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Online Social Work Courses

Curriculum Details

76 credits required in the major

Southwest Minnesota State University’s online bachelor’s degree in social work includes 25 major courses that combine a liberal arts education with professional social work classes for generalist practice. You will explore essential topics like human behavior, social welfare policy, and at-risk populations.

This CSWE-accredited online program also features a practicum requirement. Every student completes 440 hours of supervised field practice in community agencies to apply their skills in real-world contexts. Online social work students are also required to take one Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies course to prepare for work with the Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples of the Upper Midwest region.

Most students complete this accelerated degree in three to four years, graduating ready to pursue their MSW.

Liberal Education Foundation (MnTC)


A study of the major themes in biology including the nature of life, genetics, evolution, ecology and biological diversity.
A study of the major themes in biology including the nature of life, genetics, evolution, ecology and biological diversity.
This course will enable students to determine a writing purpose, generate ideas to support a topic, determine an audience, develop a focus, and organize a written text. At least two papers will involve a research component through which students begin to learn the conventions of citation and documentation. Furthermore, the class will enable students to learn how purpose and audience affect the content, language, and form of a written text. The English program reserves the right to remove students from the course who do not meet the prerequisites.

This course builds upon skills developed in ENG 151 – including research, critical writing, information literacy, and argument/persuasion – while introducing students to the genres of writing most applicable to their desired majors and professional careers. Students are advised to take this course during their sophomore year.

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in ENG 151. The English program reserves the right to remove students from the course who do not meet the prerequisites.

Students may choose any INDS course for a total of 3 credits.

This course is an introduction to ethical philosophy. Possible inquiry includes questions about how one should live, how we should treat others, how we should conceive of our communities, and what components are involved in making a moral choice. A philosophical analysis will provide a framework for discussing contemporary moral problems.

Surveys the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the national government; the role of political parties, interest groups and public opinion. Includes discussion of local and state government and the political uses of the law.

This course surveys content areas of general interest in psychology. Topics include major schools of thought in psychology, development, states of awareness, learning, memory, health and stress, personality, abnormal behavior, psychotherapy, and social issues.

A survey of basic concepts and research areas in sociology, including sociology origins, major theoretical perspectives, research methods, culture, social structure, socialization, group processes, formal organizations, deviance and social control, stratification, racial/ethnic and gender inequality, social institutions, demography, collective behavior, and social change.

Interdisciplinary Foundation


This course provides students with an introduction to the use of statistical methods in behavioral sciences research. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, t tests, analysis of variance with post-hoc tests, correlation, linear regression, and chi-square tests. Students taking this course should also enroll in the laboratory section, in which they will learn how to use statistical software for data analysis.

The required preparation is MATH 110 or three years of high school mathematics.

This course provides students with instruction on the use of statistical software to perform analysis of behavioral research data. Students will learn how to run and interpret outputs for a wide variety of common statistical procedures, including descriptive statistics, t tests, analysis of variance, correlation, and chi-square tests.

The required preparation is completion or current enrollment in PSYC 200, or familiarity with basic statistical procedures.

Causes and treatment of abnormal behavior patterns, diagnosis of such behaviors and investigation of normal and abnormal behaviors are studied.

Developmental psychology is the study of the development of behavior across the entire life span from birth until old age.

This introduction to social research applies social research methods to sociology, criminal justice, and social work. Includes analysis of published research along with quantitative and qualitative research methods in investigating social issues, program evaluation, practice evaluation, policy analysis, and needs assessment.

Professional Social Work Foundation


This is an introductory social work course in which students will learn about the profession of social work, its fields of practice, values and ethics, policies and history of the social work profession, its interactions with contexts which shape practice, and its promotion of social and economic justice to advance human rights, alleviating critical social problems, and promoting well-being. The course will also offer knowledge and practice behaviors in engaging diversity and differences in social work practice. As an introduction to the social work profession, the course will discuss being a professional social worker and how to conduct oneself accordingly.
This course is designed to provide students with practice in the use of a variety of interviewing techniques. The course will also allow the student to become acquainted with the professional literature of counseling and the role of ethics in social work and other helping professions.
The theoretical aspects of the systems perspective as a framework for social work practice; integration of knowledge of biological, psychological, social-structural and cultural sources of behavior as they affect or are affected by human behavior; understanding of behavior and environment with a review of micro-level systems and an emphasis on macro-level systems.

An examination of models of generalist practice in working with individuals, families, and small groups from systems, life model, and Person-In-Environment perspectives. Reviews basic interviewing and interpersonal skills. Places emphasis on assessment of strengths and problems at various system levels, contracting, and intervention strategies. Practice evaluation, utilizing single-system designs, is examined.

The course will focus on family roles, family dynamics, group dynamics, group structure and process, group types, functions, roles, stages of development, styles of leadership, skills of conducting groups, techniques, problem resolution and the reality and effects of group termination. The course shall emphasize the diversity of human behavior and experience, and recognize the uniqueness of each individual client.

An examination of models of generalist practice in working with task groups, organizations, and communities. Emphasis will be placed on the role of generalist social work practice with the community, including skills for organizational relationship building, for planning and development of programs, methods of promoting social change, managing political processes, and practice and program evaluation.

Examines quality-of-life dimensions and outcomes of diverse and at-risk populations important to human service professionals, including age, class, color, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation; dimensions examined include education, employment, health, housing, justice administration, and welfare.

A critical examination of the evolution of social welfare policy in the United States and examination of the importance of social policy knowledge and skills for generalist social work practice. Students will conduct an analysis of specific social welfare policy and/or program.

Field Practicum


Course preparation for field practicum, including applying for admission to field practicum. Students, in consultation with the field director, select field practicum placements in social service agencies under the supervision of a social worker; includes completion of a learning outcomes contract and field agency orientation; examination of the mechanics of field placement, identification, and discussion of the uses of supervision in field practicum and a review of the NASW Code of Ethics, Minnesota Data Privacy Laws, and Minnesota Board of Social Work Licensing Laws. 40 hours agency orientation.

Capstone, integrative seminar on topics related to social work practice, with attention to issues and problems experienced in field instruction.

Concurrent enrollment in SWRK 499 required.

At least 400 hours supervised field practice in community agencies and programs as a practical application of social work knowledge and skills gained from major coursework. Emphasis on direct work with clients, whether individuals, groups, or communities; taken concurrently with SWRK 485 where students use their experiences to analyze social work theory and practice.

Concurrent enrollment in SWRK 485, SWRK 415.

INDS Courses


This course introduces Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies (INDS) with an emphasis on its interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary nature. An orientation to the complex and diverse cultures of the indigenous peoples of the United States will be provided. The course will examine common images and assumptions pertaining to the Indians. Analytical concepts used in approaching American Indian peoples and concerns will be studied. The course will provide an overview and sampling of contributions from key fields and disciplines (e.g., history, anthropology, sociology, education, etc.). Contemporary issues will be introduced, including decolonization, land allotments, treaty rights, and sacred sites.

This course studies the history and culture of the Indigenous peoples of Minnesota. Origin and migration stories will be examined. Their interactions with each other, Europeans, and other native groups will be focused on, as well as contemporary issues facing the indigenous peoples of the Upper Midwest.

A study of the Dakota people from antiquity to modern times. Primary attention is given to the Dakota people of Minnesota, especially the reservations located near Southwest Minnesota State University.

Designed to provide lower-division students with an opportunity to experience a special or experimental curriculum enrichment course.

This course will introduce spiritual beliefs, values, and world views of indigenous peoples in the United States. The course will specifically examine Dakota and Anishinaabe peoples of our region. Students will critically examine the topics of creation and origin, migration stories, the cycle and circle, time and space, the group and the individual, death and dying, value systems, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Students will have the opportunity to examine their own spirituality, values, and beliefs.

Arranged Independent Study in Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies.

A professional practicum for INDS minors to work within an American indigenous community in a setting related to their minor course of study.

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