Category Archives: Social Work Degrees

The 10 Best Campus Based Social Work Schools

campus basedSocial work students come from many walks of life. Some enter the field from a sociology or child psychology background whereas others have worked with family planning, criminal justice, legal studies and other fields that brought them to social work specifically. Then there are the thousands of students that simply want to help and make a difference. Social work is a job where many professionals are subject to hostility, negative media attention, and stereotyping. It’s also a field that lends itself witness to child and adult abuse as well as the sometimes horrific conditions under which some people live. All of this means that social work degree students go through rigorous educational programs and career training programs in order to be ready for the field.

The selection process can be difficult for many students as they seek schools which align with their lifestyle, budget, and goals. The best college programs offer research facilities, education libraries, prominent faculty members and dual degree programs to help make students more successful in the workforce today. There are so many applications of a social work major that many undergraduates believe going for master’s degree is the best option to advance educational, personal, and professional goals. Either way, students who complete a social work degree are able to enter the job force with more knowledge and experience than those who do not. To help you on your path to becoming a social work professional, we offer you the following 10 Best Social Work Schools based upon degree programs, tuition, accreditation and rank.

1. Boston University


Boston University has some of the best programs for social work students. With a dual degree program in social work and public health, the undergraduate degrees at Boston University invite hundreds of students each year. Public health and social work go hand in hand as it is about prevention and intervention. In addition, students also can take dual degrees in theology and social work. Ranked as #51 in national universities by U.S. News & World Report, Boston University has a $42,994 yearly tuition for undegraduate students and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

For more about Boston University’s Social Work School, go here

2. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

unc chapel hill

Located in north central North Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Social Work has been recognized for its outstanding programs that allow students to study abroad, study online or take traditional classes on campus. With several degree programs in public policy, child psychology, sociology, social medicine, maternal and child health, UNC-Chapel Hill is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). UNC-Chapel Hill also has one of the lowest in-state tuition rates for undergraduates at $7,694 per year. It’s also ranked #30 in the top national U.S. universities.

For more about the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill’s Social Work School, go here

3. Columbia University

columbia university

The School of Social Work at Columbia University is a highly rated research school. With undegraduate, master’s and PhD programs, many students find that this school provides an excellent in-depth education with plenty of opportunities to work in social work while still in college. Many students start in bachelor degrees for sociomedical sciences, sociology, psychology, population and family health or health policy and management. Columbia University ranks at #4 in national universities, but it’s yearly tuition is $47,246, which makes it difficult to attend unless on scholarship or grant. Columbia’s School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

For more about Columbia University’s Social Work School, go here

4. University of California – Berkeley


The School of Social Welfare is a popular department at UC Berkeley. Known for its incredible faculty, research program and dual degrees, many students fight to get into UC Berkeley’s social work education program. UC Berkeley is also one of the only colleges to have a specific Bachelor of Arts degree in social welfare in the Colleges of Letters and Sciences. UC Berkeley has a lower in-state tuition at $11,767 and ranks at #21 in the top national universities.

For more about the University of California – Berkeley’s Social Work School, go here

5. University of Michigan

university of michigan

The University of Michigan provides a range of different undergraduate programs for students going into social work including public policy, social theory and practice, sociology and psychology. The School of Social Work also has a variety of programs and services including the Center for Sexual Health, Child PRotection Team, East Ann Arbor Health Center, Cancer Center, Psychiatric Social Work, Geriatric Center, Trauma Center and Transplant Social Work. The University of Michigan is ranked at #29 and has an in-state tuition of $13,437. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which is apart of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more about the University of Michigan’s Social Work School, go here

6. University of New England

university of new england

Located near the middle of Maine, the University of New England provides students with an intense program in social work, sociology, psychology, public health and social welfare. The social work program is under the Wwebstbrook College of Health Professions, which has been noted for its faculty excellence and research. Ranked at #94, University of New England is a smaller school and has a yearly tuition of $31,870. UNE is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

For more about the University of New England’s Social Work School, go here

7. Rutgers University

rutgers u

In New Jersey, social work students find themselves studying at the prestigious Rutgers University, which offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs for social work students including a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. There are also multiple dual degrees including a Juris Doctor and Master of Social Work program. Rutgers is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and ranked at #68 in national universities. The school has a yearly in-state tuition of $13,073.

For more about Rutgers University’s Social Work School, go here

8. Washington University


The George Warren Brown School of Social Work is a top research and educational facility at the Washington University in St. Louis. The school offers both public health and social work degrees as well as training programs for students like professional development classes in safety awareness. With a prominent faculty and a rather beautiful campus, many students excel in social work at this campus. Washington University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. As of 2013, Washington University is ranked at #14 and has a yearly tuition of $43,705.

For more about Washington University’s Social Work School, go here

9. Case Western Reserve University


The Mendel School of Applied Social Sciences is a prestigious academic school at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. The school offers a variety of programs with both undergraduate and online studies as well as master’s and PhD programs. There are also dual degrees in social work, law, non-profit management, business administration, public health and bioethics. Case Western Reserve University is ranked at #37 in national universities. The school has a rather small population with just over 4,000 students yearly. Tuition and fees are about $40,490 per year. Case Western Reserve University is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more about Case Western Reserve University’s Social Work School, go here

10. University of Kansas – Edwards


The University of Kansas-Edwards offers undergraduate social work programs that prepare students to work in public or private social agencies, health care facilities and hospitals. Specializations include child psychology, maternal health, mental health, family planning and child abuse. While University of Kansas is not in the top 100 of national universities, its social work program provides an incredible advanced learning model for students. Yearly in-state tuition is $9,222. KU Edwards is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more about the University of Kansas – Edwards’ Social Work School, go here

What are the Different Types of Social Work Degrees?

The degrees available in social work vary based on the educational level and degree attainment of the student. Today’s most popular options include the bachelor’s degree in social work, or BSW; the master’s degree in social work, or MSW; and the doctoral program in social work, abbreviated either as DSW or a simple Ph.D. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker certificate, or LCSW, is available to those who a graduate-level education or higher.

The Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

The foundation of any successful career in social work begins at the undergraduate level, as students work toward their bachelor’s degree in social work. The first three semesters of this course of study typically include general education requirements in the sciences and liberal arts. After several semesters of meeting university-wide graduation requirements, social work students will split off into their major and concentration area, focusing on areas relevant to the occupation.

This will require several courses in psychology and sociology. It will also entail at least one course that focuses exclusively on at-risk populations that are most likely to require the services of a social worker. Students will take time to learn about addiction and abuse, and the ways that social work can be used to keep clients on track and guide them toward making better, more sensible choices. Social workers will learn about the psychology of at-risk populations and risky behavior, and they’ll learn how to use their position to guide their clients toward a brighter future without direct intervention or behaviors that fall outside the ethical bounds of the occupation.

At the Graduate Level, a Focus on Supervisory and Medical Positions

The health services industry typically requires social workers to have obtained at least a graduate education, holding an MSW in order to qualify for these more advanced positions. Furthermore, leadership positions typically require job candidates to have an MSW before they’ll be considered for this higher-ranking job within the broader social work field.

MSW programs build on the undergraduate foundation, but they focus more exclusively on social services policy and regulation, occupational ethics, social work leadership theory, and practical execution of these skills. The average MSW program requires at least 900 hours of supervised instruction on the job in a social work capacity, which will be assessed, critiqued, and graded, based on the candidate’s use of their skills gleaned from graduate-level coursework.

Doctoral Programs Focus Heavily on Research and Analysis

While graduate programs are designed to prepare social workers for careers in leadership and healthcare environments, the doctoral level of study is focused primarily on research. Those pursuing their doctorate will focus on a very narrow field of study and research, spending their time with the university in order to test and prove a hypothesis. This research is designed to further the field of social work itself, and the doctoral program at large is dedicated to producing candidates who can go on to teach collegiate courses, take on executive positions within social work organizations, or perform further research and policy analysis as a full-time occupation.

Doctoral candidates are also more likely to obtain their LCSW certification, preparing them for the ability to perform social work in a clinical setting. This is most often required when a combination of clinical services and social work oversight are required for a single patient, and it’s often the type of social work that deals with the toughest cases and the most deeply at-risk populations.

All Three Levels of Study Have Unique Benefits

The great thing about social work is that each degree has a unique purpose for graduates. Those with a BSW are prepared for a broad range of entry-level positions, while the healthcare and leadership positions serve as the primary emphasis of the MSW degree. At the DSW level, graduates learn more about research, analysis, teaching, and executive leadership. All three degrees, when taken together, create a well-rounded professional who will be highly effective with virtually any case, client, or at-risk population.

Though some people choose to enter the profession with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, or other fields, though many employers seek graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work as the best qualification for entry-level job applicants. Others may find it beneficial to pursue graduate-level education in this field, including work at the master’s degree level as well as at the doctoral level.