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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.

 Area Requirements

Required Courses Student Chooses/ Notes
Theory for Practice
(3 credits required)*
SOWK 4370 – Community and Organizational Change: Theory for Practice  See "Faculty Recommendations" under "Elective Credits"
(9 credits required)*
SOWK 4340 – Leadership & Supervision Skills
choose 2 courses from the following list →
SOWK 4425 – Positive and Community Youth Development
SOWK 4435 – Community Organizing and Empowerment Practice
SOWK 4525 – Administration and Management Practice and Skills
SOWK 4530 – Poverty and Community Economic Development
SOWK 4535 – Planning and Program Development
SOWK 4660 – Social Policy Advocacy
SOWK 4760 – Resource Development and Fundraising
SOWK 4765 – International Social Development

Policy & Program Advocacy
(3 credits required)*

SOWK 4670 – Policy Analysis & Development 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 4360- Social-Ecological Resilience and One Health: Connecting Hum...
SOWK 4375 – Economic Theory and Social Work


Policy and Programs Advocacy Courses
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 & Substance Use Policies
SOWK 4645 – Health Care Policy
SOWK 4650 – Aging Policy


SOWK 4465 – Human Security: Intervention Strategies for Economic...
SOWK 4780 – Conflict Resolution in Social Work Practice

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