Generalist Practice Definition and Social Work Program  Competencies

Generalist Social Work Practice

The social work curriculum prepares graduates for entry level generalist social work practice through the mastery of the ten core competencies. The Program has adopted the definition of Generalist practice from the Council on Social Work Education as follows:

“Generalist practice is grounded in the liberal arts and the person and environment construct. To promote human and social well-being, generalist practitioners use a range of prevention and intervention methods in their practice with individuals, families, groups, organization, and communities. The generalist practitioner identifies with the social work profession and applies ethical principles and critical thinking in practice. Generalist practitioners incorporate diversity in their practice and advocate for human rights and social and economic justice. They recognize, support and build on strengths and resiliency of all human beings. They engage in research informed practice and are proactive in responding to the impact of context on professional practice. BSW practice incorporates all of the core competencies” (CSWE, 2008, p.7).


The Program is designed to prepare students for competent social work practice as defined by the 2008 Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Educational Policy Accreditation Standards (EPAS).The goal of competency based education is to assure that students can successfully integrate and apply the competencies in practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Competencies are measurable practice behaviors that are comprised of social work knowledge, values, and skills. CSWE outlines 10 core competencies which provide the intellectual framework for the program’s professional curriculum and design. The core competencies are further explicated by the Marist College Social Work Program as a Social Work Program Competency (SWPC). Each competency is defined by a set of practice behaviors. The total social work curriculum provides opportunities for students to master all 10 core competencies. The core competency is noted as SWPC 1-10.

SWPC 1          Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly;

SWPC 2          Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.

SWPC 3          Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

SWPC 4          Engage diversity and difference in practice.

SWPC 5          Advance human rights and social and economic justice.

SWPC 6          Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

SWPC 7          Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.

SWPC 8          Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well being and to deliver effective social work services.

SWPC 9          Respond to contexts that shape practice.

SWPC 10        Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.