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Detroit Scholars Program

Focusing on Social Work Practice with Individuals, Families, and Communities in Medically Underserved Communities

The University of Michigan School of Social Work is pleased to offer the Detroit Scholars (DS) Program. This scholarship program prepares MSW students to work within organizations and communities that provide services to underserved racial and ethnic minority children, adolescents, transitional age youth, adults, and their families living with physical and behavioral health conditions. The SSW, in collaboration with the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority, will provide a specialized inter-professional behavioral health education and training program.

The Detroit Scholars Program addresses a critical need for social work practitioners to deliver culturally responsive services within medically underserved urban areas. Detroit Scholars will be uniquely prepared for positions in integrated behavioral health and primary care, mental health and behavioral health settings, hospitals, health departments, health agencies, schools, or nonprofit agencies.

Detroit Scholars Program Funding

  • $6,000 per term (4 terms for 16-month students / 3 terms for 12-month students)

Specialized Courses and Training

Detroit Scholars must enroll in the full-time On-Campus or Online MSW student in the 16-month, MasterTrack MSW, or 12-month (Advanced Standing, UM-Dearborn Human Services & SW, or U-M Sociology & SW) curriculum. Scholars complete the following specialized coursework:

  • a designated section of SW590 Introduction to Social Work Practice
  • an interdisciplinary team-based clinical decision-making course
  • mini-courses on engagement and retention of racial and ethnic minority youth and families in behavioral health and primary care settings, an evidence-based practice course in working with in working with racial and ethnic minority transitional age youth living with behavioral health conditions and their families,
  • additional courses in substance abuse practice with racial and ethnic minority youth and families and one on working with African American families
  • an integrative capstone seminar while in your field internship

The Detroit Scholars Program involves participating in intra and interprofessional training on Thursdays and students maintain this day as a field/training day throughout their time in the program.

Special Field Placement Opportunities

Each Detroit Scholar will complete an in-person field placement in a mental or behavioral health agency in Detroit or a surrounding community that serves racial and ethnic minority children, adolescents, transitional age youth, adults, and their families living with health and behavioral health problems.

Eligibility Criteria

Each Scholar must:


  • Application deadlines: December 1, 2023 (early application), February 1, 2024 (priority), March 1, 2024. Selection of applicants will be made from all dates with priority given to applicants that meet the December and February deadlines.
  • Deferred admits planning to enroll in fall 2024 must submit their special program application by November 1, 2023.
  • Financial need will be considered in the review of special program applications.
  • Your MSW application must be complete by the scholarship deadline.
  • If you would like to apply for the Detroit Scholars Program, then please answer “yes” to the question, “Do you plan to apply to an SSW Special Program?” found on the Financial Assistance page of the MSW online application and select the Detroit Scholars Program checkbox. The Detroit Scholars Program application page will be added to the end of your MSW application.
  • Be sure to include your name and “Detroit Scholars Program Statement” in the upper corner of your statement before you upload it to your application.
  • Note that it will be more likely to be accepted into the Detroit Clinical Scholars Program if you are currently working within an organization that serves medically underserved in Detroit-Wayne County.

For more information about the Detroit Scholars Program, contact the Office of Student Services and Enrollment Management at (734) 936-0961 or

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