Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Social Work Master's Degree

Grand Canyon University’s Master of Social Work program is designed to prepare students to gain the knowledge and skills to apply social work principles, values and ethics when helping individuals, families and communities overcome various social and behavioral health issues. This program focuses on an advanced generalist social work practice to shape the social work practitioner who can provide a wide range of services and engage with multiple populations of any type and size. Undergraduates can look at our Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree.

Students learn to actively:

  • Engage in social justice issues affecting diverse individuals, families, communities and organizations
  • Employ evidence-based practice, strategies and interventions
  • Develop research, analysis, critical and creative thinking, decision-making and leadership skills.

Developing these skills enables social work professionals to diagnose and treat issues, as well as provide access to resources, to improve the lives of at-risk populations who need help coping with and solving problems. This is an ideal career path for those who are passionate about people and seek a career path that helps make the world a better place. This master of social work degree has been developed to adhere to the social work standards and competencies established by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This program of study is also designed to meet the academic requirements for Licensed Master Social Work (LMSW). Licensing requirements may vary from state to state. It is the students’ responsibility to check the licensing requirements in their respective state.

Earn Your Master’s Degree in Social Work at GCU

GCU uniquely incorporates its Christian worldview and values into its programs, which encourages social work graduate students to perform ethical work and apply servant leadership practices. Based on Christian principles, the curriculum empowers students to lead with kindness, compassion and justice for making the greatest difference in the lives of others. 

Gain Knowledge to Help Others

Diverse human experiences shape underserved populations that may include abuse, addiction, oppression, marginalization, alienation, racism, socioeconomic disadvantages and other life struggles such as disability, trauma and mental illness. Social workers support those who suffer from issues such as these, while battling inequalities and injustices that individuals face. This is a role for pursuing social justice and driving reform, as well as providing therapy/counseling, case/clinical management services and other resources to meet the needs of others. By earning a master of social work, students can advance their careers within the helping profession and continue a professional path of reward and purpose. Social workers become more than professionals and practitioners. They become advocates who fight alongside those who are struggling and help them live a more fulfilling life.

To prepare for crisis situations and helping people defeat hardships, students will gain competencies in these domains:

  • Ethical and professional behavior
  • Diversity and difference in practice
  • Human rights and social, economic and environmental justice
  • Practice-informed research and research-informed practice
  • Engaging, assessing, intervening and evaluating practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities

What Can You Do with a Master of Social Work Degree?

Graduates may work directly with clients or participate in program development or human services management.

Social workers may work in settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Various types of clinics
  • Mental health agencies
  • Government departments
  • Schools
  • Community organizations
  • Military bases
  • Correctional facilities
  • Nonprofits
  • Advocacy groups
  • Private practices
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TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Program Credits: 62
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)

Course List

Major:
62 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
62 credits

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed as an orientation for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. There is an emphasis on developing and strengthening skills for success as a graduate student of social work. Students are provided an overview of the social work profession while exploring career interests and utilization of the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course examines human behavior in the social environment by critically analyzing biopsychosocial development from conception through middle childhood using an integrative, multidimensional perspective while examining multiple theories of human behavior. This includes a focus on individuals and families. The course emphasizes a social work perspective and key frameworks for social work, with an emphasis on person-in-environment and systems theory as they describe diverse human behavior in relation to social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and other multicultural backgrounds.

Course Description

This course explores the history and progression of the social welfare system, services, and policies and their effects on the social work profession. Emphasis is placed on an analysis of how these systems impact vulnerable populations, specifically relating to poverty, age, race, sex, and mental health. Students learn to identify strengths and weaknesses of social welfare policies while considering diversity and social justice.

Course Description

This course is based on a generalist social work perspective and prepares students for beginning practice with individuals and systems. This course focuses on conceptualizing social work practice, integrating knowledge and theory with practice, and developing beginning level practice skills. Special attention is given to human diversity and populations at risk.

Course Description

This course explores the foundation of knowledge needed to successfully engage diverse populations and advance social justice in social work practice. Emphasis is placed on systems of power and oppression and the cultural aspects of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

Course Description

This course exposes students to the foundations of social work practice in approved community agencies with professional supervision. The course consists of both online classroom course work and field experience hours. The course provides experiential integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills. Practicum/field experience hours: 240.

Course Description

This course examines human behavior in the social environment by critically analyzing biopsychosocial development from adolescence through late adulthood. This includes a focus on groups, communities, and organizations and their effect on human behavior. The course emphasizes a social work perspective and key frameworks for social work, with an emphasis on person-in-environment and systems theory as they describe diverse human behavior in relation to social class, race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and other multicultural backgrounds. Prerequisite: SWK-515.

Course Description

This course is based on a generalist social work perspective and provides students with fundamental social work competencies to influence change at the group, community, and organizational levels. Emphasis is given to facilitative and constraining effects of the social context surrounding macro practice. Special attention is given to human diversity and populations-at-risk. Prerequisite: SWK-525.

Course Description

This course provides a continuation of foundations of social work practice in approved community agencies with professional supervision. Experiential integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills from concurrent social work courses are practiced. Practicum/field experience hours: 240. Prerequisite: SWK-535.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the scientific method and research design process used to evaluate and inform the social work profession. Methods of both quantitative and qualitative data analysis are explored.

Course Description

This course helps students to understand and analyze common classification systems and nomenclature used by practitioners to communicate, predict, and plan interventions for individuals with serious mental disorders. The course also helps students understand diagnosis in the context of a social work and person-first perspective.

Course Description

This course addresses the needs of service members, veterans, and their families at different phases of the military life cycle. The focus of the course is on different events that can occur during military life and best practices for treatment of acute stress and trauma-related stress disorders in this population.

Course Description

The purpose of this advanced practice course is to build on foundational learning and start to develop advanced skills in working with individuals and families as a complement to ongoing field instruction. The course focuses on specific theories and models for individual and family work and how to effectively implement them. Special attention is given to factors of oppression, understanding diversity individually and in family systems, and outcomes.

Course Description

This course covers advanced clinical social work practice with individuals, dyads, families, and small groups in approved community agencies with professional supervision. Continued integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills from concurrent social work courses is practiced. Practicum/field experience hours: 240. Prerequisite: SWK-550.

Course Description

This course prepares students to combine well-researched assessment and intervention approaches with professional experience and ethics, client preferences, and culture, and to guide and inform the delivery of evidence-based programs, policies, and services at all levels of social work practice.

Course Description

This course focuses on developing crisis intervention skills that can be applied to crises across the lifespan and also used with particular populations. This includes understanding crisis intervention models, learning crisis intervention skills, and handling different types of crises.

Course Description

This course finalizes the students field placement experience. It provides a culmination of advanced clinical social work practice with individuals, dyads, families, and small groups in approved community agencies with professional supervision. Continued integration and application of concepts, cognitive and affective processes, and professional social work skills from concurrent social work courses is practiced. Practicum/field experience hours: 240. Prerequisite: SWK-620.

Course Description

The purpose of this advanced practice course is to build on foundational learning and start to develop advanced skills in working with groups as a complement to ongoing field instruction. This course explores theory and practice of group dynamics with an emphasis on the development of effective group work skills, analysis of processes and interactions, and values and ethics with a multi-social-cultural perspective. Prerequisite: SWK-610.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of agency- or community-based evaluation and evaluation capacity building. Topics to be explored include standards and guiding principles for evaluation work, evaluation approaches and models, and evaluation methodology basics, as well as the politics and ethics of conducting, using, and communicating research and evaluation findings in applied settings. Prerequisite: SWK-555 or BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program.

Course Description

This is the final course in the Master of Social Work and Master of Social Work Advanced Standing programs. It requires students to integrate their learning from past courses and apply their knowledge and skills in a final project. Knowledge demonstrated includes assessment, application of theory, practice skills, ethics, and cultural sensitivity. Prerequisite: SWK-635 or SWK-636.

Program Locations

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.

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