Social Work (SW)

Subject-area course lists indicate courses currently active for offering at the University of Louisville. Not all courses are scheduled in any given academic term. For class offerings in a specific semester, refer to the Schedule of Classes.

500-level courses generally are included in both the undergraduate- and graduate-level course listings; however, specific course/section offerings may vary between semesters. Students are responsible for ensuring that they enroll in courses that are applicable to their particular academic programs.

Course Fees

Some courses may carry fees beyond the standard tuition costs to cover additional support or materials. Program-, subject- and course-specific fee information can be found on the Office of the Bursar website.


SW 101. Social Work Orientation1 Unit

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Description: This class is designed to help students gain an increased awareness of academic support services offered throughout the University of Louisville and the Kent School of Social Work Advising and Student Services. It will allow BSW students to explore their academic and social self-awareness to create the best strategy for their career at the university. This orientation course is designed to help acclimate students to college life. The course will give the student information about how to plan which courses to take to stay on track with their BSW major, how to get involved on campus and future career paths of a social worker.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 201. Introduction to Social Work - D1, SB3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Description: This course introduces students to the profession of social work, its Code of Ethics, values base and commitment to social justice and working with vulnerable and oppressed groups. Students are exposed to the profession's history as well as current social issues and trends. The course provides an introduction to the roles of the generalist social work practitioner within a theoretical framework that includes systems theory, an ecological perspective, a problem-solving model, and the value of diversity. The course stresses self-awareness in determining suitability for a career in social work.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 202. Intimate and Family Relationships - SB3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Description: The course introduces students to the scientific study and understanding of couple and family life. Examination of attitudes and values regarding intimate relationships is encouraged. Class activities and assignments enable students to integrate personal experiences with newly gained understanding and knowledge.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 203. Human Biology for Social Sciences3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Description: The course is designed to be a supporting course for bachelor degree students in social work. In each session,we consider fundamental physiological conditions and the structures related to each condition. While the course emphasizes normal functioning, each discussion will include examples of alterations caused by illness and exposure to exogenous substances (drugs, medications, and infections).

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 204. Introduction to Social Statistics3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Completion of General Education Quantitative Reasoning (QR) Requirement.

Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce Bachelor of Social Work students to quantitative tools used to describe/interpret data used in social work practice, research, and policy formation. Students learn to plan and conduct analyses guided by understanding of social work.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 207. Historical and Contemporary Abolitionism and Anti-Racism3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Description: This course will cover the historical roots and continuing impact of systemic racism in the United States and the many anti-racism efforts historically and in contemporary society that are enacted to combat racism. Students will gain an understanding of anti-racism, including the process of de-centering Whiteness, as a philosophy and approach to social change. The role of anti-racists in the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and current social movements will be covered. Current manifestations of anti-racism efforts will be surveyed. Students will also learn concrete strategies for engaging in anti-racism and de-centering Whiteness including re-education about the history of race and racism, strategic investments in Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) communities (also referred to as a Global Majority), and advocating for changes to social and institutional policies that liberate BIPOC.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 301. Human Behavior and the Social Environment I3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): Completion of General Education requirements and admission to BSW program.

Description: Focuses on society at large (social movements, social institutions and social structure), larger environments (physical environment, communities, and formal organizations) and small groups.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 302. Social Welfare Policy I3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): Completion of General Education requirements and admission to BSW program.

Description: In Social Welfare Policy I, students explore the historical context and evolution of social welfare policy and how dominant values and contextual factors shape policy. Emphasis is given to analyzing poverty and income maintenance programs. The course also focuses on social work as a profession and how social work issues, values, and ethical dilemmas are experienced in social policy. Relationships between disenfranchised populations and social welfare policies and practices are stressed, giving particular attention to institutional racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and ageism.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 303. Generalist Practice I3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): Completion of General Education requirements and admission to BSW program.

Description: Orients students to the helping process and the generalist perspective. Emphasizes systems theory, the ecological model and strengths based perspectives and explores methods of interventions to enhance social functioning.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 304. Generalist Practice II3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 303.

Description: Addresses the development of the knowledge and skills necessary for generalist social work practice with individuals, maintaining the context and relationship with the environment.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 305. Intro Writing & Critical Thinking Skills for Social Workers3 Units

Description: The intent and purpose of this course is to offer Kent School social work students the opportunity to improve their critical thinking and writing skills within the context of their academic development as a professional social worker. The course is designed to instruct students about the application of critical thinking skills to writing and their thinking/reasoning as it relates to the numerous and complex skills necessary for ethical and competent practice in the social work profession. It will incorporate the use of evidence-based literature searches to assist students in learning how to better prepare academic papers and will also focus on improving overall college-level writing skills necessary for successful completion of the BSW and MSSW program.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 307. Diversity, Oppression and Social Justice Practice3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Description: This undergraduate course is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills for social work practice with people who are subject to various forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and ableism operating at the individual, community and institutional levels of society. Diversity, strengths, and social justice practice are emphasized. Developing greater professional and personal awareness about the impacts of various forms of oppression and social justice responses are addressed.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 315. Mental Health3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Occasionally Offered

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW students.

Description: This course is designed to familiarize the student with a body of knowledge and the service delivery system known as mental health.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 319. Human Behavior and the Social Environment II3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 301.

Description: Focuses on families, dyads, and the individual person (biological person, psychological person, spiritual person and the lifespan development).

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 322. Social Welfare Policy II3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 302.

Description: In Social Welfare Policy II, students develop their skills to judge the fit between a benefit or service provided by service delivery systems and the social problem or client need. Consequently, students explore how reimbursement, planning, quality assurance, case management, and client targeting policies affect service outcomes. Students also review current social service programs as to purpose, eligibility requirements, service provision, and evaluation results. These courses must be taken in sequence.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 332. Intro Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Issues and Social Welfare3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Description: The purpose of this course is to introduce contemporary topics related to the social welfare of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals. Issues addressed are related to development, health disparities, family, research, history and ethics.

Note: Course is cross-listed with SW 632.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 333. Intro Social Work and Human Sexuality3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This course provides knowledge about physical, behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual aspects of human sexuality.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 336. Intro Death and Grief3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This course provides students with an overarching review of knowledge and skills to prepare bachelor's level social workers for practice in death and grief using ecological systems and strengths-based approaches. Course content relates to historical contexts, cultural responses to death and grief, introduction to major theories surrounding death and grief, and ethics.

Note: HBSE I and II recommended, not required.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 352. Child Abuse and Neglect (Child Maltreatment)3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW students.

Description: This course is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to child abuse and neglect from a social work perspective.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 353. Intro Child Abuse Interventions3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): SW 352; restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: In this course, students will learn about various practice skills and treatment interventions related to social work with abused/neglected children and their families.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 361. Intro Special Issues in Alcohol and Drug Counseling3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This course includes highly specialized topics in addiction treatment to prepare students to begin practice in Alcohol and Drug Counselor training. Content will round out and complete a basic course of study for alcohol and drug counselors that was not adequately addressed in substance abuse and motivational interviewing classes. Introductory level topics will 1) generally aid students in submitting the application for certification as alcohol and drug counselors, 2) provide students with required case management training for working in a licensed alcohol and other drug treatment facility, and 3) prepare students for working within multidisciplinary teams and gain familiarity with clinical supervision methods utilized in substance abuse treatment programs. 4) Students will become familiar with the use of the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) a very common assessment tool widely used in substance abuse treatment settings.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 362. Introduction to Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: Examines current issues associated with substance abuse. Prevailing paradigms related to substance abuse are explored and pragmatic intervention strategies for dealing with those abusing substances are presented and applied.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 381. Intro Social Gerontology3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This course is designed to enable students to understand the complexity of the aging process from the perspective of the individual, the family and society.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 382. Intro Social Work Practice with Older Adults3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of assessment and clinical intervention with older adults.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 384. Intro Spirituality and Social Work3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This course is offered as an elective course and provides introductory/generalist level examination of the meaning of spirituality for social work practice.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 385. Intro Planning and Community Development3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: Using theories from the behavioral and social sciences, this course will provide students with introductory/generalist level theoretical, methodological, value and skill base in social planning within a context of community development, organization and advocacy.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 397. Intro Special Topics in Social Work3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: Selected topics in Social Work. Topics chosen will reflect the needs of the students and the background of the instructor. May be repeated under different subtitles.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 405. Generalist Practice III3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 303 and SW 304; SW 470 (or concurrent) and SW 472 (or concurrent).

Description: Focuses on mezzo systems. Applications of Social Work values, knowledge and methods with families and small groups is emphasized.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 406. Generalist Practice IV3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 405; SW 471 (or concurrent) and SW 473 (or concurrent).

Description: Engage Social Work skill development and practice in the application of knowledge, skills, and methods to the macro systems of professional practice including neighborhoods, communities and organizations.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 415. Intro Mental Health3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Description: This is an introductory/generalist level course designed to familiarize the students with the body of knowledge and the service delivery system known as "mental health." This course will examine the factors of human experience that promote mental health or serve as a barrier to healthy functioning.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 426. Introduction to Social Work Research3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 304.

Description: Provides students the foundation knowledge for scientific inquiry, covering all aspects of the research process from problem formulation to writing of the research report.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 442. Psychopathology3 Units

Description: This course examines concepts of labeling theory, stigma, strengths perspective, and the clinical use of diagnostic classification of psychopathology from a social work perspective. The implications of various definitions of psychopathology and the uses of diagnostic systems to inform practice, policy, and promote social justice are considered.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 459. Introduction to Family Therapy Practice3 Units

Description: This course emphasizes understanding assessment, case planning, and intervention in couple and family therapy. The students will be introduced to the major assessment and intervention ideas/skills associated with the major schools of marital family therapy. Skill development will encompass systemic assessment, consensus building, case planning and the tools necessary to conduct an initial interview.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 460. Intro Motivation and Change3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Description: The introductory/generalist level course focuses is on theory and evidence based practice methods aimed at engaging resistant people in the process of change. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a client-centered, yet directive method for enhancing intrinsic motivation for change. BSW Upper Division Elective.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 464. Intro Social Work and the Law3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Prerequisite(s): Restricted to students admitted to Kent School of Social Work BSW program.

Description: This introductory/generalist level course is designed to: 1) familiarize students with the legal system and the various roles of social workers within the legal arena; 2) increase student understanding of the impact of the legal system on social work clients and client groups; 3) increase student understanding of the interface of the law with professional social work practice; and 4) develop and enhance the skills needed by the professional social worker in situations where social work and the law interface.

Note: Previously taught as SW 364.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 470. Practicum I3 Units

Grading Basis: Pass/Fail

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 405 (or concurrent) and SW 472 (or concurrent).

Fee: An additional $43.00 is charged for this course.

Description: This course is designed to provide an educationally supervised practicum within human services organizations. This is a generalist practicum work experiences based on the structural/strengths model of social work practice and taken concurrently with Practicum Seminar and Lab I and Generalist Practice III courses. This practicum course integrates course assignments to assist students in developing social work perspectives and skills, using the Elements of Thoughts from the Paul-Elder Framework of Critical Thinking in working with a range of client systems: individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities. The practicum experience provides for the integration of theory learned across social work practice, human behavior, diversity, organizational and community dynamics, social policy and research courses.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 471. Practicum II3 Units

Grading Basis: Pass/Fail

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 470; SW 406 (or concurrent) and SW 473 (or concurrent).

Fee: An additional $43.00 is charged for this course.

Description: This course is designed to provide an educationally supervised practicum within human services organizations. This is a generalist practicum based on the structural/strengths model of social work practice and taken concurrently with Practicum Seminar, Lab II, and Generalist Practice IV courses. This practicum course integrates course assignments to assist students in developing social work perspectives and skills, using the Elements of Thoughts from the Paul-Elder Framework of Critical Thinking in working with a range of client systems: individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 472. Practicum Seminar and Lab I - CUE3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Fall Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 405 (or concurrent) and SW 470 (or concurrent).

Description: Supplements through class discussion, readings, and role play the experiences of the practicum, creating an arena for integration of practice theory and content.

Course Attribute(s): CUE - This course fulfills the Culminating Undergraduate Experience (CUE) requirement for certain degree programs. CUE courses are advanced-level courses intended for majors with at least 90 earned credits/senior-level status., CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 473. Practicum Seminar and Lab II3 Units

Term Typically Offered: Spring Only

Prerequisite(s): SW 472; SW 406 (or concurrent) and SW 471 (or concurrent).

Description: Supplements through class discussion, readings, role play the experiences of the practicum, creating an arena for integration of practice theory and content.

Course Attribute(s): CBL - This course includes Community-Based Learning (CBL). Students will engage in a community experience or project with an external partner in order to enhance understanding and application of academic content.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes

SW 499. Bachelor of Social Work Independent Study1-3 Units

Grading Basis: Pass/Fail

Term Typically Offered: Occasionally Offered

Description: This course offers Kent School undergraduate social work students the opportunity for students, under the supervision of a sponsoring faculty member, to pursue individualized student related to research or practice that is not included in regular course curriculum.

For class offerings for a specific term, refer to the Schedule of Classes