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Forensic Social Work

6 core (required) credit hours  



  • Describe the criminal justice system, its purpose, and the population it serves.
  • Explore the ethical dilemmas inherent in forensic social work. For example, our ethical obligation to advocate for a clients’ self-determination contrasted with the needs of the community for safety, order and justice.
  • Develop competencies in evidence-based practice models and critically evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs for offenders, victims of crime, and families.
  • Describe the development of the criminal personality and its relationship to the justice system.
  • Understand how biological and environmental risk and protective factors lead to antisocial trajectories (micro, mezzo and macro) and how to develop intervention strategies to improve outcomes.
  • Apply the principles of evidence-based practice and restorative justice in treatment, program development, and evaluation.
  • Identify factors that account for the over-representation of people of color, the perception of racial bias, and social class distinctions within the criminal justice system.
  • Define and describe the impact of common policy practices such as racial profiling and bootstrapping in the sentencing, treatment, and administration of the criminal justice system.
  • Apply evidence-based assessment, planning, interventions, and evaluation strategies with individuals, groups, and communities.
  • Apply practical research skills for evaluation of individual client interventions and program accountability.
  • Utilize risk assessment instruments with criminal offenders and trauma assessment with victims of crime including the appropriate use of and limitations of psychometric and risk assessment tools.
  • Demonstrate respect for the dignity and worth of clients and victims of crime.
  • Apply the NASW Code of Ethics to practice in the criminal justice system.
  • Develop competencies and skills in working within the courts and judicial system including testifying in court and collaboration with other professionals.

Core Courses

Advanced coursework is typically taken during a one-year program for Advanced Standing BSW students and the second year of the two-year program for two-year students.

Fall Semester


Spring Semester

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
SW6702 Forensic Practice II: Evidence Based Practice Models 3.0
SW6522 Advanced Field Practicum II 4.0



  • All students must take one additional Area of Focus class outside their primary Area of Focus (AOF) to meet graduation requirements. For example, if Mental Health is the student’s primary area of focus, they would be required to take an additional course in another AOF such as Aging in Social Work, Child Welfare in Social Work, Forensic Social Work, Global Social Work, or Health in Social Work.
  • Students may take up to 16 credit hours in any one semester without requiring pre-approval from the MSW Program Director.
  • Students in the Advanced Standing program must complete a minimum of 45 credit hours.
  • Students in the two-year program must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours.
  • Students must earn a passing grade of C+ or better.
  • Students must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in order to be in good academic standing.

Types of Practicum Placements:
Mental health programs serving abused/neglected children and their families, programs serving children in foster care, adoptions services, schools.

Last Updated: 3/16/22