The School of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work and two coordinated degree programs. The MSW/MPH is offered in coordination with UAB Public Health. The MSW/JD is offered in coordination with The University of Alabama Law School. More information can be found at the Social Work, MSW page (link above).
The PhD program may be pursued concurrently with the MSW program.
The School of Social Work offers a Doctor of Social Work program.
An applicant whose credentials meet both of the following minimum requirements may be considered for regular admission:
- GPA requirement: The applicant must have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 overall, 3.0 for the last 60 semester hours in a degree program, or 3.0 for a completed graduate degree program.
- GPA Standards: All applicants must have at least a 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) overall GPA.
- Entrance exam score requirement: If the undergraduate grade point average is below a 3.0 for both the overall AND last 60 hours, the School of Social Work requires submission of test scores. The applicant must have a 300 on the GRE test or a score at the 50th percentile on the MAT. Admission test scores must be less than five years old. An applicant who wishes to be nominated by his or her department for a Graduate Council Fellowship is strongly encouraged to submit a score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or entrance examination appropriate to the graduate program of interest
Please note no academic credit, course waivers, or credit for field practicum shall be granted for life experience or previous work experience.
International Admission Requirements
International Student Admission
International students must meet the Graduate School’s requirements for admission (see above), including the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
Test Scores: A students whose first language is not English must submit an official score report for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Pearson test of English (PTE), or must have earned a degree from an accredited U.S. college or university within the past 3 years.
- TOEFL minimum score is a 550 on the paper-based test or a 79 on the internet-based test.
- IELTS minimum score for admission is a 6.5.
- PTE minimum score for admission is a 59.
Note: Scores must be less than two years old at the time of intended initial enrollment at The University of Alabama.
Please note no academic credit, course waivers, or credit for field practicum shall be granted for life experience or previous work experience.
Program Options: 42 credit hour or 60 credit hour
Advanced Standing (42 credit hour)
- Students holding a Bachelor of Social Work degree from a CSWE accredited institution.
- Admission requires a "B" average or better in all professional foundation Social Work courses including field education, with no more than one "C" in upper level Social Work courses.
- Offered Spring and Summer terms only
Two Year (60 credit hour)
- Students who hold a bachelors degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Students who do not meet Advanced Standing criteria must apply to 60 hour program.
- Offered Summer and Fall terms only
Applicants can find more information on program deadlines and application instructions on the School of Social Work website.
The application fee is $65 for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $80 for international students. The application fee is waived for the following groups:
- Veterans and current members of the US military (please send Angela Abrams your DD 214 or current assignment orders as appropriate).
- Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program students (please contact Angela Abrams for more details).
- University of Alabama undergraduates applying to a graduate program in the same subject area. To qualify for this application fee waiver a student must have no time break between the undergraduate and graduate program and have an overall GPA of 3.0 or greater.
- Applicants who have previously enrolled in Graduate School at The University of Alabama.
Applicants interested in transferring graduate credit to the MSW program from another institution or graduate program must make a formal request after admission to the program. The request is initiated in the Graduate School with the form for Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit. Please note the School of Social Work allows a maximum of 9 hours of transfer work for the 42 hour program and a maximum of 12 hours of transfer work for the 60 hour program upon approval by the program director.
Applicants can find Application Instructions on the School of Social Work website.
Students will have an opportunity to apply for field in both the BSW and MSW programs. We place students using a holistic perspective. Not only do we consider input from students, but we also consult with faculty, advisors, and the Field Committee.
Most students have many questions about practicum. The Field Office is always available to answer questions you may have. If there is anything that is unclear or if you have specific questions regarding your situation, do not hesitate to contact the Field Office.
Field Education Links
Financial assistance through stipends, grants, and scholarships is available through the School of Social Work. Some stipends are available directly from the School; others are related to traineeships, with specified field education placements and/or curriculum requirements. Stipends and traineeships that may be available include Alabama Department of Human Resources stipends; an Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program stipend; child welfare traineeships; Sparks Clinics traineeships; Pediatric Pulmonary Health Care traineeships; Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility stipends; Bryce State Psychiatric stipends; Alabama Department of Youth Services traineeships; and Veterans Administration traineeships. Additional traineeships become available on a year-by-year basis.
Contact The University of Alabama, School of Social Work, Student Services Office, Box 870314, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0314, or telephone (205) 348-5020, for application forms and further information. Students may also contact the UA Office of Student Financial Aid, Box 870162, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0162, or telephone (205) 348-6756, for applications for University-sponsored and other financial aid such as federal loans.
Courses are subject to modification without advance notice.
Admission to 500-level courses is limited to graduate social work students only, unless consent of the instructor and the assistant dean is obtained. See the School of Social Work Master's Degree Program Student Handbook for additional course eligibility requirements.
Overview of the evolution of social welfare policies and services, and of how social problems affect societal groups. Includes examination of the tools and approaches that social workers might use in analysis and policy formulation.
The focus of this course is on social welfare policy analysis with particular emphasis on the influence of economic and political issues. This course emphasizes comparative research at both state and national levels.
Critical concepts, theories, and research related to human bio-psychosocial development across the life span; human development and behavior in the environmental contexts of family, groups, organizations, and communities; and the impact of human diversity on human development and behavior. This course is part of a two course sequence and focuses on earlier stages of human development from conception through adolescence.
This course introduces students to an overarching conceptual framework and selected theories for understanding human behavior across the life course. This course is part of a two-course sequence and focuses on the later stages of human development from young adulthood to advanced old age.
This course prepares students for advanced social work practice in health care settings. Using the Life Course Perspective, health and health care issues relevant to health care social work are addressed.
This survey course introduces students to major theories of substance use, information concerning the physiological and psychological consequences of this use, and information concerning the effects of this use on families and communities. Selected state, international, and federal policies regarding the control of drugs are reviewed. The course includes an overview of several models of prevention and intervention, with specific attention being paid to their application to special populations such as the homeless, clients from different cultures, and clients of different sexual orientations.
Overview of family preservation theory and practice. Students demonstrate skills with high risk children and families in their home setting.
Students learn to design a practice or program evaluation project, demonstrating the link between designing and conducting research and the practice of social work.
Provides an overview of major issues relevant to spiritually sensitive social work practice with emphasis on the role of spirituality in interventions.
The course provides advanced level information about the application of selected theoretical frameworks and models of practice, assessment strategies and techniques, the formulation of treatment plans, practice interventions, and practice evaluation.
This course emphasizes evidence-based practice models and methods of intervention for effective social work practice with adults experiencing mental health problems.
Focuses on evidence-based practice models and methods of social work intervention with older persons and their families.
The first of two integrative seminars designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice. This seminar provides students structured learning opportunities that emphasize the integration of knowledge acquired in foundation courses; expand knowledge beyond the scope of their practicum setting; and examine the values and ethics of social work practice. The seminar also serves as an additional opportunity to examine evidence-based models of social work practice and selected social work practice theories and to improve upon social work practice skills and relationships characterized by collaboration and respect for the client system. Students will examine how their agency serves persons who are subject to discrimination, economic deprivation, and oppression, including women, elderly persons, people of color, and gay and lesbian persons. Students will explore how their agency prepares them to work competently with diverse populations. This course will focus on the Life Course Perspective when dealing with clients.
The second of two integrative seminars designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice. This seminar provides students structured learning opportunities that emphasize the integration of knowledge acquired in foundation courses; expand knowledge beyond the scope of their practicum setting; and examine the values and ethics of social work practice. The seminar also serves as an additional opportunity to examine evidence-based models of social work practice and selected social work practice theories and to improve upon social work practice skills and relationships characterized by collaboration and respect for the client system. Students will examine how their agency serves persons who are subject to discrimination, economic deprivation, and oppression, including women, elderly persons, people of color, and gay and lesbian persons. Students will explore how their agency prepares them to work competently with diverse populations. This course will focus on the Life Course Perspective when dealing with clients.
Students learn selected theoretical frameworks and apply the knowledge and skills for administration of social service programs and agencies.
This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for specialized practice in the area of forensic social work.
Theory and practice of social work with individuals and families are explored.
Exploration of theories of social work practice for intervention at the community level, including selected macro-models of practice, and community practice within human-service organizations.
Intensive study of an area of or specific approach to social work practice. Topics vary from semester to semester. May be repeated.
Introduces social work students to pediatric pulmonary diseases and to research literature in this area of health care. Offered according to demand.
This course emphasizes evidence-based practice models and methods of intervention for effective social work practice with children, adolescents, and their families experiencing mental health problems.
This course emphasizes evidence-based practice models of intervention for effective social work practice in child welfare and family services settings.
This is the first course in a two-course sequence that is designed to enable students to engage in research-informed practice. The MSW themes of evidence-based practice and critical thinking are emphasized in this course. Graduate standing with admission to the MSW Program. With special permission of the Program Chair, graduate students outside the School of Social Work may take this course.
Provides students with instruction in the major psychological and sociological theories of human behavior that support and enhance social work practice.
Prepares advanced standing students for second-year policy and policy-related courses.
Designed to provide a foundation for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities, in preparation for second-year practice courses.
The primary purpose of this course is to provide social workers interested in geriatric care management with the skills and knowledge needed to help prepare and empower family members in meeting the long term care needs of older adults and people with disabilities. The instructor for this course will offer evidenced-based information about how to conduct a care giving assessment and intervention with special attention to the complexities of the current long term care industry in the U.S. and to the many resources available to help care givers at the local and national level. This course provides specialized, yet practical, information designed to help families successfully meet the challenges of filial responsibility and other forms of care giving associated with disability. The specific tasks of care giving are organized into four categories: medical; legal-insurance-financial; family-social; and spiritual-emotional. Each task reflects a real life challenge that potentially comprises an important aspect of a care recipient’s long term care plan. The model of care giving used in this course underscores the importance of timely professional consultation and the supreme value of proactive preparation that values and honors the preferences of aging parents and family members with disabilities.
The first of two foundational practica designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice. Building on a liberal arts background, Field Education IA offers students supervised opportunities to apply knowledge, skills, and values learned in foundation social work practice, social welfare policy, human behavior in the social environment, and social work research classes. Students will have an opportunity to work in agencies that provide services to diverse populations using individual, family, group, and community interventions.
The second of two foundational practica designed to prepare students for generalist social work practice. Building on a liberal arts background, Field Education IB offers students supervised opportunities to apply knowledge, skills, and values learned in foundation social work practice, social welfare policy, human behavior in the social environment, and social work research classes. Students will have an opportunity to work in agencies that provide services to diverse populations using individual, family, group, and community interventions.
The first of two concentration practica designed to prepare students for advanced practice. This specialization course provides the student the opportunity to integrate through direct experience in an educationally supervised environment the knowledge, values, and skills that are necessary for social work practice.
The second of two concentration practica designed to prepare students for advanced practice. This specialization course provides the student the opportunity to integrate through direct experience in an educationally supervised environment the knowledge, values, and skills that are necessary for social work practice.
Introduction to needs and opportunities for research in social welfare policy and its implementation, past and present. Examination of the development of the welfare state and current research on social welfare policy and its implementation.
Provides students with an introduction to the PhD program, expectations for doctoral-level study, and familiarity with faculty and their research interests.
Focuses on the history, current structure, pedagogical theories, and contemporary issues important to social work educators.
Examination of some of the key theoretical issues of qualitative and quantitative social science research and the basic processes of theory formulation and knowledge building.
Continuation of SW 620. Prepares students to design and carry out quantitative, qualitative, and multi-method research appropriate and adequate for answering social work research questions. Focuses on research design, sampling, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of results and conclusions.
Focuses on the theoretical foundations of observation and measurement in social research and on the practical skills for measuring social phenomena, including assessment of the psychometric properties of research instruments and the design of reliable and valid instruments.
Advanced study of key concepts in qualitative research, with applications for social work practice research and evaluation.
This course provides an opportunity for students to focus on developing skills and techniques related to qualitative data analysis. Methods of coding, processes of data analysis, including description, but very much going beyond simple description, will be covered. The course will emphasize analytic strategies useful across research approaches, focusing on the fundamentals of qualitative analysis across the various types of data collected using various qualitative approaches. Data management, data display, and writing up qualitative data analysis results along with dissemination strategies will be included. The course will demonstrate at least one computer assisted data analysis program.
The purpose of this course is to provide in-depth study of mixed methods research to graduate students who are already familiar with quantitative and qualitative research. An introductory phase of the course consists of defining mixed methods research and describing the history and foundations of this form of research. We will then examine the types of mixed methods designs available and discuss the process of research as it relates to each of these designs.
This doctoral seminar introduces students to the purpose and process of systematic review of research. Students will develop advanced skills for the analysis and synthesis of published research. Skills include the use of electronic databases and other strategies for locating relevant research, the ability to appraise the quality of evidence, and strategies for summarizing and synthesizing existing research. Such skills are essential for summarizing the state of research on specific topics of concern for social work practitioners, researchers and policy-makers, including descriptions of populations and the effectiveness of social work interventions.
Development of a social work research proposal, including the conceptualization of the research question, review of pertinent literature, project administration, arrangements for community collaboration, and IRB approval. Participation in ongoing research under faculty supervision.
Study of an advanced quantitative or qualitative method, approach, or technique with emphasis on knowledge-building applications of the method, approach, or technique.
Components of social work practice theory, including historical forces shaping conceptualizations of practice, the ideological and epistemological assumptions of both normative and empirical conceptualizations of practice, and the contributions of science and other approaches to knowledge and skill building.
This course provides the basic knowledge and skills to prepare students to understand the relative place and contribution of theoretical conceptualization to the development of knowledge for social work practice. This course builds on knowledge gained in SW 640: Conceptual Foundations of Social Work Practice and Research, and SW 620: Social Work Research Methods I.
Integrative seminar on special topics.
Prerequisite: Completion of the doctoral core courses or permission of the instructor.
This course provides students in the social work Ph.D. program who hold an MSW the opportunity to obtain practice experience in an educationally and MSW-supervised environment. Students will work up to 20 hours per week in agencies with UA SSW field-office-approved social work supervision. (If students are seeking licensure in addition to post-MSW practice experience, students should be sure to attain appropriate supervision.).
No description available.
No description available.
This course will provide an in-depth exploration of ideological, institutional, interpersonal and internal contexts of oppression, discrimination, and disparities at the macro, mezzo, and micro levels. Students will learn a number of theoretical frameworks related to privilege and oppression, including critical race theory, feminist theory, Marxism, queer theory, and health behavior theories. Students will also learn approaches to assessing institutions and policies using these theories as an analytical lens and will also learn techniques for developing new policies, programs, and interventions using these theories to promote social justice in health and human service delivery for populations that are diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other characteristics.
This doctoral-level course introduces students to the principles, methods, and analytical techniques associated with qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods social work research. The course allows for the development of critical thinking skills by gaining an understanding of scientific, analytical, and ethical approaches utilized when conducting research for clinical and community social work practice. Students' mastery of course content prepares them to develop, use, and effectively communicate empirically-based social work research knowledge.
This course builds upon the basic principles and methodologies of social work research learned in the introductory research course and prepares students to: (1) systematically evaluate a body of research related to a specific social work topic; and (2) to conceptualize how existing research findings should be used to inform social work practice in clinical and organizational settings. Students will learn how to critique methodologies used in qualitative and quantitative social work research, with an emphasis on assessing how methodological approaches may affect the quality of research findings and how methodologies promote or constrain ethical principles in research. Students will also learn how to interpret findings from existing studies. The goal of this course is not to prepare students for future careers in research, but to provide them with advanced knowledge and skills needed to appropriately incorporate evidence into practice and to evaluate interventions in practice-based settings.
This course provides students with a basic understanding of the dynamic and inextricable interaction of the brain, mind, and body with the environment. Students will also learn about the implications of this interaction on health, development, and learning. To advance clinical practice, the course will also focus on the role that neuropsychology in the treatment of clinical disorders across the lifespan.
This doctoral seminar explores fundamental aspects of organizations and organization theory, as they pertain to the non-profit and public sectors. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge on leadership and organizational theories while also developing a skillset for applying innovative leadership techniques within real-world settings. The course will also provide a foundation for students to gain several competencies in human service management, including: Executive Leadership, Resource Management, Strategic Management, and Community Collaboration. Students will learn how perspectives of organizations and leadership have evolved throughout history as well as the current social, political, cultural, and economic contexts within which non-profit and public sector organizations operate. Ethical, practical, and legal considerations of providing health and human services will be examined. Throughout the semester, students will explore their own approaches and application of leadership theory and skills at the personal, group, organizational, and community levels.
Globalization, social media, and changes in social and political landscapes have all shaped how people approach advocacy strategies. This course will present historical theoretical foundations and current critical issues related to client, community, and policy advocacy, as well as the importance of thorough evaluations of policy in order to develop effective advocacy strategies. In addition to exploring advanced approaches to policy advocacy with public policymakers, the course will also present strategies used of developing social movements and methods for developing advocacy leadership within organizational settings. The course will examine and evaluate historical and current practices in advocacy for social justice, as well as contemporary social movements. The course will also examine and apply theoretical frameworks for communicating about policy advocacy with a variety of stakeholders.
This course is designed to prepare students for the role of social work educator in social work education programs. Students will develop essential concepts and strategies related to curriculum design, course delivery and evaluation. This course provides a theoretical background to enable the student to better understand the teaching task in social work education and issues in the broader context of higher education including issues of equality, sustainability and students’ rights, as well as laws, policies and regulations governing universities and professional social work education.
This course will present models of effective clinical social work supervision that are reflective of the policies of multiple professional and accrediting bodies, including: the Association of Social Work Boards, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Alabama State Board of Social Work Examiners. Further, this course will provided detailed analysis of the NASW Code of Ethics (2017 revision), including case examples. Students will examine specific ethical issues related to clinical supervision and will consider myriad solutions to ethical dilemmas from the perspectives of different ethical theories (in particular, deontological ethics, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics). Students will consider ethical issues in light of the current political climate and with respect to disparate personal ethical and moral positions that may be held by supervisors, supervisees, and clients.
This course focuses on the empirically validated treatment approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and related therapeutic techniques, such as motivational interviewing (MI) and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT). It covers the theory, concepts, and advanced techniques of therapy with a particular emphasis on intervention methods that may be used by social workers to assist clients with specific problems or conditions. Students will also learn therapeutic techniques that may be used in specific social work settings (domestic violence, parenting, medical social work, etc.) as well as with clients across the lifespan. The course content reflects advanced material of current relevance for effective clinical social work practice.
This course will provide students with the practical contexts of mental health disorders, the development of mental health classification systems, and advanced assessment/diagnostic techniques. Students will learn about evidence-based practice (EBP) as applied to: (a) complex clinical diagnoses; (b) utility and consequences of diagnoses, especially in regards to diverse and oppressed populations; and (c) differential diagnosis. The course will emphasize ecobiopsychosocial and person-in-environment perspectives in identifying and evaluating diagnostic and assessment tools. The course will provide historical and critical overviews of mental disorders and the development of classification systems, such as the DSM-5 and ICD-10. Students will learn how to apply and tailor multiple assessment and diagnostic methods across diverse populations and client systems. Students will learn to evaluate and apply research to support diagnostic and assessment practices.
This course is designed to introduce students to the philosophies, practitioners, techniques, uses, current paradigm and evidence of efficacy in the complementary and alternative therapies currently being used in the United States. Evidence to guide practice will derive from a variety of sources including case studies, clinical trials, observational studies and meta-analyses. The use of different types of evidence to demonstrate efficacy versus effectiveness will be distinguished and examined. A comparison of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various forms of data will also be incorporated. A large growing percentage of Americans use complementary and alternative therapies for prevention purposes, as a supplement to conventional care or as the primary source of mental health wellness. How complementary & alternative therapies can be integrated into conventional care plans requires an ability to understand and communicate their efficacy and effectiveness with other health care providers and consumers. New and emerging approaches to generate evidence that these therapies may enhance consumers’ health, functioning, safety and optimize a health care plan will be explored in depth.
This course builds upon prior course content provided through the core curriculum and prepares advanced-practiced social workers to work with clients who have experienced emotional trauma. Beginning with the necessity for self-care for those working with people who have experienced trauma, it covers the physiological underpinnings of how trauma affects people, and provides basic information about working with clients across the life-span. The course addresses the various contexts of practice, including micro-, mezzo-, and macro practice contexts, with a sensitivity to ethical issues and issues of diversity and difference.
In order to deliver relevant social services efficiently and effectively, social work administrators need knowledge about leadership and management of non-profit organizations. Leaders create a vision for their organization, establish a constructive climate, and overcome obstacles. Grounded in leadership theory, this course will provide opportunity for personal reflection, organizational examination, and opportunity for suggested change. Ways to deliver services mindful of ethical dilemmas, diversity, and inclusion will be highlighted.
This course will build on content from the core coursework in the DSW curriculum to present more advanced concepts and skills in designing, implementing, and evaluating new human service programs. Students will learn: (a) executive management skills related to environmental and organizational assessments needed in the design and development stage of human services; (b) resource management skills for developing and managing human services; (c) strategic management skills for successful implementation of services; and (d) community collaboration skills needed to transform and advance human service delivery. Students will hone their written and interpersonal communication skills for human service management. Students will also build upon their foundational knowledge about research methodologies to develop human service evaluations that are relevant to the management process and rigorous.
This course will provide an in-depth exploration of ethical codes and principles established by the NASW, International Federation of Social Work (IFSW), and other theoretical frameworks as they relate to ethical concerns of social workers in the role of community and organizational leaders. Students will develop an advanced understanding on how current social, political, cultural, and other contexts influence ethical issues in health and human services, as well as how understandings of ethics have changed over time. There will be specific emphasis on The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth values, principles and standards to which social workers and social work students should aspire and their actions judged. Students will learn how ethics guides the decision-making and conduct of social workers in leadership roles regardless of the workplace, employees, clientele, or communities where their organizations operate. Throughout the semester, students will discuss ethical case dilemmas related to social, economic, political, cultural and professional issues faced by community and organizational leaders.
This is a course that provide theoretical concepts and techniques in the financial management and budgeting of public and non-profit organizations. The content will emphasize budget and finance considerations in making decisions about health and human services, as well as the common problems associated with finances in the public and nonprofit sectors. The course will include online lecture, problem-based learning exercise, and synchronous and asynchronous discussions. The goal of the course is to help practitioners become better managers and decision makers about public and nonprofit service delivery, rather than budget officers or accountants.
This course will present current best practices of effective human resource (HR) management in the healthcare, public (government), and nonprofit social sector settings, with emphasis on those models that are endorsed by the Society of Human Resource Management, Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care, and the National Council of Nonprofits; further, this course will provide frameworks for ethical HR policy development and implementation within healthcare, public, and nonprofit settings that are in accordance with applicable federal employment laws and guidelines. Students will learn the major legal requirements of HR in the designated settings. Topics include employee selection, employee training and development, employee performance evaluation and management, compensation models, diversity, employee well-being, and collective bargaining.
This course represents the first of two courses that will prepare you for completing the Doctor of Social Work Capstone Project. In this course, you will gain knowledge and skills in developing a practice change project and evaluation proposal. Specifically, you will learn: (a) the common content and organization of grant and research proposals; (b) how to identify peer-review scholarship, grey literature, and human service data needed to develop a strong project or research proposal; skills in proposal writing; and skills in program and project planning. By the end of this course, you will have developed a roadmap, plan, and timeline for developing the proposal for the Capstone Project, which will be completed in the second course, SW751: Capstone Prep Independent Study Proposal.
Students will work under the guidance of a faculty advisor to develop a practice change proposal for their capstone project. This proposal will include: a review of the literature, the design of a social work intervention, protocol for intervention implementation, and project evaluation. If applicable, students will draft an IRB protocol.
Doctor of Social Work Capstone Project.