Top Social Work Schools in the U.S.

Interested in a graduate degree in Social Work from a top program within the United States? We offer rankings of best U.S. Social Work graduate programs. Review the following schools to see requirements for Master and Doctoral degrees in the area of Social Work.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Browse our list of all acronyms and abbreviations related to Social Work with their full meanings and definitions. Sorted by popularity and categorized within Social Work.

Social Work

Social work is a subject that is particularly aimed at understanding, preventing and remedying social problems. The subject area includes both a research area, a teaching subject and practice.

In Norway, the two occupational groups are referred to as child welfare educators and and social workers as social workers, while health care workers are referred to as health and social workers.

The field of study internationally

Social work is, as a profession and profession, linked to the international trade tradition “social work” and the professional term “social worker”.

Through the international organizations of education, the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), the professional organization International Federation for Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Council of Social Welfare (ICSW), both collaborate on the development of the subject (research, education and practice), strengthening the professional and political to promote social justice, strengthen human rights and influence social development that can prevent social problems and promote welfare for the most disadvantaged.

These three international organizations have jointly developed the definition of social work (translated by author):

Social work is a practice-based profession and academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, empowerment and liberation of people. The principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for differences are central to social work. Social work is supported by theories of social work, other social science disciplines, humanities and indigenous knowledge when social work involves people and structures to meet life challenges and strengthen well-being. ”

Education in Norway

The basic education is a three-year bachelor’s, 180 credits, in child welfare, social work or health care. The education takes place at colleges and universities.

The Master of Social Work is a two-year continuing education, 120 credits, and can be taken at several of the colleges and universities. Many educational institutions also have more specific master’s studies in areas of the field of work. Several universities have education in three-year PhD, 180 credits, in social work.

Basic education is provided for in the Regulations to the Law on Universities and Colleges (2005); Framework plan and regulations for child welfare pedagogy education, Framework plan and regulations for the socio-educational education and Framework plan and regulations for the nursing education that come from the then Ministry of Education and Research.

The Association for Research in Social Work

The Association for Research in Social Work in Norway, FORSA-Norway, is an association of people working with, and interested in, research and development work in the field of social work.

The goal of FORSA-Norway is to promote research and development work in the field of social work, to promote a mutual exchange of knowledge, understanding and experience between research and the field of social work, to improve the conditions for research and research education in the field of social work, to promote opportunities for publication and other dissemination of research and development results by organizing a FORSA conference every other year.

In the other Nordic countries, there are FORSA associations. The national FORSAs collaborate, among other things, on the journal Nordic Social Work Research. The leaders of the national FORSAs meet for joint orientation and coordination. Every other year, a joint Nordic conference is held: FORSA Nordic.

Nordic Organization for Education in Social Work

The Nordic Organization for Education in Social Work, NOUSA, is an organization for education in social work. Until August 2011, the organization was called the Nordic Social College Committee (NSHK) and was founded in 1965.


The purpose of NOUSA is to promote education in social work. This is done by stimulating Nordic co-operation on research and professional development between colleges and universities in the Nordic countries that have education in social work.

In order to contribute to Nordic cooperation on the development of educational programs, NOUSA has set aside funds for smaller projects. NOUSA should also keep a watchful eye on education policy to promote quality education in social work.

Every other year, a Nordic social college conference is organized where the participants are the teachers of the education, researchers, students and practitioners. The conference takes place between the Nordic countries. An annual meeting will be held at the same time as the conference.


At the annual meetings, a working committee consisting of a representative and a product from each of the member countries is selected: Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The leadership role is on a turn between the Nordic countries. The chair of the working committee is the Nordic region’s representative on the board of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). This gives NOUSA the opportunity to take part in international developments in education issues.

The working committee appoints a representative to the board of the European Association of Schools of Social Work (EASSW). In English is the term for the NOUSA Nordic Association of Schools of Social Work (NASSW).

Social work is a way of working in social work where the aim is to change conditions that create and maintain oppressive life situations for groups of inhabitants. In the work, cooperation with those affected and their voice must be given great importance.

In addition to changing conditions at the system and society level, it is an aim to mobilize the forces of the individual through participation in the work. This is done by linking challenges in one’s own life situation to collective conditions, and seeing that others have the same difficulties, and then working on changes that can improve the life situation. The idea is that this process will mobilize and strengthen the action of the individual participant.

The work can be about grassroots mobilization, for example by organizing people in vulnerable life situations and starting a collaboration to improve their own and others’ situation by working to draw attention to conditions in society that create problems for them. It may also involve active participation in planning processes, for example in the development of services.

The work method is referred to in English as community work. In some countries, such as South Africa and countries in South America, this is the most commonly used way of working in social work.

Top Social Work Schools

We are providing a list of best colleges and in social work in the country. Please click the links below to find schools in each state.

  • Alabama (2)
  • Alaska (1)
  • Arizona (2)
  • Arkansas (2)
  • California (15)
  • Colorado (2)
  • Connecticut (2)
  • Delaware (1)
  • Florida (8)
  • Georgia (5)
  • Hawaii (1)
  • Idaho (2)
  • Illinois (11)
  • Indiana (2)
  • Iowa (3)
  • Kansas (4)
  • Kentucky (3)
  • Louisiana (4)
  • Maine (3)
  • Maryland (2)
  • Massachusetts (7)
  • Michigan (7)
  • Minnesota (4)
  • Mississippi (2)
  • Missouri (6)
  • Montana (1)
  • Nebraska (1)
  • Nevada (2)
  • New Hampshire (1)
  • New Jersey (3)
  • New Mexico (2)
  • New York (13)
  • North Carolina (4)
  • North Dakota (1)
  • Ohio (6)
  • Oklahoma (1)
  • Oregon (1)
  • Pennsylvania (9)
  • Rhode Island (1)
  • South Carolina (1)
  • South Dakota (0)
  • Tennessee (1)
  • Texas (9)
  • Utah (2)
  • Vermont (1)
  • Virginia (4)
  • Washington (3)
  • Washington DC (3)
  • West Virginia (1)
  • Wisconsin (2)
  • Wyoming (1)

Top 10 Social Work in the United States

Rank College Name Location
1 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
2 Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO
3 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
4 University of Washington Seattle, WA
5 Columbia University New York, NY
6 University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
7 University of California–Berkeley Berkeley, CA
8 University of Texas–Austin Austin, TX
9 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
10 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA

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