COSA Human Services Organization Management Certificate Program

Julius Boatwright

MSW professionals often find themselves moving up quickly into supervisory, management, and even executive positions. To better prepare social workers for assuming leadership positions in the field of human services, the MSW Program’s COSA specialization offers students interested in macro social work practice the option of earning a COSA Human Services Organization Management Certificate . COSA students who pursue this certificate acquire advanced specialized knowledge and skills that allow them to take advantage of leadership opportunities, enhance their personal and professional development, and influence the field of human services.

This certificate is available only to students currently enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work’s MSW Program at the Oakland campus. MSW students complete required and elective courses along with a specialized practicum placement leading to the certificate within the normal MSW requirements and need not exceed the length of the degree program. As a University of Pittsburgh-recognized certificate program, receipt of the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate appears on graduates’ MSW diplomas.

COSA students have the opportunity to focus their studies in human services management on the field of gerontology With careful planning starting at the time of initial matriculation into the MSW Program, students may be able to complete both the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate and the COSA-Gerontology Certificate. Please contact Dr. Rafael Engel (, Gerontology Certificate Chairperson, for additional information.

The COSA-Human Services Management Certificate has been developed in collaboration with the Network of Social Work Management (NSWM) under a university partnership initiative and covers core competencies identified by the NSWM. For more information the NSWM please visit their website.

COSA-Human Services Management Certificate Curriculum

Required Courses

Students pursuing the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate must fulfill all MSW Program and COSA specialization requirements as well as complete specific courses that support the certificate. Therefore, in addition to a second-level Human Behavior course (SWBEH 2008), a second-level Social Welfare course (SWWEL 2087), a second-level Research course (SWRES 2033 or SWRES 2045 or SWRES 2047 or SWRES 2051), and two elective courses, students seeking this certificate must complete twelve credits through the following COSA core and elective courses:

SWCOSA 2084:         Human Services Organization Management (requirement for all COSA students)

SWCOSA 2088:         Community Organizing and Planning (requirement for all COSA students)

SWCOSA 2086:         Human Resources, Supervision, and Financial Management (COSA skill elective for the certificate)

SWCOSA 2040:         Grant and Proposal Writing (COSA skill elective for the certificate)

Review sample course of study models for the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate

Required Practicum

COSA-Human Service Management Certificate students must complete their specialization practicum placement (SWCOSA 2099; 12 credits – 720 clock hours) in a community-based or human services organization. This may be a private nonprofit organization or a public/government organization.

Certificate Declaration Form 

If not already declared as part of the admission application, an MSW student should submit a Certificate Declaration of Intent Form as soon as possible after beginning the MSW Program to affirm their interest in pursuing the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate as part of their MSW studies.

Financial Aid

Students pursuing the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate are eligible for the same financial aid and loan options available to all MSW students. In addition, students completing this COSA certificate are encouraged to apply for stipends through the Library Social Work Fellowship, wherein students complete their field placements in public libraries to assist with a variety of organizational and public-facing activities.

Career Opportunities

Students completing the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate have pursued rich and varied careers with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, foundations, think tanks and research institutions, and government agencies. They have worked at local, state, and national levels, providing their macro social work practice expertise to program development, planning, and assessment efforts; fundraising and grant writing; advocacy and lobbying initiatives; and organizational management and administration. Regardless of their particular sphere of activity, COSA-Human Services Management Certificate graduates are recognized for the leadership they provide and their commitment to creating a more just society.

The School’s Resources

The MSW Program’s COSA specialization builds on a long and rich history of partnerships between the school and community groups in Western Pennsylvania that is unique among U.S. schools of social work. Courses are taught by full-time and part-time faculty who bring their experiences as community practitioners to the classroom. Faculty play important roles in Pitt’s community engagement initiatives. They are leaders in the field of macro social work practice, exemplifying the “practitioner/scholar” ideal through their active involvement in community-engaged research projects as well as their publications. The rich diversity of practicum placement options available to students reflects COSA faculty’s strong ties to local and regional organizations as well as those having a national scope.

Contact Information

For additional information about the COSA-Human Services Management Certificate, please contact:

Dr. Aliya Durham
COSA-Human Services Management Certificate Coordinator

Interested in learning how to apply for admission to the MSW Program?