School Social Work Concentration

Within the clinical emphasis of Washburn's MSW program, students may choose to receive specialty training in school social work.  For students in the School Social Work Concentration, nine (9) credit hours of clinical elective courses are required. 

To be consistent with the requirements of most states, the Department of Social Work at Washburn University requires students in the school concentration to successfully complete three graduate-level electives (for a total of nine hours) with emphasis on social work practice in educational settings.  The course options are as follows:

  • SW 781 - Clinical Social Work Practice with the Exceptional Child; and
  • SW 782 - Clinical Social Work Practice in the Educational Environment; and
  • SW783 - Clinical Social Work Practice in Schools  Clinical Social Work Practice in Schools (SW 783) should be taken concurrently with SW 791 Clinical Practicum and SW 792 Clinical Practice Seminar.  In addition, the two-semester clinical practicum must be in a school setting under the supervision of a school social worker.

SW 781 - Clinical Social Work Practice with the Exceptional Child

In this elective clinical course within the MSW program, students are expected to develop an understanding of the historical and current social work practices relating to the educational characteristics, needs, and placement alternatives for exceptional learners. Emphasis is placed on procedures and strategies for working with exceptional learners.  Students in class will be introduced to a variety of learner exceptionalities and special educational needs such as: Learning Disabilities, Emotional or Behavioral Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Communication Disorders, Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Autism, Low-Incidence, Multiple, and Severe Disabilities, Physical Disabilities and Other Health Impairments, and Special Gifts and Talents. This course is open to all MSW students.   It provides material related to the educational system that has applicability and relevance to other clinical practice settings, such as child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice agencies.


SW 782 - Clinical Social Work Practice in the Educational Environment

Students in this content-driven course are expected to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for school social work practice or other forms of social work practice that might be influenced by the educational setting.  In this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of the history, philosophy, and issues/trends of the American educational system.  Students will be provided with an opportunity to critically analyze and discuss various historical, philosophical, and current trends in the education system, all the while juxtaposing social work philosophy, ethics, and practice principles against their findings.  This course is open to any MSW student, and provides material related to the educational system that has applicability and relevance to other clinical practice settings, such as child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice agencies.


SW 783 - Clinical Social Work Practice in Schools

Students in this course are expected to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for effective practice of school social work. An emphasis on the impact of policies for students and family functioning is included. This course emphasizes the person-in-environment perspective and concerns itself with empowerment of children within the school setting. The focus is on serving children, not isolated, but in collaboration with family, school and community.  For example, students learn how to conduct social history assessments, participate on multidisciplinary teams related to special education identification, perform behavioral observations, and create therapeutic interventions within Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 levels of service.  Currently, the Board of Education in Kansas does not certify School Social Workers. Most school social work positions are funded through special education dollars appropriated annually by the Kansas Legislature through a reimbursement system known as "categorical aid".  The services must be provided by a school social worker who holds a current and valid license issued by the Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board, at the Licensed Master Social Worker LMSW) or Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker (LSCSW) level, and has completed at a minimum of 720 hours in a supervised field practicum placement in the school setting and a school social work course (Special Education Reimbursement Guide for State Categorical and Transportation Aid 2004-2005).  This course is only open to clinical MSW students who are placed in a school-based practicum.

This is a sample list of school-based practicum options.  Placements in public, private, and charter schools will be considered by the field practicum office.


  • Atchison (USD 409)
  • Auburn Washburn (USD 437)
  • Beloit (USD 273)
  • Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative (USD 305)
  • East Central Kansas Special Education Cooperative (USD 368)
  • Fort Scott Special Education Cooperative (USD 234)
  • Holton Special Education Cooperative (USD 336)
  • Junction City Schools (USD 475)
  • Kansas City Kansas Public Schools (USD 500)
  • Lawrence Public Schools (USD 497)
  • Manhattan Public Schools (USD 383)
  • Marysville Special Education Cooperative (USD 364)
  • Ottawa (USD 290)
  • Seaman (USD 345)
  • Spring Hill (USD 230)
  • Three Lakes Special Education Cooperative (Interlocal 620)
  • Topeka Public Schools (USD 501)
  • Twin Lakes Special Education Cooperative (USD 379)
  • Turner (USD 202)
  • Wamego Public Schools (USD 301)

Employment Opportunities

Explore options for employment and available school social work jobs.

Contact Us

back to top button