The School of Social Work
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What is Social Work?

Description of profession and the School

Social Work is a profession dedicated to enhancing human capacity to solve complex social problems in order to create a more humane and just society. One of the cornerstones of social work practice is the focus on the strengths, as opposed to the shortcomings, of individuals, families and communities so that these can be deployed to find creative solutions for complex social problems.  The profession is characterized by a steadfast commitment to social justice in the service of empowering individuals, families and communities to meet their needs.

Few professions offer more diverse employment opportunities.  Social workers serve as counselors (e.g., in adoption, bereavement, domestic violence, vocational and rehabilitation, hospice, mental health, substance abuse, youth services); as coordinators and case managers of services (e.g., in home health care, child welfare, housing, human resources, public affairs, student life, employee assistance programs; as therapists (e.g., child, adolescent, marriage and family); as administrators in public and private  human service agencies; as community development workers, public policy analysts, global rights workers; and in juvenile and adult justice systems, to name a few.  Social workers are found in health and human service agencies, governmental agencies, hospitals and schools, research organizations and think tanks.

Despite current economic conditions, all indicators predict a sharp increase in demand for social workers over the next decade.  Now is an excellent time to pursue a degree in social work!

About the School of Social Work

The School of Social Work is motivated by its steadfast commitment to promote social, political, and economic justice, with special emphasis on populations of the Southwest. The School prepares professional social work practitioners and scholars who are committed to enhancing individual, family and group problem-solving capacities, maximizing human potential, and creating a more just and humane society.

The School prepares professional social workers for beginning-level generalist practice (BSW), and for advanced practice (MSW) in one of the following specializations: health/behavioral health; children, youth and families; public child welfare; planning, administration; or community practice. The Ph.D. program prepares social work scholars and educators for positions in research and evaluation and social work education.

Arizona State University aspires to be the gold standard for the new American university in which knowledge is integrated with the transformation of society, research is solution-focused rather than discipline-focused, and the knowledge, talent and resources of the university are harnessed in partnership with communities to solve problems and improve well-being. In keeping with this vision, the faculty of the School of Social Work, in partnership with communities, engages in use-inspired research that seeks solutions to seemingly intractable real-world problems such as poverty, health disparities, and violence that disproportionately affect society's most vulnerable members. The School seeks a diverse faculty and student body that brings with it the excellence and perspective needed to enhance the well-being of an increasingly diverse society.

Arizona State University is one of the largest state universities in the country with over 60,000 students located on four campuses in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.  The School of Social Work in located on the downtown Phoenix campus in close proximity to numerous health and human service agencies as well as the state government.  It also offers BSW and MSW programs in Tucson.  With over 1,200 students, the School of Social Work is one of the largest in the nation and many of its graduates hold prominent positions including four current state legislators and CEO's of major social service agencies.  The School is home to the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center that seeks to reduce health disparities in the areas of substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and mental health problems; the Office of American Indian Projects that works in partnership with Arizona tribes to enhance the social welfare of tribal members; and the Office of Latino Projects that seeks to enhance the well-being of working poor and immigrant Latino families living in the Southwest borderlands region.


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