Social Work Degree Programs in Alabama

Alabama is located in the central portion of the Southern United States, bordering Georgia to the east, Mississippi to the west, Tennessee to the north and Florida to the south. The southwestern corner of the state has its coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. Students who wish to study social work in the “Heart of Dixie” have a number of options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


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With the aid of a rapidly aging population, employment levels for social workers are projected to increase at a rate that is higher than the average growth rate across all professions. Social workers will be needed to staff hospitals; clinics; counseling centers; support groups; prisons; homes for at-risk youth; and government agencies at the local, state, regional and national levels.

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is offered at Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, Miles College, Oakwood University, Talladega College, Tuskegee University, the University of Alabama, the University of North Alabama and the University of South Alabama. In addition to the BSW, a master’s degree in social work (MSW) is offered at both Alabama A&M and the University of Alabama. UA’s School of Social Work also offers a PhD program for students who wish to pursue a career as an academic or other research-conducting social work professional.

What follows is a brief overview of each institution’s program, complete with an assessment of student learning outcomes in each of the 13 competencies the National Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) measures. These competencies are: Identify as a Professional Social Worker, Apply Ethical Principles, Apply Critical Thinking, Engage Diversity in Practice, Advance Human Rights/Social and Economic Justice, Engage in Research-Informed Practice/Practice Informed Research, Apply Human Behavior Knowledge, Engage Policy Practice to Advance Well-Being and Deliver Services, Respond to Practice Contexts, Practice Engagement, Practice Intervention and Practice Evaluation.

Alabama A&M University

College of Education, Humanities, and Behavioral Sciences

Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, most commonly known as Alabama A&M, is a public historically black university located in Normal, Alabama. Normal, which is located in northern Alabama’s Huntsville Metropolitan Area as well as the larger Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville Combined Statistical Area, is located within a stone’s throw of Huntsville. Huntsville itself is home to about 180,000 of the Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville Combined Statistical Area’s 665,000 residents. This provides Alabama A&M’s BSW students with a large number of professional opportunities in hospitals, mental health facilities, counseling centers, local government agencies, support groups, nonprofit organizations and other related public or private entities.

The University’s curriculum includes a liberal arts base consisting of physical science, humanities and social science courses. Admission to the BSW program requires each student to have completed at least 31 credits of academic coursework with a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of at least 2.50, complete the Introduction to Social Welfare course (usually taken during the second semester of a student’s freshman year) with a grade of “C” or better, and complete 50 hours of volunteer service in a social service agency. Completion of the BSW program is achieved when a student has completed 43 hours of coursework within the department, including field instruction and a senior seminar.

Accreditation

Alabama A&M is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The BSW and MSW programs are both nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Undergraduate

102 Bibb Graves Hall
P.O. Box 302
Normal, AL 35762
Phone: (256) 372.5475
janice.holman@aamu.edu
http://www.aamu.edu/academics/ehbs/swpc/socialwork/pages/default.aspx

Graduate

104 Bibb Graves Hall
P.O. Box 1417
Normal, AL 35762
Phone: (256) 372-8478
veronica.ayers@aamu.edu
http://www.aamu.edu/academics/ehbs/swpc/socialwork/pages/default.aspx

Auburn University

Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work

Auburn University, a public university located in Auburn, Alabama, is probably best known as the home of the Auburn Tigers football team, winner of two national championships. However, it is also one of the largest research universities in the state, enrolling over 20,000 undergraduate students and approximately 5,000 graduate students. The Department of Social Work requires prospective majors to apply for acceptance into the BSW program. Applicants must have completed Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Social Work and Field Practicum, all with a grade of “C” or better, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.50 to be considered for admission.

Students are offered the opportunity to participate in two internships during their coursework. The first is a three-credit course in which students are placed in a social service agency for six hours per week—a total of 90 hours for the semester—and are required to attend a once-a-week integrative seminar. Students must have completed Introduction to Social Work to be eligible for this course. The second internship is a nine-credit course involving full-time field placement that is taken following completion of the Department’s three-course practice methods sequence. Students are in the agency for at least 32 hours per week—a total of at least 450 hours for the semester—and are required to attend the course’s three-hour seminar component on Fridays. Students are placed in a variety of local and regional settings, including adoption agencies, therapeutic foster care, homeless shelters, various branches of the justice system, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers, youth facilities, child welfare agencies and various nonprofit social service organizations such as East Alabama AIDS Outreach, United Way and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County.

In 2012, at least 60 percent of AU BSW students met each of the 13 competency benchmarks the CSWE measures.

Accreditation

The BSW program is nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work
7030 Haley Center
Auburn University, AL 36849-5049
Phone: (334) 844-5049
allen.furr@auburn.edu
myersed@auburn.edu
http://www.cla.auburn.edu/sociology/social-work/

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University, a regional public university with an enrollment of about 9,500 students, is located in Jacksonville, Alabama. To be considered for admission to the JSU BSW program, students must accumulate at least 30 hours of academic credit (including MS 108 and MS 204) with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.25, complete Introduction to Social Work with a grade of “C” or better and receive a passing score on the English Competency Exam. BSW candidates must maintain a 2.25 cumulative GPA after being admitted to the program, and must also adhere to behavior and ethical standards the JSU Department of Social Work has set forth. The program’s capstone is a Field Placement course that each BSW candidate is required to complete during his or her senior year.

In 2012, at least 75 percent of the department’s students achieved the CSWE benchmark in each of the 13 areas measured. Overall, the department exceeded the 80 percent competency benchmark in ten of the 13 areas.

Accreditation

Jacksonville State University is accredited by the SACS. Its BSW program is nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, AL 36265-1602
Phone: (256) 782-5781 (JSU1)
mnewton@jsu.edu
mamoore@jsu.edu
lpugliese@jsu.edu
http://www.jsu.edu/socialwork/

Miles College

Miles College is a private, historically black liberal arts college affiliated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME). It has an enrollment of approximately 1,900 undergraduate students, and is located six miles west of Birmingham in Fairfield, Alabama. Miles is also a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The Miles College BSW program is designed to prepare competent generalist social care practitioners who are committed to social, economic and political justice for vulnerable individuals, groups and communities through education, service and leadership with a focus on issues related to African Americans and other diverse populations. The program’s capstone is a 500-hour Supervised Field Instruction, which each BSW candidate completes during his or her senior year.

Inf 2012, at least 94 percent of students met or exceeded the competency benchmark of 3.0 (out of 5.0) in each of the 13 areas measured. One hundred percent of students achieved the benchmark in six of these competencies.

Accreditation

The Miles College BSW program is nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Miles College
5500 Myron Massey Boulevard
Fairfield, Alabama 35064
Phone: (205) 929-1000
gplayer@miles.edu
https://www.miles.edu/faculty/departments/social-work

Oakwood University

Eunice Walker Johnson Division of Social Sciences and Education

Oakwood University is a private, historically black, Seventh-day Adventist Church-affiliated university established in Huntsville, Alabama in 1896. It boasts an enrollment of approximately 1,800 students on a sprawling 1,185-acre suburban campus. It has been a member institution of the United Negro College Fund since 1964. The BSW program features a 450-hour field education experience with a social service agency, to be completed during each student’s senior year, as its capstone. Students must maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA, complete all incomplete grades, be in good standing with both the University and the Department of Social Work, complete all required social work courses with a grade of “C” or better and complete all prerequisites to be eligible for enrollment in Field Education I.

One hundred percent of BSW students achieved the department’s benchmark in each of the 13 competencies the CSWE measured in January, 2013.

Accreditation

Oakwood University is accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Department of Education of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The social work program is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.

Contact Information

Social Work
Green Hall
7000 Adventist Blvd NW
Huntsville, AL 35896
Phone: (256) 726-7340
gashley@oakwood.edu

Talladega College

Talladega College is a private, historically black liberal arts college located in Talladega, Alabama, a city of about 16,000 people and one super-speedway. Its rural 50-acre campus is home to about 1,500 students. The College’s BSW program is administered through the Eunice Walker Johnson Division of Social Sciences and Education, and consists of the liberal arts foundation, the general elective component and the social work department’s curriculum. Students must complete 60 academic credits, maintain at least a 2.50 GPA and complete Introduction to Social Work and Human Behavior & Social Environment I & II, each with a grade of “C” or better to be eligible for admission to the Department of Social Work. Eligibility is determined after the student has completed his or her sophomore year. Each BSW candidate must maintain a 2.50 cumulative GPA and a 2.50 social work GPA to maintain his or her candidacy for the degree. Each candidate must complete 125 credits—42 of which must come from within the Department of Social Work—to earn the BSW degree.

At least 80 percent of BSW students achieved the college’s benchmark in each of the 13 competencies measured in 2012. One hundred percent achieved competency in eleven of those categories.

Accreditation

Talladega College received full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2009. Its BSW program is nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Talladega College
627 Battle Street West
Talladega, Alabama 35160
Phone: 256-761-6342
http://www.talladega.edu/academics/sse.asp

Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University is a private, historically black university. It was established by Booker T. Washington and is located on a spacious 500-acre campus in Tuskegee, Alabama. Tuskegee, which has the noteworthy distinction of being the only historically black college whose campus has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, is home to approximately 3,200 combined graduate and undergraduate students.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the University ranked fifth best academically among both regional colleges in the south and historically black universities. It also made Princeton Review’s “373 Best Colleges” list. Each BSW student must complete a field practicum during his or her senior year. Tuskegee’s location—it is just 40 miles from Montgomery, Alabama’s capital—allows students the opportunity to obtain practicum and internship positions in state government. BSW candidates must complete a total of 129 academic credits to obtain the degree. Forty-eight of these credits must come from within the Department of Social Work.

Accreditation

Tuskegee’s Department of Social Work has been nationally accredited by the CSWE. The Department is also a member of the Association of Baccalaureate Program Directors (BPD). BPD is a voluntary, individual membership association founded in 1975 to represent the interests of undergraduate education and practice in social work.

Contact Information

Department of Social Work
College of Arts and Sciences
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee, AL 36088
Phone: (334) 727-8300
http://www.tuskegee.edu/academics/colleges/clae/social_work.aspx

University of Alabama

School of Social Work

Roll, Tide! The University of Alabama is best known for its storied Crimson Tide football program, which has won 15 national championships. However, there is more to Tuscaloosa, a west central Alabama city of about 94,000 people, than Bryant-Denny Stadium. The University itself is the largest in the state, enrolling almost 30,000 undergraduate students and approximately 5,000 graduate students. It offers both undergraduate and master’s degrees in social work through its School of Social Work.

The Alabama state legislature established the School of Social Work in 1965 to address the state’s critical shortage of and pressing need for professionally trained social workers. The School is housed in Little Hall, in the central area of the UA campus. Each BSW candidate must complete an internship during his or her senior year. At least 97 percent of BSW students achieved the departmental benchmark of 2.0 (out of 4.0) in each of the 13 areas measured. One hundred percent achieved the benchmark in two competencies.

The MSW is a two-year, 60-credit degree. The first part of the program is the professional foundation, which can be completed in Tuscaloosa, online or in the School’s first-year Hong Kong program. The program’s second year is the Concentration Year, which must be completed in Tuscaloosa. Students may also elect to pair the MSW degree with either a juris doctor—obtained from the University of Alabama School of Law, to which admission must be gained separately—or a Master of Public Health.

Finally, the School offers a PhD program for students who have already obtained MSW degrees. The PhD is a terminal degree that prepares future researchers and academics. The curriculum focuses research methods—both qualitative and quantitative—and teaching social work to undergraduate students.

Accreditation

The University’s BSW program first received CSWE accreditation in 1974. It was re-accredited for eight years, the maximum period for accreditation, in 2011. The MSW program first received CSWE accreditation in 1969 and re-accredited for eight years in 2011. Nearly 3,000 MSW degrees have been awarded since the program first received accreditation.

Contact Information

The University of Alabama School of Social Work
Box 870314
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0314
Phone: 205-348-7027
jwilliams11@sw.ua.edu (BSW)
ccheng@sw.ua.edu (MSW)
wchurch@sw.ua.edu (PhD)
http://socialwork.ua.edu/

University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama, the state’s oldest four-year university, is located in Florence, Alabama. Florence is home to about 40,000 residents and 8,000 UNA students, making UNA the largest institution of higher education in north Alabama. UNA’s beautifully landscaped, pedestrian-oriented campus occupies 130 acres in a residential area of Florence, which anchors a 200,000-resident metropolitan statistical area known as “the Shoals.” The city’s position as northwestern Alabama’s primary economic hub provides students with numerous professional and cultural opportunities not found elsewhere in the region. The UNA BSW program requires students to take specified general education requirements, supporting courses and five prescribed elective courses in addition to the 42 social work credits needed to complete the degree. Each BSW candidate is required to complete a two-semester, twelve-credit field instruction course during his or her senior year.

Accreditation

The BSW program is nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Dr. Joy Borah, Chair
Department of Social Work
University of North Alabama
UNA Box 5029
Phone: (256) 765-4391
jsborah@una.edu
http://www.una.edu/socialwork/

University of South Alabama

The University of South Alabama is a public university located in Mobile, Alabama. It enrolls about 15,000 students, and it is the only major public institution of higher learning on the upper Gulf Coast. Students seeking admission to the USA social work program must have completed at least 60 credits of academic coursework, maintain a cumulative grade point average GPA of at least 2.60 and have completed certain general education requirements with a grade of “C” or better. Continuing as a student in the social work program requires each BSW candidate to maintain a 2.50 GPA in social work courses, a 2.60 cumulative GPA and to adhere to the Code of Ethics for the National Association of Social Workers. Each BSW student is required to complete a two-semester, 12-credit field instruction course during his or her senior year.

Accreditation

The BSW program is nationally accredited by the CSWE.

Contact Information

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
University of South Alabama
5991 USA Drive North
Humanities Building Room 34
Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002
Phone: (251) 460-6347
lburcham@usouthal.edu
http://www.southalabama.edu/syansw/socialwork.html

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