Concentrations and Methods of Practice Options

MSW students choose one of five specialized concentrations. The skill and knowledge bases developed through each is described below:


    • This concentration is designed to prepare students for advanced and clinical practice in a variety of health care settings. Students in the health concentration are prepared to address the multifaceted world of health care through coursework designed to expose them to issues of chronic health, health care delivery, health policy, and the social determinants of health across the life course.
    • Health concentration students are trained in case management and assessment skills, and the role of social work in multidisciplinary health care teams. Students develop a solid understanding of how access to health systems, policies, and programs that impact health.
    • Students who graduate with a concentration in health are prepared for practice in a variety of settings from hospitals and primary care clinics, to community health settings and long term care.

Behavioral Health and Mental Health

    • This concentration is designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice involving the delivery of mental health and addictions services to individuals, families, small groups, and the community.
    • Students are exposed to issues, approaches, and technologies for application in prevention, treatment, administration, and policy. These are related to risks and problems with: alcohol and other drugs, mental health and mental illness, intimate partner violence, community violence, and other behavioral health concerns across the lifespan.
    • Coursework provides students with knowledge, values, and skills to prepare them for professional practice in a variety of private and public settings related to mental health, addictions, and substance abuse.


    • This concentration is designed to aid students in understanding the complexity of the aging process from the perspective of the individual, family, society, and social policy. The concentration will cover the physical, psychological, and social processes of aging including family roles and responsibilities, cultural diversity, social support networks, and the use of health and social services. Major developmental issues during the second half of life will be presented and interventions to facilitate adaptation to developmental change will be described.
    • Coursework will enable students to: understand late-life mental disorders; develop assessment skills; formulate, implement and evaluate treatment plans; and become aware of issues related to age and ageism as they influence social work practice.

Child and Family Welfare

    • The social work profession has a long history of commitment to ensuring the well-being of children. Furthermore, professionals recognize the family system as significant in the lives of children. The family system, in its various forms, represents a significant social institution, essential to communities and society as a whole.
    • This concentration focuses on the study of family systems, child and family welfare, and interventions to enhance the lives of children and families.
    • Students in this concentration develop the advanced practice knowledge and skills necessary to provide services to children and families in a variety of settings.

Community and Organizational Leadership

    • Often described as “macro” practice, this concentration is for students who are interested in social change with organizations and communities.
    • Social work within this concentration is about creating social and policy change, strengthening community and organizational systems, developing leadership skills, and addressing social injustices.
    • Students will prepare for roles in leadership and administration, program development, planning, policy, and community practice.

Double Concentration:

    • This is for students interested in gaining knowledge and skills relevant to both macro practice techniques and a second direct practice concentration.
    • The double concentration is a combination of community and organizational leadership and a second concentration (physical health, behavioral health and mental health, gerontology, or children and families), and may require up to an additional semester of coursework. Four semesters of field placement are required: two semesters within a direct practice field setting and two semesters of a community and organizational leadership-based field placement.
    • Students who have interests that range from direct social work practice to more leadership social work roles will benefit from this option.