Colleges for Social Workers with Degree Program Summaries

Social workers help children, teens and adults in need. Several 4-year colleges and universities offer social work degree programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Some schools even provide fully or partially online programs.

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The social work field is diverse, allowing people to seek careers in the medical, mental health, education and government sectors to work with clients to improve issues, such as domestic, financial and mental problems, that may be detrimental to their quality of life.

10 Schools with Social Work Programs

The following 4-year institutions offer undergraduate and/or graduate programs in social work:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016, In-state)*
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $20,966 (Graduate)
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $47,620 (Graduate)
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Master's $52,713 (Graduate)
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Master's $16,278 (Graduate)
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $44,176 (Graduate)
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $11,074 (Graduate)
University of California--Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $13,431 (Graduate)
University of Texas-Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,806 (Undergraduate) $10,934 (Graduate)
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $41,169 (Graduate)
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral $26,262 (Graduate)

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

When choosing a social work school, the following considerations should be noted:

  • In addition to state and federal accreditation agencies, programs or schools might be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Prospective students who are evaluating colleges for social work also need to consider the types of degrees available, which can include bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.
  • Students frequently consider the specializations or concentrations a school offers, which may include aging, mental health and adolescent development.
  • Some schools have relationships with social service agencies, or they're located in an area with a higher demand for social services, so students have a better chance of participating in practical experiences and internship opportunities.

Bachelor's Degree in Social Work

Undergraduate students commonly need to participate in fieldwork as they prepare for entry-level careers or advanced learning opportunities. After approximately four years, this program may lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Social Work; another option is the professional Bachelor of Social Work option.

Master's Degree in Social Work

At the master's degree level, schools award Master of Arts, Master of Science and professional Master of Social Work degrees. Individuals can choose to concentrate their studies in areas such as clinical social work practice, social administration or policy practice. Students receive hands-on field education in addition to completing both core and specialized courses.

Ph.D. in Social Work

Those who wish to pursue careers as social work educators or researchers can earn a doctoral degree in the social work field. A Ph.D. program typically involves completing coursework, creating an original dissertation and passing a qualifying exam on social work theory and methodology. Some programs also include research and teaching internships or assistantships. Coursework focuses on research and the social sciences.

Social work degree programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Students should consider specialization options and internship opportunities when searching for the right school to attend.

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