During the last semester of the MSW program at WSSW, all graduating students are required to complete the Integrative Capstone Thesis as the final task of MSW coursework. The Capstone is a way to (1) apply learning from coursework and fieldwork to a particular topic of interest

During the last semester of the MSW program at WSSW, all graduating students are required to complete the Integrative Capstone Thesis as the final task of MSW coursework. The Capstone is a way to (1) apply learning from coursework and fieldwork to a particular topic of interest, and 2) to engage in an exercise of self-reflection, that draws on learning from coursework and fieldwork. The main goal of this assignment is to provide an opportunity for each student to communicate and integrate personal learning and student experience at Wurzweiler as well as demonstrate a readiness to enter the social work profession.
The first section of the paper focuses on selecting and researching an area of social work practice that was either found to be challenging while in fieldwork, or an area that you may be interested in but have not had time to explore, or an area of practice that has impacted you in your personal life. The second section of the paper prompts students to engage in an exploration of self, and how your academic and field experiences have contributed to the development of your philosophy of helping.
Social work involves both science and art. The science of social work is based on objective, verifiable evidence obtained through the scientific method; section one draws on science. Section two focuses on the art aspect of social work, which is unique to each student; this section draws on the development of the professional self, and involves a philosophy of helping that can be open for interpretation.
Students are expected to work with their thesis advisor (mentor) and independently complete the assignment. The thesis is written under the guidance of a faculty mentor, who will be an integral part of the educational process. Please note that the Capstone Thesis is not a course and does not require any class time.
Social work education requires that each student experience a growth in awareness and understanding of self, which they are required to communicate in writing prior to the commencement of graduate studies. The successful completion of the Capstone Integrative Thesis offers an engaged learning experience for students to conclude their educational experience at Wurzweiler with increased insight about the practice and profession of social work.
The Thesis integrates the following areas of the MSW core curriculum. It is important to demonstrate how your social work knowledge base, both practical and theoretical, has informed your developing perspective of your chosen topic, and how it has shaped your professional self- development.
• Practice • Research • Policy
• Social Welfare Organization
• Cultural Diversity
• Values and Ethics
• Philosophical Foundations
The Thesis is divided into three parts.
Section 1 (approximately 10 pages) focuses on a chosen topic; includes a literature review related to the topic and insights learned from coursework and fieldwork relevant to that topic.
Section 2 (approximately 10 pages) relates to the development of your professional self, and includes insights learned from coursework and fieldwork related to that development.
Conclusion (approximately 2 pages) should provide an integration of Section 1 and Section 2, including some insight into how your chosen topic and your professional self intersect. Your conclusion should also provide a brief summary about what you have gained from writing this paper.
Students will receive a pass or fail grade & have the option to complete revisions.
Scholarly Guidelines:
Format: The Integrative Thesis must be completed in APA format, following the 6th edition. This includes an abstract, a title and reference page, use of 12 point font, Times New Roman, double spaced with 1 inch margins. Please be sure to include appropriate in-text citations.
Length: 20-25 pages of content, excluding abstract, title and reference page
References: Papers should include a minimum of 10 empirical references.
Cover Page: (a) Title center at top of page (b) Student name 5 spaces below title; (c) School name, 3 spaces below student name (center school name – Yeshiva University; and 1 space below, Wurzweiler School of Social work; (d) Date: month, year of graduation – lower right hand corner of cover page.
Cover: Thesis should be bound with a black cover, front and back. Yeshiva University production, located in the basement of Belfer Hall and will bind your Thesis for $3.00.

As you prepare to become a professional social worker, consider a topic in which you have a personal and/or professional interest and/or would like to engage in further exploration, but have not yet explored in depth.
This section of the thesis requires you to critically examine existing research related to your topic. Review the literature to report relevant knowledge about practice, theory, policy, diversity, & values and ethics that are critical to understanding the topic from a social work perspective.
The literature review section requires more than summarizing the views of researchers and what has been reported on the topic. You must synthesize and evaluate the available research, and identify possible gaps in the literature. It is important to demonstrate that you have an awareness of the different opinions, theories, and approaches that others have written about related to your topic.
Some questions to consider include: How does the article/work contribute to an understanding of the topic? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the studies? Does the research offer extensive knowledge in the areas relevant to social work practice?
Reflect on your time in the MSW program, critically thinking about the process of your academic and professional learning over time, which is now culminating in the completion of your degree. Report about your development of professional self, including your growth from non-student to student, from first year student to second year student, and from student to beginning practitioner.
Be sure to discuss your philosophy of helping, including what has contributed to the evolution of your philosophy throughout the course of your graduate school education. Report on your professional skill development, such as use of self, ability to engage in reflective practice, your knowledge of transference and countertransference, awareness of cultural diversity and integration of policy and research. Use examples from your coursework and fieldwork placement to complete this section.
October 31st Thesis mentor selection
November 15th Begin meeting with mentor
December 10th Finalize topic selection
February 15th Submission of rough draft to mentor
April 15th Final draft submission to mentor
May 1st Completed copy submitted to Dr. Sweifach

Dr. Helen Mongan-Rallis of the University of Minnesota Duluth provides a detailed guide, for writing the literature review section of the thesis. http://www.duluth.umn.edu/~hrallis/guides/researching/litreview.html
Another useful website, with information compiled by Dr. John Glover of Virginia Commonwealth is the following:
If you are more of a visual learner, there are a number of YouTube videos that might be helpful. The below links provide a basic step-by-step guide to writing a literature review in 3 parts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IClUgxoJf_g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzWTM4FApNg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES3TJrzaYKE
American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological
Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.


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