Best Colleges and Universities for Social Work Degrees

The best social work degree programs are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best social work degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding social work faculty.

Best Colleges and Universities for Social Work Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in social work is an excellent starting point for a career in counseling, case work, rehabilitation, and numerous other important areas of public health and welfare. As a social work major, you’ll learn about the administration of social services, distribution of resources for social welfare, and public outreach to vulnerable groups. As a social worker, you’ll be working closely with communities, populations, families and individuals who are facing challenge, disadvantage, and crisis. The best schools for social work are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of social work concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Frequently Asked Questions About Social Work Bachelor’s Degrees

Social work covers a lot of ground. Your degree in social work could lead down any number of professional paths. Whether you see yourself in addiction counseling, community organization, health policy analysis, children’s protective services or beyond, there are countless different ways to channel your social work degree education into a career. And if you continue into a master’s degree program, you could become a licensed social worker in a clinical setting like a hospital or mental health facility.

Social workers have a profound impact on the lives they touch. Through methods like outreach, activism, and policy development, social work majors have the opportunity to change the lives of many for the better. Today, top influencers in social work are making strides in Children’s Care, Disability Rights, Substance Use Disorders, and much more.

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Social work is a popular major because it can provide a pathway into several high-demand fields and career opportunities. With so many vulnerable Americans facing unprecedented challenges today, the need for qualified social workers has never been greater. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of social work jobs is expected to grow at a remarkable rate of 13% by 2029. With 90,700 new jobs expected during that time, opportunities abound for professional social workers. If you’re looking for a well-paying and secure job, a social work degree is a great place to start.

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Once you’ve declared your major in social work, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of public health and service-related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized social work electives, there are several common courses that most social work majors will be required to take, including:

  • Race and Justice
  • Social Work Research Methods
  • Social Psychology
  • Community Organizing
  • Public Health Outreach
  • Social Services Administration
  • Addiction Counseling
  • Family and Youth Intervention

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The high-growth field of social work offers a wide range of professional opportunities. If you wish to become a licensed social worker in a clinical setting, you will likely need to earn your advanced degree from a graduate school with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). However, there are a number of rewarding contexts for practicing outreach, case management, counseling and intervention with an undergraduate degree. Depending on your skills, interests and desired workplace setting, you have plenty of options, including these top jobs:

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Best Colleges and Universities for Social Work Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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The Best Colleges and Universities for Social Work Degrees

Best Social Work Major Research Universities

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. University of Chicago
  3. University of California, Berkeley
  4. New York University
  5. University of Texas at Austin

Go to The Best Social Work Major Research Universities

Best Social Work Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. College of the Ozarks
  2. Southern University at New Orleans
  3. Minot State University
  4. Southwestern Assemblies of God University
  5. Columbia International University

Go to The Best Social Work Major Liberal Arts Colleges

Best Social Work Major Online Colleges

  1. Wayne State University
  2. Portland State University
  3. Simmons University
  4. Aurora University
  5. University of Iowa

Go to The Best Online Bachelor’s in Social Work Degree Programs

The Best Social Work Schools in Your State

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Learn More About Social Work

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