Community, Organization, and Business Innovation

The Department of Community, Organization, and Business Innovation (COBI) prepares students to lead and drive positive change in communities, organizations, businesses and government.

Students in this department will study subject areas such as:

  • Organizational leadership
  • Business and community environments
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Social justice

New, innovative careers for social workers are emerging every day in our rapidly changing and increasingly diverse and deeply inequitable world. Discover the many different and potential work settings and possible career paths available to COBI students. Or review our department infographic or video.


Grounded in social change and innovation, coursework is designed to develop systems thinkers who focus on the big picture. Students are encouraged to think globally—and differently—while drawing on the most recent research, new learning innovations and evidence-informed practices.

Course requirements include seven core classes, plus the choice of three electives within your area of study, along with three semesters of field and integrative seminars. A snapshot of the curriculum details the recommended order of classes by semester.

629 Research and Evaluation for Community, Organization and Business Environments
648 Management and Organizational Development for Social Workers
652 Social Work Practice in Workplace Settings
611 Leadership and Management
639 Policy Advocacy and Social Change
684 Community Practice for Social Innovation
665 Grant Writing and Program Development for Social Workers


Students may customize their study by selecting one of the following options, which requires the completion of two additional courses.

Global Social Work 

670 global dimensions in social policy and social work practice and one of the following:
        681 managing diversity in the global context
        607 department specific global immersion

Military Social Work (Effective Fall 2017) 

6XX Theories and Concepts of Military Social Work and one of the following:
        650 Military and Veteran Policy and Program Management
        656 DC Military Immersion
        6XX Global Military Immersion (Pending Spring 2018)

Social Work in Business 

672 social work in business settings and one of the following:
        658 organizational practice and development in business environments
        679 organizational group behaviors and interventions

Students can also choose from a variety of electives to build knowledge in population-specific topics including addiction, older adults, domestic violence and military families.

Field Education

Working in the field with one of our many community partners gives students valuable hands-on practice experience that complements classroom learning. Read more about our field placement requirements and opportunities.

Work Settings 

COBI students learn how to work closely with management and employees within an organization to lead change and interventions, or with external audiences like policymakers, advocacy organizations, or government and community leaders.

Types of workplace settings include:

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Community action agencies
  • Foundations
  • Development corporations
  • Government
  • Human resource departments
  • Neighborhood and community centers
  • Political offices
  • Public interest groups
  • Social welfare providers


The career paths and job opportunities for COBI students are extensive. We prepare our graduates for innovative, rewarding positions in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, with titles such as:

  • Executive director
  • Policy analyst
  • Consultant/coach
  • Advocate
  • Program evaluator
  • Restructuring specialist
  • Corporate social responsibility manager
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) clinician
  • Behavioral health care manager
  • Organizational change management consultant
  • Global diversity and inclusion manager
  • Employee wellness specialist