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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Aging Services & Policy

The Aging Services and Policy concentration prepares social workers to practice across the continuum of services that promote quality of life and independence for older adults and their families. Social workers interested in aging provide clinical care in health, behavioral health, memory care, community and residential settings. Additionally, social workers intervene in social justice issues impacting older adults through educational, management, program development, advocacy and policy work. This concentration emphasizes culturally responsive practice needed for the increasing diversity among older adults locally, nationally and internationally.

Students engage in field education in a variety of settings such as community service agencies and government agencies, home health and hospice agencies, outpatient and inpatient medical care settings, residential facilities across the continuum of care, gero-psychiatry services, and advocacy agencies. Clients are predominately older adults and their families, but may include clients of all ages. These placements can offer opportunities to gain skills in clinical interventions, care management, group work, program and policy development, advocacy, and administration.

Learn about PROGRESS, a scholarship opportunity for students in the Aging Services and Policy concentration. 

The minimum credits required for the MSW degree is 90 (60 for advanced standing students).

Area Requirements

Required Courses Recommended
Theory for Practice
(3 credits required)*
SOWK 4350 – Evolving Perspectives & Trends in Aging  See "Faculty Recommendations" under "Elective Credits"
(9 credits required)*
SOWK 4523 – Care Management Skills and Resources to Promote Community Living
choose 2 courses from the following list →
SOWK 4330 – Assessment of Mental Health in Adults
SOWK 4340 – Leadership and Supervision Skills
SOWK 4401 – Integrated Health Care: Models and Practice
SOWK 4445 – Assessment and Interventions in Aging
SOWK 4501 – Wellness Prevention and Interventions across Life Span
SOWK 4721 – Existential Social Work
SOWK 4723 – Social Work Practice in Health Care
SOWK 4725 – Mind-Body Connections in SW Practice
SOWK 4741 – Grief and Loss across the Life Span

Policy & Program Advocacy
(3 credits required)*

SOWK 4650 – Aging Policy  See "Faculty Recommendations" under "Elective Credits"

(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 student's field placement
Internship (15-18 credits)

SOWK 4970 – Concentration Field * Appropriate internships chosen in consultation with Field Team
(0/1 credit)
SOWK 4999 – Capstone
* Required in final quarter of program.
Values for Practice
(3 credits required)*
( choose 1 course from the following list )→
SOWK 4232 – Critical Race Praxis
SOWK 4235 – Disproportionality & Disparity Across Systems
SOWK 4240 – Intergenerational Justice
SOWK 4732 – Disrupting Privilege and Anti-Oppressive Practice
SOWK 4749 – Social Work Interventions with Latinos/as
SOWK 4751 – Global Relations & Poverty in Mexico
SOWK 4753 – Social Development in Latin America
SOWK 4758 – Conservation SW in Kenya: Context, Empowerment, Sus...
SOWK 4759 – Global Cultural Perspectives: Consensus & Conundrums
SOWK 4762 – Bosnia in Transition: The Social Work Response
SOWK 4764 – Historical Trauma
SOWK 4790 – Human Sexuality
SOWK 4890 – Contemporary Global Issues
SOWK 4971 – Feminisms in Social Work Practice
SOWK 4971 – Cultural Connectedness: A Journey into Native American Cou...
SOWK 4971 – Disability Studies
SOWK 4971 – Spirituality & Social Work Practice
SOWK 4990 – Special Topics (as approved, titles vary)
Electives (12 credits required)*

Students may take elective courses in any of the concentrations.

The following electives are recommended by the faculty →

Students may take up to 10 elective credits from other DU graduate programs with approval of advisor & Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Certificate students will use elective slots to fulfill certificate requirements.

Theory for Practice Courses
SOWK 4320 – Theories and Practice of Family Systems Therapy
SOWK 4325 – Evolving Perspectives and Trends in Health and Wellness
SOWK 4370 – Community and Organizational Change: Theories for Practice

Policy and Programs Advocacy Courses
SOWK 4645 – Health Care Policy

SOWK 4700 – Solution Focused Brief Therapy
SOWK 4730 – Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
SOWK 4735 – Interpersonal Approaches to Counseling
SOWK 4752 – Trauma Informed Assessment and Intervention
SOWK 4754 – Trauma Response & Recovery in SW (not offered after spr '17)
SOWK 4755 – Interventions for Responses to Trauma (pre-req SOWK 4754) (not offered after fall 17)
SOWK 4775 – Social Work with Adult Groups
SOWK 4784 – Suicide Assessment & Interventions
SOWK 4971 – Advanced Skills for Working with Military Families


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