Examples of Self-designed Elective Coursework (SW)

Child & Adolescent Mental Health

Courses in child and adolescent mental health provide students with skills in differentiating pathology from normal development, recognition of resources and resiliencies, and knowledge about the biopsychosocial factors that are associated with the various mental health conditions in youth. Students are also trained in diagnostic and assessment procedures and treatment strategies that can be applied in a variety of work situations such as residential facilities, hospital-based programs, school settings, and outpatient mental health clinics.

Family & Child Welfare

Child welfare services are intended to respond to the needs of children who have experienced abuse and neglect, and their families. Courses examine the causes and consequences of child maltreatment, child welfare policy, the effectiveness of child welfare services, and social work practice in child welfare settings. 

Group Work

Groups and group work courses provide theoretical and historical information about the evolution of group work. Students will acquire skills in developing, leading, and evaluating groups across a variety of populations and service settings. Most group courses also provide students with an experiential component which allows students to more clearly understand the benefits and challenges of being both a group participant and a group leader. Groups courses highlight the ​increasing need to engage clients more quickly and efficiently and the unique ways groups and group work provide this opportunity.


Courses in social work with LGBTQIA+ clients involve an affirming perspective. Working with a provider who affirms one’s sexual and gender identity, offering services in a safe milieu without fear of judgment from the provider, and having foundational knowledge of some of the unique challenges facing LGBTQIA+ individuals are central to this work. The knowledge base includes the coming-out process, the impact of homophobia and heterosexism, and the limiting effects of internalized homophobia and internalized heterosexism. 

Low Wage Jobs & Workforce Development

“Work” has become central to social work practice; whether one is doing economic development with communities, work force development with individuals, or policy development at the state and federal levels. These courses provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the labor market, work and family policy across nations, everyday work conditions in low-level jobs, and options for improving employer practices and public policies to support disadvantaged workers, families, and communities.

Mental Health

Mental health courses provide students with the knowledge and skills to provide clinical services to adults with a variety of problems related to mental illness and psychological distress. Students may learn a wide range of clinical skills in assessment, diagnosis, treatment, case management, and rehabilitation. Students may apply these skills in a variety of contexts such as outpatient and community mental health settings, inpatient and residential settings, employee assistance settings, and medical settings.


Curtis McMillen
Deputy Dean for Curriculum