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Current Issues in Social Work and Social Welfare Policy: Issues and Action

View of Washington Monument

Program Faculty:

Gary Parker, MSW, Deputy Director, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
Dan Ferris, MPA, Assistant Director, Policy and External Affairs, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research


  • Tuition and Fees: Graduate tuition and fees, paid directly to the Bursar. Undergraduate tuition (senior BSW students only, must interview): Please review the University’s tuition structure for undergraduates:, paid to the Bursar.
  • Housing: Details on housing rates will be available soon.
  • Estimated Travel: Round-trip via Amtrak (from New York) can range between $100 and $400 depending on booking date, type, and availability.  Bus options can often be as low as $40 round-trip, depending on booking date.
  • Meals: Students will pay a small fee (price TBA) for a welcome dinner after the first day of classes.  Students are responsible for any additional meals.
  • Excursions: TBD
  • All personal expenses are additional.
The Legislative Advocacy course in Washington, DC, was instructive and empowering. Through informative lectures and meetings with congressional staff on Capitol Hill, students experienced the important role that social workers can play in the legislative process. Even if your focus is micro- or mezzo-level social work, your takeaway will be that all of us can make a difference on the macro level."
- Judith Rosen, MSW '13

Photos from January 2015

DC 1
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about the program

  • Dates of Course: This course will not run during the 2017-2018 academic year. We invite you to take a look at our other Global Program offerings. Our course in Glasgow will also cover policy issues. We will also have another course taking place in the US, in New York, for which half of the class will be students from a German university.
  • NOTE: Spring Break 2018 courses count toward Spring 2018 credits and financial aid.  Students with field placements must obtain permission from their faculty advisors and agency field instructors to miss field dates for a January course.  Students must make up all missed field dates at another time during the year.
  • Housing: Single- and double-occupancy dorm housing available at the Washington, D.C. site Students may find their own housing (subject to approval by course faculty).
  • Total Credits: 3 Credits
  • Prerequisites: SSWP 1 is a pre-requisite for enrollment. This course can fulfill the advanced social policy course requirement or be taken as an elective.
  • Available for: Graduate Masters.

The profession of social work, historically and currently, seeks to promote social justice through the equitable provision of benefits and services to assist all individuals, families, and communities to develop and function to their fullest potential. Advocacy for federal social welfare policies has historically been an important professional activity, remaining so in the present as part of “policy practice.” In addition, all professions and occupations must work to advance their own interests in order to fulfill their social aims and ensure economic survival. Since social workers’ services are often funded through federal and other health and social welfare programs, federal-level advocacy is needed for these purposes as well.  This course provides students the opportunity to enhance their policy analysis skills around key social welfare policy issues with significance to social work and the people and communities we serve. Additionally, opportunities will be offered for students to develop and practice critical skills for legislative action on Capitol Hill.

  • The final assignment will be a paper to be completed and submitted during the spring semester.
  • Holding the course in Washington, D.C. will afford students the opportunity to participate in visits to Capitol Hill and provide access to guest lecturers and policy experts who are based in Washington.

Global Program Application and Registration Process

The application for this program is not yet open. It will open in early to mid-Fall 2017. Please check back soon.


Stephanie Kaplan
Assistant Director, Office of Global and Lifelong Learning

For Course Inquiries Contact

Dan Ferris, MPAAssistant Director, Policy and External Affairs, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
Gary Parker, MSW
Deputy Director, McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research