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Social workers change lives for the better, fostering the wellbeing of people, standing up for human rights and championing social justice.

MSU Denver offers a challenging program and diverse, experienced professors who are dedicated to helping you succeed. Combining academics, research and field experience, your M.S.W. program will give you the intellectual preparation and skills so you’ll be ready for ethical, justice-oriented and empowering clinical intervention, leadership, program management and advocacy work.

MSU Denver offers the most affordable Master of Social Work degree program in Colorado and is among the most affordable in the nation. If you are a Colorado resident, you may also complete your degree fully online or through a variety of options including on-campus and hybrid courses. Council of Social Work Education-accredited Bachelor of Social Work degree holders (MSU Denver’s B.S. program holds CSWE accreditation) qualify to apply for MSU Denver’s 30-credit-hour Advanced Standing Program.

The MSU Denver M.S.W. program offers you the choice of two concentrations. The Macro concentration focuses on program management and organizational leadership. The Individual and Families concentration offers four health and mental health tracks: Children/Youth/Families, Adults, Older Adults and Child Welfare. (If you plan to study child welfare, you may be eligible for a stipend through our Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program.)

Among the agencies where you will have the opportunity to complete field placements are: Children’s Hospital, Maria Droste, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Morgan and Boulder Community Health.

Upon graduation, you will be prepared and eligible to earn state-required Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and/or Licensed Social Worker (LSW) status.

Learn about stipends and scholarships for Social Work students.

Program Options

M.S.W. with a concentration in Macro Practice (leadership and management)

M.S.W. with a concentration in Individuals and Families

The Social Work department also offers:

B.S. in Social Work

Minor in Social Work

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

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

  • Small class sizes, which means you get more direct contact with your faculty and advisors.
  • Classroom and field experiences that prepare you for an intense professional environment.
  • A diverse faculty with broad expertise who 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 MSW program in Colorado and among the most affordable in the nation.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

male and female peers walking and discussing their studies, the U.S. Supreme Court buildingAccording to, in January 2017 licensed clinical social workers earned between $41,696, and $71,135 and licensed social workers made $35,031 to $63,574.

As a Social Work graduate of MSU Denver with a concentration in Macro Practice, you will be prepared for a career as a:

  • Grant writer
  • Agency director
  • Legislative advocate or elected official
  • Program designer and developer
  • Social entrepreneur
  • Community leader

With a concentration in Individual and Families you will be prepared for a career in private practice or for schools, agencies, clinics/hospitals, corporations and other entities as a:

  • Mental health counselor
  • Family services caseworker
  • Probation officer
  • Treatment specialist
  • Patient advocate
  • Drug dependency counselor

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


MSU Denver M.S.W. graduates currently hold a 100 percent pass rate on the Association of Social Work Boards clinical licensure exam, well above the North American pass rate average of 66 percent.


Associate Professor Jo Bailey

Associate Professor Jo Bailey, M.S.W. 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.

Darlene Johnson

Clinical Field faculty member Darlene Johnson 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.

Learn more about MSU Denver Social Work faculty.

Featured Alumnus

Meet Tyrone Braxton, L.C.S.W., L.A.C.
MSU Denver ’14

Two-Time Super Bowl Champion.
STEP Therapist, Denver Health Medical Center.

Learn more about Tyrone Braxton.

Alumni at Work

Some agencies that have hired MSU Denver M.S.W. 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.

Sample Classes

Student participating in classroom exercise

Macro Practice Concentration

  • Program Need, Design and Development
  • Legal Issues in Social Work
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Social Justice
  • Program Management and Organizational Leadership
  • Advanced Policy and Programming


Individuals and Families Concentration

  • Family Therapy
  • Direct Interventions: Child Welfare, Children Youth & Families, Older Adults or Adults
  • Health and Healthcare
  • Crisis Intervention: Trauma and Disaster Response
  • International Social Work

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.

Program Accreditation

The MSU Denver M.S.W. degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

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