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Information on this page is intended for students admitted to the School of Social Work MSW program before Fall 2020.

Certificate in Global Social Work

The Certificate in Global Social Work offers students the opportunity to engage in specialized graduate study for social work practice in the global arena. The certificate program allows students the opportunity to take specialized courses with global content both within and outside the School or Social Work. The Certificate in Global Social Work is awarded upon successful completion of academic course requirements, an approved global field placement and demonstration of second language proficiency. Course and field requirements must be completed during the regular University Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer terms. The certificate requirements cannot be met through activities or coursework completed before enrollment in the School of Social Work or after receipt of the MSW degree.


  1. Certificate students may be 16 month, 20 month, or extended degree students. Advanced Standing students who are interested in the certificate must renounce their Advanced Standing status and become a 16 or 20 month student to apply for the certificate.
  2. Certificate students may choose any practice method: Community Organization, Interpersonal Practice, Management of Human Services, or Social Policy and Evaluation. Please note global placements in Interpersonal Practice and Social Policy and Evaluation are limited.
  3. Certificate students may choose any practice area: Aging in Families and Society, Children and Youth in Family and Society, Community and Social Systems, Health, or Mental Health.


  1. Global Field Placement (8-credits) - Students must complete 8-credit hours of Advanced Field Education with a grade of "satisfactory" in a designated global field placement. Global field placements are available both within and outside the United States. Domestic field placement sites are pre identified agencies that work on global problems and do so cross-nationally. Specifically, these agencies work primarily with refugees and/or recent immigrants, and/or work with programs that engage in cross-national services. In the case of international students, any domestic agency will constitute a global placement. Students interested in a global field placement must apply and be selected by the Office of Global Activities and the Office of Field Education. Completing a global field placement takes advanced planning. Please visit the OGA webpage for more information or contact ssw.oga@umich.edu
  2. Course Work (6-credits) - Certificate students must take (6) credits of globally focused courses. At least three (3) of these credits must be taken within the School of Social Work.
    • School of Social Work courses - students can take SW 701 Practice in International Social Work, create and complete a 3-credit SW 528 Global Independent Study experience, or take another 3-credit globally focused course to meet this requirement.
    • Courses outside the SSW - students can take globally-focused graduate-level courses (for current students) in other U-M graduate departments. Courses must be grounded in a global or international topic and approved by Office of Global Activities Director. A combination of courses that are less than three (3) credits can be used to meet this requirement.
  3. Language proficiency - Certificate students must demonstrate a second language proficiency equivalent to 2-years of college language reading and speaking proficiency, as evidenced by the U-M Language Placement Exam. Alternatively, students can submit undergraduate transcripts that are no more than 5 years old that demonstrate successful completion of 2-years of college language courses. Students must receive a C or above in the language courses being used for proof of proficiency.
    The U-M Language Resource Center provides resources to support language learners on campus, including language tutors, workshops, and access to various international print and media. If interested in taking undergraduate language courses, please see Graduate Credit for Language Courses (for current students).
  4. Mandatory Meetings - Certificate students must attend mandatory post experience meetings in the fall term during their second year.


Although the general expectation is that the students will follow the Certificate curriculum, advisors will endeavor to assure that each student's courses take into account their specific educational and career goals. Advisors will also work with the Office of Field Education and the Office of Global Activities to make sure the students' field placement(s) takes into account their educational and career goals.

Certificate Competion Process

All certificate program applications are due by the 15th of the first month of the term of graduation. The following are the deadlines for application submission:

  • April/May grads - by no later than the preceding January 15th
  • August grads - by no later than the preceding May 15th
  • December grads - by no later than the preceding September 15th

After verification by the Office of Global Activities, the registrar's office will be notified and the certificate will appear on the student's official transcript.

Certificate in Global Social Work Completion Form

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