Domestic Social and Economic Development Concentration | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Domestic Social and Economic Development Concentration


This concentration prepares students to work with communities and governments to create complex solutions that improve people’s lives within the United States.

Students are trained in integrated and sustained development approaches from local to national arenas. They will understand the basis of poverty and inequality in the U.S., be able to analyze institutions and organizations, and learn to use tools and techniques for organizing change at many different levels.

Alumni go on to careers in government and non-governmental organizations developing and implementing programs, designing and evaluating policy, or building the evidence base for action.

Concentration Requirements: 21 Credits

  • Poverty and Inequality in America (3 credits) or Community Development and American Cities (3 credits)
  • Domestic Social and Economic Development Policy (3 credits)
  • Nine credits of practice-focused coursework, chosen from a list of pre-approved options
  • Three credits of leadership- and management-focused coursework
  • Social Policy Analysis and Evaluation (3 credits) or Evaluation of Programs and Services (3 credits)

You will also have 9 elective credits, which can be used to broaden your expertise in other areas or to pursue additional SED-related electives, such as:

  • Organizing, Coalition Building and Lobbying (3 credits)
  • Asset Building: Theory, Innovation, Research, Policy and Practice (3 credits)

Concentration Practicum

The MSW program requires 600 hours of concentration practicum (in addition to 360 hours of foundation practicum). The concentration practicum must take place in a setting related to domestic social and economic development.

Sample practicum sites include:

  • Better Family Life
  • Beyond Housing
  • Focus St. Louis
  • Metro St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council
  • Urban Strategies
Von Nebbitt

Concentration Chair

Von Nebbitt is an associate professor and serves as the Brown School’s chair of the Domestic Social and Economic Development concentration. His research assesses the effects of living in urban public housing on minority adolescents' physical, mental and behavioral health.

Nava Kantor

Featured Graduate

“I came to the Brown School to try to understand the forces that create disenfranchised and distressed communities and to learn strategies to support these communities in creating change. The domestic SED curriculum and management specialization have given me concrete, practical skills based in research and theory.”



—Nava Kantor, MSW ’16, Program Fellow at Missouri Foundation for Health
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