The Catholic University of America

National Catholic School of Social Service

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Faculty

Stephen Schneck, Ph.D.
Acting Dean; Associate Professor
Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc, Ph.D. Assistant Dean; Associate Professor, Chair, Doctoral Program
Lynn Milgram Mayer, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean; Assistant Professor; Chair, Baccalaureate Program
Marie J. Raber, Ph.D.
Associate Dean; Associate Professor; Chair, Master's Program
Frederick L. Ahearn Jr., Ph.D.
Professor
Susanne Bennett, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Wendy Whiting Blome, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Barbara Early, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Sister Ann Patrick Conrad, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Laura Daughtery, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Eileen Dombo, Ph.D Assistant Professor
Linda Plitt Donaldson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Michaela Z. Farber, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Melissa D. Grady, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Anthony Hill, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor
Sister Mary Vincentia Joseph, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Richard A. Millstein, J.D. Director, Research and Faculty Development; Interim Director, Center on Global Aging
Christine Sabatino, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Michael Sheridan, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Joseph Shields, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Ellen F. Thursby, Ph.D. Director of Professional Education, Director of Field Education
Elizabeth M. Timberlake, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
James R. Zabora, Sc.D. Professor

 

History

In 1918 the National Catholic Welfare Conference, seeking to enhance the education of relief and rehabilitation workers in Catholic social service agencies, established a service school. Graduates of the school proved to be valued employees in the burgeoning diocesan social service programs in the United States and abroad. This convinced the American bishops to call upon the National Council of Catholic Women to develop the program into a professional school of social work for women. In 1919 they formed the two-year graduate school and named it the National Catholic School of Social Service, NCSSS.

NCSSS functioned as an autonomous educational institution during its formative years, but in 1923 its independent status changed. In that year it became affiliated with The Catholic University of America, and its graduates henceforth received their master's degrees in social work from the university. In the same year, NCSSS was admitted to the organization later known as the American Association of Schools of Social Work.

The Catholic University of America, in response to requests by the diocesan director of Catholic Charities for the social work education of priests, religious and laymen, decided to establish an additional school of social work in 1934. Because NCSSS limited its enrollment to women, the new Catholic University School of Social Work was a professional school for male social workers. This school became affiliated with the American Association of Schools of Social Work in 1937.

Almost immediately the two schools began exchanging faculty, students, courses and resources, and by 1939 there was an academic fusion. In 1947 the schools were formally merged as the National Catholic School of Social Service of The Catholic University of America.

Education toward the master's degree, M.S.W., was the primary mission of NCSSS at its inception, but additional degree programs have been subsequently established. The doctoral program was established in 1934 and is the third oldest in the world. Through the university's School of Arts and Sciences, an undergraduate degree program in social work was established in 1969. In 1983, NCSSS developed a graduate training program for Third World social work educators in Santiago, Chile, and graduates of the program have received The Catholic University of America degree, Master of Teaching in Social Work, MTSW In 2007, the Master of Teaching in Social Work was initiated in the Phillipines with the first 32 students awarded the MTSW in February 2009. As of October 2012, 100 students will have been awarded the MTSW.

In 2008, NCSSS initiated a part-time Saturday MSW program at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (SMHEC) designed specifically to meet the educational needs of an expanding population in Southern Maryland. The Southern Maryland region has been historically underserved in the higher education field, and noticeably so in the area of Social Services graduate degrees. Of the six Maryland institutions that offer the MSW degree, none of them are in Southern Maryland. The NCSSS MSW program at SMHEC provided the opportunity to enhance professionalism of service, plus it allowed for career and staff development to Southern Maryland social service agencies. Following appropriate post-graduate supervision, graduates will be eligible for licensure in Maryland or other states as licensed clinical social workers, (LCSW-C). In May 2012, 10 students enrolled in the Southern Maryland program were awarded the MSW degree.

NCSSS began awarding the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree in 2010. Beginning in the 2010-2011 academic year, all undergraduate Social Work majors have matriculated for the Bachelor of Social work degree in the National Catholic School of Social Service instead of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Mission

Derived from the mission of The Catholic University of America and that of the social work profession, the mission of the National Catholic School of Social Service is to educate students from diverse faiths and cultures who in their professional endeavors will embody the values of social justice, service, and scholarship. This mission is grounded in the justice and charity foundation of Catholic social teachings and the tradition of a modern university that welcomes all forms of human inquiry.

 

Goals

In support of its mission, NCSSS has established the following goals:

  1. To advance knowledge, values, and competencies through the development, application, and dissemination of theory and research relevant to the social work profession.
  2. To serve and empower vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished people and communities.
  3. To promote social and economic justice and individual and societal well-being in the context of The Catholic University of America, the social work profession, and the needs of the local, national, and global communities.

Organization

NCSSS achieves its goals primarily through its three major programs as well as a variety of additional activities and publication of a scholarly journal. The major programs are the PhD program, the MSW program, and the BSW program. Additional activities include the work of several research and training centers, the Master of Teaching Social Work program for educators in other countries, nondegree enrollment programs, summer and part-time programs and continuing education programs. The school actively participates in the publication of the scholarly journal, Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: SOCIAL THOUGHT, as well as in the work of five NCSSS research centers, one interdisciplinary research center (CISD) and research centers of the Life Cycle Institute. NCSSS also maintains an ongoing relationship in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area with social welfare agencies and programs.

The National Catholic School of Social Service is one of the professional schools of The Catholic University of America. As such it is governed by its own faculty and dean, under the jurisdiction of the university's president, Board of Trustees and Academic Senate. The school recommends students in its graduate programs for BSW, MSW, MTSW and PhD degrees directly to the Academic Senate and the university president. The baccalaureate and MSWprograms are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The PhD program is accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education's accreditation of the university.

Center for International Social Development

The Center for International Social Development at the Catholic University of America is an interdisciplinary program of research, teaching, service and public education on the problems and prospects of international development. Drawing on thirty-one faculty from nine schools of the university, the center aims to promote international development in the interests of peace and justice, with respect for the totality of the human person, through periodic public events and workshops, a graduate certificate program, and collaborative research. The certificate program will offer graduate students at the university and, eventually, professionals in the field the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of development issues.

Center on Global Aging

The Center on Global Aging was established in 1996, within the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America. The Center is dedicated to fostering vital and meaningful lives for older adults worldwide. Inspired by social work ethics, the Center on Global Aging promotes excellence in the development of knowledge, policy, leadership and practices that enhance the quality of life of older adults nationally and internationally. The Center engages in interdisciplinary professional education and life-long learning, advocacy, community partnerships and participatory research. Its work honors social work values, particularly respect for diversity and self-determination. The Center supports international visitors who come to the United States to study aging; it conducts research and provides education and training on aging issues.

Center for the Advancement of Children, Youth and Families

The Center for the Advancement of Children, Youth, and Families seeks to improve the quality of life, safety, and well-being of children and their families by conducting research, training practitioners and administrators, and translating research to practice. Grounded in social justice, the center's mission is to facilitate multidisciplinary exploration of trends, issues, values, and challenges associated with delivering best practices and culturally competent social work to children and their families.

Center for Community Development and Social Justice

The Center for Community Development and Social Justice is the home within the National Catholic School of Social Service for faculty members throughout The Catholic University of America with shared interests in cooperative, participatory partnerships with communities to build on their strengths and assets, promote individual and community well-being and contribute to social justice.

The center's mission is to strengthen communities, enhance the individual well-being of its members, and promote social justice through a program of community/university collaborative projects which may include training, education, research, capacity building, leadership development, policy advocacy and service.

Center for the Promotion of Health and Mental Health Well-Being

The mission of the center is to develop and conduct research studies that focus on promoting the physical and mental health of individuals, organizations, communities and society. The primary objective of the center is to generate and disseminate knowledge that informs social work practice, enhances the delivery of social services and influences state and national policy in the health/mental health fields. In addition, the center sponsors educational seminars and workshops on health and mental health issues.

Center for Spirituality and Social Work

The Center for Spirituality and Social Work, CSSW, housed within the National Catholic School of Social Service, provides integrated state-of-the-art social work research, as well as training and service from a bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective, with a particular emphasis on client-centered spirituality. The CSSW is committed to performing rigorous research on spiritual practices, needs assessments and interventions to serve social work clients and systems. The CSSW also provides training and education for social workers and other helping professionals at the student and practitioner level, along with spiritually sensitive services to social work clients and systems.

Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: SOCIAL THOUGHT

In addition to its educational programs and community service, the National Catholic School of Social Service publishes, with Taylor & Francis Publisher, a scholarly journal, Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: SOCIAL THOUGHT. This journal is committed to exploring topics pertaining to diverse sectarian and nonsectarian approaches to religion and spirituality related to social work and the helping professions. The journal also publishes philosophical and theoretical papers that deal with professional ethics and innovations in professional paradigms, world views, conceptual frameworks, and the philosophy of social work.

Catholic University Joins the Plan for Peace in Mindanao, Philippines

The Catholic University (CUA) through its School of Social Service (NCSSS) has entered into an agreement with five Filipino partners to train personnel to resettle the more than one million persons displaced by the 40-plus year conflict between the government and the Muslim population.
 
Mindanao, Philippines: At the southern end of the Philippine archipelago, close to Indonesia and Malaysia, lies Mindanao-a large island about the size of Greece, with a current population of about 18 million. Contact with Mindanao by Muslim traders from today's Indonesia and Malaysia long predated the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, and was responsible for the conversion to Islam of the inhabitants, and the formation of the Muslim Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu, among others, in the western part of the island. Spain subdued the northern island of Luzon (where Manila is located) and most of the "in-between" islands of the Visayas, converting most of the inhabitants to Catholicism, but never succeeded in controlling Mindanao. Only with the arrival of the Americans at the turn of the 20th century, and after the end of the Philippine-American War, was most of the island brought under central control, although hostility and conflict remained endemic.
 
The Conflict: The Mindanao conflict is the second-oldest on earth, after the conflictbetween North and South Sudan. The Philippines was comparatively calm for a period after independence in 1946, but conflict flared up again in the late 1960s as growing numbers of Christians settled in Mindanao. The resettlement was fostered by deliberate policy of the central government, in Manila, and eventually resultedin Mindanao having a Christian majority overall, with Muslim-majority areas concentrated in the central and southwestern regions.
 
Peace Negotiations: The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest of the Muslim rebel groups, signed peace accords in 1976 and 1996, only to see each break down with more fighting. The government's "all out war" policy of 2000 and 2003 created more than one million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Since 2003, the government and the rebel groups have maintained a tentative cease-fire while peace negotiations continue.
 
The Plan: CUA and NCSSS have agreed to export a master's degree program to Mindanao to train social work faculties at three state universities and the social work leadership in governmental organizations, non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and staff of the Bangsamoro Development Agency, the development arm of the MILF. The educational program consists of 10 courses (30 credits) that focus on knowledge and skills to return the IDPs to their villages and begin life anew. Among the courses being taught are: community organization, social planning, community development, management of non-profit organizations and program evaluation. Thirty-four students, professors, agency directors, and community leaders, are currently enrolled in the program, 80% whom are Muslim. Two NCSSS faculty members travel to Mindanao three times a year for three weeks to teach these courses. Upon graduation, students will receive a master's degree from the Catholic University of America.
 
Benefits:
  • CUA and NCSSS are part of the process to bring peace between the Muslim rebels and the Christian government;
  • NCSSS faculty gain in cross-cultural knowledge, especially the practice of social work in the context of Muslim values;
  • NCSSS students have field internship opportunities with partner agencies in the Philippines;
  • Faculty of the Philippine social work programs within universities in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao received advanced training in resettlement and social development ;
  • Hundreds of social work students at these partner universities will benefit from the training that their faculty received in this program;
  • Social work education in these universities is strengthened and upgraded because of the CUA/NCSSS program;
  • A new generation of social workers are educated for work in the conflict-affected areas;
  • This program emphasizes the mission of the Catholic University of America's "unique relationship with the Catholic Church in America provide it with opportunities for influencing the resolution of the crucial issues of our time." Peace-making and conflict resolution are at the heart of Catholic social teaching.

 

NCSSS Graduate Degree Programs

Master of Social Work Program


The MSW program at NCSSS seeks to prepare advanced practitioners who, consistent with their chosen concentrations, act as agents of change to promote individual and societal well-being. The goals of the Master of Social Work program, in keeping with the goals of the school and grounded in the liberal arts, educate social workers whose practice is rooted in traditional values and theory but is current with the demands of the changing practice environment. Thus, the MSW program will:

1. Educate practitioners who will promote the well-being of all levels of client systems within each social environment.

2. Provide a curriculum that enables students to integrate the values of The Catholic University of America with those of the profession of social work, especially in valuing the dignity of all people as bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings.

3. Provide both the theory and the skills of empowerment practice for working with the strengths of all levels of client systems, including individuals, couples, families, and groups within organizations and communities.

4. Challenge students through academic material and field practicum experiences to see the value conflicts inherent in a society that continues to oppress vulnerable populations and is reluctant to achieve a positive change.

5. Promote an identification with the history of the profession and its early commitment to social justice, as well as provide experience with developing theory and practice in the promotion of social and economic justice.

6. Provide content that enables students to be informed consumers of social work research as well as competent practitioners of practice and program evaluation.

7. Ensure that all students build upon a breadth of foundation theory with depth in advanced theory to inform advanced practice.

8. Provide classroom and field opportunities that promote knowledge and skill for service to the Catholic and general communities on the local, national, and global level.

MSW Admissions

The National Catholic School of Social Service is committed to educating students to contribute responsibly to the fulfillment of social welfare objectives and to enhance the effective social functioning of individuals, families, groups, and communities. Through the admissions process, NCSSS seeks to enroll those who will be successful in the MSW program, and effective and proficient as social work professionals.

Once a complete application portfolio has been received by the NCSSS Office of Admissions, applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee according to the following criteria:

1. Evidence of student's ability to do graduate work including readiness to engage in scholarly work, evidence of analytic and conceptual thinking and strong writing skills. Evidence of the above may be found in previous academic work, (usually optional) test scores and the personal statement. Academic work should reflect a liberal arts foundation, including both social and behavioral sciences. Coursework in human biology as well as social statistics is recommended. A G.P.A. of 3.0 and above is preferred.

2. Evidence of personal qualifications essential for professional practice, including an interest in people and the processes of human relationships; a sensitivity and openness to others; an alertness to current social issues; strong interpersonal skills; readiness for increased self knowledge; and respect for the values and ethics of the profession.

3. Commitment to the social work profession, which may be evidenced by human service employment or volunteer experience, to be listed on the résumé and discussed in the personal statement.

Application Process

Application to the Master of Social Work degree program consists of the development of a complete portfolio utilizing the guidelines and forms available from either The Catholic University of America Office of Graduate Admissions or the National Catholic School of Social Service Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20064 (202-319-5496). See our web site: http://ncsss.cua.edu/admissions/masters.cfm to read about the application process and to download required application materials. Applications are accepted for full-time or part-time status for fall semesters and for part-time status only for spring semesters. The application portfolio consists of the following:

1. Completed and signed NCSSS application form accompanied by a $55 nonrefundable application fee.

2. An official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate college attended. (Offers of admission to those currently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs are made pending receipt of final transcript showing award of the bachelor's degree).

3. A purpose statement developed according to the guidelines provided below (four to six typewritten, double-spaced pages):

a. Profession of social work as a career goal. Why does professional social work appeal to you? What aspects of social work are of greatest interest to you? Discuss proposed career goals. Why did you choose to apply to NCSSS?

b. Life and relationships. Discuss how your background (e.g., family, cultural, religious, economic, ethnic, racial) has affected your desire and ability to work in social work.

c. Work experience. Describe current and/or past work experience, including volunteer work, as it relates to the profession of social work. How have these experiences helped prepare you for social work practice?

d. Experience in the helping role. Social work is concerned with helping individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Using an example from your professional, volunteer or personal life, discuss and analyze a situation in which you have observed the helping role, including how it changed a problem situation.

e. Experience as a student. Evaluate yourself as a student. What differences in performance between your previous educational experiences and your forthcoming graduate experience might you anticipate? Discuss any special circumstances affecting your undergraduate performance.

f. Planning. Describe your ability and commitment to undertake graduate education at this time. What family, work or other responsibilities do you anticipate during the course of your studies at NCSSS? Evaluate your ability to fulfill these obligations including the ability to spend 16 hours per week in the foundation year and 20 to 24 hours per week in the advanced year in field placements.

4. Résumé including educational history, work and volunteer experience.

5. Three current letters of reference from persons, other than family and friends, who are able to address personal, professional and academic capabilities. The three references should not come from a single source.

6. Standardized test scores are optional except as follows:

If cumulative undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, MSW applicants must submit either GRE or MAT (Miller Analogies Test) scores. Otherwise, test scores are not required as part of the admissions portfolio. The requirement to submit test scores when the undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 may be waived when an applicant earned a graduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or above or when the applicant has earned grades of B or above in classes at NCSSS as a non-degree student and has the recommendation of at least one faculty member for degree-seeking status. The university code for GRE scores is 5104. The university code for MAT scores is 1402.

Exception: If a student wishes to be considered for competitive CUA Scholarships, GRE scores are required. See Financial Aid section for additional information.

  • Students for whom English is a second language are required to submit the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores, including the written test.

As much of the above as possible should be submitted in a single packet to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave., N.E.
Washington, DC 20064

Applications completed by published deadlines are reviewed on a rolling admissions basis, once all materials have been received. Applications completed after published deadlines will be reviewed only if space is available. All applicants are advised in writing of the Admissions Committee's decision.

Letters of admission indicate whether a student has been admitted to the full-time or part-time program. Requests for changes must be made in writing to the director of admissions. Space is reserved for admitted applicants only when they confirm, in writing, the intent to enroll and when a nonrefundable tuition deposit has been received.

Records of applicants who do not respond to the invitation to enroll are not retained unless a written request to defer enrollment is received. Enrollment may be deferred one time only with the approval of the director of admissions.

Application Deadlines

Fall Semester  
February 1 Full-time MSW applicants interested in being considered for CUA full and half-tuition scholarships; priority deadline for Provost scholarships. All applications must include GRE scores.
April 1 Deadline for submission of NCSSS Scholarship application and for consideration for Provost scholarships. Admissions application must be complete in order for student to be considered for scholarship assistance.
April 1 Advanced standing and MSW transfer students
July 15 Full and part-time MSW program applicants
   
Spring Semester  
Dec. 1 Part-time MSW applicants

Advanced Standing Applicants

Graduates of social work baccalaureate programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education may apply for consideration for "advanced standing" status. Individualized education contracts are developed between the applicant and the director of admissions, indicating the number of semester hours to be waived (not to exceed 30 semester hours). Additional courses beyond 30 semester hours may be required. Advanced Standing students are admitted in the summer and must participate in an online course during the summer. The criteria for advanced standing status include:

1. A bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE accredited program (received within five years of enrollment in the MSW Program)

2. A cumulative average of at least 3.5 in all the social work courses of the undergraduate program

3. A cumulative average of at least 3.2 in all courses applied toward the bachelor's degree

4. A minimum of B in each social work course to be considered for waiving of credit

5. A recommendation from the chair of the undergraduate program, explicitly supporting admission directly into the advanced year of the MSW program

6. Satisfactory completion of an undergraduate generalist practicum experience that is comparable to that expected in NCSSS foundation practicum, as evidenced in the final field evaluation.

7. Successful completion of the online transition course over the summer prior to admission in the Fall semester

Applicants must include with their application a copy of their senior field evaluation for both first and second semesters. Offers of admission are made pending receipt of the final evaluation showing successful completion of the second semester field placement, and receipt of final transcript, showing graduation from an undergraduate social work program, having met our GPA requirements.

All students accepted with advanced standing status are required to take an online course the summer prior to their enrollment. This course was developed to help Advanced Standing students transition from undergraduate to graduate social work education. It is designed to strengthen the student's generalist social work practice competency to enhance their advanced year concentration. In addition, it will help students solidify their understanding of essential concepts from Foundation year courses on Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Human Development and Psychopathology, Diversity in a Multicultural Society, and Research. The course places an emphasis on human behavior theory, human development, psychopathology, cultural competence and being an informed consumer of social work research. Strength and resilience, all forms of diversity and oppression, and the impact of social and economic forces are emphasized as salient influences on social functioning.

Transfer Applicants

NCSSS accepts a limited number of transfer students each year. To be eligible for transfer, courses must have been taken within five years of entrance into the program and grades of B or better must have been earned. Transfer of semester hours may not be applied toward satisfaction of the minimum residency requirements. No academic credit is granted for life experience or previous work experience. There are two categories of transfer students:

1. Students requesting transfer from another accredited M.S.W. degree program to NCSSS must follow the usual application procedure described above. One of the three letters of recommendation must be from the MSW chair or an MSW program faculty member, indicating the applicant has left the program in good standing and is eligible to return. In addition, the applicant must submit course descriptions of MSW courses taken and, when applicable, field work description and evaluation. A maximum of 30 semester hours may be transferred from another MSW program.

2. Students may request transfer of up to six semester hours of elective credits from other accredited graduate programs at the time the advanced year concentration is declared. At that time, the student writes to the MSW chair, submitting a rationale showing that the course is appropriate to the concentration and submitting a copy of the course description and transcript for approval.

Courses that duplicate subject matter of foundation year courses are not transferable.

International Students

An applicant from a foreign country must have obtained a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. It is therefore essential that the official transcripts (with an attached English translation) be received for evaluation of course content and credit at the earliest possible date. The Office of Admissions usually requires an independent evaluation of foreign educational credentials. Complete applications from other countries should be received as early as possible to allow time for processing and overseas communication when necessary.

Students from other countries should have previous experience in the social welfare field before applying for admission to the social work program of this school.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must demonstrate their proficiency by taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and have the scores for all three components (listening, writing, vocabulary/comprehension) sent to NCSSS as part of the application process. A minimum score of 600 (paper-based test) or 250 (computer-based test) is expected. Proficiency in English will be confirmed upon arrival at the school by means of a personal interview, evaluation by the Intensive English Program of The Catholic University of America and/or review by the director of field education, prior to finalization of registration and participation in a field internship. Ph.D. applicants must also submit the Test of Spoken English.

Information on the TOEFL may be obtained at U.S. embassies or consulates, or by contacting the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Conditional Status

Applicants who do not meet all the requirements for admission to the MSW degree program, but whose applications reflect significant potential for graduate study and competent professional practice, may be admitted to the program on a "conditional" basis. Conditional students may earn no more than one grade of C or below, for a period encompassing the first 18 credit hours of the foundation year curriculum, taken consecutively over a maximum of two semesters and two summer sessions. At the end of this period the student's performance is reviewed and the conditional status negated, or the student is required to withdraw from the program.

Nondegree Enrollment

With the permission of the program chair, nondegree seeking students may take a maximum of nine credits in NCSSS courses, taking no more than one course per semester. Applicants must submit a completed university nondegree application form; an official transcript, and a nonrefundable application fee.

Enrollment in courses as a nondegree student does not guarantee admission to the MSW program. Course offerings for nondegree students are limited and are offered on a space-available basis after registration for enrolled, degree-seeking students is completed.

Qualifying Examinations

Qualifying examinations are offered to allow degree-seeking students to waive up to nine semester hours in the following areas: Social Welfare Policy and Services I (581), Human Behavior and the Social Environment, and Human Development and Psychopathology (571, 572), and Social Work Research (590). Students must apply to the MSW program chair for approval to take the examinations. All students take the examinations on the same day in August or January. Students must take any qualifying exams within the first two semesters of their entrance to the school. They must verify that, through previous coursework, they have mastered the course material. The Council on Social Work Education mandates that life or previous work experience cannot be used as justification for application for a qualifying exam. A student must earn a grade of 85 or above on a qualifying examination to waive that course. No other course need be substituted, making it possible for a student to graduate with fewer than 60 credits.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to M.S.W. students as follows: loans, CUA scholarships (requiring submission of GRE scores), NCSSS scholarships, and federal work study (FWS) funding for MSW students in field internships. Assistantships and traineeships are not available for MSW students. Applicants to the National Catholic School of Social Service may contact the school's Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (202-319-5496) for information about scholarships and loans. Prospective applicants should request loan information and forms from the Office of Financial Aid, 6 McMahon Hall, CUA, Washington, DC20064, 202-319-5307.

Loan Programs

Information about available loan programs is explained in detail on the CUA Office of Financial Aid web pages: http://financialaid.cua.edu/. To be considered for loans, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

CUA Full- and Half-Tuition Scholarships

The University awards several Full- and Half-Tuition Scholarships based on exceptional academic ability, as evidenced by applicants' academic records and GRE scores, to full-time students. MSW students with exceptional GRE scores and academic records may be nominated for Full-Tuition Scholarships; NCSSS' nominees for these scholarships compete for these scholarships along with applicants to other CUA graduate programs. A limited number of Half-Tuition scholarships are awarded annually to highly qualified master's students.

Applicants for CUA Full-Tuition Scholarships must submit all parts of the admissions portfolio, including GRE scores, by February 1 for the upcoming fall semester. Priority consideration for Half-Tuition Scholarships is given to those who submit all parts of the admissions portfolio, including GRE scores, by February 1.

CUA Provost Scholarships

Both full-time and part-time MSW applicants who submit GRE scores as part of their admissions portfolio may be nominated for Provost Scholarships. These scholarships pay approximately 20% of a student's tuition in fall and spring semesters.

National Catholic School of Social Service Scholarships

The National Catholic School of Social Service has a limited number of scholarships, generally ranging from $1,500 - $5,000, awarded based on merit and financial need. Scholarship applications are available from the NCSSS Office of Admissions and require submission of a resume and an essay providing information about area of professional interest. NCSSS scholarships are awarded for one academic year only. Students may apply for another NCSSS scholarship in subsequent years by completing and submitting the NCSSS Scholarship Application to the NCSSS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Applicants for NCSSS scholarships must submit their scholarship applications by April 1, and must have been admitted to the MSW program in order to be considered for scholarship funding. Usually, only those who have submitted a FAFSA are considered for NCSSS scholarships, since need is a primary consideration in making these awards.

Federal Work Study

Federal Work Study (FWS) is taxable funding awarded annually to full-time MSW students (1) enrolled in field, and (2) demonstrating financial need (FAFSA). The funding is granted for work completed as part of the regular NCSSS field internship. There is no application deadline, but because this federal funding is very limited, early submission of the FAFSA and the field application is strongly encouraged. To be considered for FWS, (1) complete the FAFSA and (2) submit the NCSSS field application as early as possible. No separate application is required.

MSW Program Objectives

All students in the MSW program will:

1. Apply critical thinking skills to analysis of various theories of development and change in the assessment of client system needs, and the facilitation of client system growth.

2. Apply critical thinking skills to policy analysis, administration and management.

3. Engage in practice that is grounded in the values and ethics of the profession.

4. Place knowledge of the current structure and issues of society within the historical context of the profession.

5. Understand the effect of oppression and discrimination on client systems and apply this knowledge to the promotion of social justice

6. Apply the knowledge and skills of a generalist social work perspective to practice with systems of all sizes.

7. Practice with sensitivity and respect for all client differences.

8. Use appropriate communication skills with clients, colleagues, and communities.

9. Know the impact of government and agency policy on human systems, specifically on vulnerable populations.

10. Apply critical thinking skills to the evaluation of research and its application to practice.

11. Demonstrate the professional use of self in effective communication with clients.

12. Demonstrate the professional use of self as adult learners in ongoing supervision and consultation.

Clinical concentrators elect courses within categories on advanced clinical theory, theory and practice with individuals across the life cycle, and theory and practice with family. These elected requirements, together with ethics, evaluation, and a field practicum within a chosen field of practice, form the core of the clinical concentration. This core enables them to facilitate change that will promote individual and family well-being. Thus, in addition to the objectives above, clinical concentrators will:

1. Apply advanced practice theory to understand the development and needs of individuals as bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings functioning in a family or family-like structure, within a chosen field of practice.

2. Apply advanced clinical skills to facilitate change in individuals as bio-psycho-social spiritual beings, within a chosen field of practice.

3. Integrate the knowledge and skills learned from the academic educational experiences with those of the practicum, within a chosen field of practice.

4. Expand the depth, breadth and specificity of the foundation knowledge of research methods, to evaluate practice with client systems within a field of practice.

5. Apply professional values and ethical principles to clinical practice within a chosen field of practice.

6. Apply knowledge of the impact of difference and the mechanisms of oppression on populations-at-risk, including use of strategies for promoting social and economic justice within clinical social work practice.

7. Health Specialization Only: Integrate the knowledge and skills of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual issues of health and illness within the health care field.

8. Military Specialization Only: Integrate the knowledge and skills of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual issues related to military personnel, veterans, and their families.

Social Change concentrators elect courses within categories on management, policy analysis, social planning and community organizing. These requirements, together with a theory course, ethics, evaluation, and a field practicum within a chosen field of practice, form the core of this concentration. This core enables them to facilitate change that promotes organizational and community well-being. Thus, in addition to the objectives above, Social Change concentrators will:

1. Apply advanced organizational, community, political and economic, and social justice theories to under-stand the issues that arise in management, planning, policy analysis, community development, and community building, within a chosen field of practice.

2. Apply advanced skills to facilitate change through management, planning, policy analysis, community development, and community building, within a chosen field of practice.

3. Integrate the knowledge and skills learned from the academic educational experiences with those of the practicum, within a chosen field of practice.

4. Expand the depth, breadth and specificity of the foundation knowledge of research methods, in order to evaluate programs within a field of practice.

5. Apply professional values and ethical principles to social justice/social change practice within a chosen field of practice.

6. Apply knowledge of the impact of difference and the mechanisms of oppression on populations-at-risk, including use of strategies for promoting social and economic justice within social justice/social change social work practice.

Combined concentrators must elect within categories of advanced clinical theory, individual and family theory and practice courses as well as macro theory and practice courses. These elected requirements, together with ethics, evaluation and a field practicum within a chosen field of practice, form the core of the combined concentration. This core enables students to facilitate individual and societal wellbeing. Thus, combined concentrators will meet the following objectives:

1. Apply advanced clinical practice theories and social justice/social change theories to understand the development and needs of client systems of all sizes, and the issues that arise in management, planning, policy analysis, community development, and community building, within a chosen field of practice.

2. Apply advanced skills to facilitate change in client systems of all sizes, within a chosen field of practice.

3. Integrate the knowledge and skills learned from the academic educational experiences with those of the practicum, within a chosen field of practice.

4. Expand the depth, breadth, and specificity of the foundation knowledge of research methods to evaluate practice with client systems and evaluate programs, within a field of practice.

5. Apply professional values and ethical principles to clinical and social justice/social change practice within a chosen field of practice.

6. Apply knowledge of the impact of differences and mechanisms of oppression on populations-at-risk, including use of strategies for promoting social and economic justice within clinical and social justice/social change social work practice.

Program of Study Leading to the MSW Degree

The school offers several options for working toward the MSW degree: the full-time two-year program, the part-time program (which may include some foundation year Saturday classes), and the advanced standing program. In all cases students must meet the minimum residency requirements of the school. In addition, the National Catholic School of Social Service and the Columbus School of Law offer a dual-degree program where students may earn both the MSW and the JD.

Full-Time Two-Year Program

The full-time structure is a four-semester (two academic years) program, which provides for a sequential learning experience of coursework and concurrent field experience.

Part-Time Program

The part-time program allows students to complete their M.S.W. degree requirements over several years, usually completing coursework in the first and third years, and field placement, integrative field seminar, and theory and practice coursework in the second and fourth years. Students may fulfill degree requirements by taking some courses in the evening, on Saturdays, or in the summer, depending on availability of courses. Part-time students complete 18 hours within a calendar year to meet residency requirements. In addition, all requirements for the degree must be completed within five years. During the first semester of graduate study each part-time student, in consultation with a faculty adviser, develops a plan of study for completion of the degree. Part-time students complete field internships in Years 2 and 4. All internships require daytime hours, including one regular workday and some evening or weekend hours.

Advanced Standing Program

The advanced standing program is individually structured in relation to the courses and credits completed in the social work program at the bachelor's level (see Admissions). All accepted advanced standing students must satisfactorily complete the summer on-line course, Essential Foundations for Advanced Level Social Work Education, in order to continue in the fall semester. Advanced standing students must meet the residency requirement (see Residency Requirements). 

Dual-Degree Program: Social Work and Law

The National Catholic School of Social Service and the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America offer a dual-degree program in which qualified full-time students may earn both a Master of Social Work (MSW) and a Juris Doctor degree (JD).

Applicants for admission to the dual-degree program must meet the separate admissions requirements of each school and must be accepted by each school independently.

Although admission to the dual-degree program is usually decided at the onset of student registration, it is possible to consider a candidate after independent completion of the first year of law school.

Interested applicants may contact the Office of Admissions of the National Catholic School of Social Service and the Office of Admissions of the Columbus School of Law, both at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064 for further information.

MSW Curriculum

The MSW curriculum comprises foundation knowledge (30 credits) and advanced knowledge (30 credits). Its concentrations educate three types of advanced social work practitioners: (1) clinical social workers who will be licensed as effective practitioners within the constraints of a fast-paced managed care service delivery system; (2) those whose indirect practice reflects a depth and breadth of knowledge and skill for advanced policy analysis, planning, and management; and (3) unique practitioners who are capable of indirect practice of substance, but who are also fully licensable as clinicians. MSW students may complete the 60-credit MSW program within a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years. During the graduate program, students complete 12 credits of field placement (two placements over four semesters) and 48 credits of coursework

Full-time students complete the 60-credit MSW program in two academic years. ALL part-time students must take at least six hours of academic credit per semester, and may take up to nine hours of academic credit during the fall and spring semesters. All students must have completed or be concurrently registered for SSS 581, 571, 572, and 605 when registering for SSS 673; similarly, they must have completed or be concurrently registered for SSS 581, 582, 571, 572, 570, 590, and 606 when registering for SSS 674. Part-time students may have to take course(s) during summer sessions, depending on the number of credit hours taken during fall and spring semesters. While we make every effort to offer many courses during late afternoon and evening hours, it is imperative that students understand that they will not be able to complete the entire MSW curriculum only during evening hours. Part-time students generally complete the MSW program within three to four years.

Foundation Curriculum

Social Welfare Policy and Services (581, 582) presents the historical and contemporary context for understanding social work practice. Students learn the political and organizational processes that are used to influence policy as well as develop skill in analyzing policy. With a focus on effecting policy change for vulnerable and stigmatized populations, issues of power and oppression are considered. Students are also required to take one of three one-credit policy electives. Social Work Research (590) provides, through lecture and class exercises, the scientific, analytic approach to building knowledge for and evaluating practice against the ethical standards for scientific inquiry.

Human Behavior and Social Environment (571) utilizes an ecological perspective to examine the theoretical frameworks related to the bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of human development. Human Development and Psychopathology (572) utilizes a "life course perspective" to analyze pathological human behavior. The discrete course Diversity in a Multicultural Society (570) examines the history of diversity and discrimination, enhancing self-awareness and sensitivity for a culturally competent social work practice. The generalist model of social work practice is introduced through the two generalist practice courses (605-Individuals, Families and Groups, and 606-Groups, Organizations and Communities) and an integrative field seminar (673/674), taken concurrently with the foundation year field internship. Supplementing supervised practice in the field, the seminar provides the opportunity for practicing skills through role play, case and project presentations, and seminar discussion. The seminar instructor serves as the liaison between the field agency and the school, maintaining and enhancing that link.

Foundation Curriculum

570 Diversity in a Multicultural Society
571 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
572 Human Development and Psychopathology
581/582 Social Welfare Policy and Services I and II
590 Social Work Research
605 Generalist Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups
606 Generalist Practice with Groups, Communities and Organizations
673/674 Foundation Field Education and Seminar I and II

Advanced Curriculum

Upon completion of the foundation curriculum, MSW students choose among the Clinical, Social Change and Combined concentrations.

Clinical concentrators choose three of four theory and practice courses with individuals at various points in the life cycle: Clinical SW with Older Adults, Adults, Adolescents and Young Adults, and Children, (801, 802, 803, 804); as well as elect between two family courses - the traditional models (821) or strengths-based model (822). These methods are further supported by an advanced theory course, either Psychodynamic (723), Cognitive/Behavioral (724), or Transpersonal (725). Evaluation of Social Work Practice (756) and Ethics (740) reinforce the empirical and value bases of clinical social work. Clinical concentrators have a two-semester field internship along with a weekly Clinical Field Integrative Seminar (871, 872) Clinical concentrators round out their program with six hours of free electives.

Health Care Specialization. Students placed in settings that include hospitals, medical clinics, home health agencies or hospice may select this specialization, which includes all clinical concentration requirements, along with a Health Care Field Integrative Seminar and two-semester field internship (877/878), and a required elective course, Theories and Models of Health Care (665) along with an additional elective course selected from the following: Psychodynamic Theory; Cognitive-Behavioral Theory; Transpersonal Theory;  Health Care Policy, Advocacy and Decision Making; Treatment of Chemical Dependency; Death; Attachment Theory and Neurobiology; or Social Work Response to Trauma: Policy and Practice Perspectives (723, 724, 725, 668, 663, 662, 653, or 655).

Military, Veterans, and their Families Specialization. Students placed in settings that include veterans' hospitals, military medical centers, and vet centers may select this specialization, which includes all clinical concentration requirements, along with a Health Care Field Integrative Seminar and two-semester field internship (877/878), three required elective courses, Applied Theory for Social Work Practice with Military, Veterans, and Families (593), Advanced Policy Related to Military Personnel and Veterans (xxx), and Military Culture (xxx) along with an additional elective course selected from the following: Social Work Responses to Trauma, Attachment Theory and Neurobiology, Death, Treatment for Chemical Dependency, Drug Abuse Policy: The Conflict Between Individual and Societal Rights, Drug Abuse Policy: Treatment and Its Effectiveness, Drug Abuse Policy: Current Policy Issues and the National Debate, and Homelessness: Individual and Social Concerns (655, 653, 662, 663, 560, 561, 652, and 554. This Specialization requires completion of 31 credits in the advanced year.

Social Change students select three of the following practice courses: Advanced Policy Analysis, Social Planning, Nonprofit Management or Community Organizing for Equitable Development, (831, 832, 833, 835). These methods courses are supported with a theory course, either Organizational Theories and Change, Theories of Administration; or Theories of Social Justice (880, 885, 946). Program Evaluation (757) and Ethics (740) support these indirect methods of social work practice. 

Elective courses may include other advanced-year methods and theory courses in the Social Change concentration; relevant courses from NCSSS or other CUA departments (with guidance from the concentration adviser); and relevant courses from the university consortium (with guidance from the concentration advisor and approval from the MSW chair.

The Combined concentration offers students the opportunity to acquire knowledge and practice skills in both clinical social work practice and in social work planning, administration/management, and policy practice. Combined concentrators select two of the four Social Change concentration methods courses: Advanced Policy Analysis, Social Planning, Nonprofit Management or Community Organizing for Equitable Development (831,832, 833, 835). Combined concentrators have a two-semester field internship and Combined Field Integrative Seminar (873, 874). Combined concentrators select one clinical theory and practice population course: Clinical SW with Older Adults, Adults, Adolescents and Young Adults, or Children (801, 802, 803, or 804); one clinical theory course: Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Transpersonal (723, 724, 725): select one Social Change theory course: Organizational Theories and Change, Theories of Administration, Theories of Social Justice, (880, 885, 946) one family course, traditional or strengths based, (821, 822) and select one of two research courses, practice or program evaluation (756, 757). Like all other advanced students, combined concentrators take the ethics course (740).

In all three concentrations, advanced students enroll in field education and integrative seminar I and II (871/872, 873/874, 875/876 and 877/878). As with the foundation seminars, the seminar instructor serves as the field liaison.

Advanced Curriculum

Clinical Concentration
723, 724, 725 (elect 1) Psychodynamic; Cognitive-Behavioral; Transpersonal Theories
740 Ethics
756 Practice Evaluation
801, 802, 803, 804
(elect 2)
Clinical SW with Older Adults; Adults; Adolescents and Young Adults; Children
821, 822 (elect 1) Clinical SW with Families: Traditional Models; Strengths-Based Model
871/872 Clinical Field Education and Integrative Seminar I and II
Electives Six semester hours
 
Health Care Specialization
Instead of 871/872 and electives above, select courses below:
665 Theories and Models of Health and Illness (req.)
877/878 Health Care Field Education and Integrative Seminar I and II
Choose one of the following: 723, 724, 725, 653, 662, 663, or 668.
(elective)
Psychodynamic Theory; Cognitive-Behavioral Theory; Transpersonal Theory; Attachment Theory and Neurobiology; Death; Treatment of Chemical Dependency; Health Care Policy, Advocacy and Decisionmaking.
Military, Veterans, and their Families Specialization
Instead of 871/872 and electives above, select courses below:  
801, 802, 803, 804 (elect 2) Clinical SW with Older Adults; Adults; Adolescents and Young Adults; Children
593 Applied Theory for Social Work Practice with Military, Veterans, and Families
xxx Advanced Policy Related to Military Personnel and Veterans
xxx Military Culture
877/878 Health Care Field Education and Integrative Seminar I and II
724 Cognitive-Behavioral Theory
822 Clinical SW with Families: Strengths-Based Model
740 Ethics
756 Practice Evaluation
Electives are for students who oversubscribe beyond 61 hours or who wish to audit. Select among the following: Social Work Responses to Trauma, Attachment Theory and Neurobiology, Death, Treatment for Chemical Dependency, Drug Abuse Policy: The Conflict Between Individual and Societal Rights, Drug Abuse Policy: Treatment and Its Effectiveness, Drug Abuse Policy: Current Policy Issues and the National Debate, and Homelessness: Individual and Social Concerns
Social Change Concentration
740 Ethics
757 Program Evaluation
831, 832, 833, 835, 886 (elect 3) Advanced Policy Analysis; Social Planning; Social Work Management, Community Organizing for Equitable Development; Issues in International Social Development
880, 885, 946
(elect 1)
Organizational Theories and Change; Theories of Administration; Theories of Social Justice
875/876 Social Change Field Education and Integrative Seminar I and II
Electives 9 semester hours in track selected, with adviser's approval
Combined Concentration
723, 724, 725 (elect 1) Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Transpersonal Theories
740 Ethics
756, 757 (elect 1) Practice Evaluation, Program Evaluation
801, 802, 803, 804
(elect 1)
Clinical SW with Older Adults; Adults; Adolescents and Young Adults; Children
821, 822 (elect 1) Clinical SW with Families: Traditional Models; Strengths-based Model
831, 832, 833, 835, 886
(elect 2)
Advanced Policy Analysis; Social Planning; Nonprofit Management, Community Organizing for Equitable Development; Issues in International Social Development
873, 874 Combined Field Education and Integrative Seminar I and II

Field Education

Field internship learning experiences are essential to the achievement of the objectives of the MSW curriculum. In the MSW program each student has the opportunity for a two-semester practicum/internship in two different agency or program settings. In the foundation year, utilizing the generalist model of practice, students gain practice experience with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations using a range of intervention modalities. Their learning experiences in the practicum support what they are learning in the classroom. Direct engagement in service activities enables the student to experience the discipline of professional relationships; to apply human behavior, research, and social policy curriculum content to the theory and practice of social work; to develop the self-awareness required for a professional level of performance; and to learn to integrate social work knowledge, values, skills, and ethics within the context of a professional social work practice setting. 

In the advanced year, students practice in agency settings with assignments and activities focused in their chosen area of concentration. Clinical students gain practice skills at an advanced level, learning to differentially apply explanatory theories to the assessment of client systems, to distinguish the appropriate treatment modality for particular client problems, and to differentially apply practice models to treatment planning and intervention. Social Change students learn to differentially apply macro theories to their practice, and they gain the expertise and skills necessary to facilitate change that promotes organizational and community well-being. Combined concentrators have both micro- and macro-practice learning opportunities, acquiring depth in the methodology of both clinical- and macro-social work practice.

Field education is a collaborative endeavor between the National Catholic School of Social Service, the agency and the student. The school, through its Office of Field Education, assumes responsibility for fieldwork being educationally directed, coordinated and monitored.

With some exceptions (i.e. advanced standing students), students complete four semesters of field education (over two academic years) in two different field settings. Students are in the field placement 16 hours per week in the foundation year (total of 480 hours) and 20 hours per week (total of 600 hours) in the advanced year (up to 24 hours per week for combined concentrators). Most students are assigned to agencies on Wednesdays/Thursdays during the foundation year, and Tuesdays/Wednesdays/half days on Thursdays during the advanced year. A very limited number of flex-time placements are available to part-time students. These placements all require daytime hours for staff meetings, case conferences and training. Every part-time student should plan for a minimum of one eight-hour block per week during regular working hours, with other hours scheduled on evenings and, sometimes, weekends. Students should be prepared to travel to and from the practicum either by car or public transportation. Agencies and students are expected to arrange field learning experiences so that they are in consonance with the academic calendar. It is the school's expectation that students will have only two weeks' break from the practicum between the first and second semesters. Any additional time away from clients must be negotiated between field instructor and student.

Students are placed in agencies and programs that provide specific social services or use qualified social work practitioners in the planning, administration, and delivery of a variety of human services. These agencies and programs are selected and approved by the staff of the school's Office of Field Education. The school works with agencies in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, Maryland and Virginia. Supervision in the field setting is the responsibility of the field instructor, who is a qualified and committed social work professional, most often agency-based. The field instructor orients the student to the agency, assigns and oversees the student's activities, and provides the student regular weekly one-on-one supervision. In many agencies, additional training opportunities are available to interns, e.g., case conferences, group supervision, peer supervision, and educational seminars.

In placing foundation-year students, the Office of Field Education considers their prior experience, interests and educational goals, as discussed in the field application. The Office of Field Education assists students by providing agency information via an internet-based search engine. Students research agencies of interest and appropriate to their level in the MSW Program, submit their preferences to the Director of Field Education, and are then referred for interviews, based on availability and suitability of their choices.

The weekly integrative seminar, taken concurrently with the field practicum, helps students to integrate course content and the field work experience. Supplementing supervised practice in the field, the integrative seminar provides the opportunity for practicing skills through role play, case and project presentation, and seminar discussion. The seminar instructor serves as the liaison between the field agency and the school, maintaining and enhancing that link, and providing support and monitoring as necessary. The seminar instructor assigns the grade for field education/integrative seminar at the end of each semester. The final grade is based on evaluation of student performance in field education (60 percent) and seminar work (40 percent).

Students in field practica are required to pay an additional fee for malpractice insurance and to furnish proof of health insurance coverage. Some agencies may have additional requirements, e.g., immunization verification, police clearance, or drug screening.

MSW Degree Requirements

For students entering the MSW program, the Master of Social Work degree is conferred upon students who have:

1. Satisfactorily completed 60 credit hours in accordance with the curriculum requirements as specified by the NCSSS faculty. Some students, who have received a BSW degree from a CSWE-accredited school of social work, may meet the requirements with fewer than 60 credit hours by being awarded up to 30 advanced standing credits. Transfer credits may be accepted in accordance with the school's policy.

2. Successfully passed a foundation comprehensive examination during the university-designated comprehensive exam period in which the student is enrolled in the foundation field/seminar (SSS 674). Passing the foundation comprehensive is required for a student to proceed to the advanced curriculum.

3. Satisfied the writing requirement by designating any two scholarly papers that are already required in advanced courses and will have been completed and graded to fulfill the University Writing Requirement.

  • To assist the students in preparing for the transition from undergraduate to graduate social work education.
  • To strengthen the student's knowledge of theory for generalist social work practice competency that will enhance their advanced year concentration.
  • To create a community for advanced standing students to support one another and connect with current NCSSS students.
  • To provide the students with a faculty member who helps with the transition, serves as their advisor, and assists the students with the necessary preparation for their advanced year.

Residency Requirement

The minimum period of residence for the master's degree is one year of full-time study (18 credits) beyond the bachelor's degree. A full-time student may not complete this requirement in less than two semesters. A planned part-time student meets this requirement by completing 18 credits in one consecutive 12-month period.

Leave of Absence

A student who must interrupt his or her studies for adequate reasons - such as sustained ill health, family crisis, or military service - may be granted a leave of absence for a stated period, usually not to exceed one year. The student should apply in writing to the dean and the program chair stating the specific reason for requesting the leave.

Withdrawal from Program

In order to withdraw from the MSW Program, the student must write a letter of withdrawal addressed to the Dean of the School.  The student must specify the reasons for this request. 

Grading Policy

Approved by the Academic Senate, beginning September 1990 for all graduate students except students in the Columbus School of Law, the following grading system will be in effect:

Grade Rating Numerical Equivalent
A Excellent 4.00 (95-100)
A-   3.70 (90- 4)
B+   3.30 (87-89)
B Satisfactory 3.00 (83-86)
B-   2.70 (80-82)
C Passing but Marginal 2.00 (70-79)
F Failure 0.00 (<70)
P Pass    
I Incomplete    
W Withdrawal    

A grade of C indicates marginal progress toward the degree. Master's students are expected to maintain a minimum of a B- (2.70 G.P.A.) to remain in school and to graduate. A Review Committee shall be called by the chair of the MSW program upon a student's receipt of two grades of C or one grade of F or other evidence of unsatisfactory or marginal work. The receipt of more than two grades of C or below, more than one F or termination from a second field placement during his/her academic program is grounds for dismissal by the dean. 

Please note that the section entitled General Information at the beginning of these Announcements contains information on general university policies which are applicable to all graduate students enrolled in NCSSS.

MSW Review Committee

Students in the MSW program may encounter educational difficulties, have difficulty meeting academic requirements, have exceptional academic or personal problems, or require special attention. To assure that these needs are met without compromising the school's integrity or treating the student unfairly, an orderly procedure has been established. When the student or relevant faculty feels that any of these problems may have arisen, a Review Committee may be called. However, a review committee must be called by the program chair upon a student's receipt of two grades of C, or one grade of F, or other evidence of unsatisfactory or marginal work. The committee provides a formal procedure to deal constructively with the problems. Problems may range from poor academic performance, possible unsuitability for the profession or continued education in the profession, or a student's belief that she or he has been treated unfairly.
 
The review committee is convened and chaired by the program chair, although a request to have such a committee may be made by the student, the student's adviser, or by any one of the student's instructors. The chair notifies the student and other participants in writing of the date and time of the meeting and invites them to attend. Participants at the review committee shall be only the student, the student's academic adviser, instructors, representatives of the Office of Field Education (when appropriate), and, if the student desires, either one representative from the NCSSS student government, or another member of the NCSSS student body selected by the student. Students who have an identified disability may request the presence of a representative from the Office of Disability Support Services.
 
Typically the review committee is presented with the concerns and gives each participant, including the student, an opportunity to describe the problem and potential resolution. The student may submit written materials from any source for consideration by the committee, if they are pertinent to the proceeding. The chair may request the presence of the author of the materials to better assist their decision.
 
Based on the exchange at the meeting, the committee makes a recommendation to help the student successfully complete the program. If a student believes he or she has a disability that has affected his or her ability to participate in the program, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the Office of Disability Support Services. No accommodations can be made for a disability without the involvement of this office. The review committee recommends to the Dean a plan to assist the student. If the committee reaches a finding that is not unanimous, a statement of majority and minority findings is written.In some situations, a review committee may recommend that a student be dismissed from the program. In any case, the student may appeal to the Dean the review committee's recommendation. In all cases, the final decision is made by the Dean.

 

Doctor of Philosophy Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work degree is awarded by The Catholic University of America as the mark of the highest academic achievement in preparation for active scholarship, research and leadership in the social work profession. The doctoral program is committed to imbuing students with the knowledge, skills, and vision to promote human rights and social justice. It seeks to further the development of the profession through scholarly research, theory building, and leadership, so that it may increasingly serve society in the prevention, intervention, and ultimate alleviation of social problems as well as the enhancement of social well-being.

Ph.D. Program Goals

Grounded in the content of the curriculum, doctoral graduates are prepared to:

1. Contribute to the critique, transformation, and dissemination of knowledge for the profession in response to existing and emerging social problems.

2. Apply humanistic values, ethical principles, and philosophical and theoretical perspectives to the understanding and alleviation of these problems.

3. Promote and enhance the role of social work in society by assuming leadership and research roles in clinical practice, administration, social policy analysis, and social work education.

Doctoral Admissions

Admission to the doctoral program requires the applicant to hold an M.S.W. degree from an accredited school of social work and to have completed a minimum of one year of successful professional practice subsequent to the attainment of the master's degree. The M.S.W. prerequisite is based on the assumption that acquisition of the core knowledge, values and skills of the profession and professional socialization are accomplished during M.S.W. study. The practice requirement is based on the assumption that mastery of social work practice provides a common set of experiences basic to producing scholarship and research in social work. Occasional exceptions may be made for applicants with an advanced degree in a related field and who have extensive subsequent practice or research experience. M.S.W. graduates without subsequent practice experience who wish to proceed directly from a master's to a doctoral program will be considered if they have demonstrated exceptional performance during their M.S.W. program and have the written endorsement of their M.S.W. chair for immediate doctoral study.

Admission is selective and determined by the quality of the total application. NCSSS seeks to enroll those who will be successful in all aspects of the Ph.D. program and competent as future social work scholars, researchers or educators. Application portfolios are reviewed against the following criteria:

1. Evidence of the applicant's readiness for doctoral study including:

a. capacity for critical and analytical thinking;

b. ability to understand and apply a broad range of conceptual frameworks such as philosophy, sociology and practice theory; and

c. facility for strong, clear, cogent and concise critical and analytical writing.

These capacities may be demonstrated in previous academic work, especially that of the M.S.W. program, GRE test scores and writing samples such as scholarly works, monographs and agency manuals.

2. Evidence of personal qualifications indicative of a high level of motivation and capacity for independent study and reflective of a strong identification with the social work profession, its values and standards. Evidence of these qualities may be demonstrated in previous volunteer and employed social work experience, the purpose statement, the views of those providing recommendations, and the personal interview

Applications are accepted for full-time or part-time status.

Nondegree Enrollment

With the permission of the program chair, nondegree-seeking students may enroll in a maximum of nine credits in NCSSS courses, taking no more than one course per semester. Applicants must submit a completed university application form, official transcripts, and a nonrefundable application fee. Enrollment in courses as a nondegree seeking student does not guarantee admission to the Ph.D. program. Course offerings for nondegree-seeking students are limited and are offered on a space-available basis after registration for enrolled degree seeking students is completed.

Application Process

An application to the Ph.D. Program must be supported by materials listed below, sent to either The Catholic University of America, Office of Graduate Admissions or Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, National Catholic School of Social Service, 620 Michigan Avenue N.E., Washington, DC 20064. The application portfolio consists of the following:

1. A completed university application form, with the nonrefundable $55 application fee.

2. Official transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate academic work.

3. A detailed purpose statement that includes:

a. Professional goals. Reasons for wishing to undertake doctoral studies, which addresses the relevance of a doctoral education at this school to future professional goals.

b. Areas of interest/concentration. Specific emphasis to be pursued in doctoral study in social work, identifying major professional or scientific interests in the areas of either theory or research.

c. Work experience. Prior work experience both in social work and other fields, with specific emphasis on post-master's professional experience and evaluating professional experience to date, including the contributions made to professional development, and the limitations of these experiences.

d. Research Experience. Description and evaluation of participation in research projects, including a list of any individually or collaboratively written published professional material.

e. Research Agenda. Identification of the area or areas of future interest for resarch, questions regarding social or psychosocial problems of interest to exploreA plan of study; institutions or agencies with which to partner in future research; and any other research relevant ideas.

4. Three letters of recommendation: At least one of the recommendations should be an academic reference.

5. Results of the Graduate Record Examination taken within the past five years.

6. Résumé of all work experience (paid and volunteer).

7. Writing sample of published material or other example of written work that will give evidence of research skills, practice competency, conceptual style and scholarly writing skills.

International Students

NCSSS welcomes qualified international students to its program. In addition to submitting all required items (applicaiton fee, transcripts, purpose statement, resume, references, and GRE scores), international students must also submit documentation that shows financial support for tuition and expenses for one year of study.

Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit TOEFL scores for both written and spoken English. International applicants must also complete the Request for Visa Documentaion form in the CUA Graduate Admissions Applicaton Packet.

International students must arrange to have their transcripts translated and credits and/or degrees certified by the World Education Service (WES.org)

Application Deadlines

July 1 Ph.D. applications for full-time status in fall semesters
July 15 Ph.D. applications for part-time status in fall semesters

Financial Aid

The Catholic University of America offers a variety of scholarships, grants and loans to new and continuing doctoral students.

1. CUA Scholarships: Based on very high Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, full-time applicants are eligible for the competitive CUA Graduate scholarships. Students must submit all application materials by February 1 to be eligible for these awards.

2. NCSSS Scholarships: Full and part-time incoming and returning doctoral students may apply for NCSSS Doctoral Scholarships. Application for Doctoral Scholarships includes submission of the NCSSS Scholarship Application.

3. Loans: Federal Stafford Loan Programs - The Federal Stafford Loan Program enables a student to borrow money directly from a savings and loan institution, credit union, bank, or other eligible lender. All students who want a Federal Stafford Loan must have a FAFSA on file before the university can process their applicaiton. Commercial/Alternative/Private loan Programs - Many lenders offer privately funded educational loans. In most cases, the CUA Financial Aid Office will need to certify enrollment and educational costs. These commercial loans will have varied interest rates, origination fees and repayment terms, and may require a co-signer.

4. Veterans Benefits. Often overlooked are many benefits available to veterans and to children of deceased veterans or those disabled in military service. In addition to the benefits offered directly by the Veterans Administration, others are available through their various service organizations, such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Catholic War Veterans, and directly through the branches of the Armed Services.

Applicants to NCSSS may contact the school's Office of Admissions and Financial Aid (202-319-5496) for information on scholarships, grants and loans.

Ph.D. Curriculum


Building upon the earned Master of Social Work degree, the doctoral program requires an additional forty-five semester hours of course work. Completing coursework full-time over five semesters or part-time over eight semesters, the program curriculum is composed of fifteen required courses, two electives, and the capstone is the dissertation.

I. The Coursework

Committed to the elaboration of the scientific base of the profession, the required coursework includes a preparatory foundation in writing and in research methodology and statistics. Other required courses cover the history and philosophy of the profession, the theory and policy undergirding social work, and advanced research methods and statistics. Within the framework of each required course, papers and assignments are tailored to each student's desired focus on a chosen field, method, or other specific content. The two elective courses provide the opportunity to deepen knowledge of these individualized interests. The course work culminates in an integrative seminar.

A. Foundation: New students refresh masters level research knowledge and establish the foundations of doctoral level research methods and statistics in a Foundations of Statistics and Research tutorial. This tutorial is completed online prior to the beginning of the first semester. The foundation is completed with a writing workshop that helps the MSW practitioner move from professional to scholarly writing taken during the first semester of doctoral study. 

B. History and Philosophy: In their first semester, all students take SSS 940, The History and Philosophy of Social Work. This course grounds the overall curriculum within twentieth century movements for social justice and change, the fundamental components of a profession, and the epistemologies for knowledge development within the social work profession.

 C. Theory and Policy: Courses in theory include those of classical and contemporary descriptive and explanatory theories that are derived from other disciplines and reformulated and integrated into the knowledge base of social work (SSS 930, Classical/Grand Theories for Understanding the Social Environment and SSS 932, Contemporary/Mid-Range Theories for Understanding the Person-in-Environment ). The value base of the profession is explored in Theoretical Frame for Ethical Decision Making and Knowledge Development (SSS 944) and Theories of Social Justice (SSS 946). Knowledge and analysis of the policies that empower and constrain the profession are presented in Advanced Policy Analysis (SSS 890).

D. Research Methods and Statistics: Doctoral level social workers are both consumers and producers of research. The foundation research tutorial is followed by two semesters of statistical methods for analysis of quantitative data (SSS 947 and 948, Multivariate Statistics and Design I and II). The fundamentals of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies are presented over two semesters in SSS 950 and 953. These courses are followed by advanced courses in the epistemological background of and the gathering and appropriate analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data (SSS 955 and 956, Advanced Qualitative Methodology and Advance Quantitative Methodology).

 E. Electives: Students complete their doctoral coursework with 6 credit hours of individually chosen electives. These may focus on a field of practice, population, problem, or other such area that will provide a foundation for the dissertation. Examples include health, mental health, child welfare, child and family, community development, spirituality, ethics, aging, international development, social work education, or poverty. These courses may be taken at NCSSS, elsewhere at CUA, in the Washington Consortium of Universities, or in another accredited university graduate program. Of these two, only one may be an independent study; the other must be a formal course.

 F. Integrative Seminar: The curriculum culminates in an integrative seminar (SSS 913 Integration of Knowledge for Social Work). In this course, students will integrate knowledge of existing theoretical and empirical literature regarding the explanation of or intervention with a particular issue or problem. The course will enable students to think deeply, critically, and creatively about the complexity of their chosen issue or problem and be prepared to take their comprehensive exams and pursue their dissertation research..

The Comprehensive Exam

In order to be admitted to doctoral candidacy, an NCSSS doctoral student must successfully pass the written comprehensive examination. Students must formally register with the university for the Doctoral Comprehensive Exam. (See CUA Class Schedule for appropriate registration number and procedure).
To be eligible to sit for the written comprehensive, the student must have completed their 45 hours of coursework. The two-day written exam is given during the university comprehensive period of the fall or spring semester (see: http://registrar.cua.edu/calendar/). The purpose of these comprehensive exams is to assess the student's ability to organize and integrate knowledge through clear and comprehensively formulated answers during set time limits. The exam will test specifically all required content. Students may add their own elective content as appropriate to inform their answers. On the first day, students are examined on application of theory to practice. The second day focuses on application of theory to research. Both days are designed to reflect the individualized interest of the student.
 
Grading
Although consisting of two parts, the written exam is regarded as one entity that must be satisfactorily passed in one sitting. The written exam is graded pass, marginal, or fail. A clear pass requires no oral exam. If one or both days are considered marginal, an oral exam on the content of both days is required to determine if the exam is a pass or a fail. If one or both days are failed, there will be no oral exam, and the student fails and must re-take the entire exam.
 
The doctoral chair will assign two members of the faculty to read each day's exam. If both graders agree on the grade (pass, marginal, or fail), that grade stands. If the two graders disagree on the grade, the chair will ask a third reader. If two graders ultimately agree that a day's exam is marginal, an oral exam is required. The chair will assign three members of the faculty to conduct the oral. Following the oral, each examiner will assign a grade of pass or fail. If the three agree that the student passed the oral exam, the student will have successfully completed the comprehensive. If two or three grade the oral as fail, the student fails the comprehensive and must re-take the entire exam during the next university scheduled time. A student who incurs two failures in the written comprehensive examination will be dismissed from the doctoral program. After beginning the written comprehensive examination, whether taking the exam for the first time or re-taking because of failure, a student may choose to withdraw from the examination process with no failure penalty. However, a student is limited to withdrawing only once.
 
Dissertation
For admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, the student must have successfully completed 45 or more credit hours of course work, and passed the written comprehensive examination. Upon completion of these requirements, the student is officially admitted to candidacy on the first day of the following semester. The candidate must submit a dissertation proposal within two years of acceptance into candidacy. Between the time of admission to candidacy and completion of the doctoral dissertation, the student must maintain continuous enrollment by registering each semester for Dissertation Guidance.
The capstone of the Ph.D. program at NCSSS, production of a scholarly dissertation distinguishes the doctoral degree from all other educational attainments in the social work profession. At its best, the process encourages original thinking, evaluative questioning, indepth objectivity and scholarly independence. Built upon a historical perspective, relevant theory and empirical research, the dissertation fulfills several major functions. It is a production of original research and scholarship that makes a substantive contribution to existing knowledge and to the social work profession. The dissertation involves a process that demonstrates the candidate's mastery of research methodology. Specifically, it requires ability to address an important professional problem, to use research methodology and tools, to organize the findings and to report them in scholarly fashion.

Doctoral Academic Policies and Procedures

Continuous Enrollment

The doctoral program committee supports the policy of the university for continuous enrollment. Students must either be in class or be registered for dissertation guidance.

Transfer of Credit

During the admissions process, applicants to the Ph.D. program may make a written request that up to 6 semester hours of credit be transferred toward the Ph.D. degree.

Coursework must be appropriate to the chosen concentration, have been earned at an accredited university graduate program, taken within the past five years and graded at the level of B or above. The written request, accompanied by official transcripts and course description from university catalogue or course outline, must be made of the program chair, who will approve each individually.

Grading Policy

Approved by the Academic Senate, beginning September 1990 for all graduate students except students in the Columbus School of Law, the following grading system will be in effect:

Grade Rating Numerical Equivalent
A Excellent 4.00 (95-100)
A-   3.70 (90-94)
B+   3.30 (87-89)
B Satisfactory 3.00 (83-86)
B-   2.70 (80-82)
C Passing but Marginal 2.00 (70-79)
F Failure 0.00 (<70)
P Pass    
I Incomplete    
W Withdrawal    

The National Catholic School of Social Service affirms its right to require its students to meet accepted academic requirements that consist of scholastic and behavioral components. Consistent with Catholic social teaching and social work values, NCSSS respects the worth and value of all persons regardless of age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin, handicapping conditions or diversity of opinion. Students' behavior should reflect the core values of the social work profession-service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence. Standards for professional performance require that students adhere to ethical standards as outlined in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and the requirements stated below.

Scholastic Requirements

As required by CUA policy, any NCSSS student who is involved in unethical practices in connection with any work required for a course will receive a grade of F (Failure) for the course. Further penalties may be imposed in accordance with specific circumstances. For example, it is strictly prohibited, as an unethical practice, to submit as one's own written work; for example, term papers, research, or professional papers, dissertations, or exams in which material provided by a professional research agency, the internet, or by other persons is utilized. A graduate student who employs such assistance or other unethical practice in the research or writing of a thesis or dissertation shall be liable to expulsion from the university upon proper hearing by the school and dean. 

In the Ph.D. Program, a grade of C, a grade point average of less than 3.0, or a pattern of multiple Incompletes indicates unsatisfactory progress toward the degree. Students are expected to maintain a minimum of a B (3.0 G.P.A.) to remain in school and to graduate. One grade of C or F, or a pattern of multiple Incompletes will result in the convening of a review committee. The receipt of more than one grade of C or below is grounds for dismissal by the Dean.

Behavioral Requirements

NCSSS Ph.D. students are expected to maintain accepted standards of professional conduct and personal integrity in the classroom and in the university setting. Students should:

  • Attend classes regularly and contribute constructively to the classroom culture
  • Recognize and avoid behavior that jeopardizes the learning/teaching environment of other students or the instructor
  • Demonstrate competence in planning academic activities and in following through on those plans
  • Reasonably respond to and respect others' reactions to one's comments or actions I the classroom
  • Use an appropriate level of class time and instructor's time and attention in and out of class
  • Behave in a manner that is consistent with the ethical principles of the social work profession. Students are expected to show an appropriate level of professional judgment, being careful not to jeopardize the best interests of people for whom they have a professional responsibility.

Students whose professional judgment and performance are hampered in any way are expected to immediately seek consultation and take appropriate remedial action by seeking professional help, making adjustments in workload, terminating the field internship or taking any other steps necessary to protect clients and others. Students who are unable to meet any of the academic requirements may be subject to the review committee process.

Review Committees

Students in the Ph.D. program may encounter educational difficulties, have difficulty meeting academic requirements, have exceptional or personal problems or require special attention. To assure that these needs are met without compromising the school's integrity or treating the student unfairly, an orderly procedure has been established. When the student or relevant faculty feels that any of these problems may have arisen, a Review Committee may be called. However, a review committee must be called by the doctoral program chair upon a student's receipt of one grade of C or F, or other evidence of unsatisfactory or marginal work.  The committee provides a formal procedure to deal constructively with the problems. Problems may range from poor academic performance, possible unsuitability for the profession or continued education in the profession or a student's belief that he or she has been treated unfairly.
The Review Committee is convened and chaired by the program chair, although a request to have such a committee may be made by the student, the student's adviser or by any one of the student's instructors. The chair notifies the student and other participants in writing of the date of the meeting and invites them to attend. Participants at the review committee shall be only the student, the student's academic adviser, instructors, and, if the student desires, either one representative from the Doctoral Student Association or another doctoral student selected by the student.  Students who have an identified disability and have registered with the Office of Disability Support Services, may request the presence of a representative from that office. No accommodations can be made for a disability without the involvement of this office.
 
Typically the review committee is presented with the concerns and gives each participant, including the student, an opportunity to describe the problem and potential resolution. Based on the exchange at the meeting, the committee makes a recommendation to help the student successfully complete the program. The review committee recommends to the Dean a plan to assist the student. If the committee reaches a finding that is not unanimous, a statement of majority and minority findings is written.
 
In some situations, a review committee may recommend that a student be dismissed from the program. In any case, the student may appeal to the Dean the review committee's recommendation. In all cases, the final decision is made by the Dean.

Student Resources

Students at NCSSS have, in all its programs, access to many resources designed to enhance their learning experiences and opportunities. These include a student advisory system, student government associations for each of the three degree programs, and active participation on NCSSS program committees.

In addition, the school provides students and faculty members with opportunities to engage in activities that have a local and national impact on the crucial social issues of the times and to do this in a manner compatible with scholarly endeavor. Such activities include evaluative research, community studies, consultation and demonstration of social work practice in the community.

The school also encourages and arranges for faculty members and students to engage in social planning, social action, and research in the community as events and conditions may require.

Advisement System

After enrollment in any one of the three NCSSS degree programs at CUA, each student is assigned a faculty adviser. The adviser assists the student in planning overall academic programs, reviews educational progress and assists with educational problems that may occur. All students meet with their advisers prior to enrollment each semester in order to ensure that the student's work toward graduation is in accordance with academic requirements and individual educational needs. Other meetings may be scheduled by either student or adviser as needed. It is the school's philosophy that regular meetings between advisers and students contribute to both the student's growth and the ongoing evaluation of the program.

Students' Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, all qualified students with a disability (as defined under the law) are eligible for reasonable accommodations or modifications in the academic environment that enables the qualified individual to enjoy equal access to the university's programs, services or activities. The university is not required to provide any aid or service that would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the program.

The Office of Disability Support Services provides disability consultation, advocacy and the coordination of support services and accommodations for all qualified students with disabilities. Services and accommodations are determined individually based on disability documentation.

CUA is committed to promoting the full participation of all qualified students with disabilities in all aspects of campus life. Students with disabilities are required to meet the same academic standards as other students at the university. It is only through a student's voluntary disclosure of their disability and request for accommodations that CUA can support disability needs. Students who have a disability and wish to make a request for disability related accommodations or services must do so through Disability Support Services (DSS). Each student must submit their documentation along with an intake form to DSS in order to apply for services. Students are encouraged to register with DSS prior to arrival on campus for the upcoming semester. Once eligibility is determined, appropriate accommodations, based on the submitted documentation are put in place. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis. (See Student Life Disability Services Policies, Procedures and Services for Students website at: http://policies.cua.edu/studentlife/disabilitysvcs//disability.cfm).

Career Services

Career services for students and alumni/ae are offered both at NCSSS and the university Career Services Office, CSO. NCSSS maintains internet listings of social service positions primarily in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas, but also including some positions available nationally. Students are encouraged to meet individually with CSO staff for assistance in developing résumés and cover letters. They are also encouraged to utilize the job and internship listings of the CSO. Programs are held at the school each year to help students plan their advanced social work studies and to help them clarify professional social work goals. Every spring, NCSSS sponsors and organizes a Social Work Career and Job Fair.

Student Records

The university maintains copies of transcripts of the student's final academic record. Access to transcripts is through the university registrar, subject to the guidelines of university policy. To request an official transcript, call 202-319-6306 or 202-319-5829.

Student Government

Each of the three degree programs has its own student association with officers elected annually by its student body. The B.S.W. association is called BASSO and is affiliated with the university's Undergraduate Student Government. Its membership is open to all undergraduate social work students and other students interested in learning about the profession. The student organization for the M.S.W. program is known as the Master's Student Association and its membership is composed of all students in the program. It is affiliated with the university's Graduate Student Association. Students working toward their Ph.D. degrees participate in the NCSSS Doctoral Student Association. Delegates from each student government body are invited and encouraged to participate in faculty meetings and all planning committees of NCSSS.

Through these relationships, the students participate in curriculum planning and program development. The student governments also help NCSSS faculty plan educational forums and social events. They sponsor various speakers programs, newsletters, get-acquainted socials and alumni activities. The student body associations also take major responsibility for planning their graduation ceremonies and new student orientation programs. Representatives from the student associations also may participate in grievance and review committees.

Courses of Instruction


Please consult the registrar's Web site at https://cardinalstation.cua.edu for descriptions of courses offered in the current semester.

SSS Course Title
528 Human Sexuality
533 Feminist Issues in Social Work Intervention
537 Techniques for Shaping Positive Behavior in Children and Adolescents
545 An Introduction to the DSM-IV
551 Introduction to School Social Work: Policy, Practice, and Research
553 Basic Budgeting and Accounting for Social Workers
554 Homelessness: Individual and Societal Considerations
557 Catholic Social Thought and Contemporary Social Issues
558 Principles and Practices of Fundraising
560 Drug Abuse Policy: The Conflict Between Individual and Societal Rights
561 Drug Abuse Policy: Treatment and Its Effectiveness
652 Drug Abuse Policy: Current Policy Issues and the National Debate
570 Diversity in a Multicultural Society
571 Human Behavior and Social Environment
572 Human Development and Psychopathology
581 Social Welfare Policy and Services I
582 Social Welfare Policy and Services II
590 Social Work Research
593 Social Work with Military Families and Veterans
605 Generalist Social Work Practice: Individual, Family and Groups
606 Generalist Social Work Practice with Groups, Organizations and Communities
611 Child Welfare: Policy and Practice
653 Attachment Theory and Neurobiology: Implications for Social Work Practice and Policy
655 Social Work Response to Trauma: Policy and Practice Perspectives
662 Death
663 Treatment of Chemical Dependency
665 Theories and Models for Health Care
668 Quality Health Care for Vulnerable Populations: Accessibility, Availability, and Affordability
673 Foundation Year Field Education and Seminar I
674 Foundation Year Field Education and Seminar II
723 Psychodynamic Theory and Social Functioning
724 Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Social Functioning
725 Transpersonal Theory and Social Functioning
731 Social Work With Couples
740 Ethical Issues in Contemporary Social Work
756 Evaluation of Social Work Practice
757 Evaluation of Social Work Programs
797 Reading and Research Social Work (1)
798 Reading and Research Social Work (2)
799 Reading and Research Social Work (3)
801 Clinical Social Work With Older Adults
802 Clinical Social Work With Adults
803 Clinical Social Work With Adolescents and Young Adults
804 Clinical Social Work with Children
821 Clinical Social Work with Families: Traditional Models
822 Clinical Social Work with Families: Strengths-Based
830 Instrument Development, Measurement, and Use: Implications for Theory and Practice
831 Advanced Policy Analysis
832 Management of Non-Profit Organizations
833 Social Planning
835 Community Organizing for Equitable Development
871 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Clinical I
872 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Clinical II
873 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Combined I
874 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Combined II
875 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Social Change I
876 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Social Change II
877 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Health Care I
878 Advanced Field Education and Seminar: Health Care II
880 Organizational Theory and Change
882 Adult Learning Theories for Professional Education
885 Theories of Administration
886 Issues in International Social Development
890 Analysis and Critique of Social Policy Methods
930

Classical/Grand Theories for Understanding the Social Environment

931

Contemporary/Mid-Range Theories for Understanding the Person-in-Environment

945 Foundation Research and Statistics
913 Integrative Seminar
981 Seminar in Scholarly Writing for Social Work
921 Social Work Education Laboratory
922 Social Work Education Laboratory
940 History and Philosophy of Social Work
944 Theoretical Framework for Ethical Decision Making and Knowledge Building
946 Theories of Social Justice
947 Multivariate Statistics and Design I
948 Multivariate Statistics and Design II

945

Foundation Statistics and Research

950 Research
953 Advanced Research
955 Advanced Qualitative Research
956 Advanced Quantitative Research
974 Independent Study in Clinical Social Work Theory I
975 Independent Study in Clinical Social Work Theory II
976 Independent Study in Clinical Social Work Theory III
977 Independent Study in Clinical Social Work Theory IV
978 Independent Study in Social Policy and Administration
987 Reading and Research in Social Work (1)
988 Reading and Research in Social Work (2)
989 Reading and Research in Social Work (3)
997 Dissertation Guidance
998 Dissertation Guidance

 

Footnotes