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“Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

‒ Dr. Martin Luther King

The Social Work bachelor’s degree program at MSU Denver takes Dr. King’s words to heart through its focus on helping solve urban problems that often affect oppressed minorities and other diverse populations such as people living in poverty, LGBTQ individuals, those with disabilities or older adults.

As a Social Work major at MSU Denver, you will make a difference in people’s lives. You will learn how to ameliorate personal, interpersonal and societal problems through understanding the dynamic nature of social problems, social policies, social agencies and social change.

Your education will include a total of 480 hours of field experience over two semesters at a community agency. Potential agencies include Denver Public Schools, Family Tree, Denver Department of Human Services, Aurora Police Department, Saint Anthony Hospital Trauma Services, Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation and Urban Peak. Under the supervision of a professional social worker, you will serve diverse populations as you develop your generalist practice skills.

Our faculty members partner with local agencies to support the Denver-metro community while also engaging in scholarly activities, including presenting at local, national and international conferences and publishing in prominent, interdisciplinary journals.

Learn about stipends for Social Work students.


Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver


At MSU Denver, students get a high level of instruction at an affordable price. Our BSW program offers:

  • Small class sizes, which means you get more direct contact with your faculty and advisors.
  • One-on-one field-placement advising that fosters an exceptional field experience for you.
  • Classroom and field experiences that prepare you for an intense professional environment.
  • A diverse faculty who have broad expertise and are dedicated to your success in the program.
  • Hands-on advising focused on helping you reach your educational and professional goals.
  • The convenience of online, hybrid or on-campus day, night and weekend course offerings.
  • The most affordable BSW program in Colorado and among the most affordable in the nation.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates


four images woman embracing child in Haiti, people doing yoga against a sunset backdrop, a two children curiously coloring, a campus building

As a graduate of MSU Denver’s Social Work bachelor’s degree program you will be prepared for entry-level, direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. Among the organizations and agencies who hire social workers are:

  • Mental health clinics
  • Schools
  • Child welfare and human service agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Community development corporations
  • Senior citizen centers
  • Youth organizations
  • Private practices

There is a wide range of positions available to Social Work graduates, including:

  • Gerontology social worker
  • Probation officer
  • Treatment specialist
  • Patient advocate
  • Drug dependency counselor
  • Correctional specialist
  • School recreation director
  • Family services caseworker

The median annual salary for social workers and clinical social workers (M.S.W. required) in 2016 was $46,890 and the field’s expected growth through 2024 is 12 percent, faster than the national average (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook).


Hear from our students:


“This was the best place for me to go for Social Work. The faculty understood us and what our needs were. They didn’t just expect hard work from us, they appreciated us and the hard work that we were doing. Social Work is a really hard field and having the supportive faculty was really important.”

— Michelle Manica, (MSU Denver, ’16), social worker, Adams County (Colo.) Children and Family Center.

Accolades


Many Social Work faculty members have been awarded large state and federal grants that bring stipend money to students studying to practice in certain fields such as child welfare and behavioral health.


Faculty


AnnJanette Alejano-Steele_Social WorkAnnJanette Alejano-Steele

Professor AnnJanette Alejano-Steele is co-founder of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) and co-author of “The Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking,” a groundbreaking three-year LCHT study that examined how the state is responding to trafficking. Her health psychology expertise has focused on local and global multicultural issues, including reproductive health access for low-income populations and comprehensive health services for victims of human trafficking.

 

Kristin Scherrer_Social WorkKristin Scherrer

B.S.W. Program Director and Associate Professor Kristin Scherrer’s experience in social work practice includes GLBTQ individuals and their families, women and children who were victims of violence and older adults and their families. Her clinical work focuses on how individuals and families cope with conflict and crisis, and her research examines how age, generation and cohort shape how individuals recognize themselves as having sexual minority identities and how these identities affect their family life.

 

LaTra Tracy Rogers_Social WorkLaTra Tracy Rogers

Associate Professor LaTra Tracy Rogers (MSU Denver, ’97) combines his background in Criminal Justice and Criminology with his expertise in Social Work to focus on juvenile and adult court-ordered offenders, hostile and angry clients, female and juvenile sex offenders, incarcerated at-risk minority youth and the overrepresentation of minorities in truancy and delinquency. His other professional interests include mental health, invisible disabilities, strategies for resolving relationship disharmony, bisexuality issues, grassroots community organizations and political advocacy work. 

 

Learn more about MSU Denver Social Work faculty.


Alumni at Work


Some agencies that have hired our students are: The Denver Department of Human Services Give Program, Jefferson County Juvenile Assessment Center and Denver Public Schools.


Sample Classes


professor assisting students in class

  • Community Engagement and Civic Responsibility
  • Privilege, Oppression and Power
  • Scientific Inquiry for Social Work
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
  • Social Work with Contemporary Gender and Sexuality Issues
  • Agency Experience
  • Social Welfare Policy

Facilities and Resources


The Department of Social Works houses the Office of Social Work Student Services to provide a supportive environment for students through advising and retention strategies, among other services.

Three student organizations provide peer support and guidance and opportunities for expanded learning experiences and networking: Student Association of Social Workers, Phi Alpha Honor Society and Building Allies of Diversity.

MSU Denver is located on the Auraria Campus adjacent to Downtown Denver and the State Capitol.


Program Accreditation


The MSU Denver Social Work degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This allows our alumni to qualify for advanced standing in Master of Social Work programs nationwide, including MSU Denver’s M.S.W. program. Advanced standing typically results in one year rather than two years in graduate school.