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

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, multi- theoretical, 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.

Course outcomes:

  • Critically examine biopsychosocial-spiritual theoretical frameworks for understanding individual human behavior as it affects and is affected by family, group, community, and societal dynamics.
  • Apply multi-theoretical knowledge in order to assess human development and behavior from a multidimensional perspective that reflects the intersection and interaction of the social/physical environment with individuals, families, and communities.
  • Apply knowledge of culture, social class, race, ethnicity, economic factors, gender, sexual orientation, age, oppression, and other variables that influence human development and behavior, in support of non-discriminatory social work practice.

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.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Demonstrate social and psychological understanding of emotional and behavioral dysfunction.
  • Recognize strengths as well as vulnerabilities in understanding emotional and behavioral dysfunction.
  • Understand the differences between a nosology that is derived from human strengths and vulnerability and one that emphasizes "health" and "illness" in the pursuit of social justice in the provision of services.
  • Consider ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, and other variables contribute to people's unique strengths and vulnerabilities.
  • Understand the uses of classification systems, such as the DSM-5, and think critically about them through alternative perspectives.
  • Assess an individual's functioning within a multi-dimensional framework (biopsychosocial).
  • Identify ethical concerns in making judgments about people's competence.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Demonstrate professional self-awareness that facilitates students' creative use of themselves with ethnically and culturally diverse clinical populations in diverse settings.
  • Engage in self reflection regarding their interactions with individuals and groups.
  • Practice their graduate-level oral and written communication skills including effective speaking in groups.
  • Become aware of and articulate their styles of conflict resolution.
  • Explore means of effectively working with challenging conversations.
  • Integrate personal and professional values in a way that supports ethically based clinical social work practice in agencies.
  • Apply a generalist strengths-based approach in working with individual, group, organizational, and community client systems.
  • Practice interviewing effectively.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Critically evaluate the theoretical basis of generalist social work practice and its associated concepts.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a generalist, strengths-based approach in working with individual, family, group, organizational, and community client systems.
  • Describe the core values of the social work profession and apply ethical principles in resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of a strengths perspective in working with socially and economically disadvantaged client populations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of ethnically-sensitive generalist social work practice with clients from culturally and ethnically diverse populations.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the skills in engaging clients in a collaborative helping process and in establishing professional helping relationships.
  • Conduct client systems assessments from ecosystems and strengths perspectives.
  • Demonstrate understanding of assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individual client systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of assessment, intervention, and evaluation with family client systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of assessment, intervention, and evaluation with small group client systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of assessment, intervention, and evaluation with organizational client systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of assessment, intervention, and evaluation with community client systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of various ways to evaluate practice effectively.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Identify steps in social work research and their relationship to each other.
  • Describe evidence-based practice.
  • Identify the ethical issues associated with a research study.
  • Critique culturally sensitive research studies.
  • Analyze and summarize a social service program dataset.
  • Use empirical studies as a knowledge base to support professional interventions and decisions for the enhancement of client well-being.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Trace the history of social welfare from the English Poor Laws to the present.
  • Identify the influence of values and ideology on social policy choices.
  • Identify one's personal values and assumptions regarding the public role in addressing private needs.
  • Identify how assumptions regarding difference affect past and present policy choices.
  • Identify empirically based social policy strategies for ameliorating human need and furthering social and economic justice.
  • Identify ways in which perceptions and beliefs about various populations-at-risk have influenced contemporary service delivery choices.
  • Identify political and organizational factors that affect policy development and implementation, including the role of interest groups.
  • Identify economic factors that affect policy development and implementation at the U.S federal level.
  • Describe the roles of legislative and judicial systems in the formation and implementation of U.S. social policy.
  • Describe the critical policy and service delivery issues associated with U.S. Federal poverty policies, including federalism, selective (targeted) and universal eligibility, and the relationship between public and private auspices.
  • Identify critical social policy and service delivery issues associated with U.S. Federal social welfare policies and their impacts on agency-based practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
  • Demonstrate basic skills of policy development and change in furthering social and economic justice, including needs analysis, social advocacy, and resource mobilization.
  • Apply various models of social welfare policy analysis to U.S. federal social welfare policies.
  • Understand the relationship of the global context to national and personal social welfare.

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 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 Experience, click here.

Course outcomes:

  • Critically evaluate the theoretical basis of direct social work practice with individuals, families, and groups and its associated concepts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical context and repertoire of direct practice skills for working with a variety of client systems.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a range of intervention strategies, match interventions with a diverse range of clients, and identify the appropriate techniques for implementing those strategies.
  • Demonstrate the continued development of professional skills to identify and integrate the values and ethics of the professional social work community.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the influence of the organizational context, and the ability to analyze the effect of policies on the helping process and develop strategies for enhancing organizational responsiveness to human service needs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply all phases of the helping process – including engagement, assessment, contracting, implementation, and ending – in working with individuals, families, and groups.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform a variety of helping functions, including those of advocate, mediator, enabler, teacher, social broker, and counselor.
  • Integrate knowledge of the influence of the community context on social work interventions with a variety of client systems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the strategies for empowering and supporting diverse client systems and populations as a locus of change.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the range of social work research methods for evaluation of direct social work clinical practice and human service programs.
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for and willingness to engage in ongoing professional skill development and self-evaluation.
  • Demonstrate increasing skill in working with diverse populations and appreciation of the influence of diversity on the helping process.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the development of social work practice theories and models.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of oppression, discrimination, and injustice on delivery of services to client populations and practice areas.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Apply differential assessment with various populations to identify treatment focus and intervention options. Analyze multiple theoretical perspectives and differentially apply them to client situations.
  • Apply theoretical conceptualization to design practice interventions.
  • Identify the interpersonal dynamics and contextual factors that both strengthen and potentially threaten the therapeutic alliance.
  • Demonstrate acute awareness of the needs of oppressed and disadvantaged populations and of ways in which the clinical process is modified to respond to those needs.
  • Employ an ecological framework to conceptualize the influence of institutional policies and practices on the clinical social work process with a view toward mobilizing forces for organizational and social as well as individual change.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of practice including the application of theoretical and intervention models as they meet the needs of the client and affect the therapeutic relationship.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Understand and articulate the ethical issues that arise in working with human service organizations.
  • Understand and articulate beginning skills in organizational assessment, practice, and program management.
  • Understand and articulate beginning skills in program development.
  • Understand and articulate beginning skills in program evaluation.
  • Appropriately use the professional empirical and theoretical literature related to social work practice with individuals, families, and small groups to assist in writing a program proposal.
  • Understand the relationship between the actions of the social service agency and the continuation of, and/or the remediation of, oppression and discrimination.
  • Demonstrate the ability to write a grant proposal.

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.

These courses comprise the two-semester concentration-level field placement. Students work in a supervised social work setting for three days (24 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 630 and SW 639. For more detailed information about the MSW Field Experience, click here.

Course outcomes:

  • Integrate classroom material in the field.
  • Reflect on practice in the field.
  • Engage in clinical supervision.
  • Reflect on use of self in the therapeutic relationship.
  • Critically analyze and apply evidence-based practice.
  • Evaluate your own practice.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of policy and contextual issues that impact practice.

This seminar is designed to build upon the clinical competencies and associated practice behaviors of SW 630 Clinical Social Work Practice 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.

Course outcomes:

  • Integrate personal and professional values in a way that supports ethically based, trauma-informed clinical social work practice in agencies.
  • Integrate knowledge of relevant research to differentially apply and assess the effectiveness of interventions.
  • Demonstrate professional self-awareness that facilitates students' creative use of themselves with ethnically and culturally diverse clinical populations in a variety of settings.
  • Examine how principles of change are operationalized by social workers from varying theoretical orientations, such as psychodynamic (ego-psychology and self-psychology), cognitive-behavioral, narrative, and gestalt theories that emphasize client competencies and strengths.
  • Intervene with oppressed and disadvantaged clients in ways that demonstrate knowledge of social, political, and economic factors associated with poverty and discrimination.
  • Demonstrate the skills necessary for continuing professional development, including the use of supervision, consultation, and continuing education opportunities.

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.

Course outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that contribute to the development of traumatic symptomatology and stress disorders.
  • Demonstrate integration of the knowledge needed to assess traumatic symptomatology.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of trauma on psychobiology.
  • Demonstrate a general understanding of a variety of treatment approaches, including the ability to incorporate unique client strengths and resources into chosen treatment approaches.
  • Demonstrate the analytical skills needed to integrate theories into trauma treatment.
  • Demonstrate the ability to make use of professional literature.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of personal and professional strategies for minimizing the risks of vicarious traumatization.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the intergenerational, cultural, and societal impact of trauma.