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This course is the first of three courses exploring human development and behavior across the lifespan. Consistent with social work principles, human behavior and interactions are examined through person-in-environment and strengths-based perspectives. In this foundational course, students acquire knowledge of multiple theories of human bio-psycho-social development as well as major conceptual frameworks for understanding human interactions within families, groups, organizations, and communities.

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

  1. Summarize major theories of human behavior, including ecological, systems, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, and lifespan developmental frameworks and the usefulness of each theory in building effective engagement with client populations. (G6b)
  2. Analyze how privileged ideologies, theories, and social narratives contribute to implicit biases which, in turn, hamper engagement with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities across the broad spectrum of human diversity.  (G6b)(G2c)
  3. Illustrate the strengths and limitations of each theory of human behavior in assessing the strengths and needs of clients and constituencies.  (G7c)(G2c)
  4. Examine how the conceptualization of the relative strengths and needs of each client population is altered by the theoretical perspective through which it is viewed. (G7c)(G2c)
  5. Analyze how each framework studied influences intervention strategies and tactics. (G8b)
  6. Interpret how each theoretical framework of human behavior provides benchmarks for successful social work practices with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. (G9b)
  7. Summarize the cumulative influence of theoretical conceptualization in social work practice, including early engagement with clients, assessing client strengths and needs, providing appropriate intervention, and evaluating effectiveness of those interventions.  (G9b)

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: MSW 600 History and Philosophy of Social Work and Social Welfare

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.