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Social Work

Student Handbook

Glossary of Terms

The granting of approval by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body. It represents assurance that the social work education received in an accredited program meets national standards. The Social Work Program at Minot State University is currently accredited by the Council. North Dakota licensure is available only to graduates of an accredited social work program.

ACSW (Academy of Certified Social Workers)
A social work credential offered to members of NASW who hold a Master’s of Social Work degree, who has been supervised by an ACSW for two years and has passed an examination administered by NASW.

Faculty member assigned to each social work student while enrolled as a social work major. This person may serve in the role of consultant, teacher, advocate and a resource in linking to campus and community services. It is essential that students consult their advisor in the planning of their academic program.

An organization which provides social work services under public or private auspices; including direct services, planning, monitoring, advocacy. Social work services are also provided as a secondary service in settings whose purpose it is to provide a different primary service, such as schools, medical facilities and court systems.

Field placement model which is used by MSU’s Social Work Program. Students spend 32 hours per week (4 days) in the agency, engaged in educationally directed learning activities, supervised by a field instructor approved by the program’s field coordinator. The placement runs for approximately 16 weeks for a minimum of 450 clock hours. Students return to campus one day per week for 3 concurrent seminars. The placement and the seminars earn 14 semester credit hours.

BSW (Bachelor of Social Work)
The degree granted by MSU upon completion of 128 credit hours. Receipt of the BSW from an accredited program entitles the student to apply for advanced standing at many graduate schools of social work.

Standards of behavior adopted by the Social Work Program which are consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics. The code is signed by students upon admission to the program.

Committee chaired by the program director comprised of faculty and representatives of the practice community drawn from the northwest region of North Dakota.

The selection and completion of a designated number of courses taken in one field of study, outside of the major for the purpose of achieving specialized knowledge in that area. The Social Work Program neither requires that its students fulfill a concentration, nor does it offer a concentration.

Courses which may, or must, be taken at the same time.

CSWE (Council on Social Work Education)
The national professional organization of the faculties of colleges and universities which offer degree programs in social work. CSWE sets the academic standards for all programs at the bachelor and master levels, and accredits those programs. The CSWE website,, is an excellent resource for social work students.

All required courses which fall into general education, required support, and the foundation categories; these courses are sequenced so the knowledge gained in each course either builds to or off the knowledge gained in other courses.

A permanent committee of the Social Work Program, comprised of two faculty, whose purpose is to rule on course substitution requests.

A full time faculty member responsible for the management of the field education component of the program. This includes selection of agencies, selection and training of field instructors, all administrative management of the placement process, including selection and preparation of students admitted to the field, chairing the Field Education Committee, preparation of the field manual, all field related forms i.e. learning agreement and evaluation instruments. The coordinator serves as back up for the field liaisons, and may be involved in problem resolution.

SWK 432; the 450 hour field education placement in a social service agency or program, directed by the Social Work Program and supervised by a practitioner employed by the agency. A learning agreement, written by the student and approved by the field liaison and field instructor assures an educational focus and activities that address the BSW objectives established by CSWE standards. All other coursework should be completed prior to the beginning of field.

A permanent committee of the Social Work Program; the purpose is to review student applications to enter the field experience; one of the gate keeping mechanisms of the program, it is comprised of two faculty, two members, and four members appointed from the practice community.

An agency based practitioner who supervises a social work student during the field placement on a day-to-day basis; preferably holds a BSW or MSW from an accredited social work program. Non-degreed persons will be provided additional support from the field coordinator. The field instructor evaluates the student’s performance and submits it to the field liaison.

A faculty member who serves as the link between student, the agency and the Social Work Program. This may involve clarification of expectations, explication of roles, and maintenance of educational focus of field education activities, through use of the learning agreement as well as a minimum of two on-site visits in the agency during the semester of the placement. The liaison is responsible for assigning the final field grade.

SWK 433; seminar of 1 credit taken concurrently with the field experience that provides for the integration of social work theory with actual social practice, through discussion, case presentation, and written assignments.

Required courses in the BSW program which are basic to the development of the knowledge, values and skills required to function as an entry level social worker. The courses are mandated by CSWE standards.

CSWE mandated responsibility to screen potential BSW students for suitability for the profession. Program sets standards for academic and non-academic criteria. Gatekeeping occurs formally at two benchmarks: admission to the program and admission to the field; it is also ongoing throughout the student’s enrollment. Gatekeeping is a joint responsibility of faculty, field instructors, students, and ultimately the licensure process.

Thirty-eight (38) credits which are required in all baccalaureate curricula. The Social Work Program specifies certain courses be taken to fulfill some categories. It is recommended that these courses be taken in the freshman and sophomore years.

CSWE standards mandate a generalist perspective for BSW education, meaning that entry level social workers will have the knowledge, values and skills to work with systems of all sizes, demonstrating cultural competency, using a variety of intervention methods determined by the needs of the client, and based on several practice models, under supervision appropriate to the BSW level.

Master of Social Work programs, granting the MSW, MSSW, or MSS (master of social work). The nearest program to Minot is at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Lists and descriptions of graduate programs are available in the department office, or at the CSWE website,

The ceremony of awarding of the various degrees earned at MSU. Held only in May, students who are completing the practicum in the summer are allowed to “walk through” graduation in May. The degree is awarded officially after summer session grades are recorded. Students must have an overall grade point of 2.0, a social work grade point of 2.50, a minimum of 128 credit hours, approved by the Records Office, and completion of all BSW requirements.

SWK 330 and 331, Human Behavior in a Pluralistic Society I and II, are courses which may be taken concurrently, designed to develop an understanding of the total person as they relate to others and to the systems within their environment; designed to develop the students understanding and appreciation of ethnic, racial and cultural diversity.

Statements of what will be done in order for the student to learn a skill, develop a body of knowledge, or achieve a specific competency.

Framework for understanding how individuals learn; learning takes place in stages, one stage builds upon another: four levels are; survey/description, analytic, conceptual, application.

The specific area of study chosen by a student. While students often refer to “social work” as a major, it is more accurately described as a professional degree program.

Social work practice content courses of the curriculum covering intervention with client systems of all sizes: individual, families, groups, communities. Courses in the sequence include SWK 200, Interpersonal Skills, SWK 335 Methods I, SWK 426 Methods II, and SWK 427 Methods III.

An area of study chosen by students to supplement the major course of study to earn a baccalaureate degree. Minors are optional for BSW students, not required. CSWE does not recognize, nor does Minot State University offer a minor in social work

The Master of Social Work degree, the particular designation may vary by institution, however, if accredited by CSWE the curriculum content meets the same standards. The MSW is considered the terminal practice degree in social work.

National Association of Social Workers. The professional practice organization of social work. BSW students are eligible for membership at a reduced rate that continues after graduation as a transitional rate. Web site: - provides large range of information and services of the organization.

Enrolling in courses where total credits for the semester are more than 18 semester hours. See the MSU catalog for specific grade point eligibility criteria and registration procedure.

See Field Education.

A course providing foundation for further coursework and taken prior to enrollment in another course.


A statement of recommendation for an applicant for admission to the Social Work Program.

Period during which students enroll for the following semester’s courses and pay fees; students should report changes of major to the Records Office. Registration for courses is possible through the ALFI system by telephone or computer. All social work majors should have their advisor approve the selection of courses.

Organized outline of an individual’s education and experiences, that accompanied an application for employment. Resume writing workshops are offered each semester by the university and are recommended for social work students.

The unit of credit used at MSU, representing one hour of directed class instruction or two hours of laboratory work per week.

SWK 491 - A 2 credit capstone course taken concurrently with the field experience (SWK 432). It addresses issues of ethics in practice situations, preparation for the ND licensure exam, and other topics of interest and relevance to the students enrolled.

SWK 299 or SWK 499, subject of courses may vary according to student or faculty interest. Courses are offered on an as needed basis.

File folder of each social work major located in the department office. Contents of his/her file may be reviewed in the department office, none of the contents may be removed from the file.

Classification of a student based on the number of credit hours accumulated: Freshman: 1-30 hours; Sophomore: 31 - 60 hours; Junior: 61-90 hours ; Senior: 90-128 hours.

Students who have attended other higher education institutions. All transfer students should work closely with his/her academic advisor to assure a smooth transition, with the appropriate selection of courses, and advisement regarding course substitutions. Inquiries by students planning to transfer to MSU are welcomed in advance of the expected semester of transfer.

A 50-hour volunteer experience in a human service agency or program is a requirement of SWK 200, and the evaluation of that experience is a part of the Admission application. Credit may be given to an experience completed as part of a similar course at another institution, at the discretion of the instructor of SWK 200.