DP Mental Health Certificate

Student with client

The DP Mental Health Certificate is designed to prepare graduates from the MSW Program for professional practice with individuals, families and/or groups with mental/behavioral health challenges through a wide range of social and human services agencies.  Students in the MSW Program take a series of required and elective courses leading to the DP Certificate in Mental Health within the normal MSW requirements and need not exceed the length of the degree program.

Required Courses

SWBEH 2065               Human Behavior: Mental Health (HBSE II)

SWWEL 2057:             Mental Health and Public Policy (Policy II)

Elective Courses

In addition to the two required courses, students pursuing the DP Certificate in Mental Health must complete all of the direct practice specialization requirements plus two elective mental health related skills courses from the following approved list: 

SWINT 2018:              Clinical Skills and Psychopathology

SWINT 2007:              Introduction to Psychopharmacology in Social Work Practice

SWINT 2011:               Social Work Practice with Families

SWINT 2042:              Social Work with Substance Abuse and Other Addictive Disorders

SWINT 2046:              Planned Short Term Treatment

SWINT 2049:              Direct Practice with Children and Adolescents

SWINT 2053:              Social Work Practice with Groups

SWINT 2072:              Social Work and Traumatic Stress

SWINT 2031:              Advanced Direct Practice: Cognitive-Behavioral – in addition to required ADP class

SWINT 2032:              Advanced Direct Practice: Social Systems – in addition to required ADP class

SWINT 2033:              Advanced Direct Practice: Psychodynamic – in addition to required ADP class

Certificate Declaration of Intent Form

Required Field Work

DP Mental Health Certificate students must have their specialization field placement (12 credit hours – 720 clock hours) in a mental/behavioral health setting working with individuals, families and/or groups who face challenges associated with mental health or other behavioral health related issues. This may be completed at a public agency or a private provider agency, excluding private practice type settings.

Enrollment Procedures

No application for the certificate program is necessary until the student enters the MSW program, however, students may indicate their interest in the Certificate by checking a box on the MSW application. Students with advanced standing should notify their advisors of their intent to complete the DP Mental Health Certificate program at the time of their first registration.  Students without advanced standing should notify their advisor at the time of registration for their 2nd level human behavior and second level social welfare courses. The student's academic advisor can then assist in selecting the courses needed for the certificate. Upon completion of the Certificate requirements and application for graduation, the student will receive a formal Certificate that testifies to their accomplishment. Students who are interested in the DP Mental Health Certificate program should begin the process as soon as possible, and complete a Declaration of Intent when beginning concentration coursework.

Career Opportunities

Social workers today are the primary providers of services to clients with mental health needs, particularly in resource poor areas. Federal data indicate that social workers compose the largest group of direct services mental health professionals in the country, more than the combined totals of the other core mental health professions of psychiatry, psychology and psychiatric nursing. Social work practice in mental health services, or what used to be referred to as "psychiatric social work" is also a long-standing area of practice in our profession. Recent National Association of Social Workers (NASW) surveys have revealed that mental health is the leading area of practice for NASW members, more than 25% of all MSW students nationally identify mental health as their area of specialization and approximately 26% of MSW field placements are in mental and behavioral health organizations. Direct practice social workers in mental health services have a wide array of opportunities across a range of public and private providers including psychiatric inpatient services, outpatient psychotherapy services, child and family services, partial hospitalization and case management services, addiction services, and private practice.

The School's Resources

Mental health practice courses are taught by both full-time and part-time faculty, who bring cutting edge evidence-based practice knowledge and expertise to their classes.  Most of our part time faculty are actively in practice and bring their experience of current trends and challenges in the field into the classroom.  Many of our full-time faculty are involved in practice-related research and can help students learn about the important connections between mental health related research and practice. Students interested in behavioral health, in particular with specific populations such as older adults, children and families, and clients involved in the criminal justice system, will have access to coursework relating to these different populations.  The School of Social Work is connected with an extensive network of mental/behavioral health providers in both rural and urban settings in western Pennsylvania to offer a broad array of field placement opportunities.

For more information

For information about the DP Mental Health Certificate Program, you may contact:

Dr. Travis Labrum
Assistant Professor

For information about admission to the MSW program at the School of Social Work or its other programs, please contact:

Director of Admissions
School of Social Work
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: (412) 624-6346