Global social work certificates are brief, U.S.-based graduate school programs that specialize practitioners’ skills for greater impact in oppressed, impoverished lands overseas. Studying global social work can help join the over 3 million IFSW members addressing problems like refugee migration, religious conflicts, food insecurity, and inequality abroad. Certificates can be added to an accredited MSW curriculum or pursued independently by mid-career social workers. Directly targeting international practice methods, the certificate programs generally need just three to seven courses with a study abroad immersion. Credits earned may even qualify as CEUs to renew Association of Social Work Boards licensures. Shorter commitments lead to a faster payoff with an expected salary jump of 10-25 percent, which is likely why Forbes found post-baccalaureate certificates have doubled since 2005. Consequently, we’ve endeavored to locate the 15 Top Global Social Work Certificate Programs that provide globally-minded certificate journeys. To create this list, our search began at the Council on Social Work Education website where we narrowed the 823 accredited colleges based on certificate availability. Since only five options were indexed, we headed to Google to find additional CSWE-accredited universities with certificates closely related to international practice, global health, refugee services, and cross-cultural work. Next, we visited the U.S. News & World Report to sequence the schools by their national rankings. We also recorded the latest 2017-18 tuition figures. Our top priority was ensuring each social work department gave ample opportunities, i.e. overseas trips, fellowships, global clubs, and international consortia.
Here are our selections for the 15 Top Global Social Work Certificate Programs:
1. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Certificate in Global Social Work
Established in 1951 by Fedele F. Fauri, the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor stands across from Shapiro Library as a public, CSWE-accredited department committed to “Raising Hope, Changing Society” by training 700+ Wolverines in 16 programs headed by Dr. Lynn Videka. UMich is declared America’s #1 best social work college by the U.S. News & World Report, 25th best school that pays you back on The Princeton Review, and 10th top university in Foreign Policy magazine. The Certificate in Global Social Work begins thrice annually with 16-month or 20-month formats for MSW majors focused on cross-national services. Second language proficiency is required before overseas practicum in four field methods: Community Organization, Interpersonal Practice, Management of Human Services, or Social Policy and Evaluation. Post-grads might also join GSWSA events, research in the Global Poverty Solutions Lab, receive $8,500 Global Activities Scholars Awards, and exchange to UMich partners like the University of Haifa.
Social Work Tuition: $1,826 (in-state) and $2,723 (out-of-state) per credit
2. University of Chicago
Certificate in Global Social Development Practice
Hosting the 11th Annual Meeting of the $3.5 million Clinton Global Initiative, the University of Chicago’s CSWE-accredited School of Social Service Administration founded by reformer Graham Taylor in 1903 has grown to employ 34 distinguished faculty and educate 504 post-grad Maroons on East 60th Street. UChicago is proclaimed America’s third best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, 59th best master’s university in Washington Monthly, and 21st top financial aid provider on The Princeton Review. Overseen by Dr. Deborah Gorman-Smith, the Certificate in Global Social Development Practice admits first-year, language-proficient MSW students until February 16th annually. The four-course program blends classes like Trauma and Resilience in Cross-Cultural Practice with a six-month field placement abroad before a globe-centric capstone project. Other opportunities include working in the Katz Center for Mexican Studies, collaborating with India’s Tata Institute, joining the BridgeWe International Group, and writing for the Advocates’ Forum.
Social Work Tuition: $6,599 per three-credit course
3. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
International Development and Social Change Certificate
Known for its Jordan Institute’s Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative, the School of Social Work opened in 1920 at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is led by Dr. Gary Bowen to confer five CSWE-accredited training programs with $12 million in research funding and 27 tenured faculty adjacent to the FedEx Global Education Center. UNC is deemed America’s fifth best social work school on the U.S. News & World Report, 33rd top university by Times Higher Education, and 15th best value in Forbes. The International Development and Social Change Certificate is a 12-credit, post-MSW option integrating bi-weekly workshops for global practice preparation. Open for admission until December 1st, the program mixes courses like Sustainable Development with an abroad experience and thesis paper. Social workers could also take the South Africa trip, contribute to the Latino Migration Project, network with the Diplomat-in-Residence, join SHAC Beyond Clinic Walls, consult for CareerStart in Israel, and attend the NASW-NC Ethics Conference.
Social Work Tuition: $2,648 (in-state) and $4,768 (out-of-state) per course
4. Case Western Reserve University
Certificate in Global Health
Gifting $4 million in financial aid, including the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship, Case Western Reserve University’s CSWE-accredited Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences has a two-building Bellflower Road complex to teach 397 Spartans from 41 countries at an 8:1 student-faculty ratio. Granted the Best in Class for Workforce Diversity Award, CWRU is named America’s ninth best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, 34th top university in The Wall Street Journal, and 30th best career services provider in The Economist. The Certificate in Global Health is an interdisciplinary, nine-credit MSASS option focused on the prevention of disease transmission abroad. Directed by Dr. Grover Gilmore, the program aligns to the Direct Practice Master’s with courses like International Social Welfare and one study abroad trek from Guatemala to Ghana. Graduates can research in the Center on Urban Poverty, join Local International Konnections (LINK), enter the Tianjin University Exchange, attend the Global Talk Series, and celebrate Social Work Day at United Nations too.
Social Work Tuition: $1,450 per credit
5. University of Pennsylvania
Global Human Rights Certificate
Organized by Dr. John L. Jackson, the 1993 EVC Silver Apple Award winner, the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania is celebrating its 110th year by enrolling 477 post-grad Quakers in five CSWE-accredited degrees at the Caster Building off Locust Walk in West Philadelphia. UPenn was judged America’s 11th best social work college by the U.S. News & World Report, seventh top private university on Niche, and 24th best school for internships in The Princeton Review. Adhering to the United Nation’s WPHRE accords since 2010, the Global Human Rights Certificate is a 15-credit, cross-disciplinary add-on that covers the policy mechanisms for protecting international communities. The post-baccalaureate curriculum requires grades of “B” or better in courses like Transitional Justice in Latin America with at least one overseas practicum. Social workers might also intern via Glasswing International, research in the Evelyn Jacobs Ortner Center, engage with Hispanic Alliance for Change, and attend Penn Global Seminars.
Social Work Tuition: $5,488 per course unit
6. Boston College
Global Refugees & Immigrants Certificate
Located in Chestnut Hill’s McGuinn Hall off Beacon Street, Boston College’s CSWE-accredited School of Social Work has expanded since its 1936 founding by Father Walter McGuinn to employ 94 faculty and produce over 7,000 alumni globally in three Jesuit-inspired degrees with a 41,000-volume library. BC was crowned America’s 11th best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, 60th top university in Times Higher Education, and 18th best private value on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Chaired by Dr. Tom Crea formerly of USDA Honduras, the Global Refugees & Immigrants Certificate is a subject-specific MSW option that enhances skills for supporting the estimated 12 million people fleeing persecution. The macro-scale curriculum melds three courses, such as Global Policy Issues and Diversity, with one 10-week travel session. Other opportunities include joining the Latino Leadership Initiative, receiving Catholic Relief Services fellowships, researching in the Immigrant Integration Lab, attending the Racial Justice Symposium, and engaging in Umoja.
Social Work Tuition: $1,232 per credit
7. University of Southern California
Post-Graduate Certificate in International Social Work Practice
Attracting $100 million in research grants since 1997, the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California is the West’s oldest and the world’s largest CSWE-accredited entity that has 3,500 Trojans contributing 1.5 million service hours yearly in 13 degree options. USC was chosen America’s 17th best social work college on the U.S. News & World Report, second best university by the Institute for International Education, and 65th top school in Washington Monthly. The Post-Graduate Certificate in International Social Work Practice has a four-month, $250 registration process for study partially in the United Kingdom. Organized by Dr. Marilyn Flynn, the 15-unit pathway requires courses like Global Mental Health, a 16-week British internship, and a comparative research project. Students could also take the Metro Manila Immersion, contribute to the Edward R. Roybal Institute’s China Program, work in the Immigration Clinic, pledge Phi Alpha, attend Inclusion Awareness Week events, and join African Americans in Health.
Social Work Tuition: $1,800 per unit
8. University of Maryland – Baltimore
International Employee Assistance Certificate Program
Bestowed a 2017 CSWE Contributions to Social Work Education Award, the University of Maryland-Baltimore’s accredited School of Social Work is marking its 25th year of inspiring 500+ Retrievers in eight degrees at the 62-building “Charm City” campus near Inner Harbor and via Blackboard. UMB was lauded for America’s 17th best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, 131st most liberal university on Niche, 279th top value in Money magazine, and 115th best service-oriented institution. The International Employee Assistance Certificate Program is a unique online, 29-session workshop taught by Dr. Dale Masi to study New Millennium issues affecting global workplaces. Conferring 48 CEUs, the one-month curriculum integrates topics like Sexual Harassment and Critical Incident Response for CEAP certification preparation. Additional opportunities include entering the Peace Corps Program, interning with the International Justice Mission, attending the Training Institutes, contributing to the Malawi Project, joining Latinx Unidos, and applying for the Social Work PhD.
Social Work Tuition: $693 (in-state) and $1,244 (out-of-state) per credit
9. University of Georgia
Graduate Certificate in Global Health
Home to the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, the School of Social Work established by the University of Georgia in 1964 is now training 383 Bulldogs with 92 percent job placement in eight CSWE-accredited programs led by Dr. Anna Scheyett at a 37,000-square-foot building on Athens’ Williams Street. UGA was decreed America’s 24th best social work college on the U.S. News & World Report, 14th top public university by Niche, and 24th best school for low-income students in The New York Times. The Graduate Certificate in Global Health is an 18-credit, multi-disciplinary program following the CUGH’s 11 broad domains to prepare post-grads for community development abroad. Rolling admission eases entry into elective courses like HIV/AIDS Global Perspectives and Advanced Air Quality before the three-credit internship abroad. Social workers may research in the Global Health Institute, take the Northern Ireland Maymester trip, attend the Donald L. Hollowell Lecture, become Phoenix Project volunteers, and join Students for Global Social Work too.
Social Work Tuition: $395 (in-state) and $1,071 (out-of-state) per credit
10. Tulane University
Global Social Work Certificate (GSWC)
Opened with Red Cross grant funding in 1921, the School of Social Work at Tulane University is the Deep South’s oldest private, CSWE-accredited division that’s employing 75 full-time faculty under Dean Patrick Bordnick, PhD, and achieving an 81 percent LMSW pass rate with 4,700 alumni across 30+ nations. Tulane was designated America’s 38th best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, fourth happiest college in The Princeton Review, and 96th top research university on Forbes. The Global Social Work Certificate (GSWC) is a robust, portfolio-based extension that builds international awareness within the 78-credit, five-term Dual MSW/M.S. in Disaster Resilience Leadership. Mandating 3.0 GPAs for a March 31st deadline, the program blends New Orleans classes like Global Humanitarian Aid with two practica abroad. Graduates could also inquire in the Highly Vulnerable Children Research Center, join the Global Brigades, earn the City Year Scholarship, intern with Evacuteer, contribute to the Chinese Rights Initiative, and attend the ACSSW Institute.
Social Work Tuition: $1,018 per credit
11. Adelphi University
Certificate in Bilingual School Social Work
Present at four New York Metro campuses in Hauppauge, Garden City, Manhattan, and Poughkeepsie, Adelphi University’s School of Social Work managed by Dr. Andrew Safyer has a 91.4 percent employment rate for the 728 Panthers enrolled in nine CSWE-accredited programs with average grant aid of $16,833. Adelphi is crowned America’s 38th best social work school on the U.S. News & World Report, 228th best private university in Forbes, and 268th safest college by Niche. The Certificate in Bilingual School Social Work accepts $25 applications year-round from post-MSW graduates with 3.0 GPAs or higher. Focused on conquering language barriers in English and Spanish, the 16-credit, cross-cultural program fulfills New York State endorsements with courses like Diversity Struggle for Human Rights and a four-credit school internship. Global opportunities include volunteering with the Riley Family Foundation, attending the International Interdisciplinary Conference on Clinical Supervision, studying abroad from Costa Rica to India, and joining GSWSA activities.
Social Work Tuition: $1,135 per credit hour
12. DePaul University
Global Health Certificate
Headed by Dean Guillermo Vásquez de Velasco, PhD, a Teaching Excellence Award winner, the CSWE-accredited College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences is DePaul University’s third-largest private, Catholic division located at the 36-acre Lincoln Park campus on Sheffield Avenue to enroll many of the 7,703 post-grad Blue Demons. DePaul is declared America’s 88th best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, 42nd best free application college on Niche, and 162nd top value on WalletHub. The Global Health Certificate is a four-course, individualized add-on to the 88-credit MSW degree for students with minimum 2.7 GPAs to globalize their community organizing expertise. Open for admission until April 1st, the curriculum lets social workers choose courses like Health Inequities and Forced Migration with overseas fieldwork. Graduates could also join the Global Health Corps, secure Catholic Charities internships, engage in Circle K International, research in the Institute for Global Homelessness, attend the Empowered to Connect Conference, and pursue the Dual M.A. in Gender Studies.
Social Work Tuition: $685 per quarter hour
13. Boise State University
Graduate Certificate in Refugee Services Clinical Practice
Reaffirmed by the CSWE in February 2018, Boise State University’s School of Social Work in the College of Health Sciences is Idaho’s oldest public, justice-focused division using its 52-year history to educate 450 Broncos in five programs off Cesar Chavez Lane with a share of the $98.4 million endowment. BSU is proclaimed America’s 105th best social work college by the U.S. News & World Report, 93rd best value on WalletHub, 289th top university on the Social Mobility Index, and 133th best master’s institution in Washington Monthly. Overseen by Dr. Randy Magen, the Graduate Certificate in Refugee Services Clinical Practice has a nine-credit, interdisciplinary plan for licensed MSW practitioners to globalize their skills serving displaced populations. The curriculum covers topics from terrorism to humanitarian crisis and reconstruction before the SWK 519 capstone project. Other opportunities include volunteering abroad with Unite For Sight, exchanging to 70+ countries, taking the Peace Corps Prep workshop, attending the NASW Northwest Social Work Conference, and joining Phi Alpha.
Social Work Tuition: $4,377 (in-state) and $12,035 (out-of-state) per semester
14. California State University – Fresno
Certificate in Cross-Cultural Competency
Home to the Social Welfare Evaluation & Training Center, the College of Health and Human Services at California State University-Fresno is a public, CSWE-accredited division worth $12.5 million that’s teaching 4,572 Bulldogs to “Live Well” and conduct 28,000+ service hours at its 388-acre San Joaquin Valley campus. Fresno State is ranked America’s 128th best social work school by the U.S. News & World Report, 53rd top value in Money magazine, and 66th best standout university on Niche. The Department of Social Work Education’s Certificate in Cross-Cultural Competency is a self-designed, interdisciplinary program chaired by Dr. Martha Vungkhanching for supporting international endeavors to better diverse communities. Located in HHS Hall, the curriculum involves picking 12 units like Cultural Oppression, Ethnic Studies, and Japanese Language with at least one four-week global experience. Social workers may also become Trabajadores de la Raza, join the Chi Nu Honors Chapter, take the Hong Kong Immersion, attend the ASP International Conference, and earn Title IV-E stipends.
Social Work Tuition: $2,353 (in-state) and $3,541 (out-of-state) per course
15. Widener University
Certificate in Global Social Work
Awarded a $660,000 HRSA Grant for its Vulnerable Adults Clinical Services Clinic, the School of Human Service Processions at Widener University, a 2017 Good Citizenship Award recipient, has expanded since 1993 to provide 32 programs managed by Dr. Robin Dole in the Greater Philly Metro with 92 percent job placement. Widener is decreed America’s 147th best social work college by the U.S. News & World Report, 282nd top value on Niche, and 19th best service-minded school in Newsweek. The Certificate in Global Social Work accepts $35 applications year-round for MSW majors interested in shaping international policies to positively affect populations on six continents. Expect completing two electives like Refugee/Immigration Services in Bruce Hall, the 500-hour clinical internship, and a two-semester seminar with field experiences from Thailand to the Netherlands. Post-grads might join the NABSW Chapter, research in the Elwyn Institute, attend the Sexuality & Aging Speaker Series, visit the Costa Rica Hub, and continue for the part-time Doctor of Philosophy too.
Social Work Tuition: $850 per credit