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Focus Areas

SPECIAL FOCUS AREAS 
(*for students who entered SSW prior to 2017-18)

As part of their concentration year, second year students have the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge in a choice of specific areas as described below. 

The special focus areas share a similar structure, with some specific variation within each, and each specialization has a director who oversees the curriculum for the specialization. 

General special focus area requirements: 

Students are required to do a full year of Field Education placement at a setting related to their specialization.  The placement may take place in the first or second year of the MSW program.

Students are required to take electives related to their specialization. Each specialization has a list of required/elective courses that qualify for the specialization (see individual specialization descriptions). Students are required to receive a B grade (3.00) or higher in the electives for the specialization.  Enrichment level courses may be required for some of the specializations. However, all MSW students also must complete 2 advanced practice electives before graduating. 

Students are required to do their HWC 515 Advanced Social Work Micro Practice I and HWC 516 Advanced Social Work Macro Practice I written assignments on a topic related to their specialization.  

Students are required to complete all requirements for the MSW Degree, including: 

A total of 64 credits (36 credits for Advanced Standing students), of which at least six (6) credits will be the Advanced curriculum courses of the specialization. 
At least 8 of the 16 credits of field education (12 credits for Advanced Standing students) in a setting related to the specialization.

Students in the Modified pathways will not be able to pursue a specialization due to required course scheduling.

The school offers five (5) specializations:
Health
Substance Abuse
Trauma
Social Work in Higher Education: Student-Community Development (SCD)
Community and Political Social Action

1. Health
Coordinator:  Dr. Michelle Ballan, PhD

This focus area provides students with theory and practice skills in the analysis, development, implementation, management and evaluation of health programs, policies and practice and how they affect individuals and societal well-being; and prepares students to occupy both independent and interdisciplinary team roles in health promotion, prevention, patient care, research, planning and management. Particular emphasis is placed on dealing with traditionally disadvantaged and disempowered populations in accordance with the School’s mission.

Completion of the following advanced practice electives: 
• HWC 581 Public Health and Community Health Intervention (Fall 2014)• HWC 584 Community Analysis and Health Promotion (Spring 2015)

2. Substance Abuse
Coordinator: Frances L. Brisbane, Ph.D.
Assistant Director: Stephen Rabeno, Ph.D.

Students may opt for a focus area in Substance Abuse.  Students enrolled in this specialization examine the history and development of policies and practice in the field of alcoholism and substance abuse.  This specialization addressees the wider implications that relate to program planning and development, public policy and prevention, ethical issues within a substance abuse context and the more specific issues of working with families, individuals, and groups in treatment and recovery.  Particular emphasis is placed on dealing with traditionally disadvantaged and disempowered populations in accordance with the School of Social Welfare’s mission.  

Required elective courses:
HWC 544 Overview of Substance Abuse (Fall 2014) – enrichment elective
HWC 545 Individual and Family Treatment of Alcoholics and Substance Abusers (Fall 2014 at the Manhattan Site; Spring 2015 at Stony Brook Campus)

One of the following advanced practice electives:
HWC 579 Special Topics in Social Welfare: Treating Veterans and Their Families (Summer 2014)
HWC 578 Advanced Social Work with Groups (Fall 2014 or Spring 2015)
HWC 556 Proposal Writing in the Health and Human Service Fields (Spring 2015)

3. Trauma
Coordinator: Kathleen Monahan, D.S.W.

This focus area will provide students with the advanced practice knowledge-base regarding the issues of trauma.   The specialization is founded on a strengths based perspective and examines the complex issues regarding the range of traumatic events, long-term negative sequelae, and the evidence-based treatments that provide intervention and support.  Cultural issues are a particular focus as well as legal, legislative and policy concerns.  Two advanced elective courses in the second year of the graduate program support this specialization.

Completion of the following advanced practice electives:
HWC 579 Special Topics in Social Welfare:  The Dynamics of Child Sexual Abuse 
HWC 579 Special Topics in Social Welfare: Therapeutic Interventions for Trauma 

4. Social Work in Higher Education: Student Community Development (SCD)  
Coordinator: Richard H. Morgan, Ph.D.

The Social Work in Higher Education: Student-Community Development (SCD) Special Focus Area offers a unique focus on social work within higher education. This focus expands the arenas of social work practice, community organization and systems development to include the contemporary college campus. Students develop skills in providing direct interventions in response to a range of social issues that currently affect student communities nationwide such as multicultural relations, preventive mental health interventions, safety and strategies that promote student retention and success. The specialization emphasizes organizational and community development, social change and the strengths perspective as vital components of social work practice within various types of higher education learning communities.

The annual Leadership Symposium, now in its 23rd year, offers students collaborative opportunities in a higher education learning setting to interact with each other through the shared experience of learning from and dialoging with knowledgeable professionals from the University. The yearly theme, Challenges in Higher Education, offers timely topics such as Inclusion, Diversity, Student Success, the Experience of the African- Male and many others.

For more information about the symposiumhttp://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/studentaffairs/prodev/symposium/


Required elective courses:

HWC 598 Issues in Higher Education  enrichment elective or
HWC 566 Student-Community Development Student Portfolio Project) and
HWC 594 Student-Community Development Seminar II 

Completion of one (1) of the following advanced practice electives: 

HWC 578 Advanced Social Work with Groups 
HWC 581 Public Health and Community Health Intervention 
HWC 548 Adolescent development and Health Promotion 
HWC 584 Community Analysis and Health Promotion 
HWC 555 Supervision in Health and Human Service Organizations 

5. Community and Political Social Action
Coordinator: Carolyn Peabody, Ph.D.

Rooted in a critical and structural analysis of the causes of social problems, the Community and Political Social Action special focus area builds on Foundation and Advanced Generalist knowledge, values and skills to further deepen students’ capacity to work for social change. This specialization enables students to gain a sharper focus on select areas such as community organizing, community development and political social work, which includes political advocacy, activism and advancing social workers as elected officials.

Completion of two (2) of the following advanced practice electives: 
HWC 556 Proposal Writing in the Health and Human Service Fields 
HWC 579 Social Work in the Political Process – Campaign School 
HWC 584 Community Analysis and Health Promotion 

PDF of Special Focus Area Information for 2016-2017