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Online Certificate in Political Social Work

Political social work is social work practice, theory, and research that focuses on the use of policy and politics to create social change. The Certificate in Political Social Work is designed for all social workers, regardless of area of primary practice, to fulfill their ethical obligation to engage in social and political action, or for anyone interested in applying social justice to politics and policy. Participants of this certificate program will learn how politics impacts the lives of those that they serve on both a micro and macro level, practice skills for advocating to policymakers, gain tools to empower clients to become politically engaged, and explore opportunities for running for office.

Participants will complete 24 online social work continuing education credits (22 macro, 2 ethics) including:

  • 12 hours of live online instruction
  • 12 additional hours of self-paced online content

Registration is now closed. The Fall cohort runs September 25, 2018 through November 13, 2018.

Fall 2018 Schedule

Day Date Time
Tuesday September 25, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Tuesday October 9, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Tuesday October 16, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Tuesday October 23, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Tuesday October 30, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Tuesday November 13, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Course Syllabus

Political Social Work Fall 2018 Syllabus

Foundations of Political Social Work

This module will include the historical and current role of social workers in the political process, emerging political social work research and theory, as well as the NASW Code of Ethics standard which calls for social workers to engage in "social and political action" as part of their ethical responsibilities to the broader society.

Tools for Political Social Work Practice

This module will cover skills and strategies that social workers can apply to effectively engage and communicate with constituents, policymakers, and elected and appointed officials to enact change across practice settings.

Special Knowledge Areas for Political Social Work

This module covers important topic areas social workers should be familiar with when engaging in political social work practice, including organized labor and immigration. This module is intended to be responsive to emerging political topics relevant to social work and will be built upon and expanded in later iterations of the program.


  • Larry M. Gant

    Larry M. Gant

    PhD, MSW

    Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work, and Professor of Art and Design, School of Art and Design

    Program evaluation, social action, community-based health programs, mezzo practice and social planning; public health social work, international social work, arts-based community development, health disparities emerging from syndemic-structural interactions, e.g. HIV/AIDS, poverty, violence-related PTSD, and impoverished care access.
  • Ayesha Ghazi

    Ayesha Ghazi


    LEO Intermittent Lecturer,

    University of Michigan School of Social Work

  • Susan Grettenberger

    Susan Grettenberger

    PhD, MSW, MPA

    Director and Professor, Social Work Program

    Central Michigan University

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