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School of Social Work

Ryan Tolleson Knee, Chair

Social work is a human service profession concerned with the prevention of social problems, the maintenance of satisfying social relationships and the enhancement of human development. It focuses on people and their social environment. Social workers employ a range of knowledge and skills as the basis for constructive intervention on behalf of various client populations. The Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work degrees are offered. The Bachelor of Arts degree prepares graduates for generalist social work practice. The Master of Social Work degree prepares graduates for advanced integrated practice.

The undergraduate major in social work is available for those who wish to prepare for: (1) professional employment in the social services; (2) entry into a graduate school of social work; (3) graduate education in other helping service professions. The graduate degree in social work prepares graduates for advanced social work practice. Students can enroll in a two year full-time program or in a part-time option. See The University of Montana Graduate Catalog for a description of the Master of Social Work program. Both the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Master of Social Work degree are fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Special Degree Requirements

Refer to graduation requirements listed previously in the catalog. See index.

Forty credits in social work courses are required for the bachelor degree. The following courses must be successfully completed: SW 100, 200, 300, 310, 350, 360, 400, 410, 487, 488, and 10 credits in SW 495 over two semesters.

Requirements for the bachelor degree include course work outside the School of Social Work providing content in the social and behavioral sciences, human biology, and human diversity. Required course work includes ECNS 101S or 201S or 202S (ECON 100S, 111S, 112S) ; PSCI 210S (PSC 100S); SOCI 101S (SOC 110S); PSYX 100S, 230S, 233 (PSYC 100S, 240S, 245); BIOB 101N (BIOL 100N) or PSYX 250N (PSYC 270N); ANTY 122S (ANTH 180S) or SOCI 220S (SOC 220S) or GPHY 121S (GEOG 101S). No fewer than five of these eight course requirements must be completed before enrollment will be permitted in required 300-level social work courses

To enroll in required 300- and 400-level social work courses, social work majors are required to have earned and to maintain a 2.75 grade point average for all college course work. To ensure that they have complied with all course prerequisites, grade point average requirements and compliance with professional social work ethics, students must complete a formal application to the social work major for school approval prior to admission to required social work courses at the 300-level or above.

Social work majors are required to complete a two-semester practicum placement (SW 495 section 01 and 02, Field Work Practicum, 5 credits each semester). Refer to the SW 495 course description for admission and completion requirements regarding this specific course.

The upper-division writing expectation must be met by successfully completing an upper-division writing course from the approved list in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. SW 300 and SW 310 will satisfy this requirement. Social work majors who wish to explore more specialized study in such areas as children, exceptional persons, or the family should consider the Human and Family Development minor program, which is described elsewhere in the catalog. The School of Social Work offers a Title IV-e Child Welfare Training Program for eligible B.A. and M.S.W. students interested in a career in child protective services. The Gerontology Fellows Program is available to undergraduate students pursuing a career in gerontological or intergenerational social work. 

Social work majors are expected to conduct themselves according to the ethical standards of the National Association of Social Workers as well as those applicable to students of the University. Other professional expectations are described in the Student Handbook, available from the school or on web page

Majors in social work are assigned a faculty advisor who they are required to meet with at least once per semester as soon as the social work major is declared. A school advising guide is available to all students at the School of Social Work office or on the web page []. The Master of Social Work requirements are detailed in The University of Montana Graduate online Catalog [].

Suggested Course of Study

First Year A S
PSCI 210S (PSC 100S) Introduction to American Government - 3
PSYX 100S (PSYC 100S) Introduction to Psychology 4 -
SOCI 101S (SOC 110S) Introduction of Sociology - 3
SW 100 Introduction to Social Welfare 3 -
General Education 9 9
Total 16 15
Second Year A S
SW 200 Introduction to Social Work Practice 4 -
BIOB 101N (BIOL 100N) Discover Biology - 3
ECNS 101S or 201S or 202S (ECON 100S, 111S, 112S) Economic Way of Thinking 3 -
PSYX 230S (PSYC 240S) Developmental Psychology - 3
PSYX 233 (PSYC 245) Fund of Psychology of Aging - 3
ANTY 122S (ANTH 180S) Race and Minorities or SOCI 220S (SOC 220S) Race, Gender & Class or GPHY 121S (GEOG 101S) Human Geography 3 -
General Education 6 6
Total 16 15
Third Year A S
SW 300 Human Behavior and Social Environment 3 -
SW 310 Social Welfare Policy and Services - 4
SW 350, 360 Social Work Intervention Methods I, II 3 3
Electives 6 9
Total 14 16
Fourth Year A S
SW 400 Social Work Research
3 -
SW 410 Social Work Ethics - 3
SW 487, SW 488 Advanced Practice I, II 2 2
SW 495 Practicum I & II 5 5
Electives 5 5
Total 15 15

Minor in Gerontology

Students in the Gerontology Minor program will study issues of aging from an interdisciplinary perspective and come to understand the interplay between them, including health and medical as well as social and psychological needs of older persons. Although this interdisciplinary minor is housed in the School of Social Work, students in other majors may complete the minor in consultation with both the Chair of the Gerontology Minor and the students’ academic advisors in their respective departments. Students must consult with their major advisor to select electives, practicum or volunteer experiences, and integrating courses that will meet the requirements of the minor. The minor will require successful completion of four required core courses (12 credits), an integrating course with gerontological content within the student’s major (3 credits), one or two elective courses (3-6 credits), and a practicum course within the student’s major (3 credits) for a total of 21-24 credits. Core courses are:

  • HS 325 Introduction to Gerontology 3 cr.
  • SW 455 Social Gerontology 3 cr.
  • PSYX 233 (PSYC 245) Fund of Psychology of Aging 3cr.
  • HS 430 Health Aspects of Aging 3 cr.

Students should contact the School of Social Work for a complete list of appropriate major and elective courses.


Social Work (S W) - Course Descriptions

R- before the course description indicates the course may be repeated for credit to the maximum indicated after the R. Credits beyond this maximum do not count toward a degree.

100, 195, 198, 200, 295, 300, 310, 323, 324, 350, 360, 395, 398, 400, 410E, 420S, 423, 430, 434, 440, 450, 455S, 460, 465, 470, 475, 485, 487, 488, 489, 494, 495, 496, 500,  505, 510, 511, 515, 520, 521, 525, 530, 531, 535, 545, 550, 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 576, 577, 578, 579, 586, 587, 588, 589, 593, 594, 595, 596, 597



Cynthia Garthwait, M.S.S.W., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1974

Janet Finn, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1995

Associate Professors

Jim Caringi, Ph.D., University of New York, 2007

Timothy Conley, Ph.D., Boston College, 2001

Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Ph.D., University of California Berkeley, 1993

Ryan Tolleson Knee, Ph.D., University of Denver, 1999 (Chair)


Bart Klika, M.S.W., University of Chicago, 2008

Adjunct Assistant Professors

Tondy Baumgartner, M.S.W., Walla Walla College, 1998

Kerrie Ghenie, M.S.W., Walla Walla College, 2000

Charlie Wellenstein, M.S.W., Eastern Washington University, 1991

Emeritus Professors

Frank Clark, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1969

Robert Deaton, Ed.D., University of Nevada, Reno, 1980

Charles Horejsi, Ph.D., University of Denver, 1971

John Spores, Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1976

Registrar's Office

Lommasson Center 201

Phone: (406) 243-2995

Fax: (406) 243-4807