Major: Social Work

What colleges offer a Major in Social Work?

As a social worker, you’ll advocate for change in ways that enhance people’s quality of life. Organizations were started in the 1800s in response to growing immigration, poverty, and urbanization issues. As social work initiatives increased, so did the demand for training. In 1898, Columbia University provided the first social work class. Then, in 1904, Simmons College and Harvard University collaborated to form the Boston School for Social Workers. Other schools, such as the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, started in 1908.

No matter where you study, what demographic you choose to work with, or whether you choose a clinical or nonclinical organization, you’ll have a profound impact. That’s because you’ll be the voice for those often marginalized in society. You’ll address social injustices and help individuals and families navigate issues. 

Social work is a challenging career that focuses on the multifaceted problems people face within themselves and their environment. But helping people find the resources and ways to cope so that they lead fuller, healthier lives is a fulfilling part of the job. 

What does a student majoring in Social Work study? 

To help people improve their lives, a social work major will learn about human behavior and the social challenges people face. Your coursework and fieldwork will prepare you to have the knowledge and practical experience to advocate and problem solve for a diverse group of people. Here are some courses you may encounter when researching this academic track: 

  • Introduction to Social Work
  • General Biology
  • Social Welfare
  • Public Health 
  • Human Behavior
  • Social Research

What can I do with a Social Work degree?

The type of social work clients you’ll work with depends on the sector you choose to work in: government agencies, health care, nonprofits, or schools. You can work with an age-specific group, such as older adults, or with a mix of ages from young to old. Either way, social work offers diversity in not only where you can work but also with whom. Career opportunities abound in this field. Here’s a sampling:

Specializations for a Social Work Major:

  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Human Rights and Social Justice
  • Community Organization
  • Program Development
  • Leadership and Supervision
  • Policy Practice

What are the requirements for a Social Work degree? 

To earn a degree in social work and prepare yourself for a career, you’d be wise to build a solid foundation of both courses and practical field experience. Social work programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education will outline the requirements to ensure you’re adequately equipped to start a career and, if you choose, begin a master’s degree in social work.