Academic Catalog

School of Social Work

Dean: Sheryl Kubiak

The mission of the School of Social Work at Wayne State University is to transmit, develop, critically examine, and apply knowledge to advance social work practice and social welfare policy for the promotion of social, cultural and economic justice for poor, vulnerable, and oppressed population groups and for society as a whole. This mission is accomplished in a learning environment designed to prepare ethical and competent social work practitioners, in primarily urban settings, for social work practice, for conducting research with particular relevance to urban populations; and for innovative leadership and service to the urban community and the social work profession. Both faculty and students serve the community by participating in professional organizations, civic and community groups, and human service organizations.

The School of Social Work is an integral part of Wayne State University, an urban university in a culturally diverse, industrialized, metropolitan area. The School demonstrates its commitment to addressing the problems of people living in this environment through its teaching, research, and service activities. Through applied research, work in the classroom and placements in human service organizations that are the sites for practicum education, students learn how to provide effective social services and to influence social policies.

The School prepares professionals to help alleviate the conditions of those affected by poverty, racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, unemployment, or mental health challenges and physical and/or developmental impairments. Students learn evidence-based methods of intervention with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. Doctoral students learn the advanced research competencies required to engage in applied research for social work practice and social welfare policy. In synchrony with its emphasis on serving people in the Detroit metropolitan area, the School shares with the University a commitment to recruit students of minority ethnic backgrounds.


The undergraduate program leading to the Bachelor of Social Work and the graduate program leading to the Master of Social Work are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the authorized national accrediting body for social work education. There is no accreditation process for doctoral programs in social work. However, the School is a member of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work, the professional body that provides guidelines and oversight for doctoral degree programs in this field.


The School of Social Work prepares students at the undergraduate and graduate levels for entry level generalist practice or advanced practice in the profession. Its principal programs lead to the Bachelor of Social Work, the Master of Social Work, and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The Bachelor of Social Work program prepares students for entry level generalist professional practice. The Master of Social Work degree program prepares graduates for advanced professional practice. This program includes concentrations in interpersonal practice and innovation in community, policy and leadership. The Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work prepares social work educators and scholars whose research on pressing urban problems will advance social work practice and social welfare policy. The Doctor of Philosophy degree program includes rigorous training in qualitative and quantitative research methods, advanced course work in social work as well as completion of a cognate area in another discipline and mastery of specialized social work content areas.

Post-degree courses are available to graduates who have completed bachelor's and/or master's degrees. The School offers Dual Title and Graduate Certificate Programs, as well as special institutes and workshops for individuals employed in the field of social welfare and school social work. Continuing education in social work is also offered through the School's Continuing Education Program.

School Social Work Approval Program

Students enrolled in the program leading to the Master of Social Work degree may qualify concurrently for Department of Education temporary approval for social work positions in Michigan school districts. Specific information on approval requirements for students and M.S.W. graduates may be obtained from the Office of Admissions and Student Services, School of Social Work.

Information Meetings: The School holds informational meetings every two weeks to introduce its undergraduate and graduate programs. Informational meetings for the Ph.D. Program are held monthly during the fall semester of each academic year. Potential applicants are encouraged to attend one of these meetings prior to applying. Meeting schedules for the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs may be obtained by calling the School’s Office of Admissions and Student Services (313-577-4409). Meeting schedules for the Ph.D. Program may be obtained by calling the Ph.D. Program Office (313-577-4419). Meeting schedules for all programs are also posted on our website.

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