Major: Social Work

What colleges offer a Major in Social Work?

Social worker Whitney M. Young, Jr. was a key civil rights activist of the 1960s. Yet most people have never heard of him. That's because while others were protesting in the streets, Young spent much of his time meeting with top businesspeople. Young was skilled at encouraging wealthy white Americans to give money to the movement.

As a social work major, you’ll learn that there are many ways to go about making the world a better place. Some social workers counsel people and help them get services such as subsidized housing and food stamps. Others, like Young, guide social movements, research social issues, or design and set up policy programs such as Social Security.

Social work majors learn to practice social work in various settings such as hospitals, child welfare agencies, and the criminal justice system.

“[I realized] that it wasn't enough to study social problems; I wanted to get involved. Social work seemed like the perfect answer.” Jane, junior, social work, University of Missouri

Are You Ready To...?

  • Join a social work honorary society such as Phi Alpha or Alpha Delta Mu
  • Join the campus social work association
  • Consider practicing and studying social work abroad
  • Have intense discussions about social justice
  • Get hands-on experience in social service agencies
  • Get to know your own emotions
  • Design and carry out a scientific research study
  • Learn about human psychology
  • Learn how to work with individuals and groups

It Helps To Be...

An outgoing person who wants to help others. You'll thrive in this major if you enjoy interacting with people who face various challenges. Be ready to reflect on your own psychology. The better you know yourself, the better you're able to help others face their problems.

College Checklist

  • Is the program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education?
  • What are the admission requirements for the school of social work?
  • What types of agencies will you be able to choose from when it’s time to complete your practicums?
  • Is there a campus social work association?
  • Does the program encourage study abroad?
  • Will the program help you find work after graduation?
  • What are recent grads doing now? What do they think of their college experiences?

Support the strong, give courage to the timid, remind the indifferent, and warn the opposed. --” Whitney M. Young, Jr., Social Worker and Activist

Course Spotlight

You’ll take several classes in social work practice while getting hands-on experience in an internship with a social service agency. You can use your internships to explore specific interests such as child abuse prevention and issues faced by gay and lesbian youth.