Social Work



Social Work, B.A., M.S.W.


Social Welfare

Certificate Programs:

Social Work

Substance Abuse Counseling

(Click major/minor/certificate title to see typical courses for the program)

Social work is a profession with an abundance of options, action and satisfaction. If you enjoy helping people change their lives and improve their environments, social work may be a good choice for you.

Social workers work with families and the aging; in child protection and child welfare; in schools; in corrections; with the developmentally disabled in occupational assistance; in health care; in public assistance; in mental health; in clinical counseling; and in administration, research, policy planning and substance abuse treatment.

The social work profession has its own code of ethics, body of knowledge based in the social sciences, licensing and national educational accreditation.

Common minors pursued

Students may select a minor or distribute their credits across a wide variety of courses. Typical minors are psychology, sociology, women’s studies, criminology or related social sciences. Spanish is an excellent minor or joint major for social work.


Plan of Study

Discover the courses you'll take as a social work major in the Plan of Study.


Social work is a widely recognized, long-established profession. A student graduating from UNI with a B.A. in social work is qualified for licensure at the bachelor’s level in the majority of states. They also qualify for advanced standing in master’s degree programs in social work. M.S.W. graduates are eligible for licensure at the master’s level. Recent follow-up studies of baccalaureate graduates indicate half find jobs titled social work and another third work in closely related positions. Many graduates eventually go to graduate school. There are many subfields within social work, and graduates are represented in most, including child welfare, mental health, substance abuse counseling, public assistance, corrections, developmental disabilities, aging and family support.

Unique Features: 
  • Undergraduate social work majors may earn a substance abuse counseling certificate which prepares students for work in the substance abuse treatment field.

  • Doctoral-level faculty are accomplished classroom teachers and have established national-level research and scholarship. Each has years of professional practice in social work to inform their teaching.

  • The undergraduate social work student organization is involved with a variety of service and social activities and helps students orient to the major and the profession.

  • Alpha Delta Mu is the national social work honorary society. The purpose of the organization is to advance excellence in social work practice and to encourage, stimulate and maintain scholarship of the individual member. An initiation ceremony and banquet is held every year for new members.

  • The programs have a wide variety of field instruction internship placement opportunities locally, in selected locations in Iowa and in other states.

  • Students may participate in an exchange program with the University of Hull, England.

Scholarships & Awards: 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Scholarships are available to incoming freshmen for awards of $5000 a year. Applicants must interview on campus during spring semester. Also, Alderman Scholarships are available and intended to assist needy, worthy and appreciative students who are majoring, or intending to major, in a field of study within the following departments: Design, Textiles, Gerontology, and Family Studies; geography; history; political science; psychology; sociology, anthropology and criminology; and social work.

Anna McCullagh Memorial Scholarship is an award of $500 to $1000 per year given to a junior or senior Social Work major who exhibits financial need. Three recipients received the award (two students of color and one student of non-color); it is renewable by maintaining a minimum 2.85 GPA.