Master of Social Work, MSW
The mission of MSU Denver's Master of Social Work (MSW) Program is to educate social work leaders committed to enhancing individual and community well-being as well as advancing social justice. The program promotes the values and work of the profession, through teaching, service, research and collaboration.
MSU Denver's MSW Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting body for social work.
The strength of social work is in its versatility and roots in social justice. This program will equip students to fulfill a variety of professional roles such as clinician, therapist, leader, organizer, and activist. This Integrative Practice approach to our advanced curriculum prepares students to be leaders that understand how to work effectively across multiple systems.
Social workers need a holistic approach and intersectional perspective in working with client and client systems; and understand the reciprocal connections among individuals, the social environment, and policies. Social workers as leaders is a fundamental concept that requires students to engage as agents of change and develop a clinical lens that applies to all levels of practice. Students must be skilled in their use of multi-dimensional assessments and interventions in work with individuals and at the organizational and community level.
In Integrative Practice, students may select to further focus their practice in one of the many pathways offered in the program.
Partnering with Colorado Communities
With a shortage of mental health professionals in 57 of the 64 counties in Colorado and a shortage of MSW-trained caseworkers across the entire state, your community needs people like you to make a difference now more than ever. And, through investment and strong partnerships with Colorado State and Federal governments, MSU Denver’s MSW Program provides student stipends that cover an entire year of full-time tuition to do this important work. Accessibility and equal opportunity are at the heart of our commitment to our students and means future social workers like you will participate in making a major impact on the future health of our own communities in Colorado.
Advanced Standing MSW Program – for students who have an undergraduate degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited institution.
Regular MSW Program – for students who have an undergraduate degree outside of social work.
The Department of Social Work also offers:
Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver
At MSU Denver, students get a high level of instruction at an affordable price – the most affordable in Colorado!.
The MSW Program at MSU Denver:
- Is full accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
- Prides itself in accessibility and its diverse student body compromised of over 30% students of color and over 45% students over the age of 30.
- Offers a fully-online delivery option as well as day, night and weekend course offerings.
- Awards over $600,000 annually in scholarships and workforce development stipends for students interested in mental health, child welfare and healthcare.
- Offers part-time and full-time options.
- Has a Research Assistant Program where graduate students work closely with MSW Program graduate faculty.
- Has small class sizes, averaging 16 students per class.
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
With starting wages ranging from $35,000 - $60,000, it's a good time to go into social work. Not only is social work one of the most personally fulfilling professions, it's also a career field primed for growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment of social workers is expected to grow by 25 percent from 2010-2020.
- 69% of our graduates found a job within two months of graduation and 87% found a job in less than six months.
- 98% of graduates felt well-prepared by the program to practice social work.
- Our graduates are working in mental health or community mental health, health care, child welfare, school social work, substance abuse, family services, aging, domestic violence or crisis intervention, and corrections/criminal justice.
- Our graduates are working as program directors, medical social workers, therapists, school social workers, birth mother case workers, internal medicine social workers, therapeutic additions case workers, forensic social workers and more!
Hear from our students:
“I wanted to complement my job training with fresh, innovative social work approaches. MSU Denver’s program provided a convenient downtown location and reignited my passion for promoting change.”
—AK Kopperud, MSW student
Over 141 MSW Graduates who have taken the ASWB Clinical Exam over the last six years passed at a rate of 81% - that's well above the North American pass rate of 66%!
Associate Professor Jo Bailey
Associate Professor Jo Bailey, MSW program director, has practice experience in adoption, clinical and program research and grants management. Her current research projects include analyses of policy and services for children without parental care in Eastern Europe, models of supervision and undocumented migrants’ experiences.
Clinical Field faculty member Darlene Sampson has been a social worker, program manager, consultant and educator for 30-plus years. Prior to joining MSU Denver, she was director of culturally responsive education at Denver Public Schools. Her research and published work has focused on academic achievement specifically relating to children of color, parent involvement programming, culturally responsive social work and mental health and culturally responsive curriculum and teaching.
Professor Christian Itin
Professor Christian Itin has combined his passion for social justice and his love of the outdoors into a 30-year career in social work with a deepening understanding of experiential education, group work and experiential practice.
Meet Tyrone Braxton, L.C.S.W., L.A.C.
MSU Denver ’14
Two-Time Super Bowl Champion.
STEP Therapist, Denver Health Medical Center.
Alumni at Work
Some agencies that have hired MSU Denver MSW graduates are: the Community College of Denver, CPR Youth Connect, Mesa County School District, Jefferson County Human Services, Longmont Housing Authority, Aurora Mental Health Center, Denver Public Schools, the Guadalupe Project and the Department of Human Services.
SWKM 6625 - Crisis Intervention and Response to Interpersonal Violence
SWKM 6650 - The DSM for Social Work
SWKM 6655 - Therapeutic Use of Groups
SWKM 6635 - School-Based Social Work
SWKM 5425 Privilege, Oppression, and Power
SWKM 5575 Groups, Teams, and Leadership
SWKM 6475 Advanced Policy and Advocacy
Facilities and Resources
The Office of Social Work Student Services in the Department of Social Work offers advising and other services in a supportive environment.
The Student Association of Social Workers, Phi Alpha Honor Society and Building Allies of Diversity are student organizations that provide expanded learning experiences, networking opportunities and peer support.
MSU Denver is located near Downtown Denver on the Auraria Campus, nearby offices for many government and nonprofit agencies.
The Master of Social Work Program at MSU Denver is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting body for social work education.