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Forensic in 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 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

Fall Semester

Course Number Course Title Credit Hours
SW6220 Diversity and Social Justice: Reflexive and Ethical Social Work Practice II 3.0
SW6701 Forensic Practice I: Theory and Direct Practice 3.0
SW6521 Advanced Field Practicum I 4.0


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 practice class outside their Area of Focus as an elective.
  • 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 2-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: 11/12/21