Skip navigation

GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Organizational Leadership & Policy Practice

The Organizational Leadership and Policy Practice concentration prepares social work practitioners to work at community, organizational and societal levels. Practitioners work to build the capacity of communities, organizations and policy-makers to advance human rights, social justice and the well-being of all peoples. Community social workers use leadership skills to develop programs, administer organizations, build community coalitions, craft and analyze social policy, advocate for policy and program change, and implement program and policy research to support best practices for social services delivery. Students complete field work in community based settings and organizations that address a range of social problems and policy issues such as poverty, women's rights, health care, homelessness and education.

The minimum credits required for the MSW degree is 90 (60 for advanced standing students). In addition to the courses listed below, students may also take courses from other concentration areas or up to 10 credits of coursework (with the approval of the advisor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs) from other DU graduate programs to fulfill elective requirements.


Required Recommended
Theory for
(3 credits required)
SOWK 4370 – Community and Organizational Change: Theory for Practice
SOWK 4375 – Economic Theory for Social Work
SOWK 4360- Social Ecology, One Health and Resiliency: Connecting Human and Environmental Health
(9 credits required)
SOWK 4340 - Leadership and Supervision Skills
At least 2 additional courses from this list →
SOWK 4535 - Planning and Program Development
SOWK 4525 - Administration and Management Practice and Skills
SOWK 4760 - Resource Development and Fundraising
SOWK 4660 - Social Policy Advocacy
SOWK 4765 - International Social Development
SOWK 4435 – Community Organizing and Empowerment Practice
4425 - Positive and Community Youth Development
4530 - Poverty and Community Economic Development

Policy and 
Social and 
(3 credits required)

SOWK 4670 - Policy Analysis and Development 

Additional courses from this list are highly recommended as electives →

SOWK 4600 - Child Welfare Policies and Services
SOWK 4610 – Policies and Programs for Children and Youth
SOWK 4630 – Family Policies and Services
SOWK 4635 – Immigration Policies & Services
SOWK 4640 – Mental Health and Drug Dependency Policies and Systems
SOWK 4650 – Aging Policy
SOWK 4645 - Health Care Policy

Research (6 credits required)

SOWK 4900-Methods for Evaluating Practice/Programs
SOWK 4901-Applied Practice Evaluation Research
Research courses must be taken in sequence. The research will be conducted in the student's field placement.
Values for 
Practice (3 credits required)

At least 3 credits from this list →

SOWK 4732 – Disrupting Privilege and Anti-Oppressive Practice
SOWK 4232- Critical Race Praxis
SOWK 4749 – Social Work Interventions with Latinos/as
SOWK 4764 – Historical Trauma
SOWK 4235 – Disproportionality & Disparity Across Systems
SOWK 4240 – Intergenerational Justice
SOWK 4751 –Global Relations & Poverty in Mexico
SOWK 4971 – SW Response to Postwar Bosnia
SOWK 4759 – Global Cultural Perspectives: Consensus & Conundrums
SOWK 4758 – Conservation SW in Kenya: Context, Empowerment, Sustainability
SOWK 4790– Human Sexuality
SOWK 4890– Contemporary Global Issues
SOWK 4990 – Special Topics (as approved, titles vary)
SOWK 4971– Gender & Feminisms in Social Work Practice
SOWK 4971—Cultural Connectedness: A Journey into Native American Country

(15-18 credits)

SOWK 4970-Concentration Field Internship
Appropriate internships are chosen in consultation with the Field Team.
(1 credit)
Required in final quarter of program

Note: Most courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise indicated on the course schedule.

Additional electives with particular relevance to the Organizational Leadership and Policy Practice Concentration include:

SOWK 4465 – Human Security: Pathways to Human Development
SOWK 4780 – Conflict Resolution in Social Work Practice