying psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, narrative, emotionally focused, and family systems theoretical orientations to various client populations within different settings. Whenever relevant, students are invited to examine how policy issues, particularly those related to managed care, affect clinical practice. As students become more familiar with alternative applications of the clinical process, they are expected to develop greater clarity about their own clinical skills, strengths, limitations, and interests. This increased professional self-awareness is intended to facilitate students’ autonomy and creative use of the self with diverse clinical populations. Throughout the semester, attention is given to issues of gender; sexual orientation; ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity; and the effects of oppression and discrimination upon clients. Through reading and written assignments, students use research knowledge to understand issues confronting them in their clinical work with clients and to examine and evaluate various intervention strategies with clients. SW 630 and SW 639 are cohort courses. Students remain together as a group for both courses. This course is a corequisite of SW 638. Prerequisite: SW 630.

This course concentrates on the etiology and treatment of traumatic symptomatology. Students explore conditions that contribute to the development of acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorders, and other disorders of extreme stress. Comorbid conditions, including substance abuse and self-harming behaviors, are considered. The intergenerational, socio-cultural, and societal impact of trauma is explored. A strengths-based approach is emphasized. Readings orient students to the assessment of trauma symptoms, as well as to some generally applicable treatment approaches, and to research on the psychobiology of trauma. Prerequisite: SW 506.