Dr. Vikki Vandiver

Welcome to the webpage of the School of Social Work at The University of Alabama! This is the place to learn more about the programs we offer to educate social workers for challenging careers in the decades ahead.

Our BSW program leads to direct employment and social work licensure in a wide variety of social work careers – in helping children, in work with older adults, in mental health, and in hospital and healthcare settings, among many others. Our MSW program is offered as a traditional on-campus MSW program, and a primarily online MSW program. Our PhD program prepares students for careers in social work research and education. Students develop expertise working with highly respected social work researchers.

We hope you enjoy exploring our site, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Vikki Vandiver Dean and Professor

Our Vision

Leading the country in community-engaged research in health, behavioral health, and social and economic justice solutions for Alabama and the nation.

About the School

The School of Social Work was established in 1965 by an act of the Alabama Legislature to address the state’s critical shortage of and pressing need for professionally trained social workers. 

Since our founding, we have been proud to lead the charge in training students for tomorrow’s workforce. Prior to 1965 there were fewer than 100 trained social workers in the state, accounting for about 19 percent of the persons employed in the state’s social welfare positions. Forty-eight of the state’s 67 counties had no professional social workers. Today, our program is the only one of its kind in the state that offers BSW, MSW and PhD degrees in social work. To learn more about the evolution of the social work profession in Alabama, watch the video “Ready to Help: A History of Social Work in Alabama,” featuring UA social work faculty and alumni.

Our History

Little Hall sketchedOur long, rich history in social work education began with the enrollment of the first class of 29 MSW students in the fall of 1967 on The University of Alabama’s campus in Tuscaloosa. The School was included on the Council on Social Work Education’s fall 1967 roster of schools working toward accreditation. In 1969, CSWE officially accredited the MSW Program and our first class of graduates received their master’s degrees the same year. Since that time, the School has awarded nearly 3,000 MSW degrees. The MSW program, which continues to grow and now includes a primarily online degree, was last accredited in 2011 for the maximum period of eight years. 

The undergraduate program in social work at UA 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 BSW Program. The program was re-accredited in 2011 for eight years, the maximum period for accreditation.

Our doctoral program began as a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program in 1975. Over the years, recognizing the need for increased emphasis on research within the profession, school faculty substantially revised the program. Since 1992, our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) has been conferred. Today, our PhD Program focuses on preparing students as teachers and researchers for the social work profession. The PhD program is affiliated with the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in social work.

We continue to invest in our future as part of our commitment to academic excellence. In spring 2016, we began an expansive renovation of our 102-year-old school building, Little Hall. Located in the heart of UA’s campus, Little Hall was constructed in 1915 as the University’s first stand-alone men’s gymnasium. Architect Frank Lockwood, of Montgomery, designed the building in a classical Revival style. After its construction, Little Hall was named in honor of William “Bill” Gray Little (1873-1938), a transfer student from Livingston who introduced football at UA in 1892. That same year, the University launched its first football team. In 1935, Little Hall underwent its first of many renovations. The building was enlarged with the addition of a new building that would be known as the “Men’s Gym Annex” for forty years until it was designated Moore Hall in 1975. In the mid-1950s, Little Hall was renovated to serve as an academic building for the School of Nursing. In 1967, the University again renovated Little Hall, which faces University Boulevard and is just east of the President’s Mansion, to house the newly created School of Social Work and fit the specific requirements of social work education. For 50 years, Little Hall has served as home of the School of Social Work. In September 2015, Montgomery-based Payne Design Group Architects, LLC was approved by The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama to oversee Little Hall’s current renovation, which is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

Our Mission

The University of Alabama’s School of Social Work prepares scholar-practitioners and researchers committed to ending adverse social conditions and promoting societal well-being through teaching, research and service.

Girl in class at computer

Teaching

We provide students with a high-quality educational experience to prepare them to become tomorrow’s global leaders in the social work field. Our innovative degree programs are designed to produce social workers for today’s workforce.

Madison Darling talking to a professor

Research

Our students and highly distinguished faculty researchers use innovation in the classroom and interdisciplinary, research-based knowledge to address social problems, transform lives and develop solutions that change our world for the better.

Two women and a child

Service

We provide resources and leadership by partnering with individuals, families, groups, community agencies and organizations at all levels. Our goal is to improve the delivery of social services, with an emphasis on public social services.

Outreach Annual Report