The University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a public coeducational institution that began admitting students in 1831.
The UA School of Social Work was established in 1965 by an act of the Alabama Legislature to address Alabama’s critical shortage of and pressing need for professionally trained social workers.
Prior to this time there were fewer than 100 trained social workers in the state, accounting for about 19% of the persons employed in the state’s social welfare positions. Forty-eight of the state’s sixty-seven counties had no professional social workers.
The school was first accredited in 1969, and the first class received master’s degrees the same year. The MSW program is accredited until 2019. UA is the only university in the state that offers degrees in all three levels of social work education: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Master of Social Work (MSW), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Watch the video “Ready to Help: A History of Social Work in Alabama,” which features UA social work faculty and alumni, to learn more about the evolution of the social work profession in Alabama.
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The undergraduate program in social work was approved in 1969 and placed within the School of Social Work in 1970. In 1974, the Council on Social Work Education first accredited the undergraduate program. The program was re-accredited in 2011 for eight years, the maximum period for accreditation.
The Council on Social Work Education first accredited the MSW program in 1969, and the first class received master’s degrees that same year. The program was re-accredited in 2011 for the maximum period of eight years. The first class of 27 MSW social workers graduated in 1969. Since that time, nearly 3,000 MSW degrees have been added.
The doctoral program began as a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program in 1975 to prepare teachers and researchers for the social work profession. Over the years, recognizing the need for increased emphasis on research within the profession, the faculty substantially revised the program. As of 1992, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) has been conferred. The doctoral program is affiliated with the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in social work.