Social 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 $55,892 yearly tuition for undergraduate students and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
2. University of North Carolina – 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 $8,980 per year. It’s also ranked #30 in the top national U.S. universities.
3. Columbia University
The School of Social Work at Columbia University is a highly rated research school. With undergraduate, 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 its yearly tuition is $61,788, 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.
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 $14,253 and ranks at #21 in the top national universities.
5. 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 $15,558. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which is apart of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
6. 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 Westbrook 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 $38,750. UNE is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
7. Rutgers University
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 $15,407.
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 $55,292.
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 $50,924 per year. Case Western Reserve University is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
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 $11,166. KU Edwards is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.