Getting a BSW degree opens a door to numerous fulfilling and in-demand careers. As a BSW graduate, you can work as a social worker – counsel individuals and families; help vulnerable people access resources, like health care; and handle crises, like child neglect or abuse.
With a BSW degree, you can also work in policymaking, community development, veteran affairs, public health, and many other related sectors. So it’s no surprise that social workers are in great demand.
According to BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), from 2019 to 2029, the need for social workers will expand by 13 percent. This positive outlook is especially true for social workers who practice in clinical settings.
Here is a list of the 20 best BSW degree programs in the US. We’ve also created a list of online social work programs.
|1||University of California – Berkeley||Berkeley, California|
|2||New York University||New York City, New York|
|3||University of Washington – Seattle Campus||Seattle, Washington|
|4||University of Iowa||Iowa City, Iowa|
|5||University of Texas at Austin||Austin, Texas|
20 Best Social Work Degree Programs
University of California – Berkeley
Berkeley’s BA in social welfare tops our list. The course which is offered through the School of Social Welfare provides students with a comprehensive introduction to social welfare issues and social policies in the US.
The curriculum focuses on fundamentals like social work institutions, social work history, and the central aspects of the welfare state. Students also take classes on social welfare policy, social work practice, crime prevention policy, and social science.
Social welfare majors can also access Berkley’s career services, student organizations, and the annual Social Justice Symposium. The School of Social Welfare also supports various research centers and initiatives like the Center for Comparative Family Welfare and Poverty Research, the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging, and Digital Healthy Equity and Access Lab.
New York University
New York University offers an outstanding bachelor of science in social work through its Silver School of Social Work. The program cultivates problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and advocacy skills. The curriculum is centered on a global liberal arts perspective, economic and social justice, and cross-professional collaboration.
Students cover, social welfare policies, human behavior, social work research, and other subjects that are at the center of social work practice. Besides, students also gain practical experience through supervised field internships.
The Social work majors at Silver School of Social Work can also benefit from opportunities to study abroad; this allows them to understand how social work plays out in other cultures while tapping into NYU’s exceptional curriculum and faculty.
The program is accredited by CSWE (Council on Social Work Education), and with an extra year of study, BSW graduates can earn a master’s degree in social work.
University of Washington – Seattle Campus
The University of Washington boasts of one of the best social work programs – the CSWE accredited bachelor of arts in social welfare. The program focuses on social justice and evaluates human behavior and social systems. It also teaches students the fundamentals of social work, both in theory and practice.
The curriculum covers key social work concepts like human behavior, social justice, cultural diversity, social welfare research, and evidence-based practice. Before students graduate, they gain practical experience through service learning as well as a 480-hour supervised practicum.
After graduation, students can further their education or get into entry-level social work positions. The university offers qualifying students an accelerated master’s program in social work.
University of Iowa
The University of Iowa through its H. Wayne Johnson School of Social Work offers BA in social work. The program trains students for careers in public welfare, child welfare, elderly services, and mental health. Besides, the curriculum which is centered on liberal arts with a focus on social work values and ethics prepares students for post-undergraduate study in social work.
The program cultivates problem-solving, advocacy, and interpersonal skills. Students also gain hands-on experience through the program’s supervised experience.
The degree program prepares students for jobs in government and community organizations, immediately after graduation. This makes it ideal for anyone who wants to practice before proceeding to graduate school.
University of Texas at Austin
Through its Steve Hicks School of Social Work, the University of Texas at Austin confers a bachelor’s degree in social work. The program blends liberal arts and social work coursework to train students for human services careers. Through the program, students develop assessment, interviewing, problem-solving, and advocacy skills.
Social work majors cover topics like service planning, program evaluation, and community outreach and organizing. They also take classes on the key aspects of social work like social welfare, research methods, social justice, and generalist practice.
Students also gain hands-on experience by completing a practicum and they apply for opportunities to study abroad in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. Practicing in different cultures and societies reveals to students how various contexts shape social work practice.
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Ohio State University – Main Campus
The bachelor of science in social work offered by Ohio State University trains students for generalist practice. Students acquire skills on how too to analyze social policy, advocate for vulnerable groups, work in diverse environments, and professionally conduct themselves.
The program also teaches students how to solve social work problems using research and statistics; practice social work in diverse cultures and societies; practice with families, and practice ethically.
Students can also take advantage of the school’s collaboration with Title IV-E Child Welfare Training; through this program, students can acquire a specialized certificate that they need to be placed in children’s services agencies. The program also has an international study program that allows students to study social work dynamics across cultures and borders. This program is especially useful for students who hope to work in government or law.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University’s Bachelor of Arts in social work focuses on service and social justice; it’s hinged on a systems perspective. Graduates can work in government, or serve individuals, communities, and organizations. Besides, graduates can pursue postgraduate studies in social work or related fields.
The program cultivates critical thinking, outreach, and research skills. Students also learn the fundamentals of social work like social welfare policy, research methods, leadership, and more. Before graduation, learners acquire practical skills through field experiences.
This program, which is one of the premier social work programs in the US, is especially suited for students who want to work on social and racial justice.
Florida State University
The bachelor of social work offered by Florida State University prepares students for social work practice in a diverse society. The program has been CSWE accredited since 1950.
The curriculum covers social justice; professional ethics; and institutional change. Students learn about social welfare policy, interviewing and documentation, human behavior, and other fundamentals of social work. Besides, students gain practical experience through 512 hour-long fieldwork and they can earn an optional certificate in aging/gerontology studies or child welfare practice.
With an extra year of study, qualifying graduates can earn MSW. Besides, social work majors can apply for undergraduate research awards, scholarships, global field placement opportunities, alternative spring break, and the opportunity to study abroad.
Temple University Offers a CSWE approved bachelor of social work through its College of Public Health. The program focuses on social policy, research-informed practice, social justice, and social ethics.
The curriculum covers human behavior, social welfare, social work practice, and more. Social work majors also gain practical skills by completing at least 400-hour long supervised fieldwork in family services, substance abuse, children and youth, community planning, and other spheres of social work.
University of Pittsburgh
Through its School of Social Work, the University of Pittsburgh offers BA in social work, a degree program whose graduates can get into generalist practice in family preservation, hospitals, child welfare, and juvenile justice. The School of Social Work is also an exceptional research hub with over $30 million in external funding and it provides over 600 fieldwork opportunities.
The course also helps students gain practical experience through field practice. Students can include a concentration in statistics, English composition, human biology, or anthropology.
Syracuse University’s bachelor of science in social work puts students on track for graduate study and generalist social work. The program focuses on social work research and practice, how the social environment shapes human behavior, and social welfare services and policy.
The curriculum incorporates core aspects of social work like social work intervention strategies, human diversity. Besides, students get to apply classroom knowledge through two field seminars, and two field practicums.
Fordham University through its School of Social Services offers a bachelor’s degree in social work that focuses on individual and community well-being, human rights, and social justice.
Besides, the School of Social Service supports various research hubs including Fordham Center for Nonprofit Leaders, National Center for Social Work Trauma Education and Workforce Development, and Children and Families Institute.
The course covers social welfare policy, human rights, social justice, social work evaluation and research, and social work practice. Students also gain practical skills through a 600-hour practicum.
The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana offers a bachelor’s degree in social work through its School of Social Work. The program is centered on practice-informed research, professional behavior and ethics, diversity, and social justice.
Students learn how to provide social services to older adults and people with disabilities; how to create a positive impact via the non-profit sector; and social work statistics.
Social work majors have access to the National Association of Social Workers (local chapter) and student-faculty committees. Besides, the curriculum also incorporates field seminars and internship courses that enable students to gain practical skills.
University of Wisconsin – Madison
The University of Wisconsin offers a bachelor of social work through its School of Social Work. The program centers on generalist practice, and it prepares students for entry-level social work jobs.
The course covers the core social work concepts like psychopathology, human behavior, and social policy. Students can also explore elective options like aging-related social issues, social work in the context of American Indian communities, social work relating to adolescents, and homelessness.
Students also get to partake in a four-course series of professional experiences and seminars. Besides, social work majors undertake field assignments in social work agencies; this allows students to apply classroom knowledge in solving real-world problems.
Students also have access to a writing center, a disability resource hub, veteran services, and career services. Those who qualify can join an honors program that requires completion of given social work courses and a thesis.
University of Utah
Through its College of Social Work, the University of Utah Confers a bachelor’s degree in social work that focuses on policy practice, professional ethics, diversity, and social justice. The SCWE accredited program trains students to practice social work while promoting economic and social justice.
The curriculum includes classes on social work research, human behavior, social work statistics, and child development. Graduates also gain hands-on experience through a 450-hour practicum.
The University of Cincinnati – Main Campus
The bachelor of social work conferred by the University of Cincinnati through the College of Allied Health Sciences prepares students for graduate school as well as generalist practice.
The CSWE approved program covers mental health, generalist practice within organizations and communities, human diversity, and social work research. Students also participate in field learning and seminars. Graduates of the program can find jobs in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and mental health clinics.
Social work majors also have the option of joining a training program in child welfare that prepares them for careers in child welfare. The training program entails specialized coursework, field practicums, and personalized mentorship. For one to join the program, they must assent to working for the Ohio children’s welfare agency for a year. With employment, they receive a $5,000 token.
University of Missouri
The bachelor’s in social work offered by the University of Missouri focuses on social group work theory and practice, social statistics, and social work research methods. The CSWE accredited program covers social justice, human behavior, organizational processes, practice strategies, and more.
Students first start with prerequisite liberal arts courses and then apply to join the BSW program. Before graduation, learners gain real-world expertise through a 400-hour practicum.
University of Kansas
The University of Kansas through its School of Social Welfare confers a bachelor’s in social work. The program is meant to produce social workers who advocate for individual well-being as well as a more just society. The curriculum encompasses social policies, social work practice, advocacy, and program analysis.
The program covers organizational dynamics, diversity, social justice, oppression, social work research, social work practice, and more. Graduates, gain real-world experience through a 480-hour practicum.
The University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, through its College of Social Work, confers a bachelor of science in social work, a program that’s geared towards generalist practice. Students explore how environments shape people’s lives.
The program covers diversity, social work practice, interviewing skills, and other key components of social work. Besides, students have the option of completing the course online. Learners can access academic advising, a success center, and career services. There is also an option of working on the undergraduate and graduate degrees concurrently in a five-year program.
University of Georgia
The University of Georgia confers a CSWE accredited bachelor of social work. The curriculum focuses on evidence-informed practice, advocacy, power, and oppression.
Besides, the program covers key aspects of social work like human behavior, social work research, social welfare policy, and social work practice. Graduates also get a taste of the social work practice through a capstone project and a field internship.
Our Ranking Methodology
Our ranking is hinged on tuition, a key consideration when one is choosing a suitable BSW degree program. We’ve used the average annual cost of each program after aid.
- Over $20,000 annual tuition: 1 Point
- $15K to $20,000 annual tuition: 2 Points
- Less than $15K annual tuition: 3 Points
Another key piece of data that informed our ranking is graduation rate – the proportion of students who graduate in 150% of the ‘typical time’ needed to complete the degree program.
- Less than 70 Percent: 1 point
- 70 Percent to 80 Percent: 3 Points
- 80 Percent to 90 Percent: 5 points
- Over 90 Percent: 8 Points
Hopefully, our list will help you choose the best school for your BSW degree. We’re open to any questions or concerns you may have, and if you notice something amiss, please let us know.
For more programs, check out our Master’s in Social Work page.