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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Mental Health

The Mental Health concentration focuses on clinical interventions, advanced theory, and research related to mental health, substance use and trauma. Core topics include the assessment of mental health and substance use, skills in crisis intervention and suicide risk-assessment, policy related to mental health and substance use intervention and key clinical interventions and skills.

Courses address substance use and mental health interventions from several theoretical perspectives: solution-focused, cognitive behavioral, trauma-informed, existential, interpersonal/psychodynamic and strengths/empowerment. Populations include children, adults and older adults.

Field education placements are offered in agencies that provide psychotherapy, crisis intervention, case management and other clinical interventions related to mental health, substance use and trauma.

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 4345 – Intersections of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Trauma
SOWK 4325 – Evolving Perspectives and Trends in Health and Wellness
SOWK 4320 – Theories and Practice of Family Systems Therapy
(9 credits required)
SOWK 4330 - Assessment of Mental Health in Adults

SOWK 4730 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapies


At least 1 additional course from this list →

SOWK 4401 – Integrated Health Care: Models and Practice
SOWK 4412 – Practice Elements in Interventions with Children and Youth
SOWK 4500 – Mental Health Interventions with Children
SOWK 4971 – Groups for Children and Adolescents
SOWK 4754 - Trauma Response and Recovery
SOWK 4735 - Interpersonal Approaches to Counseling
SOWK 4700 - Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
SOWK 4430 – Substance Use Interventions
SOWK 4784 - Suicide Assessment & Interventions
SOWK 4775 - Social Work with Adult Groups
SOWK 4971 – Assessment of Mental Health in Children & Youth
SOWK 4454 – Child and Adolescent Trauma

Policy and 
Social and 
(3 credits required)

SOWK 4640 – Mental Health and Substance Use Policies 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 4764 – Historical Trauma
SOWK 4235 – Disproportionality & Disparity Across Systems
SOWK 4751 –Global Relations & Poverty in Mexico
SOWK 4971 – SW Response to Postwar Bosnia
SOWK 4759 – Global Cultural Perspectives: Consensus & Conundrums
SOWK 4756 – SW from a Chinese Perspective
SOWK 4758 – Conservation SW in Kenya: Context, Empowerment, Sustainability
SOWK 4240 – Intergenerational Justice
SOWK 4749 – SW Interventions with Latinos/as
SOWK 4790- Human Sexuality
SOWK 4890– Contemporary Global Issues
SOWK 4971- Gender & Feminisms in Social Work Practice
SOWK 4971—Cultural Connectedness: A Journey into Native American Country
SOWK 4990 – Special Topics (as approved, titles vary)
(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 Mental Health concentration include:

SOWK 4755- Interventions for Responses to Trauma (pre-req SOWK 4754)
SOWK 4523- Care Management Skills and Resources to Promote Community Living
SOWK 4741 - Grief and Loss across the Life Span
SOWK 4725 – Mind Body Connections in SW Practice
SOWK 4721 – Existential SW Practice