MSW Advanced Standing Degree Requirements

Review the degree requirements for our MSW Advanced Standing track

*Please review the UNE Academic Catalog for the full and most up-to-date Master of Social Work degree course descriptions and program information.

All Master of Social Work (MSW) students in the Advanced Standing track are required to complete 30 credit hours of coursework.

Required Coursework for the Advanced Standing Track

SSWO 526Integrating Clinical / Community Practice Frameworks(Credits: 3)
SSWO 552Advanced Clinical Practice I(Credits: 3)
SSWO 553Advanced Clinical Practice II(Credits: 3)
SSWO 565Administration & Supervision(Credits: 3)
SSWO 581Field Practicum III / Seminar(Credits: 3)
SSWO 583Field Practicum IV / Seminar(Credits: 3)
SSWO 597Advanced Psychological Assessment(Credits: 3)
Three Elective Courses


Focus Areas

Focus Area: School Social Work

This focus area will prepare students to engage in School Social Work. Students will take a generalist curriculum elective that gives a broad overview of working within school settings. In their specialization curriculum students will then take a course that develops and hones therapeutic clinical skills for with children, adolescents and their caregivers. Students will also be required to pick one of three Graduate Education courses that focus on work with children who have individualized education plans (IEPs), behavioral considerations, and/or other issues that require additional support for a school experience. The program recommends that students reach out to their licensing boards to better understand if their state requires additional coursework for school social workers to best pick which courses will meet their needs.

9 Credits

This course will provide the graduate student with a general understanding of the roles and responsibilities when working in primary educational settings. It will focus upon the roles the school social worker has when addressing the micro/mezzo and macro social problems and resources when assisting their pupil population. Areas such as safety, homelessness, diversity, and disabilities will also be explored. Additionally, the course will inform the student of the interdisciplinary structure of the school system as well as the external structures (statutes and regulations) that can influence educational policy and practice. Students will become knowledgeable of their state educational laws pertaining to school social work certification.

This elective focuses on the challenges and capacities of children, adolescents, parents and caregivers that come to our attention in clinical social work practice across diverse settings. Students explore and critically analyze a range of theories used to explain child and adolescent development and caregiving structures. Particular attention is given to theories of attachment, caregiving, relationship and neurobiology. Focus is also placed on the social and institutional policies and dominant cultural attitudes that determine the distribution and access to social resources that affect child and family well-being. Interdisciplinary models of practice, including the development of networks and partnerships between social workers and other child-centered professionals are covered. Methods of building relationships with children, adolescents and caregivers are explored as are specific child-centered techniques including art and play therapy.

Option to choose one of the following:

This course focuses on assessment approaches for identifying students with disabilities and assessing progress toward learning goals and standards. Participants examine formal assessment tools and procedures used in the diagnosis of disabilities and identification of the instructional and behavioral needs of students. Participants will explore a range of student strengths and exceptionalities as they determine best educational practices to meet the needs of all learners in the least restrictive setting.

This course will help participants identify and prioritize essential behavioral skills in their work with students. They will explore how to model, teach and nurture behavioral skills and analyze differentiation strategies as Tier 1 of a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support model and prepare for intervention and monitoring at Tier 2 and Tier 3. The course will engage participants in addressing factors that influence a school’s response to behavioral considerations such as available resources, parent collaboration, school, and community culture.

This course will deepen the participants’ understanding of the factors that affect a learner’s ability to access their education. Participants will explore the current research in neuroscience and its connection to social and emotional learning. Participants will review and understand practical strategies to address the social and emotional learning needs of all learners and develop a social and emotional learning plan including the development of self-regulation skills in all learners.



Focus Area: Medical Social Work

This focus area will prepare social work students to work in a variety of medical settings. Students will take a generalist curriculum elective that gives a broad overview of working within medical settings. In their specialization curriculum, students will take two electives, one that prepares them to understand psychopharmacology and the other to grief and loss.

9 credits

Coming Soon

This course examines concepts in psycho-pharmacology, neurophysiology, psychoactive drug classification. Physiological, and psycho-logical aspects of psychopharmacological agents used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders are presented. Psychopharmacology with the geriatric population are explored. The parts of the brain affected by alcohol, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, and other street drugs are discussed.

An interdisciplinary course on death and dying, we will explore the death system, funerals, economic considerations of death, care of the dying and the bereaved of all ages, psychological dynamics dealing with the death, and ultimate questions in relationship to death and bereavement. The course will examine the basic principles of palliative care, bereavement and grief in all age groups, suicide and grief, issues around refugee and immigrant experience with death, various philosophical and religious understandings of death, meaning of life, ethical issues related to the care of the dying and the bereaved. We will explore the nature of grief and loss, the personal characteristics of effective practitioners, communication skills used in practice, the goals and techniques of practice with people who are grieving, approaches to helping those who are dying, and specific interventions that are helpful to bereaved clients in cases of prolonged grief, mourning a child or those whose deaths were stigmatized or unanticipated. Students will explore their own personal, cultural, and spiritual experiences, beliefs and values around death and dying.



Focus Area: Advanced Clinical Skills

This focus area is a great opportunity for students to develop strong clinical skills as it allows students to dive deep into three therapeutic interventions. All three electives will be taken in their specialization curriculum. The courses can be taken in any order.

9 credits

This course is open to all MSW students, foundation and specialization year. It is considered a clinical elective for licensing requirements. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for trauma and various psychological and behavioral health issues. Psychologists for psychology students develop most CBT training programs. This course is unique because its development is by clinical social workers, specifically for clinical social work students. Classic CBT theory and interventions are adapted and re-framed to provide a strengths-based perspective, considering “person-in-environment” and the effects of trauma on human health and wellness. Upon completing this course, MSW students will have the knowledge and skills to integrate a CBT approach in clinical practice that aligns with social work principles and values and trauma-informed care systems.

This advanced practice course provides students with the opportunity to learn the theory and practice of Narrative Therapy. The UNE School of Social Work Mission and Values state; “the School embraces a comprehensive definition of health as a state of complete physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being… teaching empowering theories for practice and developing collaborative relationships based on mutuality and respect”. Narrative Therapy is one such empowering theory. Students will have the opportunity to explore the historical development of this contemporary theory and to observe and practice Narrative Therapy through interactive role-plays and video-taped sessions with classmates and the instructor.

This course focuses on one of today’s popular therapeutic approaches, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, commonly referred to as ACT. The course uses a case-based learning approach to provide student-learners with hands-on experiential learning opportunities to practice the specific skills and therapeutic strategies being presented.

“ACT is based on a philosophy of science, functional contextualism, that focuses on the behavior of individuals within their historical and situational contexts. ACT draws on a comprehensive theory of language, relational frame theory (RFT), which accounts for the influence of culturally shaped language processes on learning and human behavior. ACT and RFT are supported by a growing body of research that supports ACT’s efficacy with a wide variety of problems and suggests that ACT works by its theorized mechanism of change. ACT can be delivered in an array of formats and is easily accessible for those seeking training, and ACT offers a non-stigmatizing, universalizing approach to alleviating suffering that positions social workers and clients as subject to the same, normally occurring processes of human behavior,” (Boone et al., 2015).

Enjoy the journey through this empowering approach to healing, recovery, and growth!



Focus Area: Trauma Informed Practice

This focus area addresses this priority by preparing you to become practitioners and leaders versed in trauma theory, the neurobiology of complex trauma, the effects of working with trauma, and evidence- and community-informed practice. Students learn the latest on the implementation science for trauma-informed organizational change and the effects of working with trauma on both the practitioner and the organization levels.

9 credits

This course explores working with survivors in a trauma-based practice which validates the experience, respects the survivor, and helps her/him to become empowered. An examination of personal beliefs and definitions of trauma will serve as a first step toward the study of advanced trauma based practice. Using Trauma Theory as a foundation, students will learn practice methods and approaches that may be helpful in working with survivors. Case presentations will allow students the opportunity to discuss alternative practice approaches, understand the trauma survivor’s experience, and support & critique peers.

Addendum: This course provides a general understanding of trauma and its effect on the brain caused by various types of trauma experiences and the differences of outcomes of trauma upon people especially those of diverse backgrounds. It will provide opportunity for the examination of personal beliefs with regard to trauma and consideration of practice in an anti racist, diverse, equitable, and inclusive manner. The use of a Trauma Informed approach and various treatment modalities are presented and will assist students to learn social work practice interventions that will be helpful for survivors of trauma experiences.

This course will prepare students to become practitioners and leaders versed in Adverse Childhood Experiences, resiliency, historical and intergenerational trauma, and trauma-informed theory. Students will explore these trauma-informed principles and apply them on micro and macro levels through a focus on implementation science for trauma-informed organizational and individual practice change. This course provides a strong foundation that complements clinical electives such as Advanced Trauma Practices.

The focus of this course is to examine the biopsychosocial-spiritual context of substance use/misuse through the intersection of multiple individual, family, organizational, societal and political systems that contribute to risk and healing. We will explore the impact of social dislocation, trauma, and neurobiology as it relates to those who are experiencing substance use disorders. Students will learn to identify through a person-centered, strength based, biopsychosocial lens, how substances became a way of coping with life’s challenges, and is a process of dis-ease through a sociocultural context. Students will be introduced to evidence based treatment modalities and explore resources to aid in prevention and intervention with individuals, families, organizations and policy makers.




SSWO 564Program Dev & Community Practice(Credits: 2)
SSWO 571SW Practice w/ Groups(Credits: 2)
SSWO 585Substance Abuse(Credits: 2)
SSWO 607SW Practice w/ LGBTQ Individuals, Families, and Groups(Credits: 2)
SSWO 611Social Work Practice and Intimate Partner Violence(Credits: 2)
SSWO 613Advanced Trauma-Based Practice(Credits: 2)
SSWO 618Homelessness and Social Work(Credits: 2)
SSWO 627Pyschopharmacology: Drugs / Behavior(Credits: 2)
SSWO 628Use of Creative Arts in Social Work Practice(Credits: 2)
SSWO 633Social Work Practice with Child, Adolescent, Parent(Credits: 2)
SSWO 635Aging and Health(Credits: 2)
SSWO 642Narrative Therapy(Credits: 2)
SSWO 650Trauma Informed Theory/Practice(Credits: 2)
SSWO 657SW Practice w/ Military and Family(Credits: 2)
SSWO 670Grief, Loss, Death and Dying in Social Work(Credits: 2)
SSWO 673Social Work and the Law(Credits: 2)
SSWO 685Comm Organizing/Comm Building(Credits: 2)


Back to Full Course Descriptions

Interprofessional Electives

MSW students also have the option to take electives from other UNE Online graduate programs. A full list of these interprofessional courses can be found here:

Shared Interprofessional Course List

Advanced Standing Degree Requirements for the Master of Social Work Degree

  • 30 credits
  • 6 starts per year
  • 10 courses
  • One field practicum for 500 hours*

*Our Master of Social Work online program is aligned with State of Maine social work licensing requirements. We encourage you to research the licensing requirements for the state in which you intend to practice.

Questions about the Advanced Standing degree requirements? An enrollment counselor can walk you through the details.

Contact an Enrollment Counselor to discuss your degree plan or to ask any questions about the online Master of Social Work degree program.



If you have any questions about application requirements, the coursework or program requirements, please speak to one of our enrollment counselors at the email or phone number below.