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Department of Social Sciences

Master in Social Work (MSW)

Course Description

I – Core Courses

MSWK 511 “Fundamentals of Research Methods, Academic writing and critical reading”

The course introduces the student to range of qualitative and quantitative methods for informing evidence-based social work practice. Emphasis on critical appraisal of the literature, development of research questions, and strategies and techniques for conducting practice-relevant research. Students are expected to engage in a critical analysis of the underlying beliefs, approaches, and assumptions of various research methods, particularly as they relate to promoting social justice. Students are also expected to consider issues of social justice and diversity in the application of research methods.

The course provides students with training and experience in critical reading for development purposes, and in professional writing. The course is designed to combine lectures, discussions, and classroom exercises in weekly class sessions.

MSWK 513  “Introduction to Community Practice: Social change, community

organization anempowerment , and social movements” (Cr. 3):

This course examines theory and skills necessary to support social change through the practices of community organizing and social movements. This course builds on the community practice domain of social work. Examined are strategies that social workers use in communities to affect change. Community organizing frameworks explored in the class include social action, locality development, and social planning. Skills associated with community organizing-- such as recruiting participants, developing and implementing activities for social change, and evaluation--will be taught. Social movement frameworks explored in the class will include theories related to their development, framing an issue, and the life span of social movementsThis course will cover issues in regard to understanding the sociopolitical structures in Palestine, the assets in the community (culture, history) that community mobilization can be built upon. It will take into consideration various population groups status and approaches for working with them such as women, youth and refugees. Civic and political engagements as ways of community empowerment and participation will be taken into consideration.

MSWK 523 “Leadership and Organizational Behavior” (Cr. 3):

Focuses on leadership and managing organizations. Uses cases on a variety of organizations to expose students to problems and to improve their effectiveness in analyzing, diagnosing, and leading people in organizations. Students learn organizational concepts, analytic frameworks, and models, and practice their leadership skills in class. Uses case discussions, simulations, role-playing, mini-lecturing, and experimental exercises. Provides an opportunity to develop leadership skills through group work and reflection.

MSWK 531 “Perspectives and Possibilities of Community Work in Palestine: integrated Mezzo & macro level practices” (Cr. 3):

The purpose of this course is to enrich the knowledge base of social sciences students in general and the social work students in particularly and orient them about the reality of social work profession in Palestine in order to enhance a smooth integration with the labor market after graduation.

The intention is to help the students in getting to the field practice with the knowledge base about the professional status within the Palestinian realities and context. Also, it will sensitize their perceptions and in puts from other courses with the ability to create linkages between what they learn from other courses with the Palestinian realities. It will enrich and enhance the interactive learning process throughout the study plan.

The focus of this course will be on the following topics:

The history of social work profession in Palestine; The socioeconomic cultural and political context within which the social work profession evolved and the current status of the profession; The current and future challenges before the profession given the contextual analysis at mezzo and macro levels; The social work intervention modalities adopted, adapted and applied within the Palestinian context at mezzo and macro levels; 

The social work realities and social work oriented research in Palestine

The institutionalization of social work as a profession in Palestine: legal recognition, professional identity and the recognition of significance

Social Work profession in Palestine and other professions: Interdisciplinary perspective

The role of social work in the social change process in Palestine: Professionalism, activism and social transformation at mezzo and macro levels.

MSWK 533 “Participatory approaches to SW practice: Group work, dialogue and PAR” (Cr. 3): 

This course will lay the foundation for examining participatory and collaborative approaches to social work practice with a focus on intergroup dialogue (IGD) and group work as a nexus for learning and practice. IGD is an emerging social work practice method that focuses on dialogic engagement with client systems at multiple levels. IGD involves fostering egalitarian communication processes to build alliances for engendering and promoting greater social justice. IGD draws from principles in emancipatory education and empowerment practice, dialogic communication, intergroup relations and small group work. We envision such practice as fundamental to advancing the principles of community leadership, empowerment and leadership. The course will emphasize knowledge and skills development by involving all course members in participating and facilitating small and large groups. The course will also look at the interface of IGD with other participatory methods, such as self-help groups, organizational development and leadership, and participatory action research.

MSWK 535 “Supervision” (Cr. 3):

This course Focuses on the role and function of the social work supervisor in human service agencies and Provides knowledge and skills involved in the role of social worker as supervisor and team leader; supervision as a leadership function, power and authority,

professional boundaries, staff recruitment, selection, performance evaluation, and addressing staff-related performance problems. Students will develop values, knowledge and skills in balancing the complexities of supervisory roles, relationship and process. Topics include the supervisory relationship and learning styles in the Leadership for Community and Organizational Practice Tracks.

MSWK 611 “Community Practice (1): Youth empowerment” (Cr. 3):

This course will examine the different models and approaches for youth empowerment. The course will analyze the different models and approaches will be in relation to variety of critical concepts and theories, such as social capital, collaborative networked governance, asset-based community development. The course will explore the various policies and programs implemented in Palestine and its role in enhancing youth empowerment. The course will look into the community structures and context and how they lead to the patterning of relations and innovation of forms of engagement.

MSWK 621 “Community Practice (2): Trauma and Community Healing” (Cr. 3):

This course will introduce students to issues related to trauma and its recovery both within individuals and communities. Content involving individual level trauma will explore the biology of trauma and the emotional, cognitive, and physiological effects of trauma on individual youth and adults as related to posttraumatic stress disorder intergenerational exposure to trauma, complex trauma, and secondary trauma (the trauma experienced by those in the helping profession). Content regarding community trauma will include information on trauma associated with conflict, war, refugee status, and deprivation. Students will also gain knowledge about key aspects of recovery to include meaning making, the role of religion or spirituality, community and individual empowerment. Models based on human rights frameworks that are used to address individual and community trauma in conflict and war environments will be explored. Students will be asked to apply the general knowledge that they receive about trauma and recovery to the Palestinian context.

II- Research & Statistics Courses 

MSWK 623 “Qualitative research  ” (Cr. 3):

Provides students with the preliminary tools to conduct and critiqualitative  research.  Begins with an examination of the appropriateness, strengths, and weaknesses of this method. Threats to internal and external validity are examined along with techniques to properly collect and document data from multiple sources. Techniques are reviewed for sample selection, data analysis, and study presentation. The final class is spent critiquing actual case studies.

MSWK 631 “Quantitative research and Statistics: Applied regression” (Cr. 3):

This course is concerned maiissues  and models of quantitative research and the applications of regression analysis and extensions to areas where the standard assumptions do not hold. The course introduces applications of  logit and its extensions, probit, corrections for censoring and sample selection bias, and simultaneous equations. Each student will design and carry out a research project.

III - Practicum Courses  (Cr. 8)

MSWK 517,527, 617, 627,  Practicum I – IV

Incorporates content acquired in all areas of the curriculum. In a selected community agency, the student is given the opportunity to apply social work knowledge under the supervision of an experienced social worker. Emphasis on developing the perspectives and skills needed for practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. In addition, the development of culturally competent practice and planned social change skills are an integral part of this practicum and are seen as critical for the effective delivery of social services. The student's practicum placement is determined by the Practicum Coordinating Committee. A practicum coordinator interviews each student and reviews a questionnaire completed by the student, which pertains to student areas of interest as well as previous experience in social work. The committee then selects a placement for each student that meets curriculum and accreditation requirements.

IV- Graduate Thesis & Seminar Courses (Cr. 6)


The seminar aims at keeping students updated with current issues taking place in the Palestinian context Professionals in the field will present their experience. Further, it will allow students to exchange experience. The Seminar will be coordinated with a Bethlehem University faculty.

MSWK 770 – 780[1] MSW Thesis[2] (Cr. 6)

After having completed the required courses and 4 practicum courses, students will be assigned to a supervisor from the School teaching staff. The supervisor will help the student develop their thesis project.  A final thesis will be a written paper focuses on community social work issues considered particularly relevant by the candidate. Students can choose the topic on the basis of their preference and the experience during the internship. They can directly refer to the work done in the internship or, alternatively, choose some interrelated issue and analyze it from a theoretical perspective. The topic, content and structure of the thesis must be discussed with the supervisor and incorporate issues examined in the coursework. The supervisor will be a representative of the School teaching staff. The supervisor follows the student's work step by step and gives him/her all needed support: references, comments, suggestions.

Elective courses may not be offered every year

MSWK 613 “Evaluation of Community Programs” (Cr. 3):

This course will cover beginning level evaluation that builds on basic research knowledge as a method of assessing social work practice and strengthening clients, communities and their social programs as well as the systems that serve clients and communities. It addresses the evaluation of promotion, prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services. Students will learn to assess and apply evaluation methods from various perspectives, including scientific, ethical, multicultural, and social justice perspectives. This course will focus on the direct application of the analytical skills associated with developing and implementing evaluation designs that are appropriate for social work practice. Students will examine the evaluation of social work programs with particular attention to dimensions of diversity (ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender [including gender identity and gender expression], marital status, national origin, race, religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation). Students will be introduced to models of evaluation derived from social scienceand social work theory and research. They will learn to apply these models as they develop skills in critically assessing evaluation methods within the social context.

MSWK 635 “Methods of Survey Research” (Cr. 3):

The course focuses on processes and techniques of survey research methods. Special attention is devoted to different modes of questionnaire design, development and administration. Implementation issues considered include interviewing strategies and other data collection procedures, field supervision, code book development, and documentation data management. Data analysis issues include scale and index construction, reliability and validity assessments, and general analysis strategies.

MSKW 713 “Participatory Action Research Methodologies” (Cr. 3):

Participatory Action Research (PAR), with its inherent emphasis on equalizing power relationships between the researcher and the researched, emphasizes the importance of respecting the situated knowledge of research participants. It is largely based in Paulo Freire's pedagogical framework for liberatory education which seeks to help marginalized peoples to empower themselves through research and knowledge production for the purposes of political action.

MSWK 633 “Applied Economic Theory and Social Policy Analysis” (Cr. 3):

This course applies economic analysis to problems of importance to social policy. The particular applications may vary from year to year, but may include such topics as unemployment and inflation, social security, and the economics of age, social status, and gender.

[1]  (Cr. 3  Each)
[2]  Pass/Fail Basis

Master of Social Work

Dr. Abeer Musleh, Ph.D
Phone: 2741241 Ext. 2255

Ms. Lina Abed Rabbo
Phone: 2741241 Ext. 2264

Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine