You want to help. To solve problems, build futures, and empower people. Your Iowa social work degree will get you there in a heartbeat.

Why study social work at Iowa?

Earning your BA in Social Work is your direct path to a career in the helping professions.

We know this, because our alumni impact others by:

  • Working in many different settings, such as mental health clinics, hospitals, government agencies, school, nonprofit organizations, correctional facilities, substance use disorder treatment centers, and group homes, among others.
  • Helping our most vulnerable fellow citizens gain access to the resources and opportunities necessary for a healthy, safe and happy life.
  • Aiding community organizations and public agencies in providing essential human services and advocating for justice.
  • Investigating societal problems and develop programs and policies to solve them.
students sit at a table at the SSW 2023 Ice cream social.
Students at the 2023 School of Social Work ice cream social.

Social Work is a professional degree

In the School of Social Work, you'll do much more than simply train for jobs in the human-services sector. You'll learn to embody the values and ethical foundations of the social work profession--and to put your knowledge to work empowering people to live their fullest lives.

Our program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  In addition to providing grades on papers and exams, we are required to measure and report student learning outcomes to CSWE.  All social work students are assessed on social work professional core competencies.  These holistic competencies reflect the dimensions (knowledge, values, skills, and cognitive & affective processes) of social work practice that all social workers are expected to master during their professional training.

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work

Mental health agencies. Child and family welfare agencies. Community advocacy and service organizations. Emergency housing and crisis centers.
All of these--and the people they serve--will need your evidence-based expertise. At Iowa, you will develop your professional knowledge, skills and values to conduct generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities as part of a well-rounded liberal arts education. And your degree from Iowa--a world-class research university--will help you stand out on the job market so you can get right to making social justice work.

Explore the BA program requirements & criteria to enter the professional core social work courses:

Why Earn your BA in Social Work at Iowa?

The demand for mental health specialists is skyrocketing.  BA level graduates do work in the mental health field as case-managers, direct care providers, substance disorder counselors, crisis counselors (such as domestic violence or sexual assault intervention programs and advocacy), and family reunification, etc.

And you'll benefit from the most highly rated and comprehensive social work education in Iowa, connecting you with helpers from the Missouri to the Mississippi.

We're the University for Iowa.

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Minor in Social Work

Earning a social work minor is a great way to enhance your major in psychology, sociology, political science, and other related fields. You'll learn the practices and values of the social work profession, adding value to your degree and broadening your career options.

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Minor in Aging and Longevity Studies

Our School of Social Work is a national leader in gerontology, also known as aging and longevity studies. This minor combines knowledge from a variety of disciplines to help you understand the demographics of Iowa's and the nation's aging population, and how health, financial, cognitive, physical, and social forces affect aging individuals. 

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Certificate in Aging and Longevity Studies

This certificate will no longer be offered after spring 2024; consider a minor in Aging.

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Certificate in Critical Cultural Competence

Develop an appreciation for how cultural identity--including your own-- affects individuals' societal experiences.

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Certificate in Resilience and Trauma-Informed Perspectives

Deeply benefit the individuals you serve by gaining a good understanding of trauma, trauma-sensitive responses, and trauma-informed prevention and care.

Why study social work at Iowa?

Graduates become culturally competent scholars and practitioners who are committed to social justice and social work values and ethics.

Studying social work at the University of Iowa will give you direct exposure to evidence-based knowledge, practice, and policy--particularly related to children, families, and older adults. You'll benefit from both strenghs-based perspectives and systems perspectives.

Our graduates are committed to social justice and social work values and ethics, and are prepared to serve in and have a positive impact on a broad range of family-centered and community-based practice settings throughout the State of Iowa and beyond.

Most of our BA graduates go on to earn a master's degree, enabling them to become mental health therapists or college-level educators. We have the top-ranked MSW program in the state--including an online option and satellite campuses in Des Moines and Sioux City.  The University of Iowa's focus on research and world-class expertise, we offer the only PhD in social work degree  in the state of Iowa.

Learn more about studying social work at Iowa.