Family Systems Curriculum

The Family Systems curriculum responds to evolving community needs by integrating the latest approaches in the field. To ensure courses are addressing client needs in a contemporary context, concentration offerings are informed by faculty, practitioners, community members and students. You will learn marketable skills such as treatment and service planning, professional documentation, evaluation, and local and national policy analysis. If you are interested in clinical practice, we offer courses that use one-way-mirror and live-observation training. Additionally, you can learn outside the curriculum through partnership projects with other disciplines. For instance, through a partnership with Sturm College of Law, students participated in preparing women and children in family detention for immigration asylum hearings.

To see a full list of course descriptions, view the GSSW bulletin. The minimum credits required for the MSW degree are 81 for two-year students and 54 for advanced-standing students. The concentration curriculum is made up of 45 credits, and the rest is comprised of the foundation curriculum. The table below shows a list of required and elective class offerings for the Family Systems concentration.

Curriculum plans are subject to change year over year.

Area Requirements

Course Offerings

Theory for Practice (3 credits required) Family Systems Theories for Social Work Practices
Methods/Skills (9 credits required) Multisystemic Social Work Practice & Advocacy With Families
Assessment of Mental Health & Drug Use in Adults
Assessment of Mental Health in Children and Adolescents
Integrated Health Care: Models and Practice
Prevention and Treatment of Adolescent Substance Abuse
Child Welfare Practice: Assessment & Intervention
Substance Use Interventions
Child and Adolescent Trauma
Mental Health Interventions in Children
Relationship Therapy (highly recommended)
Advanced Clinical SW Practice With Families
Advanced Skills for Working With Military Families
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Forensic Orientation in SW Practice
Domestic Violence Interventions
Grief and Loss Across the Life Span
Suicide Assessment & Interventions
Policy & Program Advocacy (3 credits required) Family Policy
Research (3 credits required) Methods for Evaluating Practice & Programs
Values for Practice (3 credits required) Critical Race Praxis
Disproportionality & Disparity Across Systems
Intergenerational Justice
Restorative Approaches in Social Work
Social Work Practice With LGBTQIA Communities
Electives (12 credits required)

Child Maltreatment: Causes and Developmental Consequences
Building Resilience: Healthy Dev in Childhood & Adolescence
Evolving Perspectives and Trends in Health and Wellness
Intersections of Mental Health, Substance Use and Trauma
Community and Organizational Change: Theory for Practice
Child Welfare Policies & Services
Policies and Programs for Children and Youth
Immigration Policies and Services
Mental Health and Substance Use Policies
Health Care Policy
Aging Policy
Law of Family & Child
Leadership and Supervision Skills
Practice Elements in Interventions With Children and Youth
Assessment and Interventions in Aging
Administration & Management
Preventing Behavioral Health Problems in Children & Youth
School Social Work Interventions
Existential Social Work
Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
Interpersonal Approaches to Counseling
Trauma-Informed Assessment & Interventions

Students may take elective courses in any of the concentrations. 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.   

Internship (12-15 credits)

Community internship at an organization that specializes in Family Systems. Learn more about field education.

Capstone (0 credits) Capstone Project
University of Denver Campus

Are you interested in a career working with families in a variety of direct-service, private-practice and family-policy settings?