Reveal leaders, promote agency, and discover (your) purpose in urban communities!

MSW candidates in the Urban Leadership Certificate Program (ULP) at the School of Social Work are evolving into the next generation of clinician leaders. In the ULP we believe in addition to being helpers, social workers are active and engaged agents of change within and across multiple systems and settings (e.g., family, organizations, community, and political). We also know urban environments are complex social spaces that are highly populated, socially and culturally diverse, constrained by class extremes, and rich in opportunity. With this understanding, we prepare students in our Urban Leadership Certificate Program (ULP) to develop the skills and confidence to work as leaders, advocates, and activists in the communities they serve.

We work together with a group of urban agency partners who are committed to developing social workers for leadership roles in urban communities. Our students are prepared to take on leadership roles in dynamic, complex, and diverse, multi-cultural environments. They also gain a broad repertoire of leadership skills for promoting the capacities of their clients, and advancing organizations, communities and the profession.

The Urban Leadership Program attracts a diverse group of students — including human service workers, ministers, Department of Children and Families employees and educators. Many students are seasoned professionals. All share a commitment to advancing social justice and addressing the needs of clients, organizations, communities, and the profession.

Program Requirements
Urban Leadership students earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, plus a certificate in urban leadership in clinical social work. ULP students take two leadership courses concurrently with the field internships. These leadership courses allow students to explore their own leadership skills, build a theoretical understanding of leadership, and practice specific leadership skills in the classroom and community. Students work in small teams throughout their course of study in the ULP with a local community partner to explore the application of varying models of leadership to real life leadership opportunities and dilemmas. In this process, students learn about the nature of leadership in the context of social work and urban communities. In addition, the curriculum includes four required mini courses: community politics, oral presentation skills, grant writing, and one elective. Full-time students can complete the program in two academic years. Summer classes provide a flexible, extended study option.
    Gary Bailey
    • Gary Bailey
    • Professor of Practice, Director of Urban Leadership Program
    • Phone: 617-521-3977
    • Office: P404J
Full-time Program

M.S.W./Urban Leadership Program helps clinical social work students develop the skills and confidence to be effective leaders in the organizations and communities they serve. Our innovative Urban Leadership Program integrates community leadership and clinical social work skills — including public speaking, fundraising, program development, social policy, and an understanding of how to work with diverse constituencies.

Coursework, internships, and leadership projects emphasize diversity and multicultural issues in urban communities and allow students to engage their own passions and interests in addressing services to under-served urban populations. leadership development.

See the full program plan.

Part-time Extended Program

The Extended-Study Program offers students the option to expand a two-year program into two-and-a-half, three or four years. The first year of the program could be called part-time, as students devote two days a week to classes and study. Simmons offers flexible evening scheduling to accommodate working professionals; however, not all program requirements can be met in the evening. In the subsequent years, students must plan four or five days per week for classes and field placements. Most students complete the program in three years.

See the part-time program plan.


We are committed to providing a personalized, coordinated, and integrated learning experience. Faculty advisors supervise each student's course load and work with students to help them select field education placements that meet their goals.

Graduates of our program have established themselves as strong agents of change who are grounded in direct clinical practice and committed to social and transformative justice in their work with others. Areas in which graduates are currently working include child welfare, community mental health, corrections, disaster response, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, housing, juvenile justice, medicine, public health, public policy and school social work.

Alumni Career Examples

  • Ombudsman for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
  • Oncology Social Worker, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Social Worker, Unaccompanied Minors Program, Lutheran Social Services
  • School Social Worker, Brookline Public Schools
  • METCO Coordinator, Cohasset Public Schools
  • Social Worker/Volunteer Coordinator, Health Leeds, Baltimore, MD
  • Program Associate, Children's Aid Society of New York, Family Rewards Program
  • Mental Health Consultant, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Director, LGBT Services, MIT Office of Student Life
  • Emergency Room Social Worker, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Founder/CEO, Osiris Group Mental Health Provider, Boston
  • Constituency services coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services
  • Management and policy analyst, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
  • Social Worker, Visiting Nurse Service of New York City, Mobile Community Support Team
  • Director of Volunteer Services, Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care, Newton, MA
  • CEO and President, LBD Counseling & Consulting Clinic, Randolph, MA
  • Social Worker, St. Francis House Homeless Shelter
  • Domestic Violence Advocate, Brigham and Women's Hospital Passageways Program, Boston, MA
How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in attending Simmons. We pledge to help you achieve a successful career, a meaningful life, and a powerful return on your educational investment. Our program is distinguished in many ways: an innovator in social work education; nationally acclaimed faculty; alumni who are leaders in their fields; and an ideal Boston location in the Fenway and Longwood Medical Area.