Four Corners MSW Program

Preparation for Rural and Tribal Social Work Practice

Based in Durango, Colorado, our Four Corners MSW Program brings our top-ranked master of social work program to the Four Corners region, strengthening the area’s professional social work infrastructure. With a concentration in Advanced Social Work Practice and an emphasis on equity, you’ll be prepared to meet the unique needs of rural and tribal communities, such as the urgent need for more treatment providers trained to work with Native and Spanish-speaking clients.

Social work is one of the nation’s most in-demand professions, and the need for social workers in rural areas is particularly acute. Whether you’re seeking a new career in social work or seeking an MSW to advance your current career, the Four Corners program will prepare you for LCSW licensure and rural and tribal social work practice in behavioral and integrated health, counseling and therapy, substance abuse treatment, school social work, nonprofits and more.

Discover Durango

Durango, Colorado, is near the intersection of four states (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah) and many cultures. The Four Corners is rich in Native and Latinx history and cultural traditions, natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities — everything from skiing in winter to mountain biking and hiking year-round. You won’t find the congestion or fast pace of major cities, but you'll discover that it’s easier to network and build relationships in a small community.

You can stay in your community — such as Farmington, New Mexico, or Window Rock, Arizona — while pursuing your MSW. Living and working close to the Navajo Nation, Mountain Ute, Southern Ute and other tribal nations will allow you to develop an understanding of different cultures and build your practice skills with indigenous Americans.

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87% Although social workers are the leading providers of behavioral health in the U.S., 87 percent of Colorado's counties (most are rural) have a shortage of mental health professionals.

25 With a cohort size of just 25, you’ll start and finish your degree with the same group of students, forming close bonds with classmates and your professors.

25% Because 25 percent of Four Corners students come from the region’s many Native tribes, the program includes a special focus on Native social work.


An MSW Formatted for Working Professionals

You’ll take classes on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays, which means you can work while you complete your degree. You’ll be able to complete your field internship requirements in your own community too.

Courses are taught in person in Durango, online and through video conferencing with faculty on the Denver campus. During the summer, Graduate School of Social Work faculty and local social work professionals teach intensive courses in the Four Corners region. Students have online access to the University of Denver Library and on-site access to a full-time faculty member. Our career services team will support you in your job search after graduation.

MSW Program Options

Four Corners Students

Two-Year MSW Program

This format is for students who have a bachelor’s degree in any field other than social work. You’ll focus on the foundation curriculum in your first year, developing a generalist perspective and basic skills for working with individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. In your second year, you’ll start your concentration curriculum in Advanced Social Work Practice. You'll also complete two field internships — one each year — in your community.

  • Program length: 6 quarters (students have summers off)
  • Next application deadline: May 1, 2022
  • Next start date: September 2022

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Four Corners MSW students

Advanced-Standing MSW Program

This format is for students who already have a bachelor of social work degree that’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. You’ll take courses rooted in social justice during the first quarter and then start your concentration curriculum in Advanced Social Work Practice while completing a field internship in your community.

  • Program length: 4 quarters
  • Final application deadline: June 1, 2021
  • Next start date: July 2021

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Fort Lewis Campus

Fort Lewis College Partnership

In cooperation with Fort Lewis College, Fort Lewis undergraduates who are interested in a career in social work can earn their Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Anthropology, Public Health, Gender and Women Studies and Sociology and a Masters in Social Work (MSW) in five years. This process allows students to complete their senior year and first year of the two year MSW program simultaneously. Students can then finish their MSW course work and internship at the DU Four Corners campus in downtown Durango.

  • Next application deadline: May 1, 2022
  • Next start date: September 2022

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Explore some of our Four Corners field internship placements

  • Fort Lewis College Counseling Center

    The Fort Lewis College Counseling Center provides individual and group counseling services to roughly 20–25 percent of the Fort Lewis College student body. The two-year internship is based on a practitioner-mentorship-developmental training model and prepares interns for work in outpatient counseling centers.

  • New Mexico Veterans Administration Healthcare System, Community-Based Outpatient Clinic

    The Community Based Outpatient Clinic is a VA-operated clinic in northeast New Mexico that delivers primary care services to veterans, including blood draws and routine lab tests; EKGs; evaluations by physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists; and social work services. Interns provide case management and clinical services to homeless veterans and their families.

  • Totah Behavioral Health Authority

    Totah Behavioral Health Authority services for youth and adults include crisis intervention, comprehensive assessments, individual and family counseling, psychiatric consultation and medications, substance abuse programs, educational groups and community support programs for those with serious, chronic mental health conditions. Interns provide specialty behavioral health programs, such as veterans’ services, jail diversion and specialty court services, multi-systemic therapy, assertive community treatment, psycho-social rehabilitation, adolescent residential treatment and intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment.

  • Archuleta County Department of Human Services

    The Archuleta County Department of Human Services provides financial, protection and prevention services to individuals and families. Assistance programs include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Colorado Works, Health First Colorado/Medicaid, child care assistance, child support and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). Interns serve families who use public child welfare services and qualify to apply for financial aid via the Child Welfare Stipend Program.

  • Alternative Horizons

    Alternative Horizons provides support and alternatives to survivors of domestic violence and their families while striving to strengthen the community through education and prevention. Interns become part of the advocacy team, answering the 24/7 hotline, providing court advocacy and providing therapeutic services.


Learn more about Field Education

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Key Faculty & Staff

Janelle Doughty

Janelle F. Doughty

Associate Professor of the Practice of Social Work and Program Director of the Four Corners MSW Program

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Carla Hase

Carla Hase

Assistant Program Director Four Corners MSW Program

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Application Information

2022 Four Corners Two-Year MSW Program Application Deadline

Curielle Duffy, MSW ’08, says the “calculated program development of her professional use of self” has been significant in every facet of her social work practice. The Four Corners MSW Program also instilled in her the bedrock ethic of cultural competence, which she says is incredibly important in her role working with soldiers from all over the world.

Curielle Duffy

Supporting Local Communities

red house in rural Colorado ​
Improving Community Health

With a $1.9 million grant, GSSW and community partners statewide are working to address a shortage of behavioral health providers in rural and medically underserved areas.

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New Mexico VA
New Mexico VA Healthcare System

Four Corners MSW social work interns support homeless veterans and their families at the New Mexico VA Healthcare System, a GSSW field education partner.

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With online and on-campus options in three locations, we have the right MSW for you.

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