School of Social Welfare
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.
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.org - 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
Assisted Living Centers
Community Mental Health Centers
Early Intervention / Head Start Programs
Employment Assistance Programs
Family Service Agencies
Federal Government Agencies
Home Health Agencies
Public and Private Schools
Public Health Programs
Public Interest Groups
Residential and Outpatient Treatment Centers
State/Local Government Agencies
Victim Services Organizations
View specific employers by state.
- Identify the social concerns and populations that interest you most and pursue courses and experiences that allow you to explore these interests further.
- Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
- Register for KU Career Connections and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
- Make the most of your field practicum experience and try to gain exposure to a variety of practice settings and clients as possible.
- Be aware that most states require licensure, certification or registration to work in the social work field. For more information on licensure, visit the School of Social Welfare website.
- Consider pursuing a Master of Social Work degree if you are interested in providing therapy, working in a supervisory or administrative role, or opening your own private practice.
- Consider joining professional associations related to your area of interest in social work and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
- Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest, such as: Bachelor of Social Work Student Group, Masters of Social Work Mutual Aid Society, Association of Black Social Work Students, and International Social Work Student Organization.
- Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).
- Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals.
- Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate school.
Job and Internship Search Resources
- KU Social Welfare practicum sites - list of potential practicum field agencies
- Government & Non-Profit Resources - more from career.ku.edu
- Internships-USA - internship listings related to social service, human rights, and women's rights
- Idealist.org - local, national, and international internships in non-profit and government organizations
- Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services - career paths and job listings with SRS
- Kansas Works - a centralized database of jobs in Kansas (including state government and private firms).
- KU Center for Community Outreach - local volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas, including poverty, seniors and youth
- National Association of Social Workers JobLink - full-time, part-time, fellowship and internship opportunities in social welfare
- National Association of Social Workers Kansas Chapter - continuing education and networking opportunities as well as a job board for KNASW members
- Non-Profit Connect - local non-profit job and internship opportunities as well as non-profit career resources
- Social and Welfare Services in Lawrence, KS - local social services agencies and organizations in the Lawrence area as well as links to each organization's website
- Social Service.com - social work, social service, counseling, mental health, and case management jobs
- Social Work Express- employment website created by a social worker for social workers. Contains full-time, nationwide job postings in social work.
- Social Work Job Bank - full-time job opportunities in social work
- Social Work Jobs in the Federal Government (from Making the Difference) - explore potential careers and internships in social work with the federal government
- Social Work p.r.n. - Kansas City based social work temporary and permanent staffing company. They also provide clinical social work supervision as well as training and education opportunities
- USAJOBS - full-time, part-time, and internship listings with the federal government