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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

Family Systems

The Family Systems Practice concentration provides students with knowledge and skills to work from a family systems perspective with adults, adolescents and children in a wide variety of settings: mental health and family services agencies, schools, treatment centers, private practice, and community agencies.

“Family” is defined broadly to include biological lineages, affiliational families and communities. Social workers using this perspective may intervene with individuals, couples, several members of a family, peer groups, work associates, schools, classrooms and organizations. Clients are viewed as being part of a larger context, situated in multiple social locations: race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability and citizenship status. Assessment and intervention are applied within this context, with a goal of strengthening families and other systems, and the individuals within these systems.

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


Required Recommended
Theory for Practice
(3 credits required)*

SOWK 4320 – Theories and Practice of Family Systems Therapy

 See "Faculty Recommendations" under "Elective Credits"
(9 credits required)*
SOWK 4420 – Strategies & Techniques of Family Systems (pre-req SOWK 4320)


choose 2 courses from
either of the following lists →

SOWK 4330 – Assessment of Mental Health & Drug Use in Adults
SOWK 4334 – Assessment of Mental Health in Children and Adolescents SOWK 4401 – Integrated Health Care: Models and Practice
SOWK 4410 – Prevention and Treatment of Adolescent Substance Abuse SOWK 4415 – Intake & Family Based Services: Assessment & Intervention
SOWK 4416 – Foster Care and Permanency Planning
SOWK 4430 – Substance Use Interventions
SOWK 4454 – Child and Adolescent Trauma
SOWK 4500 – Mental Health Interventions in Children
SOWK 4505 – Relationship Therapy (highly recommended)
SOWK 4520 – Advanced Strategies & Techniques of Family Systems Practice
(highly recommended; pre-req SOWK 4420)
SOWK 4700 – Solution Focused Brief Therapy
SOWK 4705 – Forensic Orientation in SW Practice
SOWK 4710 – Domestic Violence Interventions
SOWK 4741 – Grief and Loss across the Life Span
SOWK 4784 – Suicide Assessment & Interventions
SOWK 4971 – Advanced Skills for Working with Military Families

Policy & Program Advocacy
(3 credits required)*

SOWK 4630 – Family 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.

FACULTY RECOMMENDATIONS Theory for Practice Courses
SOWK 4305 – Causes and Consequences of Child Maltreatment
SOWK 4315 – Building Resilience: Healthy Dev in Childhood & Adolescence
SOWK 4325 – Evolving Perspectives and Trends in Health and Wellness
SOWK 4345 – Intersections of Mental Health, Substance Use and Trauma
SOWK 4370 – Community and Organizational Change: Theory for Practice

Policy and Programs Advocacy Courses
SOWK 4600 – Child Welfare Policies & Services
SOWK 4610 – Policies and Programs for Children and Youth
SOWK 4635 – Immigration Policies and Services
SOWK 4640 – Mental Health and Substance Use Policies
SOWK 4645 – Health Care Policy
SOWK 4650 – Aging Policy
SOWK 4712 – Law of Family & Child

SOWK 4340 – Leadership and Supervision Skills
SOWK 4412 – Practice Elements in Interventions with Children and Youth
SOWK 4445 – Assessment and Interventions in Aging
SOWK 4525 – Administration & Management
SOWK 4713 – Preventing Behavioral Health Problems in Children & Youth
SOWK 4715 – School Social Work Interventions
SOWK 4721 – Existential Social Work
SOWK 4730 – Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
SOWK 4735 – Interpersonal Approaches to Counseling
SOWK 4752 -- Trauma Informed Assessment & Interventions
SOWK 4754 – Trauma Response and Recovery
SOWK 4755 – Interventions for Responses to Trauma (pre-req SOWK 4754) (not offered after fall '17)

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