Schedule an appointment Call 877-308-9954


In tracing their corresponding historical trajectories, this course examines the assumptions, values, and events that have shaped social welfare policy in the United States and the profession of social work. Social work values, principles, and ethics are grounded in the social, economic, political, and cultural contexts from which they evolved. Social welfare policy is examined within its historical context with particular attention given to the legacies of poverty, racism, sexism, and heterosexism.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Compare the distinctive attributes of contemporary social work professionals within the social work profession’s historical evolution and the societal context in which it continues to evolve. (G1c)
  2. Identify and govern one’s own values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in congruence with the professional values and ethics of social work as outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics. (G2g)(G2e)
  3. Evaluate how social work policies and functions at all practice levels serve to stimulate or impede advancement of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice. (G3b)(G2f)
  4. Identify inherent injustices, biases, and barriers in social work functions at all practice levels. (G3c)(G2e)(G2f)
  5. Design and promote ethical responses to societal injustices by drawing on the profession’s rich legacy of fomenting social change. (G3c)
  6. Examine the successes and failures of existing and developing social policies in protecting human rights and promoting the dignity and worth of all individuals. (G5a) (G2c)
  7. Apply social work ethics, values, and its legacy of leadership in creating positive and progressive social change at all levels of society. (G5b)

Learn more about the coursework in the Advanced Standing and Traditional tracks of the online Master of Social Work from Saint Mary's. Call 877-308-9954 to speak with an enrollment counselor or request more information.