Social workers use their training and expertise to improve the lives of people facing a variety of challenges. Depending on the college or university, students may be required to take core classes in the subject before committing to the Bachelor's of Social Work degree. Some colleges simply want students who already have a general knowledge of the field. The BA in Social Work engages students in challenging classes that include four of these degree disciplines: human psychology, research development, practices and policies, and human biology.
A variety of psychology classes are offered to teach students how social influence and perception dictates certain behaviors and social interaction. The University of Texas at Austin requires psychology courses in the first two years of the degree program. First-year students take Introduction to Psychology which introduces foundations of the field. This leads to Child Psychology in the second year. As social workers often deal with entire families in their day-to-day work, understanding theories of adult and child psychology enable them to work with a broader range of patients.
Research And Writing
Knowing how to write and conduct research are vital components of social work. The University of Texas requires students to take research classes in their first year of the degree program. Other universities ask that students satisfy upper-division writing classes. University of Montana, for example, requires their students to take an advanced writing course from an approved list of classes available in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of the institution's catalog. Good writing and research skills go hand-in-hand, and most universities demand these skills to be attained before a student can graduate.
Policies and Procedures
Like many other professions, a social worker must adhere to a strict set of policies and procedures. In social work, these rules are usually dictated according to the numbers and types of the patients. Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame requires their students to take micro, mezzo and macro methodology. Macro level social work deals with a large scale of affected people, while Mezzo level social work takes place on an intermediate scale that involves institutions or entire neighborhoods. Micro social work is more typical, dealing with the needs of individuals. These courses are designed to teach students the appropriate procedures to follow based on a client's demographics.
Some students might be surprised to hear that biology classes are required for social work, but this does make sense. Social workers may work within the criminal justice sector or as part of family services, but they also work in mental health or hospitals where knowledge of human biology is essential. Carlow University, for example, requires students to take a course called Contemporary Biology, usually considered a staple course for nursing students. This course teaches the principals of anatomy and physiology, which may be helpful for social workers dealing with ill or elderly clients.
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