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Fall 2017 Online Electives

Our online courses come in a variety of offerings. Some of these courses are offered completely online while others are offered in a hybrid format, where students are required to come to campus for several class meetings.

Important Information Regarding Online Courses

The course descriptions provide details on the requirements for each individual course. One common misperception that students have is that they believe that taking an online course will be easier than taking a seated course. You should be aware that our online and hybrid courses will take just as much time and effort as a regular course. You will be required to do your readings, watch online video lectures, and participate in online activities that are equivalent to what you would do in a face-to-face class.


In addition to having the right attributes to be successful in taking an online or hybrid course, you also want to make sure that the computer system that you will be using for the course meets our minimumĀ technical requirements.

Continuing Education Information

CEU's for NY LMSW's and LCSW's are available for select MSW elective courses. Upon completion of your course, you may use the instructions and form at this link to request your certificate.

On this page:

SW 101 The Social Context and Human Biology (undergraduate)

This undergraduate course will provide a foundational understanding of human biology with emphasis on the biological bases of behaviors and issues of concern to social workers. This course is designed to meet the human biology prerequisites for Masters in Social Work students, and will cover the basics of human biology including anatomical systems and structures, development from conception through aging and death, genetics, evolution and biological and environmental interactions. The focus of the course is not only on biology but also on the critical analysis of the interplay between human biology and social issues. Discussions will cover the biological bases of phenomena including but not limited to addictions, mental illness, sexuality and aggression. Emphasis throughout the course also will be placed on biological processes related to trauma and stress.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 12206 or 12221
Instructor: Elaine Hammond
Format: Blackboard CMS, Video Lectures, Online Quizzes, Mid-term and Final Paper
Textbook: Biology of Humans: Concepts, Applications, and Issues Plus Mastering Biology with eText -- Access Card Package, 5/E; Judith Goodenough & Betty A. McGuire; ISBN-10: 0321820606, ISBN-13: 9780321820600

Course Introduction - In this video Elaine Hammond provides a summary of what the course covers.

SW 401C Crossing Borders: Human Rights Issues from U.S. and Mexican Perspectives (undergraduate)

This interdisciplinary course examines human rights in the U.S and Mexico, focusing on issues that cut across our nations and cultures including but not limited to the rights of children; gender; the rights of persons with disabilities; as well as labor and economic justice and migration and immigrant rights. Case law, case studies and international human rights conventions will be analyzed through the lens of law and social work. The course includes several globally networked sessions where law and social work students and faculty from Buffalo and Mexico meet in real time for exchanges and joint learning opportunities.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 24250
Instructor: Filomena Critelli

SW 554 Motivational Interviewing

For students in the online MSW program and non-matriculated students.

This course is organized primarily as a seminar that will highlight Motivational Interviewing approaches to help clients build commitment and reach a decision to change behavior. This course provides a forum for case presentation and discussion with an emphasis on discussing cases from student’s field placements and/or practice settings. Theories of behavioral change will be discussed, and the transtheoretical model (TTM) of intentional behavior change will be highlighted as an integrative framework for understanding the process of behavior change.

The theoretical basis of Motivational Interviewing lies in the construct of "ambivalence" and the conflict between indulgence and restraint that is so prevalent in the addictive behaviors. Failure to change behaviors causing problems is a phenomenon that extends well beyond the addictions, however, and the immobilizing effects of ambivalence can be seen in many social work practice spheres. Applications of motivational interviewing have been extended to behavioral change in general, including social work, mental health, health promotion, general medical care, corrections, and community and organizational settings. In addition, the course will discuss MI's application to practice with "mandated" clients.

While the course will reflect topics related to students who are working with clients with alcohol and other drug problems in their field and/or practice settings, it is also open to students who would like to learn and practice the Motivational Interviewing approach. In direct contrast to lecture formats, seminars can be a good means of changing perceptions, developing problem-solving skills, and challenging opinions.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 24342
Instructor: Todd Sage

SW 557 Evidence Based Mental Health Practice

This course is aimed at developing the knowledge and skills necessary for working with individuals who have a diagnosis of serious mental illness using recovery-oriented evidence-based practices. It is designed for MSW students and MSW mental health practitioners.  Students will become familiar with evidence-based practice, within a recovery-oriented paradigm, as a general approach to practice as well as specific evidence-based interventions to use for individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness. It is assumed that students will have a basic knowledge on serious mental illness as a pre or co-requisite, however a review will be provided. Students will learn to examine research literature to determine the various levels of support for specific interventions and essential principles for translating research into practice. In addition, they will identify the appropriate treatment outcomes that reflect effective, quality, mental health practice. Each evidence-based practice presented will also be examined for its utility with diverse groups. Providing assessment and treatment to a diverse group of individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness is the focus of this course and will be discussed in detail.

This course is approved for CEU's.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 23370
Instructor: Catherine Dulmus
Format: Blackboard CMS, Video Lectures, Discussion Board and Chat Assignments, Literature Review, Virtual Poster Presentation

SW 580 Psychopathology

This course provides a general introduction to the fields of abnormal psychology and clinical psychiatry. Specifically, the course intends to acquaint the students with the epidemiology, classification, etiology and treatment of the major forms of mental illness. It will be the primary aim of this course to develop the student’s diagnostic skills in clinical settings. To that end, didactic emphasis will be placed not only upon the study of psychopathological symptoms and behavior per se, but also upon their manifestations in everyday life. Case studies and audio-visual tape records of interviews with actual patients will be made an integral part of the course.

This course is approved for CEU's.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 12173
Instructor: Barbara Rittner
Format: Blackboard CMS, Video Lectures, Discussion Board Interaction, Online Exams

Course Introduction - In this video Professor Rittner provides a summary of what the course covers.

Introduction Lesson - a sample lecture from the course.

SW 589 Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

This course provides participants with a trauma-genic conceptual framework for working with survivors of sexual abuse. Assessment techniques and treatment strategies are presented with special emphasis on individual and group therapy. Other topics in a survivor’s life; use of creative arts therapies in recovery; spiritual aspects of healing; and the avoidance of vicarious traumatization for the worker.

This course is approved for CEU's.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 24202
Instructor: Mickey Sperlich

SW 598 Behavior Disorders of Childhood

This course provides a general introduction to behavior problems of childhood. A particular emphasis will be placed on differentiating among the many associated labels (i.e. behavioral disturbances, behavior problems, mental illness, developmental disorders, maladaptive behavior, and dysfunctional behavior) with this category of disorders. The course will review classification and etiology of major mental health disorders within the context of normal and abnormal mental and emotional development of children. Children’s behavior disorders will be examined in the contexts of family, peer group, school, and community. The ethical considerations associated with this topic as well as the impact of culture on children and their families will be highlighted. Strategies employed to treat children and their families will also be addressed.

This course is approved for CEU's.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 19958
Instructor: Elizabeth Caprio
Format: Blackboard CMS, discussion board interaction, online exams, video lectures, video clips, blogs, module activities, and potential synchronous sessions.

SW 721 Social Policy and Programs for Aging Populations

This course is designed to familiarize students with social policies and programs for meeting the rapidly growing needs of the older population. Policies, programs, and services for older adults will be examined from historical, observational, and analytical perspectives, with an emphasis on similarities and differences related to human diversity. This course is intended to increase the student's awareness and knowledge of programs and services provided through the Older Americans Act, the Social Security Act (including Medicare and Medicaid), the Affordable Care Act, public, and community initiatives. It will focus on the strengths and limitations of these existing policies, and provide the skills needed to advocate for change at the legislative, agency and/or community level. Students will be exposed to content areas that will enable them to understand aging programs that deal with social services, health care, housing, and other elements of community and institutional long-term care systems.

Course Dates:

Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017

Students must be online for a synchronous session on Tuesday, 8/29 from 6:30 to 8 pm

Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 24167
Instructor: Louanne Bakk
Format: Blackboard CMS, Video Lectures, Discussion Board Interaction, Video Presentations, synchronous sessions

SW 991 Advance your Social Work Career with Social Media

Are you looking for tools to help you stand out among other social work graduates and social workers who are looking for jobs? This course will provide you with hands-on experience to build your online professional presence via social media.  In this course, you will use social media to establish and promote your expertise. You will also build your career by learning about new developments in the field, such as the latest evidence-based practices and technologies being used to facilitate clinical or advocacy work, and make valuable connections with experienced social workers and other mental health experts. 

Guidelines for ethical professional social media use for social workers will also be provided to assist in applying the Code of Ethics in the digital world.

This course is approved for CEU's.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 1
Registration # 21368
Instructor: Sean Erreger

SW 995 Crossing Borders: Human Rights Issues from U.S. and Mexican Perspectives

This interdisciplinary course examines human rights in the U.S and Mexico, focusing on issues that cut across our nations and cultures including but not limited to the rights of children; gender; the rights of persons with disabilities; as well as labor and economic justice and migration and immigrant rights. Case law, case studies and international human rights conventions will be analyzed through the lens of law and social work. The course includes several globally networked sessions where law and social work students and faculty from Buffalo and Mexico meet in real time for exchanges and joint learning opportunities.

Course Dates: Aug. 28 - Dec. 8, 2017
Credit Hours: 3
Registration # 22398
Instructor: Filomena Critelli