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BSW Certificates

Certificates prepare students for specialized areas of social work where accelerated job growth is taking place.  Students complete a series of focused and interrelated set of courses designed to enhance learning in a specific interest area.  The courses can be interdisciplinary or from a single field.

Certificate Options


Completion of three courses (9 credits) with a C or better:

  • SOCW 240 Death & Dying
  • SOCW 315 Social Services for Older Adults
  • SOCW 417 Dementia Care for Older Adults

SOCW 240 Death & Dying (3 credits). This course focuses on various aspects of death and dying. Examines different types of death, impact of death throughout the lifespan, cultural beliefs and practices regarding death and dying, grief, healing after loss, legal and ethical issues related to death, and the roll of social workers at the end of life. Students examine their own thoughts, values, feeling, and beliefs about death and dying. This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for: Social & Behavioral Science- Social Science

SOCW 315 Social Services for Older Adults (3 credits). Focus on the aging process, special needs of older adults, and the role of social work in addressing these needs. All levels of social work intervention are considered, direct practice with older persons and their families, service delivery systems in local communities, and state and national policies. Special attention is given to the needs of caregivers, person-centered care, diverse vulnerable populations and resources for older adults to age in place. Can be taken by BSW majors and Social Work Minors. Approved elective for Social Work Minors.

SOCW 417 Dementia Care for Older Adults (3 credits undergrad, 4 credits grad). Equips students with a body of knowledge to supervise, participate in, and facilitate care for persons with dementia throughout the lifespan. Upon completion of course, students are eligible for certification as approved dementia care trained practitioners. Develops social work practice skills; including dementia care interventions and assessments. Special attention is given to working with vulnerable populations and their caregivers through service learning site opportunities and assignments. The course uses an integrated health and person-center care approach. Prior completion of SOCW 315 or other Introduction to Aging course is strongly recommended. Enrollment restricted to BSW majors and MSW students. Approved Elective for BSW majors.

The Certificate in Child Welfare is designed to provide undergraduate students an opportunity to develop a solid base of knowledge and skills required for effective child welfare social work practice.  It is open to Social Work Majors.  Students are required to complete three courses (10 credits) with a grade of C or higher and pass the Illinois Child Welfare License Exams.

Required Courses:

  • SOCW 404- Case Management Practice (3 credits): This course builds upon and extends generalist social work theories, knowledge and clinical skills required for case management practice.  Content focuses on inter-professional collaborative team-based approaches for patient/client assessment, care planning, service delivery coordination, and evaluating outcomes.  Emphasis is on organizational context, theoretical models, social work roles, culturally sensitive approaches, biopsychosocial assessments, triage, advocacy, interdisciplinary and inter-organizational collaboration, and record keeping.  Prerequisite SOCW 401
  • SOCW 416- Child Welfare:  Issues and Trends (4 credits):  This course prepares students for practice in public or private child welfare agencies with children and families who have experienced abuse or neglect.  The course examines the theoretical and programmatic aspects of child welfare practice, with particular attention on child welfare practice in Illinois.  Emphasis is on the roles and functions of child welfare workers and the application of knowledge and skills in child welfare practice.  Content focuses on the core competencies of child welfare practice from engagement and assessment of maltreatment to intervention and permanency planning with vulnerable populations.

Elective (Choose one):

  1. SOCW 370- Social Work and Disability Studies (3 credits):  This course provides a foundation for generalist practice and promotes social justice, inclusion, and ability when working with all people.  Skills and knowledge will be gained to help empower individuals with disabilities and to intervene in various systems to ameliorate bias.  The course examines key policies, historic legislation, service delivery, education, and social issues that impact individuals with disabilities.  Through projects and assignments completed in-class and in the community, students will learn about the varying abilities and strengths of people with a variety of different needs.  Applications of social work values and ethics are stressed in relation to working with people with disabilities.
  2. SOCW 420- Substance Abuse in Social Context (3 credits): This course is intended to introduce students to the issue of substance abuse and its impact on society.   The course will address the physiological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects of substance abuse.  At the individual and familial levels, the course will examine the causes, development, and treatment of substance abuse.  At the societal level, the course examines public policy efforts to regulate and control substance use from a historical and contemporary perspective. Implications for social and economic justice are also examined.

Required – Pass four Illinois Child Welfare License exams

  1. Child Welfare Exam
  2. Child and Adolescent Strengths and Needs (IM-CANS)
  3. Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol (CERAP)
  4. Placement

Once you have completed the requirements, you may request your certificate.

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