What Are the Top Schools for Social Work?

Find out the education and licensure requirements for social workers. Learn about graduate degrees and specialization areas offered at the top three U.S. schools for studying social work. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For in a Social Work Program?

You will need licensure, registration or certification to work as a social work in all states, so you may want to find schools that can help you get the required clinical experience. You may also look for programs that encourage community involvement in addition to the academic coursework. Graduate programs at top schools may offer concentrations in a variety of social work areas, such as school social work or behavioral health, so that you can develop specialty training.

Three Top Social Work Schools

Washington University in St. Louis, MO

Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) is a private university that was ranked as the 15th top university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2015. The publication also ranked the university's social work program as tied for number one in the country in 2012.

WUSTL's George Warren Brown School of Social Work offers a professional development program, which includes workshops and lectures for prospective social workers. You can study this field through the university's two graduate programs:

  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI

The University of Michigan (UMich) is a public school that was ranked as the 29th top university in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2015. The university was also tied for first place among the top social work programs by the publication in 2012.

The university's social work school offers you the chance to gain academic credit through working with the Peace Corps. You can develop skills in developing community programs through the Community Organization Learning Community. Your options for graduate degree programs in social work include:

  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work and Social Sciences

University of Chicago in Chicago, IL

The University of Chicago is a private university and home to one of the first social work schools in the country. The university was ranked by U.S. News and World Report in 2015 as the fourth top university in the nation, as well as the third top social work program in 2012.

As a social work student, you will have access to the School of Social Service Administration's research and outreach centers, including the Urban Education Initiative. You can also participate in student-run organizations, like the Student Government Association at the School of Social Service Administration (SSA/SGA). The university offers two related graduate degrees in their social work program:

  • Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work

Ten Top Schools That Offer Social Work Degrees

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
University of Washington 4-year, PublicSeattle,WA
Columbia University4-year, Private New York, NY
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill4-year, PublicChapel Hill, NC
University of California-Berkeley4-year, Public Berkeley, CA
University of Texas-Austin4-year, Public Austin, TX
Case Western Reserve University4-year, Private Cleveland, OH
Boston College4-year, Private Chestnut Hill, MA
Fordham University4-year, PrivateBronx, NY
University of Pittsburgh4-year, PublicPittsburgh, PA
University of Southern California4-year, Private Los Angeles, CA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

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