Social Work

The School of Social Welfare offers a BSW, as well as a MSW, a MSW/JD, and PhD in Social Work, which develops the capacity for caring, to help people in need.  The undergraduate program prepares graduates for generalist social work practice with an emphasis on public social services, which looks at the interface between systems - individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 

School of Social Welfare website

Sample of Related Skills

  • Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice  
  • Utilize critical thinking when addressing social problems 
  • Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being 
  • Consider the cultural and other contexts in which practice occurs 
  • Engage and assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities 
  • Intervene and evaluate individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities  
  • Participate in research-informed practice-informed research  

Popular Career Paths

Children or Family Services: Involves helping parents and guardians identify services to improve the quality of life for children and families.  Can include adoptions, foster care, family preservation, and specialty children services as well as many others.

Health: Involves working as a part of a medical team to help patients cope with chronic or terminal illness and injury.  Settings include hospitals, home health agencies, hospice programs, school-based clinics, physician offices, rehabilitation hospitals, addiction recovery programs, and nursing care facilities.

Education and School Social Work: Involves helping to identify, assess,and address the social and emotional difficulties of children that interfere with their attendance,adjustment, and achievement in school.

Public Welfare: Includes providing services, support and advocacy for poor and disadvantaged individuals, including helping with housing, vocational training and job placement, case management, crisis intervention and development of interpersonal and life skills.

Clinical: Includes inpatient and outpatient mental health services, including assessment and treatment planning, counseling and referral services.

Gerontology: Involves providing services and coordinating programs for older adults (healthy or ill) and their families.

Community Development: Involves working with labor unions and grassroots organizations, developing projects and serving as community liaisons with public economic development departments, and working with community reinvestment programs. 

Explore More Career Paths

  • Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board - information on license requirements, clinical supervision, and renewal information for social workers 
  • Counselor License - licensing requirements for every state, information on specific counseling specialties, and articles investigating new trends 
  • Explore the Social Work Profession - occupational profiles and other general career information by the National Association of Social Workers
  • Help Starts Here - provides comprehensive career information for individuals interested in pursuing a career in social work 

Jobs to Consider

Places to Seek Employment

  • Adoption Agencies/Foster Home Organizations
  • Advocacy Organizations
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Early Intervention / Head Start Programs
  • Employment Assistance Programs
  • Family Service Agencies
  • Federal Government Agencies
  • Group Homes
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Public and Private Schools
  • Public Health Programs
  • Public Interest Groups
  • Recreation Programs
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Residential and Outpatient Treatment Centers
  • Senior Centers
  • State/Local Government Agencies
  • Victim Services Organizations

Job and Internship Search Resources

Career Exploration Hub

Employment Strategies

  1. Identify areas of interest related to your major so you can focus your academics and experiences towards these fields. 
  2. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent studies, internshipspart-time jobsstudent organization involvement, or volunteering
  3. Register for Hire Jayhawks and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information. 
  4. Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field. 
  5. Practice interviewing on your own or by conducting a mock interview at the University Career Center. 
  6. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest.
  7. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals. 
  8. Complete an independent study to gain advanced research skills. 
  9. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school. 
  10. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest.