School of Social Work

Leadership and Management Concentration


Leadership and management shape organizations, programs, services, and outcomes for clients and communities. The School of Social Work, in collaboration with the Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program, at the University of Missouri in St. Louis trains tomorrow's leaders and managers in human services, social welfare, and other fields.

The concentration in Social Work Leadership and Management (SWLM) provides students with knowledge and practical training to assume leadership and management positions in public and nonprofit organizations. Students learn how to shape and lead effective, humane, ethical, and responsive organizations - organizations that value diversity and build capacity of staff and clients.

Students learn how to acquire resources for current programs and new initiatives. They learn how to market and evaluate programs. Students learn how to advocate for clients and influence policies. Students in SWLM share a desire to lead organizations that build resources and capabilities of individuals and communities and contribute to social justice.

Students in SWLM are not required to have prior experience in leadership and management. Students who do not have social work practice experience will be encouraged to take coursework on practice with individuals, families, and groups, and they will also be encouraged to spend some time in a direct practice internship.

With no additional coursework or cost, students in SWLM may graduate with both a Master's in Social Work (MSW) and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership (NPML).

Objectives of SWLM

In the SWLM concentration, students gain knowledge and skills through theory, research, and practical training in order to:

Career Opportunities

The SWLM concentration prepares social workers for local, state, and national organizations in a wide range of leadership and management positions. The focus is on social welfare, human services, health, mental health, social policy, community development, faith based, and other community organizations. Graduates with a master's degree in SWLM include leaders and executives of public and nonprofit organizations, such as:


Courses are taught using a combination of discussion, debate, guest speakers, and hands-on projects, on-campus and off-campus, as well as more traditional lectures, reading, research, and writing. Students are placed in internships where they learn directly with prominent leaders and administrators throughout the St. Louis region.

SWLM courses are offered through the School of Social Work and the Nonprofit Management and Leadership (NPML) program at UM-St. Louis.