Social Work Unique Opportunities: University of Houston - University of Houston
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Focused Learning Opportunities

The UH Graduate College of Social Work offers several unique opportunities offering in-depth training and experience beyond the classroom. These programs empower students through focused practicum, related coursework, training and, in some cases, financial support. Students can focus on specific populations within social work and enrich their studies with hands-on experience.

GCSW Focused Learning Opportunities (FLOs)

Focused Learning Opportunities (FLOs) are optional ways students may develop an in-depth and holistic focus in a specific area of social work practice. FLOs are organized around areas of expertise of current GCSW faculty, enabling students to pair learning in a variety of environments (classroom, practicum, community engagement, trainings, etc.) with meaningful mentorship from GCSW faculty members.

MSW students have the opportunity to attend a FLO Information Session as well as identify their interest in specific FLOs during both the fall and spring semesters. Details regarding this information session as well as applicable processes and deadlines for the FLOs will be provided to students.

Current MSW students are encouraged to attend a virtual FLO Information Session offered each semester to hear from representatives of the different FLOs.  Please familiarize yourself with the information below prior to that. Students should then complete the FLO Interest Form by Saturday, October 20, 2025 to designate their interest in one or multiple FLOs. This will allow students to receive additional information on the processes in place to be considered for joining those FLOs in Spring 2025. Links to join the information session as well as the FLO Interest Form will be provided to students early in the semester via social media newsletter. 

Current FLOs

Because faculty mentorship is critical to GCSW’s Focused Learning Opportunities, current FLOs reflect areas of expertise of current faculty. FLOs may be subject to change as the GCSW faculty grows and shifts over time. Below is a list of GCSW's current FLOs. We anticipate adding new FLOs in the future.

  • Trauma Education Program
  • Global Leaders of Behavioral Health Education
  • Political Social Work
  • Mental Health Advanced Practice in Social Work Program
  • Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
  • Action Research

Trauma Education Program:

Faculty Mentor: Donna Amtsberg

TEP FLO Requirements

The structure of the TEP incorporates curriculum and practicum agencies that work with traumatized individuals of all ages within the mental health service delivery system. Trauma Fellows will complete trauma-informed clinical curriculum and work with practicum sites that offer opportunities to work with a variety of individuals who experience difficulty in daily living due to past trauma.

Global Leaders of Behavioral Health Education (GLOBE):

Staff Mentors: Amber Mollhagen and Stephanie Eisenbaum

GLOBE FLO Requirements

GLOBE is an interprofessional team training program that enrolls MSW and Counseling Psychology students. GLOBE strives to increase the number of culturally competent social workers who deliver behavioral health services to underserved populations. GLOBE Fellows are required to do practicum at placements that deliver mental health and other services and attend 4 workshops a year. The grant provides students with a $10,000 dollar stipend during the student’s final year.

Political Social Work:

Faculty Mentor: Suzanne Pritzker

Political Social Work FLO Requirements

Building off of the GCSW’s historical tradition as a national leader in political social work, the Political Social Work FLO prepares students to engage in systems-level change in organizational, community, and political arenas in order to advance social, racial, economic, and political justice. Students across all levels of practice build advanced knowledge and skills in navigating power, interacting with political actors, and influencing policy-making. 

Mental Health Advanced Practice in Social Work (MHAPS) Program:

Faculty Mentor: Robin Gearing

MHAPS Program FLO Requirements 

Social workers are the fastest growing and largest group of mental health professionals.  The majority of direct mental health practice (65%) in the U.S. is provided by social workers. Building off of the GCSW’s curriculum, the Mental Health Advanced Practice in Social Work (MHAPS) Program FLO seeks to provide advanced mental health skills, critical knowledge, abilities, advocacy, and competencies to students. MHAPS Program FLO students will gain advanced knowledge and experience in working with individuals with mental health conditions and their families, as well as with healthcare and community-based agencies providing mental health interventions and services.

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA)

Faculty Mentor: Lillian Aguirre Ortiz

NLA FLO Requirements 

Building off of the GCSW’s commitment to preparing diverse leaders in practice, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) FLO provides students the opportunity to become Certified Nonprofit Professionals (CNPs) through an agreement with NLA National, Inc.  The mission of the NLA is to strengthen the social network with a talented, prepared workforce.  Given that many GCSW alumni have careers in the nonprofit sector, this opportunity focuses on the core competencies set by NLA National that better prepare our future nonprofit leaders while advancing the GCSW’s vision of achieving social, racial, economic, and political justice, local to global.

Action Research

Faculty Mentor:Chiara Acquati

Action Research FLO Requirements

The Action Research FLO prepares students to engage in research to build their capacity to create and disseminate collaborative accessible anti-racist research that centers community and fuels social change in order to advance social, racial, economic, and political justice. This FLO will have a heavy emphasis on encouraging students to explore how research can make a broader public impact by utilizing anti-racist approaches, actively engaging the community, and creating accessible avenues of dissemination. Students across all levels of practice will build advanced knowledge and skills in navigating research, interacting with scholars, and connecting to local and global policy.


Summary of FLOs*

Download a copy of this chart 2024-summary-of-flos.png

*Please note that the courses listed within each FLO may not be available every semester.  Students should plan accordingly.

For More Information

General questions regarding the FLOs, including when and how students may identify interest in a FLO, should be directed to

Specific questions regarding a FLO should be directed to the corresponding faculty mentor listed above.

Students who joined the previously offered Abolitionist Social Work FLO prior to January 2024 should continue to work with Dr. Alan Dettlaff to complete the requirements.  However, the Abolitionist FLO is no longer accepting new students.

Other Unique Opportunities

For more details and how to apply please view the link for the program:

Austin Legislative Internship 

Child Welfare Education Project (CWEP)

International Social Work Education