Washington, DC Program

DC-advocdayThe Washington, DC Internship Program for the University of Alabama School of Social Work offers students the opportunity to complete their final field placement in Washington, DC. Of the over 600 Schools of Social Work in the nation, the University of Alabama is the only school, outside of the DC Metro area, that offers students this unique opportunity, which prepares students both personally and professionally by exposing them to outstanding direct service programs as well as public policy and advocacy implementation.

Click on the links below for more detailed information on our program:


MSW DC Internship Program:

Students in the MSW DC Internship program.Innovative and progressive at its inception 35 years ago, the MSW Washington, DC program has grown significantly over the years, and the over 600 MSW alumni of the program have gained invaluable work experience and have gone on to dynamic careers in Social Work. “This unique internship offers students experiences that prepare them for future careers in a social work rich environment through direct service programs and a chance to understand first hand how policy directs practice,” according to Carroll Phelps, Program Coordinator.

There is no other program like it in the nation. The program is a full time, 40 hours a week, internship program in our nation’s capitol. The University and the School of Social Work receive widespread, national recognition due to the program’s success. Dr. Phillip Crunk, who coordinated the program from 1986 to 2005, says that “students have experiences in agencies that cannot be duplicated….these opportunities allow UA students to work at the cutting edge of knowledge. Students are selected through a competitive application and interview process to participate in the program.

MSW students take SW 501, Advanced Social Welfare Policy Analysis, in DC with classes that meet at the National Association of Social Workers. As a part of class, students go to Capitol Hill, meet with members of Congress and their staff, interact with speakers from policy and advocacy agencies, and learn first hand how policy is created. Students gain experience and are exposed to social policy in the making, whether in Congress, the Supreme Court or in their agency placements.


BSW DC Internship Program:

Students in the BSW DC Internship Program.Our program’s partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has been so successful over the years that in 2014 we were asked by Walter Reed to create a internship program with our Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) students. Dr. Laura Hopson, BSW Program Director, Dr. Debra Nelson-Gardell, Honors Program Faculty Advisor, and Carroll Phelps began the program and selected five BSW Honors students who became the first BSW students in the Department of Defense (DOD). The BSW DC program expanded in 2015.

Each student is exposed to a wide variety of learning experiences, which includes all areas of medical social work, group work, multi-disciplinary treatment team participation, care coordination and referral, crisis intervention, administrative and policy implementation, as well as service learning opportunities.

While in DC, BSW students take SW 443, Seminar in Generalist Practice in DC, which covers all aspects of field education practice and also incorporates policy and advocacy through attending Supreme Court oral arguments, meeting with Alabama members of Congress and speakers from policy and advocacy agencies.


Financial Aid:

Scholarships and stipends for the Washington, DC program are available and include:
The Washington Program Endowed Scholarship
The Barbara and Russell Beaulieu Endowed Scholarship
The Coy Stout Endowed Scholarship
The Madeleine Hill Endowed Scholarship
The School of Social Work Board of Friends Endowed Scholarship
The Protective Life Foundation Scholarships
The Littler Mendelson Scholarship
The Bradley Arant Boult Cummings Scholarships
The Vulcan Materials Endowed Scholarship and the Washington Fellows Scholarships
The Gilead Foundation Scholarships

Complete list of School of Social Work Scholarships:

To apply for financial assistance awarded through the School of Social Work, contact Dr. Javonda Williams, Assistant Dean Office for Student Services and Educational Activities. Financial assistance awarded through the school may carry an obligation to complete a specific type of field placement and to make yourself available for employment in that field of social work after graduation. Specific Washington, DC program scholarships require a competitive application and interview process. Contact Carroll Phelps, Washington, DC Program Coordinator, for more information.