FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about animal-assisted educational programs at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW).
Q. What animal-assisted programs does GSSW offer?
A. GSSW offers two animal-assisted certificate programs:
- The Animal-Assisted Social Work (AASW) Certificate is open only to students who are already enrolled in GSSW’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program on the University of Denver campus. MSW students may earn this certificate during their concentration year.
- The Animals and Human Health (AHH) Certificate is offered through GSSW’s continuing education program. Taught primarily online, the AHH Certificate is open to anyone with a Bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited four-year college or university. Those completing the AHH Certificate are eligible to earn 35 CEUs (Continuing Education Units). No academic credit is available for completing the AHH Certificate.
Also students interested in completing a doctoral program with a research focus on human-animal connections should visit the GSSW doctoral education website and contact Frank Ascione.
Q. Do I need to attend GSSW to enroll in the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate program?
A. Yes, the AASW Certificate is a part of GSSW’s Master of Social Work curriculum. If you are interested in applying for admission to the MSW program, please consult the GSSW Web site for details. The MSW program is not currently offered online.
Q. Do I need to attend GSSW for the Animal and Human Health continuing education certificate?
A. No. The first three classes of the AHH Certificate are offered online. The final Capstone Session is held at the University of Denver campus over a three-day weekend.
Q. What educational background do I need to enroll in the AHH continuing education certificate program?
A. You must have earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university, but it can be in any field of study.
Q. Will I earn academic credits for the Animals and Human Health continuing education certificate?
A. No, only Continuing Education Units (CEUs) can be awarded.
Q. How will these programs benefit someone interested in working with animal- assisted interventions?
A. The field of animal-assisted interventions is still relatively new, but is rapidly gaining scientific recognition and professional standing. We believe that earning either of our certificates enables practitioners to advance the professionalism of animal-assisted approaches and to demonstrate a higher level of training and knowledge in the field.
Through the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate, GSSW’s MSW students learn to:
- create, implement and evaluate animal-assisted social work programs in which an animal becomes a teacher, therapist, facilitator and companion.
- choose the most appropriate animals for particular therapies
- care for the animals in accordance with nationally recognized standards
- identify, assess and intervene in "link" violence – the frequent connection between animal abuse and violence toward people.
Through the Animals and Human Health Certificate, continuing education students learn to:
- demonstrate skill and expertise regarding the clinical applications of human-animal interactions.
- understand how the effects of these methods can be demonstrated across age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and life condition, and how animal-assisted interventions can be utilized by a wide variety of professionals.
- create and implement high-quality animal-assisted programs.
Q. How long do the two certificate programs take?
A. GSSW’s Master of Social Work (MSW) students complete the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate during their concentration year. This is generally the second year of the two-year MSW program. For more information about GSSW’s MSW program options and ways to customize your MSW education, please visit the GSSW Web site.
Continuing education students generally complete the Animals and Human Health Certificate in less than one year.
Q. What do the two certificate programs cost?
A. Because it is a part of GSSW’s Master of Social Work (MSW) program, there is no additional cost to students who choose to earn the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate as a part of their MSW degree. Continuing education students who enroll in the Animals and Human Health Certificate pay a fee of $1,900.
Q. When will the Animals and Human Health Certificate be offered in the future?
A. The Animals and Human Health Certificate is usually offered to continuing education students twice each year. Please see our class schedule and other details online.
Q. How do I enroll in the Animals and Human Health Certificate program?
A. To register for this continuing education program, please email David Rossi or call him at 303.871.3464.