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 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.
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.