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Social Work Capstone Projects

The concentration year Capstone Project provides Masters of Social Work (MSW) students with the opportunity to integrate and apply previous learning (academic and field) through the creation and implementation of a project at their practicum agency in order to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills, ethics and values necessary for evidence-based advanced generalist social work practice. The Capstone Project also gives students the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge-base of the profession and to develop and enhance professional presentation skills through the creation and delivery of a poster presentation and the writing of an executive summary describing the project. Students work with their academic advisor, agency field instructor or task supervisor, field faculty, and faculty teaching the concentration year macro practice classes to design and implement the Capstone Project and to create and deliver their poster presentation.

Theses/Dissertations from 2014 2014

College Student Perceptions of Mental Health Counseling at Minnesota State University, Mankato , Holly Barkeim

Sibley County Children’s Collaborative – Supporting Child Welfare through Collaboration , Jade Blekestad-Kral

Implementation of the READY! for Kindergarten Program , Sharon Bonnett

Training and Burnout Among Paraprofessionals Who Work with Children with EBD , Daniel Boston

Best Practices for Implementing The Green House® Model at the Tomah Veterans Administration , Jesana Denter-Eckelberg

A Systematic Review of Neurofeedback Training to Treat ADHD in Children and Adolescents: A Child Welfare Perspective , Chad Ellis

Developing Trauma-Informed Practice in a Community Mental Health Clinic: In the Child Welfare Context , Kelly Froehle

A Feasibility Study on a Men’s Cancer Support Group at the Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato Andreas Cancer Center , Nicole Giersdorf

Usage of the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) With Hospital Inpatients , Jeni Kolstad

The Changes in Major Diagnoses from DSM IV-TR to DSM 5: How to Talk to Clients About Changes in Their Diagnosis , Abigail Malterer

Impact Evaluation on the Parents Support and Outreach Program (PSOP) Olmsted County Child and Family Services , Lucy Matos

Toolkit for Mental Health Professionals, Social Workers, and Guidance Counselors Working with Immigrant and Refugee Students , Rojina Maya McCarthy

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS): Lessons Learned from the Implementation Process of an Evidence-Based Program , Tara Mershon

Mental Health Services Among Children Involved in Child Welfare: Identifying Parental Views and Barriers to Accessing Services , Katrina Ohmann-Thai

Civil Commitment and Sex Offenders , Ashley Pederson

School Social Work as an Intervention in a Rural Setting IV Classroom Serving Students with Behavioral Needs , Melissa Pletcher

Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Minnesota: Implications for Rural Substance Treatment Centers , Ann Przybilla

Training and Burnout Among Paraprofessionals Who Work with Children with Emotional Behavioral Disorders , Jenna Robinson

CPT vs PE for PTSD? Literature Review on Efficacy of CPT and PE Based on Gender, Chronicity, and Race/Ethnicity , Christelle C. Sackey

Expanding ‘Family Education’ Programs for Intensive Residential Treatment Services (IRTS): A Study of Minnesota IRTS Programs , Abby Sharp

Responding to a Community Need: Mobile Crisis Program Training Manuals , Kelsey Tollefson

An In-Depth Look at Filial Play Therapy , Sam Tumberg

Implementing PBIS in a Rural Junior High School: Reducing Negative Behaviors and Gaining Future Teacher Buy-In , Kelly T. Vourlos

DSM-IV-TR/DSM-5, An Evidence-Based Comparative Analysis with Focus on the Cultural Context of Mental Health Illness of: Bipolar Disorders, Depression, Autism Disorders, Anxiety and ADHD. , Claudia Zendejas-Finley

Theses/Dissertations from 2013 2013

Evidence-based Marketing Strategies to Increase Student Membership in a Professional Association , Laura Aldrich

Evidence-Based Protocols for Assessment and Treatment of Adolescent Suicide Risk in an Emergency Department , Rebecca Bentele

Evidence-Based Treatment for Anxiety Disorders and Marijuana Use Across the Lifespan , Tanya Borchert

The Working Alliance: A Survey of an Outpatient Mental Health Center , Jennifer Bramstedt

Respectful Workplace and Violence Prevention a Fidelity Checklist for MnDot D7 , AnneMarie Burgess

Development of a Social Understanding Group Resource Manual , Tristann Carter

Truancy Intervention and Prevention Programs for the Marshall Middle School , Gayle Chandler

Incredible Years Parenting Program: Developing and Evidenced-based Implementation Protocol , Brooklynn Fredericksen

Family Counts: Education for Family Systems Impacted by Addiction , Tanya Friese

Best Practices in the Provision of Group Therapy for Adult Male Clients Diagnosed with Schizophrenia at Fernbrook Family Center , Nathaniel S. Gendron

The Development and Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care Within a Clinical Setting , Molly Hildebrandt

Factors Affecting Timeliness of Permanency for Children in Out-of-Home Placement , Michelle C. Holt

School Social Work: A Vital Link in Schools: A report on School Work Services for the Mankato Area Public School District , Rachel Johnston

Social Worker’s Guide to Engaging Families in Family Group Conference , Tiffany Kacir

Strategies for Success in a Residential Program , Madison Kaye

Evidence Based Practices in Providing Treatment Foster Care to Delinquent Youth , Jay S. Kimball

Best Practice Resource Manual for New Social Workers at District 77 , Shelby Lenzen

A Guide to Understanding, Building and Sustaining an Effective Therapeutic Community , Sara Loose

An Analysis of the Re-Education Philosophy and the Applicability to Individual and Group Therapy, Psychoeducation and Skills , Sarah Manthei

Evaluation Guide: Mower County Health and Human Services Child Welfare Preventative Programs , Tina Meyer

Identifying Cultural Framework for Assessing Cultural Components in Client Systems and Recommendations for Agency and Practitioner Level Culturally Responsive Practice , Imad Mohamed

Best Practices for Implementing Trauma-Informed Care with Youth who are Homeless or At- Risk of Being Homeless , Ellen Morrow

A Community Based System of Integrated Clinical Care: Primary Care, Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment , Terri Reuvers

Evaluation of Family Skills Group at Fernbrook Family Center , Jessica Robertson

Identification of Effective Play Techniques for Use with Children in a Outpatient Mental Health Clinic , Jan Schwarzrock

The Use of Electroconvulsive Therapy in an Acute Care Setting: Enhancing the Knowledge and Skills of Mental Health Professionals , Lori Thom

Paraphilias: Relevant Factors for Treatment Providers of Sexual Offenders , Darren Tungsvik

Recruitment of American Indian Foster Parents , Donna Vig

Best Practices for Designing and Implementing a Food Pantry in St. Peter Middle and High School , Kira Wellner

Theses/Dissertations from 2012 2012

The Impact of Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques Implemented Within Minnesota School Settings: A Program Proposal for Waseca Junior and Senior High School , Laura Bartsch

The Effectiveness of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 Across Cultures , Caylin Cedergren

Real Jobs, Real Community, Real Wages: A Guide to Customized Employment , Kelsey Christy

An Overview of Avoidant Personality Disorder , Kristin Dehrkoop

"First Impression": Creating an Intake Procedure that is Welcoming to Clients and Useful to Clinicians , Brandi Embacher

SEA Program Process Evaluation: Improving Existing Evaluation Methods , Rachel Faust

Headway Emotional Health Services: A Parent Satisfaction Survey and Needs Assessment , Eowyn T. Gatlin

40 Developmental Assets: A Research Analysis: Healthy Youth Committee & Fairmont's Youth Surveys , Tiffany Gullord

Stroke Rehabilitation, Length-of-Stay, and Re-Admission Rates: A Literature Review , Morgen Hagedorn

Parent Involvement Plan for Lincoln Elementary , Michelle Kaune

Implementation of Evidence-Based Practices in Opioid Substance Abuse Treatment , Elizabeth V. Keck

Student Facilitated Anti-Bully Program , Ashley Kiefer

Evidence-Based Behavior Interventions for Children with ADHD: A Systematic Review , Jennifer Kimpton

School Social Workers and Multiple Supervisees , Michelle Krueger

TEAM Academy Student Attendance Policy , Jenna Lageson

Student Perceptions of Minnesota State University, Mankato's Alcohol and Drug Policy , Renee Lips-Bush

Needs Assessment of Emergency Department Social Workers in Southwestern Minnesota in Relation to Emergency Department Expansion , Gina Marie Njugunah

Study Skills, Organizational Skills, Self-Awareness and Understanding Self Skills: A Development of Skills Curriculum for Middle School Students , Aliina Vivant Peterson

Policies in Hospital Social Work , Jolene L. Reisdorfer

Comparison of Minnesota's Community-Based Jail Reentry Programs , Lori A. Sanborn

A Review of Developmentally Appropriate Evidence-Based Effective Parenting and Resources for Parents , Kari Schwecke

Needs Assessment to Explore Support for Spouses Affected by Military Life , Erika Sletten

Interning as an Outpatient Therapist: Developing a Comprehensive Training Manual Grounded in the Professional Knowledge Base , Katie Stadheim

Bridging Tactics: Parental Support Systems: A Proposal for a Psycho-Educational Parent Group , Emily F. Thompson

Mental Health Inpatient Hospitalization and Smoking Cessation , Susan Warring

Evaluation of the BEST Program , Rana Wehner

Survey of Emergency Department Patients' Perceived Barriers to Accessing Services and Community Resource Utilization , Kelsey Ann Wilke

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Group Curriculum , Julie M. Wood

Theses/Dissertations from 2011 2011

Effective Trauma Assessment Tools for Women with Severe Mental Illness , Heather A. Bangu

Best Practices for Working with Undocumented Latino Youth , Elizabeth J. Braun

Evaluation of School Social Workers' Time Spent in Direct and Indirect Practices , Kris Brummund

Best Practices for Treating Co-Occuring Disorders in a Chemical Dependency Treatment Setting , Michelle Dick

Best Practice in Working with the Somali Population , Ilhan Duale

Evidence-based Strategies for Working with Veterans , Bethany Fopma

Assessing the Needs of Students Identified with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder at Minnesota State University, Mankato , Jenny A. Goff

Incredible Years Dina Dinosaur Program Evaluation , Amanda Holzapfel

Factors that Contribute to Patient Length of Stay at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center , Brenda Karch

Effectiveness of the WhyTry Curriculum with Adults Participating in a Vocational Training Program , Erika Kern

Needs Assessment for A Multidisciplinary Eating Disorder Outpatient Services , Mary Beth Patterson

Factors Assocated with Employee Satisfaction in Minnesota Community Action Agencies , Kelsie Peters

Understanding the Role of Attachments and Schemas: A Model for Working with Sex Offenders , Carol J. Ries

A Social and Emotional Learning Curriculm Recommendation for Nicollet Public School District , Christina R. Rosamond

Computer-Based Training: Understanding Mental Health Civil Commitment , Tiffany Sandbo

Recommendations for the Provision of Patient Activities , Jean Schlichting

Natural Connections: A Recommendation to Implement an Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program within the Shakopee MdewakantonSioux Community , Heidi Simon

Shelter Program for Homeless Males with Substance Use and Mental Illness: A Strength and Effectiveness Based Approach , Kotatee Tamba

Housing with Support Marketing Study Tool , Gary M. Travis

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Thesis and Capstone Requirements for Social Work Programs

Most social work programs culminate in a final capstone or thesis. Usually, students complete a capstone or thesis in their final quarter, semester, or year of study, but some may begin preparing for the project weeks or even months in advance. Schools assign capstones and theses to assess a prospective social worker’s ability to apply classroom concepts in a professional social work setting.

In general, both kinds of projects require students to undergo internships or complete field work in a social work role. Oftentimes, students must critically analyze a social justice or human rights issue relevant to their field experience. Alternatively, students may offer potential solutions to problems their employers face. In combining research with field work, social work programs also prepare graduates to transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Students can complete their capstones or theses in a diverse range of settings. Common placements for both projects include clinical or hospital environments, public policy organizations, and nonprofits. Within these core settings, students work with underserved populations and address issues such as systemic racism, economic inequality, access to healthcare and education, and substance abuse.

This guide outlines the similarities and differences between the social work capstone and thesis, and provides general guidelines for both projects.

What’s the Difference Between a Capstone and a Thesis in Social Work Programs?

Both a capstone and thesis are supervised research projects that include a practicum or internship in a professional social work setting. These projects also include a written essay synthesizing the student’s internship experience and applying relevant lessons from the social work curriculum. At the end of the process, students give a final presentation.

However, significant differences exist between the two options. Social work bachelor’s students usually complete a capstone, while social work master’s students usually complete a thesis. In general, a capstone demonstrates a student’s ability to apply classroom principles in a professional setting. By contrast, a thesis combines internship work with original, publishable research. Thus, while students prove their mastery of social work theory in completing a capstone, students contribute new ideas to the field in writing a thesis.

What Is a Capstone Like in Social Work Programs?

Social work capstone format.

Typically, a social work capstone is a final project embedded within a required research or practicum course. Field work for the capstone project requires a time commitment of one quarter to one academic year, with many students beginning their practicum or internship experience the summer before their senior year. Capstone projects include extended written components, usually an essay of 30 to 40 pages. In the written portion, students identify an issue or need at their field experience site. They then research the topic and suggest potential solutions. Students often present their papers to an audience of their professors and peers. Most capstones are individual projects, but some programs ask students to collaborate.

Choosing Your Social Work Capstone Topic

Since the capstone incorporates an internship in a social work setting, it also provides an opportunity to network with industry professionals and launch a post-graduation career. As such, students’ professional goals within social work should determine their capstone focus. After choosing a topic, students hone their research goals with the help of faculty advisers, professors who typically have work experience relevant to each student’s interests. Capstone topics vary depending on the program, but students often analyze current human rights or social justice issues such as multicultural family systems, health and wellness, public policy, and sustainable development.

Completing Your Social Work Capstone

While each social work program maintains unique capstone requirements, the project’s timeline typically follows a similar sequence. Prior to securing a field work site, students attend informational forums in which instructors explain field work expectations and available partnership locations. Students apply for field work locations that most closely align with their academic interests and professional goals, and professors assign sites accordingly. Field work usually takes place in social service institutions such as hospitals, children’s welfare agencies, or housing transition programs. Occasionally, students can complete capstone research in their current workplace if they already hold employment in an eligible social work setting.

Once students start field work, they meet regularly with advisers, either one-on-one or alongside a group of peers. During these meetings, students analyze their field work experiences, identify problems or needs in a given area, and design a research topic that offers potential solutions. Usually, social work interns also work with a field site supervisor. This supervisor acts as a mentor and ensures that students meet expectations and log the required number of hours.

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Presenting your social work capstone.

Most social work students present their capstone projects in front of a panel of professors and peers. Capstone panels range in size from a few faculty members to audiences of 30 to 40 people. Occasionally, presentations open to the public. Since capstone presentations cover research data, panels generally encourage visual aids, such as PowerPoint or Prezi, to illustrate measurable statistics. During the presentation, students describe their internship role, analyze the communities this internship served, and reflect on the potential solutions to problems they encountered.

How Is a Social Work Capstone Graded?

Students receive a grading rubric at the beginning of their capstone course outlining the program’s unique assessment requirements. While each program determines the success of a capstone differently, professors usually assess how well a student develops a professional identity, engages in critical thinking, conducts research, and cultivates an ethical practice serving human rights or social justice. Assessors grade a capstone on an “A-F,” or 4.0, scale. Students who fail can occasionally appeal their grades, retake the capstone seminar, or edit their research essay.

What Is a Thesis Like in Social Work Programs?

Social work thesis format.

Most master’s programs include a social work thesis. For the thesis, students complete in-depth research or data collection, write an extended essay of about 50 pages, and present an oral defense of results. Typically, master’s students conduct research on a topic of interest while participating in a field work placement or internship. Candidates then outline their research in a written thesis. This process requires at least a year of work, and students usually complete thesis projects individually. Occasionally, however, graduate students’ theses are collective projects that contribute to larger, faculty-led research studies. In such cases, a group of several students and faculty members conduct research together.

Choosing Your Social Work Thesis Topic

Like the capstone, a thesis offers the chance to conduct academic research while earning relevant work experience and networking with social work professionals. Students should communicate with a faculty member or professor who shares their professional or academic experiences and interests. With the help of their adviser, students can determine their research interests and find field work placement sites.

Though thesis topics vary widely, students often address human rights and social justice concerns they encounter during clinical, public policy, or nonprofit work. Rather than relying on established claims, theses propose new ways of understanding and combating social inequality. Social work thesis topics grapple with issues such as the efficacy of community centers in impoverished neighborhoods, strategies for palliative care social work, and success rates for bully prevention programs.

Completing Your Master of Social Work Thesis

Before designing a thesis, students often spend at least one semester, or two quarters, working in their chosen field placement site. During this process, master’s students work alongside a field supervisor, who regularly conducts one-on-one evaluation meetings to measure the student’s progress. The advisers also record student hours. Depending on a program’s requirements, master’s students spend 15 to 30 hours a week at their placement sites. This experience is crucial to identifying eligible social work thesis ideas.

After this initial work, students partner with a faculty adviser to identify a narrow research topic addressing a question or problem in their field. Students form this question by synthesizing their field work with an in-depth review of relevant literature and case studies from peer-reviewed sources. Finally, master’s students present their topic of inquiry to either their adviser or an advisory committee, usually in the form of a short, ten-page summary of their research interests. If the adviser approves the topic, students then begin formally collecting data and writing the thesis.

Presenting Your Social Work Thesis

The master of social work thesis presentation generally takes the form of a formal thesis defense. During the defense, master’s students present their research and conclusions to a faculty panel consisting of at least three professors, including the student’s faculty adviser. Similar to the capstone presentation, thesis defenses often include visual aids such as PowerPoint or Prezi presentations. The visual aid is especially important if the presentation involves graphs, pie charts, or other mediums of data analysis. Only the faculty panel typically attends a formal thesis defense, but master’s students often present their findings again in informal sessions open to the university community.

How Is a Social Work Thesis Graded?

The thesis should display a student’s ability to conduct independent research and meet the demands of a professional social work position. Professors grade a student’s formation of research questions, analysis of secondary literature, collection of data, and organization of research in a coherent report. Advisers always state their expectations in advance of the deadline. Students who don’t meet these goals can occasionally rewrite the thesis, but failure seriously endangers and delays degree conferral. Professors award grades based on a “A-F,” or 4.0, scale. Passing projects generally receive an “A,” while underdeveloped projects receive failing grades.

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Thesis and Capstone Requirements for Social Work Programs

Frequently part of accredited social work programs, capstone and thesis programs must meet guidelines to earn accreditation. General requirements for capstone or thesis courses are set by an accrediting council, but specific coursework requirements are set by program leads. A social work capstone is typically completed as an internship. Thesis programs, on the other hand, are in-depth professional and clinical field experiences documented in a final essay. Students should be aware of capstone or thesis requirements when choosing a program and whether their program requires one or both as options for graduation.

General requirements for capstone or thesis courses are set by an accrediting council, but specific coursework requirements are set by program leads.

Students typically complete the capstone or thesis in their final semesters. Both the capstone and thesis review learning objectives and apply the student’s learning to practical scenarios and research. Capstone or thesis projects offer students the opportunity to explore work and research opportunities in social work while receiving college credit and constructive feedback on their work. The capstone or thesis can be completed in a local social services agency, hospital, or nonprofit, wherein students observe client and social worker interactions and apply their research. This guide discusses the differences between a capstone and thesis and some of the ways social work students can choose, complete, and present a project.

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What’s the difference between a capstone and a thesis in social work programs.

Sometimes used interchangeably, capstone and thesis projects actually differ in important ways. Capstone projects are usually part of undergraduate program, whereas a thesis is typically required for master’s programs.

Both undergraduate and graduate programs require a practicum for the capstone or thesis project. Many undergraduate program capstones emphasize the practicum component and require a report or presentation of students’ experiences, focusing on the student’s learning about entry-level social work experience. Master’s program thesis projects underscore professional experience and research and may require a research paper. The thesis also develops clinical skills and research explored in the classroom.

What Is a Capstone Like in Social Work Programs?

Social work capstone format.

Many social work programs require two capstone courses and a seminar, a one- or two-credit course that introduces students to the practicum experience and runs concurrent to a capstone course. In the seminar, students describe their goals for the project and may participate in group workshops and discussions. The first practicum takes place in the second or third semester and is usually completed in 200 hours, and students conclude with the 400-hour second practicum in their final semester. Students may complete an individual project as a part of the practicum. A final presentation to the student’s cohort or a report to the faculty adviser may be required to complete the capstone.

Choosing Your Social Work Capstone Topic

Carefully consideration of your capstone topic can enhance your education and career opportunities. A capstone topic should be a relevant, current issue in the social work field that also correlates to your specific interests. Students work closely with a faculty adviser to select their topic. The capstone adviser is a professional in the field who helps students make professional connections, as students develop their practicum placement through networking. This combination of professional guidance, exposure to the field, and exploration of current issues benefits professional development.

Completing Your Social Work Capstone

A customizable experience at its core, students design the goals for their social work capstone, develop learning objectives, and determine the topic they will address. Student and faculty work together to choose an appropriate setting for the capstone research, which may be a hospital, care facility, or a mental health clinic. You may be given permission to complete the capstone at your current place of employment, but all capstone work must be accomplished outside of your normal work duties.

A customizable experience at its core, students design the goals for their social work capstone, develop learning objectives, and determine the topic they will address.

Once you have chosen your topic, designed your capstone, and selected a setting, you will submit a proposal to your faculty adviser. When the adviser approves your topic, design, and setting, the practicum begins in earnest. Social work students keep close records of their practicum experience. Depending on the format, you may file case notes or reports. Students also maintain a log of hours worked that is signed by the site supervisor and the faculty adviser.

Presenting Your Social Work Capstone

Students often present on their capstone at the conclusion of the experience. The presentation typically takes place during the seminar course; students present their work to faculty and their cohorts. Some programs may invite the public to attend, so your family and friends can view your hard work. Hallmarks of capstone presentations include PowerPoints, handouts, and oral reporting and explanation of data collected. The seminar class tends to work together in small groups to develop the final presentations. Not every program requires a presentation, however; a final paper reviewed by an adviser can replace the capstone presentation requirement.

How Is a Social Work Capstone Graded?

Social work capstones are graded on a pass/fail basis. Students receive a rubric of objectives and expectations, which includes the number of hours required for a successful capstone. The goals and objectives designed by the student, as well as feedback from the site supervisor also determine the final grade earned. If a student fails the capstone, schools have a grade appeals process. Most programs allow students to retake a capstone course once to earn a passing grade.

What Is a Thesis Like in Social Work Programs?

Social work thesis format.

Master’s in social work programs require advanced field experiences as a thesis. MSW students complete a minimum of 900 hours of field experience, earned through two to four practicum courses, one course per semester. Programs generally offer a seminar course that is completed prior to or concurrently with the final practicum course. Completed individually in a communal setting, practicum students are free to collaborate with other professionals in the field. MSW students may also conduct new research projects or case studies. A paper is often required at the conclusion of the practicum, which may be presented to faculty and students.

Choosing Your Social Work Thesis Topic

MSW students receive hands-on training while developing their social work theses. The social work thesis topics students choose may focus on private practice, clinical work, or organizational development, and often reflect a student’s ultimate career goals. In a thesis program, students must utilize networking skills, professional experience, and receive faculty advisement. Students may rely on previously developed professional connections and networking to develop their field experiences. Graduate programs employ faculty with extensive professional experience. Research and select a program with faculty advisers that benefit your professional development goals.

Completing Your Master of Social Work Thesis

Field experiences introduce students to clinical and professional practice, develops their skills, and practices interventions. MSW students design their two field experiences to achieve two overarching goals: generalist experience and professional development.

MSW students design their two field experiences to achieve two overarching goals: generalist experience and professional development.

A generalist experience runs between 200-300 hours, with any remaining hours completed in a specialized field. Students conduct observations and case reviews during the generalist experience, then design the specialized practicum to develop their professional skills and respond to a thesis topic. The design of your field experience is highly customizable, but should include concrete objectives with opportunities for hands-on experience. Students submit their plan to the the faculty adviser, who then approves their planned social work thesis topic and field experiences. MSW students record their work through completing observation reports, case notes, and approved logs of hours.

Presenting Your Social Work Thesis

MSW students who complete practicum experiences typically do not defend their thesis in front of a panel. You may be required to give a presentation to the faculty and other students in your program, which can include a PowerPoint, other visual aids, and handouts. Graduates may have the opportunity to present their work to the public through the university or a conference.

Programs that focus on research and policy may require the a thesis presentation, but this is uncommon for a master’s program. A panel of qualified faculty and professionals hear the thesis. Following their presentation, thesis candidates must answer questions and explain the applicability of their work to the field. Students should determine if the program they are applying to requires a thesis presentation or field experience report.

How Is a Social Work Thesis Graded?

Social work thesis projects are typically graded as pass/fail. The number of practicum hours are set according to accreditation and licensure requirements; students must complete all hours to pass the course. Requirements are given to students before they begin coursework, with additional grade requirements outlined in the thesis design syllabus. Feedback from field supervisors is also considered. Students who fail their field experience may appeal through the school’s appeal process or repeat the course.

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MSW Research Capstone

  • Community Partners
  • Course Requirements
  • Important Dates
  • Data Resources

Individual Projects

capstone project for social work

The MSW program at UCLA prepares social workers for leadership and excellence in the field. A cornerstone of this training is the research capstone, which allows students to begin contributing to the knowledge base of the profession. In carrying out a yearlong applied capstone research project, students will articulate and address a specific researchable problem rooted in a larger social issue with relevance to policy or practice. There is flexibility in the types of projects that students can undertake, and a variety of research methods and data sources can be utilized. Students work in groups of three or four, except for the limited number of students approved to do individual projects.

Information for Community Partners

We regularly partner with community-based agencies so that students’ projects can directly inform and enhance practice in the field. These projects are designed with community partners to best meet agencies’ research and evaluation needs. Our students analyze agencies’ existing data or collect and analyze data that can benefit the agency, school, organization, or community. Student projects begin in October and are completed in May, when students share a report of findings with their community partner. The agency’s role is to provide the initial topic or idea, as desired, share necessary background for the project, and coordinate the logistics of accessing the data or conducting data collection. Our Capstone Project Database gives examples of students’ past projects. Any interested community partner can reach out to Dr. Laura Wray-Lake for more information ( [email protected] ).

Social Welfare Research Capstone Handbook

This handbook lays out policies, guidelines and timelines related to the MSW Research Capstone Projects. Please review and check back regularly for updates. [Updated September 6, 2023]

Research Sequence Course Requirements

The MSW research capstone project culminates a two-year research course sequence, with the following required courses:

  • 213A: Social Welfare Research Methods (First Year, Winter) – 4 units
  • 213B: Applied Statistics in Social Welfare (First Year, Spring) – 4 units
  • 260A: Research Capstone I: Project Development (Second Year, Fall) – 4 units
  • Data Gathering and Analyses (Second Year, Winter)
  • Interpreting and Disseminating Research (Second Year, Spring)

Summary of Key Milestones

For specific dates for your cohort, consult the 260ABC syllabi.

  • Individual Project Proposals: Due end of spring quarter of first year
  • Register Capstone Group: Mid-September (prior to fall quarter)
  • Submit Completed Capstone Project: May of spring quarter of second year
  • Pass / Fail Decisions From Faculty Distributed: Two weeks after submission date
  • Revisions (if applicable): Two weeks after receipt of feedback

Secondary Data Resources

We strongly encourage students to consider using existing data for their projects. Please explore the list of data sources we have compiled, which is not exhaustive and meant to serve as a useful starting point.

A limited number of students will be selected through a competitive application process to do Individual Capstone Projects. The criteria for admission includes: (1) a GPA of 3.0 or better and evidence of strong performance in previous coursework, including research methods; (2) a research proposal that is feasible and shows promise for originality and rigor; (3) identification of a faculty mentor willing to mentor the student; and (4) a letter of recommendation from a faculty member (typically the identified mentor) that speaks to the student’s qualifications.

Capstone Project Documents

  • Individual project proposal template

Questions should be directed to:

Laura Wray-Lake , Ph.D. Research Capstone Coordinator and Associate Professor of Social Welfare [email protected]

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You can access past DSW capstone projects from the USC Digital Library: 

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capstone project for social work

MSW Capstone Conference

Master of Social Work Capstone Projects: 2021: Executive Summary

University of the Pacific

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

Executive summary.

Full program of the 2021 Master of Social Work Capstone Projects. See individual reports here: https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/msw-conference/

Recommended Citation

University of the Pacific, "Master of Social Work Capstone Projects: 2021: Executive Summary" (2021). MSW Capstone Conference . 1. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/msw-conference/1

Since January 10, 2022

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Capstone Projects 2020-2021

Integrated Health Scholars are clinical MSW students who participate in value-added training to develop knowledge and skills in interprofessional team-based care in underserved communities. Capstone projects are completed at their clinical field practicum setting.

These Scholars will graduate from the KU School of Social Welfare in May 2021. To connect with Scholars, please contact Michelle Levy at [email protected] or Jason Matejkowski at [email protected] .

This program is funded by a Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training award from the USDHHS Health Resources and Services Administration.

Olathe Medical Center Oncology

  • Breaking Language Barriers in Oncology

Working with cancer patients is difficult due to the distress that comes with an initial cancer diagnosis. If a person does not speak English, this can make it harder for them to understand necessary aspects such as treatment plans, medication information, and side effects. My project explored the challenge in worked with non-English speaking clients at my practicum agency and why it is important that a Cancer Center address this problem from an integrated health perspective.

View the Presentation

Angela beims, salina family healthcare center.

  • Motivational Interviewing as a Brief Intervention for Hypertensive Patients in an Integrated Health Setting

Social workers, as part of an integrated healthcare team, can use behavioral health interventions to assist patients with chronic health conditions.  Motivational interviewing is a behavioral health intervention that can be used to help hypertensive patients find motivation and resolve ambivalence in making healthy changes to control their condition. 

Allyson Bence

Community health center of southeast kansas, school behavioral health.

  • The Importance of Increased Access to Behavioral Health Services

There are many benefits to having an in-house therapist in a school setting. My project used a survey of parents and students to explore barriers that may decrease an individual’s ability to meet for traditional therapy appointments. The project also looks at how school-based behavioral health services benefits clients, school environment, and, ultimately, the community.

Jama Bettis

Lawrence memorial hospital.

  • Let’s Talk: Behavioral Health Implications of Adapting Comprehensive Sex Education Programs for 5th-9th Grade Students

As part of a collaboration with a local, non-profit called Let's Talk, this project involved developing, adapting, and delivering comprehensive sex education programming for 5th-9th grade classes and creating a corresponding program manual.

Anneliese Beye & Jocelyn Dayton (Field Instructor)

Tricounty interlocal #607.

  • Creating a School Social Work Manual for TriCounty Interlocal #607

This poster highlights collaboration and research on the School Social Work Manual for TriCounty Interlocal #607. Standards and regulations exclusive to School Social Workers were added to an existing Certified and Licensed Manual along with a newly developed official Social Work referral form formatted specifically for this agency. This will benefit the future protocol of students in need of school social work services along with current and future school social workers employed by TriCounty Interlocal #607. 

Jasmine Brown

Satori counseling services.

  • Implementing a Therapeutic Counseling Group for Exonerated Individuals

This poster focuses on how a therapeutic counseling group for exonerated individuals was created in partnership with Miracle of Innocence. Participants were primarily Black or African American men who were incarcerated between 10 to over 30 years before being exonerated. The group met weekly and covered a range of topics including identifying feelings, regulating emotions, family relationships and navigating difficult conversations.  

Kayla Cosby

New directions.

  • Strengthening Families Impacted By Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorders not only impact the patient themselves but also affect family members. Family members of individuals suffering from substance use disorder experience lack of services and resources to help strengthen the family system as a whole. This project collected qualitative and quantitative data to explore family perspectives on addiction, treatment and needed supports. Family systems may be strengthened by self-awareness, support for loved ones, and therapy for managing conflict, emotion regulation and boundaries.

Alyssa Deem

Community health center of southeast kansas.

  • Trauma-Informed Care in the School System

Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an approach that is necessary in the school settings as evidenced by years of clinical research. As a society, and more importantly as social work professionals, we now see the linkage between childhood trauma and the long-term effects on an individual’s health (mental and physical). School-based intervention with TIC is critical because teachers and on-site social workers have a significant amount of contact with the students who experience trauma in every-day life. The sooner we can intervene in children’s lives, the greater effect we have on their healthy adult future.

Philip DeGraffenreid

Health partnership clinic.

  • A Trauma-Informed, Patient-Centered Approach to Well-Woman Exams

This project identified a need for trauma-informed, patient-centered practices in well-woman examinations and provided two mitigating interventions. An informational patient handout describes what will likely happen at their appointment as well as resources for patients who have mental health needs or have experienced trauma and a clinician poster containing evidence-based practices with the intention of making the patient more comfortable and giving the patient more control during uncomfortable questions, examinations, and procedures.

Jareth Del Real

Osawatomie state hospital.

  • The Intern’s Manual: An Unofficial Guide for Clinical Therapy

The Intern’s Manual: An Unofficial Guide for Clinical Therapy was written with the intention of providing future social work interns at Osawatomie State Hospital with a practical, handy, and convenient manual to facilitate their practicum experience. Written by a practicum student, this manual provides a fresher, closer, and more relatable perspective to the reader than those of field instructors, professors, and other seasoned therapists. Ultimately, this manual benefits both students and the agency since it enhances service delivery, facilitates learning, and helps new interns overcome common obstacles associated with the lack of therapeutic experience or being new in the mental health field.

Mickey Dick

Douglas county visiting nurses association.

  • End of Life Doula Program

Death is a taboo topic that often causes fear and anxiety, so we don’t talk about it. The End of Life Doula program at Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) encourages clients and their families to identify wishes and engage in conversations before the days before death. These conversations decrease fear of the dying process and increase quality of life. End of Life Doulas help a client to identify and achieve their “good death” and provide support throughout the end of life journey.

Alisha Dinges Hammerschmidt

Kelly center, fort hays state university.

  • Yoga on the Lawn & Be Well Series

Many college student struggled this year. College was not what they had expected it to be, and they felt isolated, alone, sad, depressed, and disconnected from the college atmosphere. Kelly Center staff and practicum students partnered to create activities to help students build connections including Yoga on the Lawn, stress reduction balls and affirmation valentines and cards. Students loved getting out and seeing other college students!

Mary Hutchins

Avalon hospice, nursing home residents and covid-19:  the neglected population.

COVID-19 imposed significant changes on nursing care facilities and their residents. Patients were confined to their rooms and not able to see family. In interviews with hospice family members, they described these impacts in detail along with their ideas for solutions. My goals were to create awareness of the limitations of solutions that were implemented in response to the isolation of patients during COVID-19 and remind social workers of our ethical obligation to advocate for nursing facility residents and their loved ones during extraordinary circumstances like the pandemic.

  • Nursing Home Residents and COVID-19: The Neglected Population

Tykeisha Kelly & Viviana Patino

Kvc hospital.

  • Gallup Q12 Surveys to Improve Employee Productivity and Engagement

Research shows that employee engagement and satisfaction have an impact on client quality of care. Gallup's Q12 Survey is an efficient way to measure employee engagement. KVC Hospital's use of the Gallup's Q12 Survey provides managers with data to use in creating action steps for improving employee satisfaction and productivity. Use of this tool is recommended to aid organizations in identifying and offering what employees need to enhance their performance and ultimately, provide quality care.

Shelby Lines

Samuel u. rodgers health center.

  • Increasing Patient Satisfaction Survey Response Rates and Behavioral Health Provider Service Awareness

Patient satisfaction surveys used as part of quality improvement at Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center had inconsistent response rates for the Behavioral Health department and survey data was not shared with individual providers. A research-informed infographic intervention including a brief provider informational session and weekly individual provider data dissemination was implemented. Data was collected from patients using updated satisfaction surveys and providers using a pre-post intervention survey. The infographic intervention within this study shows to have positive results.

Isabella Meisel

Children’s mercy hospital, mental health services for youth:  impact of covid-19.

The Acute Mental Health Screening team at Children's Mercy has seen an increase in patients presenting with acute mental health concerns over the past year. Additionally, there has been a decrease in the availability of placements for youth at inpatient psychiatric hospitals and openings with outpatient mental health providers. Bringing attention to the currently rising need for child and adolescent mental health providers has been my goal throughout my research, and I hope to continue to advocate for child and adolescent mental health care

  • Mental Health Services for Youth: Impact of COVID-19

Stefany Ortiz

Healthcore clinic.

  • Inclusion of ACE Screening for Behavioral Health Assessments

This poster is focused on ACE screening and how it could be beneficial to the integrated care model at HealthCore Clinic (HCC). Demographics shows how the ACE screen is applicable to the patient population at HCC. The current screening process is described to highlight information that may be missing from the existing screens and assessments.  Ethics and discrimination addressed in the “why” section of the poster clarify that the purpose of this screen is not to withhold certain care such as narcotic pain management or other interventions. In this setting, the ACE screen would provide additional background information to medical providers and behavioral health consultants that could aid them in providing true patient-centered care.

Viviana Patino & Tykeisha Kelly

Kristin r. quangvan, st. luke’s north – behavioral access center.

  • Utilizing the SBIRT Screening Tool in Clinical Settings

This poster illustrates the purpose and implementation of the SBIRT screening tool. This tool will assess patients for substance abuse risk and help to identify supports. Motivational interviewing is key, and a breakdown of the steps are included in the poster. 

Elizabeth Reid

Vibrant health.

  • Increasing Access to Integrated Healthcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Integrated healthcare models are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to help clinic settings achieve the “quadruple aim” of enhancing patient experience, improving population health, reducing healthcare expenditures, and improving provider well-being. Vibrant Health is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in Wyandotte County, Kansas, that provides patients with high-quality and patient-centered medical, dental, and behavioral health services. The COVID-19 pandemic has offered both unique challenges and opportunities for Vibrant Health to expand integrated primary care/behavioral health services for its patients.

Viridiana Reyes Coria

Crosswinds counseling and wellness.

  • Trauma Informed Care (TIC) in Mental Health Residential Facilities

Individuals diagnosed with serious mental illnesses are at high risk of experiencing trauma. Also, trauma among adults diagnosed with serious mental illness is frequently unaddressed, and unrecognized. In response, many human service settings, including Evergreen Residential Facility, are moving toward trauma informed care service delivery.

Raven Rhoads

St. joseph school district.

  • Inter-agency Collaboration Between a School District and a local Health Center to Create a Mental Health Program for Adolescents

This project was created to help address the lack of mental health care access for adolescents in the St. Joseph, MO area. Research on what other states and similar programs have done to achieve goals of teen suicide prevention and the promotion of mental health informed this work. This poster addresses the goals of the program, an outline of why the program is needed in our community, funding ideas, potential challenges, and strategies to overcome these challenges so that the program can be successfully created. 

Jordan Rollins

Ozark center community care program, harm reduction and why it is beneficial .

Harm reduction is an approach that is used at Ozark Center, a mental and behavioral health organization that serves the Joplin area. Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Working with individuals who suffer from substance use disorder was an eye-opening experience and allowed me to see harm reduction firsthand.

  • Harm Reduction and Why It Is Beneficial

Julianne Ruwe

The university of kansas health system case management.

  • Palliative Care Social Work and the Interdisciplinary Approach

The interdisciplinary team approach of palliative care includes social work, and social workers now have nationally recognized certifications for palliative care. Social workers on a palliative care team can complete a variety of tasks that provide support for patients and families with serious illnesses and advocate for their needs. This poster was created to provide education about the strengths, limitations, and importance of palliative care social work. This is an often overlooked or unknown field of social work that is valuable to any health system and any interdisciplinary team.

Kelsey Savastano 

University of kansas health system acute rehabilitation.

  • Practice with Individuals with a Brain Injury in an Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Setting

My project covers my time at the University of Kansas Health System’s Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation. Focus is placed on providing integrated care to patients with brain injuries who hope to gain greater independence before returning home after a hospital stay. This project goes over the setting of an inpatient rehabilitation, working with individuals with brain injuries, and the importance of integrated care and the interdisciplinary team. 

Katherine E. Schneider

Mirror, inc..

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions for Individuals with Addictions

Mirror Inc. is a substance use treatment facility that helps individuals recover from addition in both residential and outpatient settings located throughout Kansas. This poster focuses on Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions (CBI) for Substance Use, a curriculum developed by The University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute that is used in Mirror’s Cognitive Group. The CBI curriculum teaches individuals strategies for recognizing unhelpful or “risky” thoughts that may lead them to use substances and create “replacement” thoughts. CBI also helps clients learn techniques that help individuals develop cognitive, social, emotional and coping skills. 

Desiré Seitz  

How a behavioral health intake specialist can improve client outcomes in therapy .

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHCSEK) in Pittsburg has been growing in client numbers for years. Medical policies and scheduling often conflict with the ability of the behavioral health department to keep pace with the expanding agency and ensure that each client has access to feasible, affordable, and timely care for any service the agency offers. The collaborative idea of a Behavioral Intake Specialist position could help to address these pressures, restore valuable therapeutic time, improve quality, and facilitate a more positive experience for the clients who receive mental health services at CHCSEK.

  • How A Behavioral Health Intake Specialist Can Improve Client Outcomes in Therapy

Kelsey L. Smith

Mother’s refuge.

  • Mental Health Education for Young Mothers

Mother’s Refuge serves pregnant and parenting young mothers (12-21) who are experiencing homelessness, marginalization, and multiple health disparities. The purpose of this project was to address the need to develop a mental health curriculum to be taught to the mothers during their stay (typically, one to two years after giving birth). With a long-term stay, Mother’s Refuge believes strongly in providing education and coaching the mothers in as many skills, tools, and practices as possible to support the transition into the community. The mental health curriculum focuses on educating and practicing skills that help the mothers understand the importance of their mental health and the ongoing commitment to take care and check-in with themselves. The curriculum also has a trauma-informed lens to provide appropriate and supportive sessions and activities to not cause further trauma.

Walden University

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Doctor of Social Work

Before enrolling in the SOCW 8610 course, students must have a completed and approved premise that has been submitted to [email protected] and approved by the Program Director or his/her designee. Once the premise has been approved, students will be assigned a Chair and enrolled in the SOCW 8610 course. Before being eligible for SOCW 8610 students, must complete the residency and all other curriculum courses. Questions? [email protected] .

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MSW Capstone Project

The capstone project offers students the opportunity to integrate and apply learning in order to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills, competencies, behaviors, ethics and values necessary for evidence-based advanced generalist social work practice. In the final week of the final semester, students are presented with an advanced generalist case study and, in teams, develop poster presentations that illustrate their assessment and intervention abilities with individuals, groups, families, organizations and communities.

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Last Updated: 11/18/20

UKnowledge

UKnowledge > College of Social Work > DSW Capstone Projects

DSW Capstone Projects

Capstone projects from 2022 2022.

ROLE EXPANSION OF SCHOOL SOCIAL WORKERS: AN EDUCATIONAL PARADIGM SHIFT , Sara Murrell

ASSESSING VETERANS FOR ACQUIRED SUICIDE CAPABILITY: BLOCKING THE INTERSECTION OF DESIRE AND ABILITY , Jennifer Schneider

Bolstering Leadership Engagement to Community Coalition Work in Rural Appalachia , Melissa Slone

Opioid Addiction in Rural America: The Transportation Need for Treatment Adherence , Jennifer Smith

Healthcare Equity for Transgender Individuals , Mollie Staggs

CHILD WELFARE: WORKFORCE RETENTION, COMPETENCE, AND THE CONNECTION TO SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION , Brittany Stanley

Trauma-Sensitive Leadership in Multidisciplinary Settings , Jennifer Griswold Withrow

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Social Work Masters Capstone Projects

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program at Eastern Kentucky University prepares students to be interprofessional social work practitioners who can mobilize the power of interprofessional teams for the advancement of social welfare and justice. Students also participate in an interdisciplinary university certificate program that further informs their practice.

Submissions from 2023 2023

Utilizing Interprofessional Collaboration to Assist Clients and Communities with Disaster Relief , Baylen D. Bellamy

Utilizing Interprofessional Collaboration in an Opioid Addiction Treatment Center , Lindsey K. Centers

Using Interprofessional Collaboration to Assist Refugees , Hannah E. Hoekstra

Utilizing an Evidence-Based Treatment Program for Offenders with Mental Health Disorders to Demonstrate Interprofessional Social Work Practice , Erica Kessinger and Ann Callahan

Interprofessional Collaboration for Addiction Intervention in a Community College Setting , Cathi Smith

Submissions from 2022 2022

Social Work in Mental Health and Interprofessional Collaboration , Keri L. Baker

The Development of the Student Advisory Board in the Master’s of Social Work Program at Eastern Kentucky University , Stephanie E. Burris

Interprofessional Practice and Handling the First Break: A Case Study , Jalen D. Clemmons

Capstone: Interprofessional Collaboration , Caleb Dobbs

Finding Employment for Individuals with Disabilities Utilizing Interprofessional Collaboration , George G. Gaertner

Interprofessional Collaboration and the Use of Social Work Competencies in Therapeutic Foster Care , Virginia Hall

Clark/Floyd Crisis Intervention Team Capstone Project , Troy L. Mansfield

MSW Capstone , Angela Marple

Application of CSWE Competencies in Process of Obtaining CARF Accreditation , Hannah L. Marquez-hernandez

Addressing the Information Gap About Gender Affirming Care , Leah Rousso

Residential Case Management; Advanced Interprofessional Collaboration , Kaleia P. Spires

Utilizing Interprofessional Collaboration to Support and Broaden Perspectives of First-Generation, Low-Income Students , Taylor Stratman

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Social Work Portfolios

  • BSW capstone project

The BSW program at Southern Adventist University requires from all its graduating students a portfolio development and presentation as a capstone project.

Why a portfolio?

A portfolio is developed to showcase the work of a professional. For the social work students, the portfolio is basically a collection of coursework and field experiences that portray the student’s proficiency in the nine core CSWE competencies. It is meant to demonstrate their strengths, provide proof of their social work skills and document various experiences related to social work.

The BSW graduates can continue to use their portfolio to enhance their professional growth along their social work career. A well developed professional portfolio, available for review before a job interview, is a great asset for any applicant.

What kind of information can be included in a professional portfolio? 

  • Presentations
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  • Journal reflections
  • Field experience evaluation forms
  • Photographs of you actively participating in social work-related activities
  • Reviews of professional literature
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Employment-Based Field Education

Contact Field Education at  [email protected]  or 716-645-1234

Students who work in human services may submit an employment-based field application.

Overview of employment-based field education

Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education, where students develop their professional identity and integrate the skills and concepts learned throughout their coursework. The current best practice for field education requires students to engage in learning activities that are qualitatively different from prior volunteer or employment experiences and allow for the attainment of Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) competencies. Activities should be supervised by someone with at least a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. 

The Council on Social Work Education has long permitted employment-based field placements where job duties are distinctly different from a student’s designated field activities, and the work supervisor is different than the field educator. These rules were designed to protect the role of students as learners while engaged in field, with expectations different from those related to employment. New guidelines (issued in June 2020) allow students to request to count their work for some or all of their field hours, up to 15 hours per week.

When a student opts to pursue an employment-based field placement, it is the student’s responsibility to manage the process. This includes completing the application, making sure the necessary parties agree and gathering signatures. An employment-based field placement requires more responsibility on the part of the student. Generally, students who are not successful at a traditional agency field placement are not approved for employment-based field placements. If a student no longer wishes to pursue an employment-based field placement, they should contact their placement coordinator immediately. 

Employment-based field placement criteria

The following criteria must be met for the student to be approved for an employment-based field placement. Note: Many agencies have different policies regarding employment-based field placements. Before pursuing an employment-based field placement, students should consult with their employer about employment-field placement policies and procedures.

  • Students must be in good standing, and not involved in a review process. Students who have been terminated from a field placement may not be approved for an employment-based field placement. The field placement must allow the student to participate in activities directly linked to the nine social work competencies (below). This may or may not be in the same setting as the student’s current work. The current best practice is for students to have separate and unique work and field responsibilities.  If this is not possible, and regular work duties are requested to count as field, the student must also propose supplemental learning opportunities beyond work duties. If students use any of their regular work hours to count as field, they must complete a Capstone Project (description below). If their work and field duties/hours are separate, they do not need to complete a Capstone project.
  • The student must have been employed by the fieldwork site for a minimum of 60 days before submitting an employment-based field placement proposal.
  • The student may only count 15 hours per week for field hours. If, for unforeseen circumstances, a student has fallen behind on field hours, they may submit a request to count more than 15 hours per week. The student will be asked to convey how the additional hours enhance the student's learning, i.e., a student who is counting their job as field will not be permitted to count more than 15 hours per week unless they are able to describe new learning experiences beyond their regular work duties. The student should submit the request to their faculty liaison.
  • A field educator is defined as an individual with a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) from a CSWE-accredited program. The field educator should be licensed with an LMSW or LCSW. Note: If the field placement is in an agency/program that is exempt according to current NYS law (an exempt agency is one that has an NYS operating certificate from any of the following agencies: OMH, OMRDD, OCFS or OASAS), then the field educator may not need to be licensed.
  • The field educator must agree to provide a social work perspective to the student’s field education experience. The field educator must agree to allow the student the space and permission to be a learner. In other words, the student’s role as a student should be prioritized along with their learning and skill development.
  • The agency must be willing to allow the student/employee to attend classes and have an educationally focused field placement experience.
  • The agency must be willing to allow the field educator to attend field education training and to have sufficient time to provide the minimum of at least one hour/week of supervision for the student. Supervision must focus on learning, skill development and competency development.
  • The agency must be able to provide a generalist placement experience if the student/employee is applying for the first/foundation placement. If the agency provides a second/advanced year placement, it is necessary to provide a placement experience that allows the student to participate in advanced-level graduate social work activities. 
  • The Employment-Based Application must be received by the deadline specified online. Once the application is returned to the Field Education Department, it will be reviewed, and a response will be given as soon as possible to indicate whether the placement has been approved. A site visit may be required as part of the application review process prior to determining approval. 

Listen and learn more

View an information session on employment-based field placements and the presentation slides. 

How do I apply?

To apply for an employment-based field placement, complete the following steps in our online software Sonia: 

  • On your Field Placement Acknowledgement form, indicate that you are pursuing an employment-based field placement
  • Navigate to the form titled, "Employment-Based Field Placement Application"
  • Follow the directions on the form and complete all necessary fields
  • After the application is completed, follow the directions on the form to seek signatures from your    
  • Work supervisor
  • Field Educator
  • Agency or Program Director

After all of those steps are completed, the field department will review your application and provide approval or feedback within approximately two weeks. 

See below for two samples of completed employment-based applications:

Capstone project

Students who are requesting to count their regular work duties as field will be expected to create a learning contract that contains at least one project that spans two semesters, that relates to the majority of the nine competencies, reflects attainment of social work values and ethics, and demonstrates substantial professional growth and development. For example, topic areas could include racial equity, anti-racism within social work practice, response to the COVID-19 pandemic or trauma-informed practices within the agency. Examples are below.

The students will upload an update on their project at mid-placement and final placement; there is a space to do so on the learning contract. A reflection is acceptable. Students will also be required to write a reflection about how the project has allowed them to integrate course content with field. The student's field educator will evaluate and comment on their project at the mid- and final placement evaluations. Finally, students will describe their project and upload materials, if appropriate, to a padlet board.

Capstone Project Examples

  • I will gather research and information on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on mental health and for providers. I will also research the benefits of implementing mindfulness groups in mental health housing programs. I will create a training for staff and educate them on mindfulness and meditation benefits as providers and for clients. There is research that utilizing mindfulness improves peoples abilities as providers; It can help you be better attuned to client needs for example. I will implement a reoccurring meeting with staff where we participate in a meditation together. I will implement a twice weekly mindfulness group for clients that will entail education on utilizing mindfulness in day to day life and a guided meditation. For the clients that choose to participate I will request that they track their meditation minutes for research purposes. I will conduct a questionnaire with clients and staff before and after implementing the program. The student will fully research the topic of stigmatization and bias against individuals with psychotic disorders in the field of social work. The research compiled will be used to create and provide an agency-training on the topic. The student will then evaluate the training results.
  • The two semester long project I would be completing would be an assessment of the Institute for Trauma Recovery and Resiliency's trauma informed care practices followed by a training and set of recommendations. The project would include looking at how our practice completes intakes over the phone, if an online version would be more accessible to people, how we are screening clients (all of whom have a history of trauma), how women are introduced into starting the Intensive Outpatient Program and other ways where our practice is mindful of working with those with a traumatic past. Some of the nine competencies that would be highlighted are demonstrating ethical and professional behavior, engaging in practice informed research and research informed practice, engaging with individuals, families, groups and communities, assessing individuals, families, groups and communities, evaluating practice with individuals, families, groups and communities.
  • The student will complete a training on Cognitive Behavior Therapy. The student will integrate CBT in field experience and at the place of employment to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention during individual counseling with clients and during group sessions. Using CBT, the student and the client(s) will work together to identify unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior.
  • I will evaluate the program policies and practices for how well they adhere to a trauma-informed model. After the evaluation is complete, I will make recommendations for helping to make the program more trauma-informed in its practices. I will present a training to the staff on trauma-informed practices.
  • I will work with my Leaders in Training groups to implement a service learning project. Students will choose an area or problem within the school or community that needs to be addressed. Once the students have chosen their topic I will work with them to create bulletin boards, videos, and train them to facilitate a classroom activity to teach their peers. When the students are creating their lesson, bulletin boards, and video, the After the classroom lesson that the LIT students teach, we will administer a short evaluation.

Email us at [email protected] .

SBU News

SoCJ Graduate Students Present Capstone Projects

2024 socj masters students pose for a photo

This spring, eight soon-to-be graduates from the School of Communication and Journalism (SoCJ) presented their master’s capstone projects to an audience of their peers, faculty and staff. The projects ranged from online social science research to a newsletter focusing on reproductive health.

This is the first year the SoCJ has had graduates from both of its graduate programs: the Master of Science in Journalism and the Master of Science in Science Communication. 

“These capstone experiences give our graduate students the opportunity to synthesize everything they’ve learned in their degree work and apply it to real-world situations,” said Laura Lindenfeld, dean of the SoCJ and executive director of the Alda Center for Communicating Science. “Their projects explore what factors influence how people get information, and which strategies will best reach those audiences. As media and technology continue to change how information travels through society, I’m proud that our students are thinking creatively and trying new approaches.”

The students collaborate with a faculty mentor on a project of their choice. For students in the science communication program, projects can take the form of original academic research or content developed to engage a specific audience. Journalism graduate students’ projects often consist of an in-depth, far-reaching piece of journalism.

Master of Science in Journalism Candidates

Kelsie Radziski: Period Pulse

Radziski recognized a need for accessible, quality information about uterine health, and created Period Pulse , a Substack newsletter designed for young adults and full of accessible, engaging information. As news consumption changes and people increasingly look to tailor their news experience, subscription-based newsletters like Radziski’s are growing in popularity. 

“I am definitely continuing Period Pulse,” said Radziski. “I have put so much time, thought and effort into it, and my passion has grown tenfold since the start. My future career plans are to become a reporter or editor, but if I can turn my newsletter into a financially feasible career opportunity, that would be the dream!”

Samantha Rutt: The Job Journal

Rutt decided to challenge traditional notions of career success by highlighting the impact and importance of the roles that make up the middle class workforce, something she claims is overlooked by mainstream media. 

“The media, driven by imperatives of engagement and market forces, has a natural gravitation toward the sensational,” said Rutt. “A bias towards the sensational skews our understanding of American life, painting a picture where struggle and opulence dominate while the ordinary triumphs and anxieties of the middle class fade into the background. The Job Journal seeks to bring some attention back to those in the middle, the middle working class.”

Rutt incorporated the data she collected into a limited-run Substack newsletter featuring interviews with middle-class workers and a detailed analysis of her approach to the topic. She serves as managing editor for Times Beacon Record News Media, a role she will continue after graduation. 

Ashley Pavlakis: A Look at Long Island

Pavlakis channeled her interest in multimedia journalism into a digital magazine that showcases Long Island’s hidden gems, many of which Pavlakis discovered are not marketed well to the public.  

“I wanted to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my love for LI by creating something really special,” said Pavlakis. “I loved getting to learn about the history of Long Island and the amazing things it has to offer, especially because I didn’t know about some of the places I visited.”

Pavlakis says she plans to expand the magazine to include topics such as food and nightlife, and bring it to Instagram to share content with a wider audience. 

Master of Science in Science Communication Candidates

Ishita Sharma: Effective Science Communication on Social Media for Astronomy and Physics

Sharma, who has a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from Stony Brook, explored effective science communication on social media, focusing on physics and astronomy content. She sought to fill a gap in existing research by comparing people’s perceptions of social media content about the two subjects. 

Her research offers suggestions for creating content about astronomy and physics, particularly the importance of incorporating visuals and making accessible, short-form content like Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts. 

Menka Suresh: Science Communication on Tik Tok

Suresh started making science content on Tik Tok in 2021 to help people learn about COVID-19 and its vaccines. The videos did well, and led Suresh to discover the field of science communication. For her capstone, she explored two facets of science communication on Tik Tok: comparing the performance of narrative-based and informational videos, and whether videos tended to perform better when they featured a female or male scientist.

Suresh says she plans to continue creating science content on social media and is working with her fellow classmate, Abigail Bender, and some friends to create an environmental podcast. 

Abigail Bender: Theater as a Science Communication Tool

Bender, who has a background in theater, explored the power of theater in science communication. Using recent climate research, she wrote three versions of a script for a 90-minute play, customizing each version to provide a different level of detail about the research. 

Bender’s project was in part inspired by her collaboration with associate professor of English, Ken Weitzman, on Science on Stage , an Alda Center program that brings together scientists, playwrights and professional actors to create scientifically accurate, engaging 10-minute plays. 

“I have been working to combine scientific research and theater performance since I was an undergraduate,” said Bender. “I was so incredibly excited when I found out that Ken Weitzman was working on Science on Stage not only because I would get to work on something I am passionate about but I would have the opportunity to work with someone who is interested in using theater for science communication.”

David Despain: Optimizing Nutrition, Diet, and Lifestyle Communication in GLP-1 Medication Therapy for Weight Management: A Qualitative Research Study with Registered Dietitians

Despain works as a nutritionist for Nestle Health Science and tailored his capstone to complement his job. He created a 10-episode podcast , based on findings from research he conducted for the capstone, discussing how communication about nutrition, diet and lifestyle could improve the performance of weight management drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy for patients with obesity.

He says he will submit his study to an academic conference or journal.

Jessica O’Connor: Health Literacy on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: A Meta-Analysis

O’Connor spent two semesters researching COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy with Ruobing Li, assistant professor of mass communication, and built off of that work for her capstone. She analyzed data from multiple studies to understand how health literacy influences vaccine hesitancy. She found that overall, increased health literacy leads to individuals being more willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.   

O’Connor is continuing to work with Li, and the pair will submit their research for publication this summer. She is seeking a job in medical writing or science communication and plans to apply to medical school. 

The past few years have seen tremendous growth for the SoCJ , including new degree programs. The science communication master’s program launched in Fall 2021. The journalism master’s program enrolled its inaugural cohort in Fall 2022. 

“Our students are not afraid to ask the tough questions, explore innovative and sometimes controversial topics, and go above and beyond to promote positive changes in society,” said Brenda Hoffman, graduate programs director and associate dean for academic affairs. “I’m so proud of the work and care our students take in producing their capstone projects. These projects give us a glimpse into the many ways that our students will go on to make a difference in the world through communication and journalism.”

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Learning In Action: Senior research shines at Capstone Conference

capstone project for social work

At Warren Wilson, every academic department requires a senior capstone project. Students present their final Capstone projects at the end of the semester.

Below are a few of the senior’s final projects:

capstone project for social work

Jone Cunningham: Ensō: From Incarceration to Reconnection

For his senior capstone research project, recent graduate Jone Cunningham created a program for women and marginalized genders who have exited incarceration. “The experiences many have while incarcerated are deeply spiritually and emotionally unrooting, and I found an avenue to begin untangling those systematic injustices,” Jone said. Their program, Ensō, revolves around deepening spiritual connection to self, others, and nature, while engaging people with the Warren Wilson campus and all it has to offer. It takes the existing partnership between Western Correctional Center for Women and Warren Wilson through the Inside Out program a step farther, with an eight-week program that involves work in the greenhouse, dissecting religious and spiritual histories with Spiritual Life, and integrating the Houseplants for Happiness project. Jone spearheaded the Houseplants for Happiness together with Professor of Social Work Sarah Himmelheber to put students in the greenhouse, using Care Farming techniques, to propagate and grow plants and distributes those plants to folks in permanent supportive housing.

Jone majored in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Education. He has been the instructor for the trapeze classes on campus, involved with student organizing efforts regarding a Free Palestine, and the intern and TA for the Inside-Out Care Farming course. Their plans for after graduation are to keep building engagement with Western Correctional Center for Women as a part of their horticulture and garden club, as well as working with the Asheville Bail Fund.

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Teaghan McAllister: Plastic in Bird Nests Increases with Proximity to Human-impacted Areas

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COMMENTS

  1. Social Work Capstone Projects

    The concentration year Capstone Project provides Masters of Social Work (MSW) students with the opportunity to integrate and apply previous learning (academic and field) through the creation and implementation of a project at their practicum agency in order to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills, ethics and values necessary for evidence-based advanced generalist social work practice.

  2. Thesis and Capstone Requirements for Social Work Programs

    Typically, a social work capstone is a final project embedded within a required research or practicum course. Field work for the capstone project requires a time commitment of one quarter to one academic year, with many students beginning their practicum or internship experience the summer before their senior year. Capstone projects include ...

  3. Thesis and Capstone Requirements for Social Work Programs

    A social work capstone is typically completed as an internship. Thesis programs, on the other hand, are in-depth professional and clinical field experiences documented in a final essay. Students should be aware of capstone or thesis requirements when choosing a program and whether their program requires one or both as options for graduation.

  4. What are Some Popular Capstone Project Ideas for Masters in Social Work

    Despite the fact that most capstone projects in social work are completed as research papers demonstrating scientific findings, students also usually have the freedom to create a final program, product, presentation, performance, or experience. For instance, some graduate social work students may select to direct a public service announcement ...

  5. Social Work Capstone Projects

    The only practical guide for helping social work students create high-quality applied capstone research projects from start to finish. This "mentor-in-a-book" provides social work students with invaluable information on designing, implementing, and presenting first-rate applied research projects focused on improving social work programs and services.

  6. Academic Guides: Programs: DSW Capstone Project

    A DSW capstone project is a formal manuscript written to address a problem in social work practice. Walden DSW projects consist of four sections. You can access the Office of Research and Doctoral Services website for information on the process, checklists, and rubrics for the capstone project, and you can also access samples of published ...

  7. Capstone Project

    The Capstone Project for the UW-Green Bay MSW Program is derived from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) competencies of which all students graduating from accredited social work programs must demonstrate mastery. Posters are presented in a public forum and, as such, help students meet Competencies one, three, and four: The Symposium ...

  8. MSW Research Capstone

    The MSW research capstone project culminates a two-year research course sequence, with the following required courses: 213A: Social Welfare Research Methods (First Year, Winter) - 4 units. 213B: Applied Statistics in Social Welfare (First Year, Spring) - 4 units. 260A: Research Capstone I: Project Development (Second Year, Fall) - 4 units.

  9. Doctor of Social Work (DSW) Research: DSW Capstone Projects

    The DSW Capstone Project submission process is detailed below: Step 1: Student receives confirmation from Capstone (SOWK 725c) Faculty that their project is ready to be archived. Step 2: Capstone (SOWK 725c) Faculty notifies the DSW Program Office of students who are ready to submit their capstone projects to the USC Libraries system.

  10. Social Work Capstone Projects

    The only practical guide for helping social work students create high-quality applied capstone research projects from start to finish. This "mentor-in-a-book" provides social work students with invaluable information on designing, implementing, and presenting first-rate applied research projects focused on improving social work programs and services.

  11. Tips for Developing your Capstone Project Online

    Tips for Developing your Capstone Project Online. As part of your Capstone course for the MSW program in Social Work, you may be presenting trainings or engaging with organizations in an online format. The work you are doing is important, and you'll want to do your best as you work with others on your capstone project.

  12. Social Work Capstone Projects

    The only practical guide for helping social work students create high-quality applied capstone research projects from start to finish. This "mentor-in-a-book" provides social work students with invaluable information on designing, implementing, and presenting first-rate applied research projects focused on improving social work programs and services.

  13. DSW Capstone Projects, University of Kentucky

    Capstone Projects from 2022. Music as an Instrument for Healing: Exploring music therapy for increasing the quality of life for geriatric veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Travis Adams. Self-care and Cultural Humility: Expanding the Practice of Social Work Leaders, Donia Addison.

  14. Master of Social Work Capstone Projects: 2021: Executive Summary

    Recommended Citation. University of the Pacific, "Master of Social Work Capstone Projects: 2021: Executive Summary" (2021). MSW Capstone Conference.

  15. IHSP 2021 Capstone Projects

    Integrated Health Scholars are clinical MSW students who participate in value-added training to develop knowledge and skills in interprofessional team-based care in underserved communities. Capstone projects are completed at their clinical field practicum setting. These Scholars will graduate from the KU School of Social Welfare in May 2021.

  16. Academic Guides: Capstone Documents: DSW Doctoral Study

    Doctor of Social Work. Before enrolling in the SOCW 8610 course, students must have a completed and approved premise that has been submitted to [email protected] and approved by the Program Director or his/her designee. Once the premise has been approved, students will be assigned a Chair and enrolled in the SOCW 8610 course.

  17. MSW Capstone Project

    The capstone project offers students the opportunity to integrate and apply learning in order to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills, competencies, behaviors, ethics and values necessary for evidence-based advanced generalist social work practice. In the final week of the final semester, students are presented with an advanced ...

  18. DSW Capstone Projects, University of Kentucky

    CHILD WELFARE: WORKFORCE RETENTION, COMPETENCE, AND THE CONNECTION TO SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION, Brittany Stanley. PDF. Trauma-Sensitive Leadership in Multidisciplinary Settings, Jennifer Griswold Withrow. 1. 2. Doctor of Social Work capstone projects from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work are available here.

  19. Social Work, D.S.W.

    Students may select members of their Capstone Committee based on the individuals' social work area of expertise, expertise in research and evaluation methodologies, or some other skill/expertise that will be helpful for the student in developing, implementing, and writing the report for their projects. School of Social Work faculty have a wide ...

  20. Social Work Masters Capstone Projects

    Social Work Masters Capstone Projects. The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) program at Eastern Kentucky University prepares students to be interprofessional social work practitioners who can mobilize the power of interprofessional teams for the advancement of social welfare and justice. Students also participate in an interdisciplinary university ...

  21. What is a capstone project? And why is it important?

    The capstone project is usually the final assignment and plays a vital role in preparing students for the world of work thanks to its practical applications and ability to help hone students' professional knowledge and skills. At York University in Toronto, Canada, things are a little different. In 2019, the university revised the traditional ...

  22. BSW capstone project

    A portfolio is developed to showcase the work of a professional. For the social work students, the portfolio is basically a collection of coursework and field experiences that portray the student's proficiency in the nine core CSWE competencies. It is meant to demonstrate their strengths, provide proof of their social work skills and document ...

  23. Employment-Based Field Education

    The Council on Social Work Education has long permitted employment-based field placements where job duties are distinctly different from a student's designated field activities, and the work supervisor is different than the field educator. ... If their work and field duties/hours are separate, they do not need to complete a Capstone project ...

  24. SoCJ Graduate Students Present Capstone Projects

    journalism. This spring, eight soon-to-be graduates from the School of Communication and Journalism (SoCJ) presented their master's capstone projects to an audience of their peers, faculty and staff. The projects ranged from online social science research to a newsletter focusing on reproductive health. This is the first year the SoCJ has had ...

  25. Learning In Action: Senior research shines at Capstone Conference

    Students present their final Capstone projects at the end of the semester. Below are a few of the senior's final projects: Jone Cunningham: Ensō: From Incarceration to Reconnection. For his senior capstone research project, recent graduate Jone Cunningham created a program for women and marginalized genders who have exited incarceration.

  26. PDF High-Impact Educational Practices: Capstone Courses and Projects

    The AAC&U defines capstone courses and projects as "culminating experiences [that] require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of ... Doing less work, collecting better data; using capstone courses to assess learning. Peer Review, 9(2). Hummer, J. (2012). The Content of Capstone Experiences: Determining Best ...

  27. Building a Trauma-Informed Workplace to Support Library Staff

    Our capstone project works to address the issue of unaddressed public library staff trauma through a paper and website. These texts overview public library workers' experience of trauma, defines trauma-informed care, examines its use within the public library setting, and provides strategies to incorporate those principles for public library staff support.

  28. Interactive Media capstone projects celebrated at exhibition

    The remaining 10 capstone projects touched on game design, videography and social media strategy. During the exhibition, Andrew Dryfoos '23, G'24 and his project drew a regular crowd, where the grad student delved into facial recognition and image generation - and the hurdles the technologies still face.