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School of Social Work

School Overview

Edwina Uehara

210 Social Work/Speech and Hearing Sciences

The School of Social Work offers two professional programs, one at the undergraduate level and one at the graduate level, as well as a PhD program. The Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare (BASW) program prepares students for entry-level generalist practice. The graduate professional program prepares students for advanced practice within a field of concentration; students earn a Master of Social Work degree. Both the BASW. and MSW. programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The School also offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree in social welfare that prepares students for careers in research and education. Consistent with University policy, no credit is granted on the basis of life experience or previous employment. All three programs are housed in the Social Work/Speech and Hearing Sciences Building, 4101 Fifteenth Avenue Northeast, Seattle, WA 98105-6299.

In addition, the School offers two concurrent degree programs – one with the School of Public Health leading to the MSW and MPH degrees, and a second with the Evans School of Public Affairs, leading to MSW and MPA degrees.

Undergraduate Program

23D Social Work, Box 354900
(206) 543-8617

The School of Social Work offers the following program of study

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in social welfare

The program includes upper-division courses in social welfare, with prerequisites in human biology, economics, psychology, statistics, and sociology. Students enter at the start of their junior year after completing most of the general-education requirements established by the College of Arts and Sciences. Social welfare courses include content on social welfare history, policy and services, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare research, and cultural diversity. These academic courses prepare students for the senior year three-quarter practicum experience, which involves a total of 480 hours of direct social services under the supervision of a practicum instructor approved by the School.

Bachelor of Arts Program

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: SOC WF 101, SOC WF 200; SOC WF 201; prerequisites in psychology, sociology, economics, and biology (see list below); also, courses in American ethnic studies, sociology, psychology, and women studies.

Department Admission Requirements

Approximately 40 juniors are admitted each year. Admission, which is for autumn quarter only, is competitive and completion of requirements listed below does not guarantee acceptance. April 1 is the application deadline. To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following criteria by the time they begin classes in the social welfare program:

  1. Completion of a minimum of 65 credits
  2. Five prerequisite courses, four of which must be completed prior to beginning the program in autumn (minimum 2.0 grade required in each): PSYCH 101, PSYCH 203, PSYCH 206, PSYCH 210, PSYCH 245, or PSYCH 250; SOC 105, SOC 110, SOC 111, SOC 212, SOC 240, SOC 247, SOC 251, SOC 260, SOC 270, SOC 271; GWSS 251 or ANTH 330; ECON 100, ECON 200, or ECON 201; LSJ 363, POL S 382, AFRAM 437, or GEOG 208; and one of the following courses in human biology: BIOL 118, BIOL 180, PSYCH 202, PSYCH 357, GENOME 261, or GENOME 351; STAT 220 (STAT 220 may be taken as late as spring quarter of the junior year, but is a required prerequisite of the senior year courses and is recommend prior to admission). See the School website for more information.
  3. A minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA
  4. Have some paid or volunteer social service experience
  5. Applicants must submit a completed application, admission essay, résumé, and provide copies of their college transcripts

Application forms and a detailed description of the social welfare major are available at the School's website, A student may discuss the program in person by contacting the Director of Admissions, (206) 543-5676, Students accepted to the major complete a change-of-college form and transfer their academic file to the School's Student Services Office. Students not accepted may contact the Director of Admissions to discuss alternatives to the social welfare major, or the appeal process.

Major Requirements

67 credits as follows:

  1. SOC WF 200; SOC WF 310; SOC WF 311; SOC WF 312; SOC WF 315; SOC WF 320; SOC WF 390; SOC WF 402; SOC WF 404; SOC WF 405; SOC WF 410, SOC WF 415; practice selective; capstone project; and skills lab
  2. STAT 220 must be completed before the senior year.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The BASW program produces beginning-level social work practitioners and is accredited by the Council on Social Works Education. Students become generalist social work professionals able to work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations in enhancing the health, well being, and empowerment of disadvantaged communities across the lifespan. Graduates may pursue social work practice jobs, or graduate education in social work, or a range of other fields (e.g., law, medicine, public policy, international development). Students receive an interdisciplinary liberal arts education, drawing on a range of social science courses which prepare them to promote human welfare and deal with complex social problems. Students are involved in both academic coursework (gaining intellectual knowledge and critical thinking skills) and a field placement experience ("lived" or "on the ground" experience).

    The following outcomes define the BASW program:

    1. Preparation of entry-level baccalaureate social workers for generalist practice in a multicultural context.
    2. Education and training of generalist social workers who are informed, engaged, and responsive practitioners, able to understand and take action in enhancing human welfare and in promoting social and economic justice.
    3. Education of students within the context of an interdisciplinary liberal arts education, to foster a comparative and critical examination of social welfare and social work through the study of its history, policies, research, and practice interventions.
    4. Preparation for graduate education.
  • In addition, the School of Social Work houses a number of centers and projects. For more information on these research activities, visit
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors). With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Contact the adviser for information.
  • Department Scholarships: A limited number of financial-aid opportunities are available to students. Applicants are urged to apply for assistance through the Office of Student Financial Aid by February 15. Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for consideration for any departmental funding. Inquiries may be directed to the chair of the scholarship committee, School of Social Work.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Organization of Student Social Workers (OSSW)

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
Box 354900
(206) 543-8617

Master of Social Work

The School of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work degree with three options: a two-year full-time program; a one-year advanced-standing program for qualified students with a degree in social work/social welfare from a Council on Social Work Education accredited undergraduate program; and a three-year part-time extended degree program.

All program options prepare students for advanced professional practice with a culturally diverse range of at-risk populations in publicly funded social services. The curriculum encompasses two distinct but interconnected areas: the beginning content or professional foundation, and opportunities for advanced content in areas of policy, services, and methods.

The professional foundation provides instruction in the basic knowledge and skills required for effective, generalist social work practice, as well as socialization to the profession, its value orientation, ethics, and history.

The advanced curriculum provides in-depth knowledge and skills needed for advanced practice in the social work profession. The advanced curriculum is being revised. Check the School's website, for current information.

Admission Requirements

Formal admission to the Graduate School as well as to the School of Social Work. Bachelor's degree, strong academic background, and social-service experience. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, references, application forms, résumé, and an admission essay to be considered for autumn-quarter entry. January 15 is the closing date for receipt of applications and materials. Admission is competitive and selection is based on a review of the applicant's submitted materials. Current application materials can be obtained from the School's Admissions Office website at

Degree Requirements

Minimum 46 credits (advanced standing program); 75 credits (day and extended degree programs), as follows:

  1. Completion of required professional foundation and advanced curriculum credits and demonstrated competence in both academic and field practicum work.
  2. Human Biology Requirements: BIOL 100, BIOL 101-, BIOL 118, BIOL 161, NUTR 300, or GENOME 261 (or equivalent), or SSW Continuing Education course "Human Biology" taken within 10 years of admission to the MSW program. Students must complete the requirement prior to beginning the advanced curriculum (including practicum). Credit may not be applied to the MSW degree. Courses in nutrition, psychobiology of women, and biology of aging also fulfill this requirement.
  3. Basic Statistics Requirement: An introductory course in statistics (any discipline) is a prerequisite for SOC W 505/SOC W 506.
  4. Professional Foundation Courses Required for the Day and Extended Degree Program: SOC W 500, SOC W 501, SOC W 504), SOC W 505, SOC W 506, SOC W 510, SOC W 511, SOC W 512, SOC W 513, SOC W 523, 3 credits of electives, SOC W 524. All foundation courses must be completed before beginning the advanced curriculum.
  5. Advanced Curriculum for the MSW Day Program: Specialization in an advanced methods area or field of practice. Current areas of concentration include policy and administrative practice; health and mental health practice; community-centered integrative practice; practice with children, youth, and families; and multigenerational practice. Students enter the second year with an individualized learning plan (developed by winter quarter of their foundation year) that sets out a coherent program of advanced study. Identified in the learning plan is a policy/services course, an advanced methods area, an advanced field practicum, and proposed choices for methods and elective courses that support the student's overall area of concentration.

    Programs of study vary slightly by concentration, but a typical program of study includes:

    1. One policy/services course (3 credits), consistent with the student's second year specialization
    2. Two advanced methods (6 credits) in the student's primary method area or across methods with the approval of the faculty adviser and practicum coordinator
    3. Elective course offerings (9 credits) to include courses related to the policy/services areas, and advanced HBSE and theory courses, with the primary focus on development of knowledge and skills in intervention. One elective course from outside the School. Elective courses range from 1 to 3 credits.
    4. Advanced practicum (SOC W 525, 18 credits) aligns with the student's policy/services course and with the student's primary intervention method area.
  6. Advanced Curriculum for the MSW Extended Degree Program: Students select one of two specializations within the Interpersonal/Direct Social Work Practice concentration: Integrative Health-Mental Health Advanced Practice, or Multigenerational Practice with Children, Families, and Elders. Advanced curriculum consists of policy/services course, a two-quarter advanced practice methods sequence, SOC W 571, 6 credits of electives, and a 720-hour advanced practicum.
  7. MSW Electives: Courses may be selected from curriculum offerings related to particular fields of practice, intervention theories, intervention modalities, social problems, populations, and research methods. Students may take advanced methods courses in areas other than the student's primary methods area and relevant courses in other graduate programs and professional schools of the University. Three credits of external coursework may be included.

Financial Aid

A limited number of financial-aid opportunities are available. Applicants to the MSW program are urged to apply for assistance through the Office of Student Financial Aid by February 15. Completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for consideration for any departmental funding. Departmental funding is limited and typically requires a department-specific application be submitted by April 1. Inquiries may be directed to the Admissions Office, School of Social Work. Information on available tuition awards may also be reviewed on the Social Work admissions website,

Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health Concurrent Degrees

Concurrent degrees prepare professionals who function at the interface of both fields in practice, research, planning, administration, and policy development. Students develop (1) competence in social work practice in community health; (2) understanding of the organization and functioning of the health and social service delivery systems; and (3) basic analytical skills necessary to conduct research and to perform competently in a variety of public health social work roles. Students also have an opportunity for in-depth study of particular issues related to their special interests and career goals.


Students who matriculate into the full time program in either Social Work or Public Health are eligible. Students admitted to Social Work with advanced standing should apply for both programs simultaneously. Students in the part-time evening degree program in either Social Work or Public Health are not eligible for the program.

  1. Students must apply to and be accepted by both schools.
  2. Students are strongly encouraged to complete up to one year of studies in Social Work before entering the Public Health program. Applications for entry are due in both schools by January 15. Typically students apply to Social Work in January and enter the MSW program in September. They then apply to Public Health the following January and begin the MPH program the next September. Staggered entry permits students to complete all requirements of both degrees within three years.

Degree Requirements

115-125 credits (depending on number of electives taken)

  1. Two separate sets of at least 36 credits each
  2. At least 18 numerically graded credits for each degree in courses numbered 500 through 599. All required courses in the MPH program must be taken for a grade.
  3. Up to 12 credits taken in one school may be counted toward the other school's total credit requirements, if approved by both programs. Electives for each department can be fulfilled by taking the required courses of the other department.
  4. The MPH requires a thesis.

Master of Social Work/Master of Public Affairs Concurrent Degrees

Graduate students at the UW School of Social Work may concurrently pursue a Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs. Earning degrees in both areas prepares students to be professionals who work at the interface of the two fields in practice, research, planning, administration, and policy development.

Students are able to combine studies at the Schools of Social Work and Public Affairs to meet requirements for both degrees in approximately three years. The concurrent degree option described here assumes that students are pursuing degrees in the School of Social Work MSW day program and the Evans School's traditional MPA degree.

The MSW-MPA is an informal concurrent degree program under UW code and, as such, it is the student's responsibility to make sure her or his plan of study aligns with the requirements of the respective schools and the Graduate School.


Students must apply to and be accepted by both schools. Application decisions are made independently by both schools. Students interested in the concurrent degree should indicate that interest in the personal statement portion of both applications.

Current students in either Public Affairs or Social Work who decide in the fall of their first year that they wish to apply to the other school may request a courtesy transfer of some application materials from their current school to the other school's admission office. Students are responsible for monitoring the completeness of their own admissions materials.

Program entry and foundation preparation

Given the integrated first-year curriculum in both programs, students complete the first year of foundation study in each program largely without substitution.

The concurrent degree option is flexible enough to allow students who begin in either program to decide during the first year to pursue the concurrent degree. However, students who know at the point of initial application that they wish to pursue the concurrent option are strongly advised to complete the Social Work foundation in year one and the Public Affairs foundation in year two. This allows greater flexibility in scheduling electives and provides a marginally more coherent sequencing of theoretical and research methods content.

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD program in social welfare prepares students to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and practice in the field of social welfare and the profession of social work for the promotion of social justice. Students acquire both the substantive and methodological competence to contribute theoretical formulations and empirical research that inform effective social work practice and advance scholarship in social welfare.

After the first year of required courses, each student's program of study is individually designed and focuses on well-defined substantive and interventive areas of research relevant to the field of social welfare. In the basic core of required courses, which includes teaching and research practice, students have an opportunity to pursue their particular interests with faculty members in the School of Social Work and in other schools and departments.

During the first two years, students define and develop the specialized areas that are the focus of their general examination and, typically, their subsequent dissertation research. Selected areas must have clear significance for the development of practice, programs, or policies in social work and social welfare.

The general examination for advancement to candidacy generally occurs at the end of the second year or during the third year. After advancement to candidacy, students devote themselves full time to completion of their dissertation research. The last step before the degree is the final examination, defense of the dissertation. Students are strongly encouraged to remain in residence at the University until the dissertation is accepted. The PhD program takes approximately four years, although academic excellence in learning and performance is always the first criterion for degree progress.

Admission Requirements

Admission is highly selective and students are admitted for autumn-quarter entry only. Applicants must have a master's degree in social work or a closely related field.

The Council on Social Work Education requires that faculty who teach practice courses in accredited programs have two years of supervised practice experience. Thus, obtaining such experience is highly important for those who seek academic positions following graduation.

Applicants selected for admission are those whose scholastic achievements, previous experience, and aptitude for social welfare research, scholarship, and teaching indicate the greatest promise for achieving the objectives of the program. In addition, an effort is made to maintain a balanced student group reflecting the range of concerns in social welfare and of faculty resources. The deadline for receipt of admission material is December 15. For more information, call (206) 685-1680, or email

Degree Requirements

90 credits minimum, to include:

  • Required Courses: Must include content on diverse populations, including the disadvantaged and oppressed. Includes content on people of color, women, gay men and lesbians, and persons with disabilities. Specific type or nature of the content (e.g., readings, exemplars, exercises) and how it is introduced and integrated likely differs across courses. In all cases, content on diversity must be in accord with course objectives and be visibly present in the course syllabus.

    All required coursework (with the exception of 800-level tutorials) must be completed before or during the quarter in which the oral section of the general examination takes place.

    Courses required must be taken on a graded basis unless offered credit/no-credit only (i.e., they cannot be taken on a satisfactory/not-satisfactory basis).

    1. Introduction to Advanced Research Methods and Design. Two quarters during first year.
    2. Fundamentals of Statistics. Two quarters during first year through other departments (primarily Sociology or Biostatistics).
    3. Research Issues and Priorities in Social Welfare. Two quarters during first year.
    4. Social Welfare Policy. Two quarters during first year (contemporary policy and international and global policy).
    5. Research Practicum. Two quarters; to be completed by the end of second year (credit/no-credit only).
    6. Teaching Practicum. One quarter; to be taken after successful completion of first year (credit/no-credit only).
    7. Career Planning Seminar. One-credit seminar offered quarterly (credit/no-credit only). Focus is on professional development issues and skills with emphasis on academic and research careers.
    8. Teaching Preparation. One quarter in the second year.
    9. Minimum two (3+ credit) courses in advanced graduate research methods (typically 500-level courses offered in other departments) relevant to the student's anticipated research in a substantive or interventive area. Coursework beyond the minimum is encouraged.
    10. Minimum two (3+ credit) graduate social science theory courses (500 level or above), designed to provide strong theoretical foundations. Students often use these courses to develop a "minor" in one of the social sciences. Offered in the College of Arts and Sciences or one of the professional schools, they are related to the substantive or interventive content of the student's program. Coursework beyond the minimum is encouraged for greater depth of interdisciplinary theoretical training.
    11. Dissertation Tutorials (SOC WL 800). Taken after the student has successfully completed the oral general examination and has been advanced to candidacy for the PhD. Students must complete a total of 27 credits over at least three quarters to satisfy the Graduate School requirement
  • Elective Courses in the School of Social Work
    1. Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research. One or two quarters, offered alternate years.
    2. Analytical Perspectives on Social Welfare Policy. One quarter, offered annually.
    3. Advanced Topics in Data Analysis. One quarter, offered annually, covering advanced quantitative methods.
    4. Social Movements and Participatory Action Research Methods. One quarter, offered alternate years.
    5. Psychosocial Scale Construction and Measurement. One quarter, offered alternate years.
    6. Interdisciplinary Prevention Science: Children and Adolescents. Overview of developmental perspective examining factors that promote or inhibit health development at different stages and during transitions (focus on birth through age 21), 3-credit course (credit/no-credit only).
    7. Promoting Well-Being among At-Risk Groups. Guidance for Health Promotion/Prevention Research.
  • Additional Course Expectations: Students may take tutorials (SOC WL 600) with faculty members while completing advanced coursework and writing the integrative paper (prior to the oral general examination). These tutorials should include one or more written products.

    Students are also encouraged to take additional courses that bear on their substantive areas of interest. Courses may be taken in any department or school of the University but should ordinarily be at the 500 level or above.

  • Prevention Research Training Program Courses: (Trainee requirements in addition to all PhD program courses)
    1. Seminar in Prevention Science. One-credit seminars taken autumn, winter, and spring quarters each year of the traineeship. Credit/no-credit only.
    2. Promoting Well-Being among At-Risk Groups: Interdisciplinary Guidance for Health Promotion/Prevention Research. One quarter, 3 credits, introduction to prevention research.
    3. Two additional graduate level (500+) courses, one social science theory and one research methods, related to the prevention research area of study.

Financial Aid

The School of Social Work ensures that all students have some means of financial support during the nine-month school year for the first three years in the program and is frequently able to continue support beyond this point. In each of the first three years, the PhD program director assists students in obtaining funding from the School, other UW sources, or external federal and private granting agencies. Each year, awards of stipends, fellowships, and research and teaching assistantships are made on the basis of resources available and match with areas of student interest. An award of a particular stipend or assistantship in one academic year does not carry a commitment for that same award in another year because both the grant situation and the applicant pool change. Advanced teaching and research positions are available on a competitive basis. Students are encouraged to begin their efforts to secure dissertation research support early and to stay in communication with the PhD program directors and associate deans, who oversee assistantship assignments in consultation with the School administration.