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Social Work with Latinos Certificate

The Social Work with Latinos Certificate (SWLC) Program offers a learning environment and professional network to enhance the skills of social work graduate students in culturally competent practices that improve the lives of Latinx individuals, families, and communities.

While the demand for culturally and linguistically competent MSWs continues to grow, California’s public mental health systems simultaneously struggle with barriers that limit access to care, including a shortage of qualified mental health professionals able to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services. This shortage of culturally competent providers correlates to a significant underutilization of mental health services, leading in turn to inadequate care and overall poorer mental health outcomes, particularly for populations already impacted by increasing health disparities.

UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare is committed to addressing this unmet need by creating a dedicated program of study in our MSW program, leading to eligibility for the Social Work with Latinos Certificate issued by Berkeley Social Welfare.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Social Work with Latinos Certificate, candidates:

  1. 1. Must be registered and enrolled in a graduate degree program at UC Berkeley.
  2. 2. Must be in good academic standing (e.g., GPA of 3.0 or better).
  3. 3. Must demonstrate Spanish language proficiency at an intermediate level or above.
  4. 4. Must submit a brief statement describing their interest and experience in Latino social work, and their goals for gaining the certificate.

Requirements to Earn the Certificate

To be awarded the Social Work with Latinos Certificate, candidates must successfully complete all of the following requirements:

  1. 1) The Anchor Course:
    SOC WEL 250J - Social Work with Latino Populations (2 units).
  2. 2) Additional Elective Courses:
    Two additional elective courses totaling a minimum of 4 units and chosen from an approved list (see the "Elective Courses" tab below).
  3. 3) Direct Practice Experience:
    A minimum of 120 hours of direct practice in an agency serving predominantly Spanish-speaking Latinx clients. A field placement required for the MSW degree may also fulfill this requirement.

Application Process

Applications to the Social Work with Latinos Certificate Program are accepted from currently enrolled graduate students continuoulsy throughout the academic year. Students should generally express their interest and apply as early into their graduate studies as reasonable, to ensure the ability to complete program requirements in the normative time allowed for their graduate degree program (generally two or three years for masters students).

To apply, download and complete an Application and Academic Plan Worksheet for the certificate program, and submit it to the Social Welfare Student Services and Admissions office in 120 Haviland Hall.

Download Application Worksheet [pdf]

Elective Courses for the SWLC

In addition to the required anchor course (SOC WEL 250J-Social Work with Latinos), candidates for the Certificate must also complete at least two additional courses, totaling a minmum of four (4) units.

Below is a sample list of courses that currently may be used to satisfy this requirement. For course descriptions and addtional details on individual course offerings, please visit the Berkeley Academic Guide.

Students may also petition to have additional courses added to the approved list by submitting a current course syllabus to the Academic Program Manager (Student Services Office, 120 Haviland Hall).

Social Welfare

SOC WEL 250Y: International Social Development
SOC WEL 272: Health and Human Services in Mexico
SOC WEL 274: Immigrants and Refugees

Other Campus Units

CHIC STD 159: Mexican Immigration
CY PLAN 270: Regional and Urban Development Strategies in Third World Countries
EDUC 188: Latinas/os and Education: Critical Issues and Perspectives
ETH STD 159AC: The Southern Border
GWS 136: Immigrant Women
HISTORY 140B: Modern Mexico
HISTORY 280: Latin America
PB HLTH 212C: Migration and Health: A U.S.-Mexico Binational Perspective
POL SCI202A: Theories of Development and Political Change
SOC 280Q: Economy and Society
SOC 280S: Social Movements
SOC 280X: Immigration and Incorporation


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