Core Program Competencies

Established by the Council on Social Work Education in 2007, the following ten competencies pertain to both the foundation and advanced (concentration) curriculum. By the end of their concentration year, students in the MSW program are expected to show proficiency in each of the following competencies:

  1. Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
  2. Apply social work ethical principals to guide professional practice.
  3. Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
  4. Engage diversity and difference in practice.
  5. Advance human rights and social justice and economic justice.
  6. Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
  7. Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
  8. Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
  9. Respond to contexts that shape practice.
  10. Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Each of the ten program competencies includes a unique set of “practice behaviors” that are composed of knowledge, values, and skills. Each competency and its related practice behaviors are fully embedded throughout the foundation and advanced curriculum in a carefully designed manner so that students have ample opportunity to fully master them. This process includes learning materials in the classroom and applying that knowledge and skill during internship experiences.  Details about the competencies, practice behaviors, and how they related to accreditation of social work programs may be found here.