Social Work Courses (SW)

Classes at VWU are small and interactive. Some of the courses required for the social work program are Lifespan Development and Behavior, Diversity and Social Problems in Social Work, Social Work with Individuals and Families, Aging in the Media, and Women on the Brink.

Core Courses

201   Introduction to Social Work (4)
Acquaints the beginning student with the history, philosophy, values, concepts, language, directions, problems, and broad scope of social work. Offers exposure to various agencies and agency policies. Prerequisite: sophomore/junior/ senior status. Offered every fall.

251   Diversity and Social Problems in Social Work (4)
An overview of how diversity influences social work practice and the social problems practitioners try to address. Topics include the history, philosophy, values, ethics, concepts, language, directions, problems, and broad scope of diversity and social problems and how they impact social work practice. Offered every fall.

302   Legislation, Policy and Administration (4)
Builds skills in community organization, administrative and legislative process as intervention techniques. Each student is expected to design, develop, and present a project using the method taught. Prerequisite: junior status and consent. Offered every spring.

336   Lifespan Development and Behavior (4)
Designed for students who want to develop a strong foundation in human growth and development. Biological, social, and psychological theories of growth and development are examined from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Students learn about normal development from conception to aged death as well as certain pathological processes are. Prerequisite: junior status or consent. Offered every fall.

400   Social Work Methods with Groups and Communities (4)
Builds skills in group and community intervention techniques in social work. Prerequisites: junior status and consent. Offered every spring.

401   Social Work with Individuals and Families (4)
The focus of this course will be on learning appropriate intervention skills for helping individuals, couples and families. Understanding the theory on which these interventions are based is prerequisite to developing skills. The course provides opportunities to practice beginning level methods through role playing, observation and feedback, written and oral assignments, and in an experiential learning situation. There will be a fee associated with this class. Prerequisites: ENG 105 with a grade of C or higher, senior status, Social Work majors only and consent. Offered every fall.

450   Research Methods in Social Work (4)
Offers an overview of data collection methods and analysis procedures within the context of social work. Both positivistic and naturalistic paradigms are examined. Students learn how to pose research questions, design studies, collect data, and analyze, interpret, and report their data. Prerequisites: junior/senior status, successful completion of math requirement or placement B, and consent. Offered every spring.

472   Social Work Internship (12)
The training of social work professionals involves an extensive period of study in the field, known as internship. At Virginia Wesleyan, internship refers to the assignment of students to an agency for a full semester, for thirty-six hours a week. This experience involves working under the weekly supervision of a qualified agency supervisor and performing functions typically performed by generalist social work professionals in the agency. The academic internship supervisor is involved in periodic conferences with the student and the agency supervisor to review the student’s learning and progress. Prerequisites: senior status; C or higher in all required social work courses; completion of application and consent of all full time social work faculty. Social Work Majors only. Corequisite: SW 475. Offered every spring.

475   Social Work Seminar (4) I
This course is designed to provide the vehicle for the formal integration of theory and practice as a companion to the Social Work internship. The seminar is also designed to provide professional and peer support and supervision as a complement to the supervision provided by the agency supervisor.  Students will be expected to share their learning in addition to their questions. Emphasis will also be placed on student growth as it relates to the use of self as a helping professional. Ethical questions from the internship experience will be discussed in addition to the theoretical study of ethics as they relate to practice situations. Prerequisites: senior status; same as SW 472. Corequisite: SW 472. Offered every spring.


307   Death, Dying, Loss, and Grief (4)         
Explores contemporary and historical societal influences, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs surrounding the experience of death. Students examine religious rituals related to the preparation of the body, the burial and the mourning process and examine the ethics surrounding end of life decisions and how death is determined from a medical and legal perspective. Other topics include current legal issues and instruments such as advance directives, wills, and powers of attorney; current ethical controversies around life sustaining measures, physician-assisted death, and organ transplantation; the impact of loss throughout the life cycle as a result of normal developmental transitions and as a result of suicide, violence, and disaster; and the needs of those identified as disenfranchised grievers such as partners of AIDS patients, families of suicide victims, women who have miscarried, and young widows/widowers. Prerequisites: Junior/senior status or consent. Offered fall of odd-numbered years.

318   Aging in the Media (4)                            
Explores aging through the context of popular media. The study begins with an overview of the major psycho-social theories on aging and explores how aging and older people are portrayed in a myriad of media. Students focus on film and view television programs, comics and children’s literature. This is a fun and innovative way to study the etic construct of aging through the Western (American and British) emic lens.  Prerequisite: sophomore status or higher. Offered in selected January Terms.

361   Human Sexuality (4)
An exploration of the issues surrounding human sexuality. Historical perspectives from Western cultures provide a basis for understanding the construction of gender in modern society. A review of other cultures shows diverse approaches to gender and sexual issues worldwide. Legal, moral and ethical issues related to sexual behavior and gender are studied, along with the physical aspects of human sexuality and procreation. The disciplines of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, health education, medicine, religious studies, women’s studies, and law inform the exploration. Students are challenged to explore their own values. Prerequisite: junior/senior status or consent. Offered fall of even-numbered years.

384   Drugs of Abuse (4)
An introduction to the complex issues surrounding both licit and illicit drugs. The most widely used/abused drugs are studied in some depth to include an overview of their pharmacology and the neurophysiology of the brain. The major classifications of drugs of abuse, their addictive potential and the continuum of use, misuse, abuse and addiction are addressed. The short and long term consequences of drug use are studied in addition to the dangers of drug interactions. Offered most fall semesters.

385   Substance Abuse & Chemical Dependency (4)
Examines the effects of drugs of abuse on our society. Topics include defining the drug problem and its effects on the abuser, family, economy, legal system, and health care, and the issues and impact of treatment and 12-step support groups. Offered most spring semesters.

402   Women on the Brink (4)
Challenges the student to explore the interaction of complex societal and psychological factors as they relate to America’s most vulnerable women. Students examine the history of women’s role in American society and evaluate how current policies and institutions often keep women vulnerable and disenfranchised. Conducted in a seminar format on campus, with a one-week residential component in a homeless shelter in a major urban area. Prerequisites: consent and one faculty/staff recommendation. Offered in selected January Terms.

410   Homeless in America (4)
Reviews the history of poverty and homelessness in America and society’s response. Emphasizes the economic, cultural, social, and political factors that converge to create a climate of poverty. Current societal responses to poverty are studied with immersion experiences in the Hampton Roads area. Prerequisite: senior status. Offered in selected January Terms.