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Social Work major

The roots of modern social work in the United States can be traced back to the Midwest and to Jane Addams, known as the mother of social work. Founder of the U.S. Settlement House Movement in the late 1800s, Addams established Chicago’s Hull House, which became a model for settlement houses nationally. Generations of social workers have since continued to lead the way, developing private and charitable organizations to serve communities in need.
Skilled social workers continue to be in demand today, and that demand is projected to grow as need for healthcare and social services rises.

Do you want to work to open doors of access and opportunity for everyone, especially those in greatest need? Do you want to help people solve and cope with problems? A degree in social work from Alverno College will prepare you for entry-level general practice in a field dedicated to helping people meet their needs and improve their lives.

The Alverno edge
Alverno is internationally known for its unique abilities-based curriculum, which will help you become a strong communicator, leader, critical thinker and problem-solver – all skills prized by social work employers. The Council on Social Work Education, the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States, requires programs to teach and assess for nine “competencies” that align well with the Alverno abilities.

Social justice in social work
Social workers often work with vulnerable clients with complex – even unjust – situations. At Alverno, you will be educated to understand and navigate the conditions that created your clients’ sufferings and know how to advocate for changes in policy and legislation that help your clients. This supports the Franciscan values that Alverno was founded on – inclusiveness, respect, generosity and service.

The support you need to succeed
Alverno’s 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes ensure you’ll develop meaningful first-name relationships with your professors. That personal connection allows professors to guide you toward meaningful electives and internships that will help you reach your personal and career goals. Plus, at a women’s college, it’s not about equal opportunity but every opportunity. Research shows women’s colleges attract women who are more interested in being intellectually engaged, more likely to go on to graduate school and more likely to be leaders in their fields.

Field work for the Social Work major
You will complete two internships at community agencies/organizations which will be designed to give you hands-on learning experiences about the day-to-day world of social work and human service practice. Field Education (Internship) placements include positions serving populations in need, including elderly, children and their families, persons with developmental and other disabilities, juvenile and adult offenders and individuals facing mental health challenges. In partnership Alverno’s Internship Office, which is connected to more than 2,000 partner sites, and the social work field coordinator can help you find the right professional opportunities to advance your career goals.

Social worker licensure
Licensure is granted to graduates of accredited programs who apply and pass a national examination developed by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and the state examination developed by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). You can start the licensure process six months before your graduation date.

Alverno is working to obtain baccalaureate program accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which requires institutions to fulfill strict procedures and practices. The multi-step accreditation process involves program self-studies, on-campus site visits and reviews by CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation.  This accreditation process takes three years, which we anticipate being fully accredited by May 2021.


Have questions about studying Social Work at Alverno? We invite you to connect with faculty to learn more.

Crystal Aschenbrener
Department Chair of Social Work

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