Best Social Work colleges in the U.S. 2023

Social work is a profession that prepares individuals to assess, counsel, and aid individuals, families, and communities with different personal obstacles. Some of the matters that social workers can help with are finances, employment, housing, and child care. Academic courses for the degree include instruction in social welfare policy, case work planning, social counseling and intervention strategies, administrative procedures and regulations, oppression, child welfare and family services, employment services, and disability counseling.

There's in-class coursework and supervised field experience within the social work degree program. Aside from the degree, social workers also need to fulfill licensing, certification, and/or registration requirements as determined by each state. A career as a social worker will earn jobs in all sectors of health and welfare services including public agencies, private businesses, hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, private practices, police departments, and courts.

The Council on Social work Education is the main accrediting body for baccalaureate and master's social work programs. Social workers counsel individuals to help them overcome struggles and better adjust to life. They also refer the individual or family to community resources that provide services ranging from legal aid to job placement. There are many specialties in the social work profession including disaster relief, adoption and foster care, and domestic violence. Some job titles to consider are caseworker, mental health assistant, group home worker, and residential counselor.

Master's in Social Work degrees are the next level of education toward a career in social work. This degree can be completed online or on-campus and generally takes two years to complete, if studied full-time. There are various specializations you can earn with a MSW as well as varying career paths that are opened up with a Master's Degree in Social Work, like community health worker, social worker, or school and career counselors.

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Best Social Work colleges in the U.S. for 2023

University of Chicago
Chicago, IL
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The University of Chicago’s Crown Family School's Master of Arts in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration prepares students interested in becoming social workers, policy developers, and leaders in the community. This program includes courses that teach students how to assess the range of stressors that contribute to economic and social hardship. Classes are available both in-person and remotely, though some courses may include in-person instruction and practicum during their junior or senior year to further their professional experience before graduation.

For students interested in pursuing a Master of Social Work in North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill offers a competitive track with ample professional observation opportunities on-campus and in the Raleigh-Durham metro area. Students in the program are advised to apply to internships during their degree program and during summer breaks to gain hands-on experience that will be invaluable when they apply for professional roles post-graduation. Graduates of UNC’s social work program have excellent track records of success.

The University of California Berkeley offers a graduate-level social work program, ideal for students interested in working with clients in clinical and human services roles. It is common for students in the program to take classes in psychology and specialize in a particular age group or demographic to work with. UC Berkeley offers a two-year path with opportunities to apply to internships at schools in the Bay Area to gain real-world experience.

The Master of Social Work program at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor provides a foundation for graduate students that want to become involved in helping children and adults in a clinical social work setting. Students interested in exploring this degree learn how legislation, government programs, and local organizations shape the global social and economic landscape. It is common for students in the program to complete an on or off-campus internship locally, which helps many develop professional relationships and references for when they graduate.

The University of Washington has a Master of Social Work program that was developed to prepare students for roles in the Seattle community immediately upon completion. This is a two-year master’s program that gives students a range of local internship opportunities at hospitals like Harborview Medical Center or the Seattle Department of Social and Health Services downtown. The program offers many seminars and clinical observations for their students to receive additional guidance before entering the workforce.

The Master of Social Work program at Indiana University - Bloomington was created to prepare graduates to enter into the field as a social worker, community service manager, or case management aid. In the classroom, students have opportunities to pursue specific clinical settings if they prefer to work at a hospital, with the elderly, or at a grade school level. Many students pursue off-campus internships in the Indianapolis metro.

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FIU’s Master of Social Work program prepares students interested in pursuing a career in social work helping people of all ages in a clinical or medical setting. Applicants should note that professional internship experiences are critical to this major and that students typically enter the workforce immediately after graduation. Learners can expect to find job opportunities in Miami at local centers like the Dade County Human Services Department, or one of the many private practices that serve clients in the metro area.

Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

Syracuse University offers a master’s degree program in social work for students in upstate New York with an interest in helping children and young adults experiencing health-related, economic, and social hardship. Courses in the program’s curriculum include public policy, institutional research, and ethics. Graduates of the program can take advantage of Syracuse’s extensive alumni network to assist in post-graduation job placement, especially for local positions in New York.

New York University
New York, NY

For New York City residents with aspirations of pursuing a degree in social work, New York University, or NYU, offers a two-year program designed to prepare students for jobs working directly with people of all ages that are suffering from economic, medical, or psychological distress. Students can anticipate taking classes in psychology and communication while pursuing in-person internships at organizations in New York City to gain experience working in a clinical setting with practicing professionals.

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis offers 6 Social Work degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 625 Social Work students graduated with students earning 425 Master's degrees, 146 Bachelor's degrees, 49 Certificates, and 5 Doctoral degrees.

List of all Social Work colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
University of Chicago Logo University of Chicago Chicago, IL
12 : 1 17,834
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Logo University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
18 : 1 30,092
University of California-Berkeley Logo University of California-Berkeley Berkeley, CA
23 : 1 42,327
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Logo University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
12 : 1 47,907
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Logo University of Washington-Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
23 : 1 48,149