By choosing to major in social work, you are embarking on a journey of service to others. The MacMurray College Social Work Program will help you to become a leader, scholar, and experienced practitioner who is prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

As a social work major, you can become involved in a variety of outside-the-classroom activities, like an annual spring break trip, when students have tutored disadvantaged children and visited a homeless shelter. Students participate in the student-led Social Work Club, Hunger Awareness events, and attend local conferences.

In addition, as a MacMurray Social Work major, you will have a practicum internship your senior year in one of the many social service agencies and institutions in Jacksonville. By graduation, most students have 400 hours of practicum work, making them that much more attractive to employers.


At MacMurray, you'll have extensive opportunities to gain hands-on, practical experience through a practicum internship at a local human service agency, institution, or organization, such as the Morgan County Probation Office, the Jacksonville Center for Independent Living, or at an organization closer to your hometown.

Field experience is an integral part of the MacMurray social work education, and good preparation matters. In the field, you'll be able to apply the theory you learn in the classroom to real social work situations. The hands-on experience is crucial to understanding how social problems impact individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities — the sort of practical knowledge your future employer will want.

In recent years, MacMurray students have engaged in fieldwork at more than 40 organizations and agencies in the region in a wide variety of social-service areas, including child welfare, health services, criminal justice, mental health, disability services domestic violence, gerontology, substance abuse, the schools, and many others.

View a full list of organizations and agencies that have a relationship with the MacMurray College Social Work Program.

After Graduation

MacMurray's Social Work Program, accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, prepares graduates for beginning professional social work practice and/or the successful pursuit of a graduate degree. Recent graduates from the Program have been hired by such places as the Crisis Center, the Illinois Institute for Addiction & Recovery, AmeriCorps, and the Social Security Administration.

A graduating student with a bachelor's in social work from MacMurray is able to apply for advanced standing when applying for a master's in social work program. This means that you could graduate with a two-year master's degree in only one year. A recent graduate of our program was able to transfer 30 MacMurray credits into her MSW program and graduated with her master's exactly one year after graduating from MacMurray.

Learn more about Social Work courses and how to pursue a degree in Social Work through our academic catalog.

SCWK 101. Introduction to Sociology. (3) An introduction to the general principles of sociology and its subfields, including an investigation into the development of culture and subcultures, the effects of groups and institutions on personal behavior, and structure and process in social interaction. Formerly SOCG 201.

SCWK 103. Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare. (3) This course is open to Social Work majors and students interested in learning more about careers in social work. Students explore the values, knowledge, skills, and practice settings of the social work profession. The course introduces students to the generalist method of social work practice with an emphasis on human development and behavior in the context of the person-in-environment perspective and human diversity. There is a 30 hour Service Learning requirement for this course.

SCWK 200. Social and Economic Justice, Human Rights, and Diversity. (3) Students will explore the local and global interconnections of oppression, theories of justice, and strategies to promote human and civil rights. The course will take into account how social and economic justice practices can be applied to organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice. Exploration of personal values and attitudes regarding diverse groups will be encouraged, including race; gender; religion; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues. Prerequisites: SCWK 101 or permission of instructor.

SCWK 202. Crisis Intervention. (3) This course explores methods and models for dealing with people experiencing a life crisis. This course will examine various types of crisis experiences and apply crisis intervention methods to their resolution. Prerequisite: SCWK 101. Cross-listed with PSYC 202.

SCWK 229. Introduction to Gerontology. (3) An overview of all aspects of the aging process, provision of services for the elderly, family relations, and the dynamics of death and dying. No prerequisite. Cross-listed with PSYC 229.

SCWK 235. Cross-Cultural Communication. (3) This course is an interdisciplinary class that will examine the way people from different cultures think, speak, and behave based on their value systems, world perspectives, and traditions. The course will increase awareness and understanding of cultures, social norms, and interpersonal communication in a cross-cultural context. Students will learn how to apply the information to address humanitarian issues including ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, to conduct business with cross-cultural competency, and to work with a global population with a sensitivity to their cultural norms.

SCWK 250. Human Behavior and the Social Environment. (3) Students explore human development and behavior in the context of the person-in-environment perspective and human diversity. The course is an overview of theoretical perspectives applied to understanding the bio-psycho-social development of the person from infancy to old age within context of diverse family, group, community, organizational, and cultural systems. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and SCWK 103 (or concurrent).

SCWK 275. Professional Social Work. (3) Students will learn about professional social work in the framework of the 21st century. Students will explore and integrate professional social work values and ethics into current generalist practice contexts and scenarios. Students will also strengthen professional social work skills in the areas of academic writing, professional documentation, competent social skills preparation, and professional use of social media. Prerequisites: SCWK 103 and 250 or permission of the instructor.

SCWK 285. Modern Slavery. (3) This course will examine different forms of modern slavery, including sex and labor trafficking, bonded and forced labor, and child labor. It will examine how modern slaves are recruited, modes of transportation, and common forms of exploitation. In this course we will identify patters of traffickers and trends in the industry. We will also examine the economics of the trade, applicable international laws and policies, and current strategies focused on prevention and response.

SCWK 304. Social Welfare Policies and Services. (3) Students will learn the processes involved in the development of public policy and how those decisions affect service delivery and client consumption of services. Students will learn the history and current structures of social policies and how to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being. Prerequisites: SCWK 103 and 300.

SCWK 309. Child Welfare Services. (3) Designed to provide a student with an overview of child welfare services from a historical, theoretical and practice perspective and to help each student develop basic competencies for entry into the field of child welfare. Each service is considered from point of view of etiology, rationale of services, the provision of services, and how the consumer and other stakeholders view the service. Services are examined from the perspectives of diverse populations. Students, within the generalist perspective, will learn how to assess, plan, implement, evaluate, terminate, and follow-up with diverse children and families in need of services, as well as how to develop resources, make referrals, and ensure child safety. Prerequisites: Social Work 103 and 250.

SCWK 311. Substance Use and Abuse: Theory, Practice, and Prevention. (3) Understanding alcohol and drug abuse from biological, sociological, psychological, and cultural perspectives. Students will examine the causes and consequences of alcohol/drug abuse, diagnostic issues, intervention, treatment, aftercare, and prevention, as well as their own personal values and attitudes toward alcohol/drug use. The impact of alcohol/drug abuse on families, special groups (e.g., women, elderly, and minority populations) and the larger societal context will be addressed. Students will also be introduced to psychotropic medications and their therapeutic uses, side effects, and potential risk. No prerequisite. Cross-listed with PSYC 311.

SCWK 312. Practice I: Working with Individuals. (3) Using the generalist approach, students learn and practice the values, knowledge, and skills of interviewing and the data gathering necessary for effective treatment planning, goal setting, and problem solving. Students practice assessment and learn to develop detailed intervention plans and write contracts. The student will learn how to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions, how to revise the plan, and how and when to terminate with the client. The course emphasizes, through case examples, the application of the generalist method to diverse populations. Prerequisites: SCWK 103 and 250.

SCWK 314. Practice II: Working with Groups and Family. (3) Within the context of the generalist approach, students will learn and put into practice the values, knowledge, and skills of forming both treatment and task groups with all segments of society. Students learn to assess group dynamics and develop interventions, which may include individual, group, family, and community change. Students learn to evaluate change within group members, in the group, and in the larger environment. Students will learn to evaluate the implementation of the plan, modify interventions as needed, and terminate when appropriate. Group skills with diverse populations are interwoven throughout the course. Prerequisite: SCWK 312.

SCWK 316. Practice III: Working with Communities and Organizations. (3) Within the context of the generalist method, students learn the values, skills, and knowledge required for practice within organizations and communities. Students will conduct community needs assessments, assess nonprofit organizations, and help organizations and communities develop plans for change, including implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Students learn to identify and work effectively with the political forces within organizations and communities. No prerequisite.

SCWK 326. International Social Work. (3) Students will gain an understanding of international social work and social welfare on a global scale. Through the lens of a person-in-environment perspective, students will gain an awareness of international social challenges, such as globalization, social justice and human rights, poverty, child welfare, ecological problems, disease, migration, education, and religion and spirituality challenges. This course synthesizes theories of international social work practice with micro and macro social work skills to create a unique learning opportunity about a specific international location. Prerequisite: SCWK 300 and either SCWK 250 or PSYC 242, or permission of instructor.

SCWK 330. Social Work Practice with Children. (3) Dynamics, services, and intervention methods in children’s issues including parent-child conflict, family problems, child development, abuse and neglect, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, and other specific childhood issues, such as ageism, are explored. Prerequisite: SCWK 101.

SCWK 345. Research Methods in Social Sciences. (4) An introduction to research methods in the social sciences. Topics include evidence-based practice, ethics in human subjects research, construction of literature reviews, research design and methodology, formulation of hypotheses and testing, construction of measurement instruments, administration of survey questionnaires, data collection and analysis, interpretation of results, and report writing. Students develop and conduct a research project throughout the semester. Prerequisites: PSYC 221 or other Statistics course. Cross-listed with PSYC 222.

SCWK 350. Rural Social Work: Caring for the Rural Community. (3) Explores the social, cultural, and technological characteristics of living in rural America. The course emphasizes the application of social work values and methods in providing human services in rural environments. Topics include rural poverty, rural people and special populations, strengths and problems of rural communities, and rural communities in transition. No prerequisite.

SCWK 375. Junior Field Practicum. (3) Supervised field instruction and practice in a social work direct service setting. This course requires 120 hours in the practicum setting and participation in the one-hour weekly seminar class (15 hours). This course gives students the opportunity to integrate classroom theory and social work practice, and will assist in preparing the students for SCWK 475. This course provides instruction and practice in a variety of social work settings with individuals, groups, and families. Prerequisites: SCWK 103 and 275, or permission of the instructor.

SCWK 475. Senior Field Practicum. (12) Supervised field instruction and practice in a social work direct service setting. This course requires 200 hours in the practicum setting and participation in the weekly seminar class in field instruction. Field instruction gives students the opportunity to integrate classroom theory and social work practice. This course provides instruction and practice in a variety of social work methods with individuals, groups, and families. Prerequisites: SCWK 312 and 314.

SCWK 495. Professional Seminar in Social Work. (3) The Senior Seminar course focuses on the development of a professional portfolio and examination of the student’s grasp of the 9 professional social work competencies. The course is designed as an online course using online environments for the semester for communication and portfolio development while students are in practica. Students are taught online web development, how to use tools in both synchronous and asynchronous environments, and ultimately critically assess and reflect on their whole academic and professional development in the process of creating an emergent professional identity. The overall goal is to think ethically, critically, and reflectively in all areas of social work practice.

Photo of Dr. Joseph Squillace

Dr. Joseph Squillace

Director, Social Work Program; Associate Professor of Social Work

"I love the MacFam. The six core values of MacMurray — Faith, Knowledge, Service, Wisdom, Duty, and Reverence — are infused throughout our daily life at the College. Our small class sizes allow us to work on projects in depth for deeper modes of learning and engage with the communities around us. It's a privilege to watch our Mac students develop into leaders and citizens of the 21st century."

  • Areas of interest: Dr. Squillace is the author of numerous scholarly and advocacy publications covering Medicaid and dental and mental health care. As a practicing social worker, he has been a policy analyst, advocate, nonprofit manager, and direct service practitioner. He drafted the Comprehensive Children's Mental Health Services System legislation that passed the Missouri legislature in 2005, as well as legislation to prevent the relinquishing of child custody for mental health services and for the provision of oral health care services delivered by dental hygienists in public health settings.
  • Ph.D. in Public Policy — St. Louis University
  • M.S.W. — St. Louis University
  • B.A. in Philosophy — Fordham University
  • Courses taught: Introduction to Social Work, Social Welfare Policy, General Practice Communities and Orgs, Research Methods, Professional (Senior) Seminar, Introduction to Sociology, First-Year Seminar

Courtney Howell

Director of Field Education, Social Work; Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work

Photo of Reanna Orr '16

Reanna Orr '16

Assistant Professor of Social Work

“I like giving back to our society by enriching and preparing our future generation of social workers!”

  • Areas of interest: Orr takes special interest in advocating for social justice and equality across numerous aspects of our community. She enjoys building new relationships to promote collaboration across disciplines which will provide a wide variety of experiences for all students.
  • M.S.W. (Mental Health Concentration) – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • B.S.W. – MacMurray College
  • Courses taught: Human Behavior & Social Environment, Practice I: Working with Individuals, and Practice III: Communities & Organizations.
Photo of Alejandra De Los Santos '19

Alejandra De Los Santos '19
Social Work

"I chose Mac for their small class sizes. I didn’t want to get lost in the crowd... I wanted to be somewhere where I could get to know my professors."

Photo of Courtney Pearson  '18

Courtney Pearson '18
Social Work and Psychology

"I was able to take what I learned in the classroom here at Mac and apply it to real life situations."

Photo of Joe Squillace, Ph.D.

Joe Squillace, Ph.D.
Lead Faculty for Social Work, Professor of Social Work

"I actively work with other staff and faculty to determine what is best for students, and being small, we can tailor their education in a personal way."

Photo of Katrina Todd Boldin '91

Katrina Todd Boldin '91
Social Work Major
Author/ Social Worker

"The professors and staff pushed me to want to be the difference in somebody else’s life like the way they made a difference in my life."