The Catholic University of America

Why Choose the Social Change Concentration

The Social Change Concentration prepares social work students to contribute to domestic and international initiatives designed to bring about a more equitable and just world through structural change at organizational, community, and societal levels.

Becoming Agents of Change

In the U.S. and abroad, disparities in income, educational achievement, health status, and other indicators of social and economic well-being are more apparent every day. The Social Change Concentration prepares students for professional roles to address these challenges by imparting knowledge and skills in a variety of areas including: organizing and empowering community residents for change; analyzing and advocating for social policies; raising awareness about social injustices; directing and evaluating programs; engaging in social and organizational planning; and staffing and leading nonprofit and public agencies.

Philosophical Foundation

Drawing from the NASW Code of Ethics and the Catholic social teaching, the Social Change Concentration is rooted in a notion of social justice which values the dignity and worth of the human person, the importance of human relationships, and an emphasis on the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.

In-Depth Advanced Education

The foundation year curriculum gives students a solid grounding in theories of human behavior and development, social welfare policy, diversity, research, and generalist social work practice. The advanced year curriculum enables students to deepen their skills in policy analysis, community organizing, international social development, social planning, nonprofit management, ethics, and program evaluation.

Degree Requirements

An MSW with a Social Change Concentration requires candidates to earn 30 credits in the Foundation Curriculum and 30 Credits in the Advanced Curriculum. Students also do an 8-month field practicum for 16 hours per week in their foundation year and 20 hours per week in their advanced year.


Field Placements

Social Change students will learn advanced community, organizational, and policy practice skills in their advanced-year field internship. There are many settings offering such internship opportunities, including community-based non-profit agencies, local and federal government settings, congressional offices, and issue-based policy organizations.

Field placement opportunities available to students in this concentration may include:

  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
  • Child Welfare League of America
  • District Alliance for Safe Housing, Inc. (DASH)
  • National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
  • International Social Service
  • National Council for Adoption
  • N Street Village
  • Pulmonary Hypertension Association
  • U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Migration & Refugee Services
  • U.S. D.H.H.S. Administration on Children Youth & Families

See a full list of field placements for this concentration.

Student Profile

Passion for justice led TO
Social Change Concentration

MSW ‘10 

Undergraduate Institution: University of Iowa
Undergraduate Major: Social Work, Women’s Studies
Testimony: “I have always had a passion for social justice and advocacy for human rights. Social work spoke to me, as it allowed me to enact change in the lives of individuals, as well as in communities and society. After earning my BSW, I knew I wanted to advance my education and pursue new and challenging opportunities.

Located in our Nation’s Capitol, NCSSS is an exciting institution to earn an MSW degree. The faculty is extremely knowledgeable and dedicated to students. Additionally, Washington, DC hosts a plethora of non-profit and governmental agencies for students to complete field education.

I knew I wanted to create change on a macro level, which is why I chose the Social Change Concentration. The SC Concentration has taught me the impact I can have in the promotion of human rights by organizing communities, developing policies and programs, managing non-profit organizations, as well as engaging in development work in international settings.

After graduation, I hope to work in a non-profit organization advocating for the homeless and others living in poverty.”

More student profiles