The approaches to macro social work education vary a great deal. They are often as unique as are the faculties of the various institutions. There are those programs that view social policy strictly from the perspective of social workers. In those programs, faculty are, for the most part, trained in social work. Other schools, however, have multiple disciplinary perspectives present on their faculties. Such schools are just as likely to have faculty trained in economics, public policy, public health, and law as they are to have faculty trained in social work.
The policy course offerings will be a good reflection of the faculty’s training and interests. If you have particular interests in specific policy areas such as international social work policy, healthcare policy, immigration policy, or Latin American affairs, to name a few, a thorough review of the course offerings and faculty publications would serve you well.
Another important area of exploration is, interestingly enough, the offerings of other graduate and professional schools that are also part of the host university of the social work program. If the university has programs in public policy, law, international studies, business, or other areas of your interest, there may be the opportunity to round out your education outside of the social work program. Of course, you need to find out how available classes outside of the school in other areas of the university will be to you and whether they will count as credits toward your degree. If the given university does not have programs in the particular areas of your interest, find out if cooperative arrangements exist with neighboring institutions. If this is the case, you definitely want to explore implications to cost, financial aid, and the total number of courses required for graduation.
Examples of macro concentrations you are likely to come across in your search for a program are:
• Social and Economic Development
• Community Organization
• Management and Planning
• Fund Raising
• Research and Evaluation
• Social Welfare Administration
• Social Policy and Planning