Social Work Degree Programs in Iowa

For those considering pursuing social work degrees in Iowa, there are plenty of excellent options. The state’s combination of world-class public and private institutions means that students can choose a university that fits within their price range, is close to home, and offers the right combination of challenging academics and hands-on experience in occupational settings.

Iowa students considering social work as a profession can choose to study the field at either the bachelor’s level or at a graduate level, with each program helping students get closer to the state’s stringent LCSW licensing requirements. With twelve different schools offering a social work degree and fourteen total programs available, here’s what to know before making a final decision about attendance at any of Iowa’s universities.

Briar Cliff University

Social Work Department

The Social Work Department at Briar Cliff University is committed to student success, with courses that prepare aspiring social workers for generalist positions immediately after graduation. The department’s program has been accredited by the CSWE since 1974, and it has used a 450-hour work requirement to boost student placement rates in entry-level positions after completion of the bachelor’s degree program.

B.A. in Social Work

The Social Work Department coordinates the bachelor’s degree of arts in social work for undergraduate students at the university. The degree’s approach is generalist, preparing graduates for more specialized education at the graduate level as the pursue final and official licensure by the state of Iowa. Classroom requirements include courses in youth counseling and social work, substance abuse, program management, and more.

As part of the bachelor’s degree program, Briar Cliff University requires students to complete at least 450 hours of related work experience. Work experience must be pre-approved by the department in order to students to gain credit for their efforts. This program is a key reason that so many students choose Briar Cliff’s program, since it dramatically improves chances of employment once the program is completed.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Briar Cliff University
Social Work Department
3303 Rebecca Street
Sioux City, IA 51104
Phone: (712) 279-5489
Email: admissions@briarcliff.edu
Website: http://www.briarcliff.edu/academics/departments/social-work/

Buena Vista University

School of Social Science, Philosophy, and Religion

At Buena Vista University, the School of Social Science, Philosophy, and Religion allows students to pursue traditional classroom courses, on-campus research, and off-campus internships, all at the same time. This combination creates a social worker who knows more about their specialized field of work, and gives them the tools they need to more easily get a job after they have received their degree. Along with several scholarship programs and on-campus organizations, the department is a major asset for social work students.

B.A. in Social Work

The four-year social work program at Buena Vista University starts students off with a rather general understanding of the broader social work profession, but then asks each student to pick a concentration so that they can learn more about one specific area of the industry. During their junior and senior years, students will pair their classroom experiences with intensive research alongside a professor and they’ll be required to manage an off-campus internship relevant to their major and specialty. At the conclusion of the program, students will have perhaps the most solid foundation possible for both occupational success and admission to a graduate-level social work degree program.

Accreditation: Council on Social Work Education

Contact

Buena Vista University
School of Social Science, Philosophy, and Religion
610 W. 4th St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588
Phone: (800) 383-9600
Email: admissions@bvu.edu
Website: http://www.bvu.edu/academics/sspr/social-work/

Clarke University

Department of Social Work

The Department of Social Work at Clarke University offers one of the most compelling undergraduate programs in the state, largely because it has an innovative capstone that blends classroom discussion with practical experience on a nearly daily basis. Students will learn how to collaborate with their peers through classroom experiences and, thanks to the department’s leadership, they’ll have unmatched opportunities for on-campus organizations, essential scholarships, and crucial internships.

Bachelor of Social Work

The bachelor’s degree in social work at Clarke University is characterized by two intensive years of classroom study, which end in a senior year capstone course. The capstone is a combination of professional work experience in the field and classroom discussion with others who have reached their final year of undergraduate study. By combining hands-on experience with the ability to relate to other students and professors, the school gives graduates a firm framework of how to best succeed in every social work position they’ll pursue after they receive their degree.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Clarke University
Department of Social Work
1550 Clarke Drive
Dubuque, IA 52001-3198
Phone: (563) 588-6316
Email: admissions@clarke.edu
Website: http://www.clarke.edu/page.aspx?id=2598

Dordt College

Department of Social Work

Students looking for a faith-based academic experience that includes teaching in social work will appreciate the Department of Social Work at Dordt College. The department regularly revises its curriculum to include the right combination of essential social work skills and Christian teaching. This unique approach to social work education appeals especially to students with a strong, faith-based background.

B.A. in Social Work

The social work program for undergraduate students at Dordt College is specifically geared toward those who practice a Reformed Christian faith. Students will have an opportunity to blend their professional social work studies with the teachings of the Bible’s New Testament, blending the concepts of religious and moral justice with human dignity and helping those who are the most needy in today’s society. It’s a unique take on social work that has become increasingly popular among Iowa’s aspiring professionals in this field.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Dordt College
Department of Social Work
498 4th Ave. NE
Sioux Center, IA 51250
Phone: (800) 343-6738
Email: admissions@dordt.edu
Website: http://www.dordt.edu/academics/programs/social_work/

Loras College

Department of Social Work

The Department of Social Work at Loras College is committed to student success, and has spent the duration of its time building strong networking opportunities with the community surrounding the campus. The result is a strong internship program that’s among the best anywhere in Iowa, with exclusive agency partnerships and private practice opportunities that can help graduates put their classroom experiences to use almost immediate after they graduate from the program.

See also: What are Some Good Internships for Social Work Majors?

B.A. in Social Work

The undergraduate program in social work at Loras College is operated by one of the strongest Departments of Social Work in the state of Iowa. Students are encouraged almost immediately to seek internships with numerous state and local agencies, and some private practices, when they declare the major during their sophomore year. With a focus on economic justice and juvenile services, this degree is perhaps one of the best options for those who intend to help the disenfranchised and those that are simply too young to help themselves. These specialties can then be continued at the graduate level, which will help students achieve a permanent state license and a long-term professional position in the field.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Loras College
Department of Social Work
1450 Alta Vista St.
Dubuque, IA 52001
Phone: (800) 245-6727
Email: nancy.fett@loras.edu

Luther College

Department of Social Sciences

Luther College’s Department of Social Work managers two scholarships for students in the social work major, and coordinates regular trips and on-campus activities for social work majors who are looking to put their skills to practical use. In the classroom, the department’s professors leverage their experience in the profession with a passion for teaching the basic ethics, regulations, and key decisions that make the social work profession so essential to all demographic groups.

B.A. in Social Work

The bachelor’s degree program at Luther College is designed to be a well-rounded one that incorporates both the basics of social work and the fundamentals of a liberal arts education. Social work students at this institution learn about the importance of human dignity and justice, and how the social work profession can help make those things easier to attain and more readily recognized.

Through a series of field trips and internship fairs, students will have an opportunity to see these theoretical concepts put into practice. The combination of intense classroom experiences and encouraging internship opportunities off campus is exactly what social workers need in order to land their first professional position in the field after graduation.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Luther College
Department of Social Sciences
700 College Dr.
Decorah, Iowa 52101
Phone: (563) 387-2133
Email: craig.mosher@luther.edu
Website: http://www.luther.edu/social-work/

Mount Mercy University

Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work

Mount Mercy University’s Department of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work is one of the largest academic departments on campus. Students in the social work degree program can also join the school’s Social Work Organization, which is overseen by the department chair and is an essential way to network with industry professionals in Cedar Rapids and beyond.

B.A. in Social Work

The social work major at Mount Mercy University is unique when compared to competing options, since it’s a bit more action-focused and teaches students about the importance of making quick, effective, and optimal decisions for client care and success. Throughout the program, students will learn how their decisions affect everything from economic justice to family harmony, and they’ll pair decision-making skills with a thorough understanding of laws, regulations, and best practices within the broader social work profession.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Mount Mercy University
Department of Psychology, Sociology, and Social Work
1330 Elmhurst Drive NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Phone: (319) 363-8213
Email: webmaster@mtmercy.edu
Website: http://www.mtmercy.edu/social-work-0

Northwestern College

Social Work Department

At Northwestern College, students will find that all of the professors within the Social Work Department have real world experience handling a wide variety of cases. This helps to enrich the academic experience for students and is an invaluable resource as students seek internships and their first professional positions after graduation.

B.A. in Social Work

Like so many of today’s best social work programs, the bachelor’s of arts in social work at Northwestern College requires students to complete a series of internships and professional work assignments prior to graduation. In total, students must complete three separate internships in a social work practice, whether it’s a substance abuse facility, a group home, or some other environment. Seniors must also choose a senior year practicum that will coexist alongside their last credits at the university, preparing them for better job placement at the end of their time at Northwestern.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Northwestern College
Social Work Department
101 7th Street SW
Orange City, IA 51041
Phone: (712) 707-7000
Email: vstokes@nwciowa.edu
Website: http://www.nwciowa.edu/social-work

St. Ambrose University

School of Social Work

Social work students at St. Ambrose University are treated to one of the most robust programs in Iowa’s “Quad Cities” region, with professors who have experience in the field that adds real value to every required course. Thanks to a number of specialized tracks, students can choose an MSW option that appeals to their existing work experience or their own strengths in the field.

Master of Social Work

St. Ambrose offers an MSW program with some pretty unique concentrations when compared to similar programs throughout Iowa. Those who enroll in the program can choose from specialties that include client advocacy, administration, and empowerment in private practice. As a result, St. Ambrose students are often properly prepared to work in directorship positions at existing social work practices or open their own private practice at some point after graduation.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

St. Ambrose University
School of Social Work
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
Phone: (563) 333-3910
Website: http://www.sau.edu/Academic_Programs/Master_of_Social_Work.html

University of Iowa

School of Social Work

The University of Iowa is home to the state’s largest and highest-ranked School of Social work, which offers students the chance to study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to a firm commitment to excellence in the classroom, the University of Iowa also affords students the chance to seek out entry-level internships in Davenport and gives graduate students access to scholarly research opportunities on campus.

B.A. in Social Work

The University of Iowa’s undergraduate program in social work is committed to blending liberal arts education with the foundation for a successful career in the field. Like many modern programs in social work, students will collaborate with their classmates on a large number of group projects, presentations, and even real-world work assignments. The result is a more effective degree that conveys not only knowledge, but also local experience in the field.

Master of Social Work

At the University of Iowa, the MSW program is as much about classroom instruction as it is about academic research. Graduate students at the university, who must complete the program satisfactorily in order to sit for the state’s licensure examination, will choose a specialized track that focuses on social change, private practice, or family dynamics. They’ll pair that specialized course load with research in a relevant area during their time at the university, which can optionally culminate in a thesis presentation.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

University of Iowa
School of Social Work
308 North Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-1250
Email: SSW_office@iowa.uiowa.edu
Website: http://clas.uiowa.edu/socialwork/

University of Northern Iowa

Department of Social Work

The Department of Social Work at the University of Northern Iowa is one of the largest social work departments in the state and easily has one of the largest student populations. Thanks to years of development, the department has been able to offer both a bachelor’s degree and a master of social work to Iowa students for the affordable cost of in-state tuition. In addition to excellent degree programs, the department is heavily invested in research concerning pressing topics in the industry.

B.A. in Social Work

The bachelor’s degree program at the University of Northern Iowa is designed to teach the fundamentals of the broader social work profession. Students will learn about various common uses of these skills, from substance abuse counseling to services designed to help children from abusive or neglectful homes. They’ll work in collaborative environments to tackle the issues of leadership in the social work profession and, under the guidance of the social work department and its numerous local connections, they’ll pursue entry-level work experience during both their junior and senior years on campus.

Master of Social Work

The MSW program at the University of Northern Iowa is designed to meet the state’s requirements for full licensure of professional social workers. Students are especially focused on aspects of social work administration and private practice. Throughout their time at the university, MSW students will also engage in scholarly research in partnership with the department’s professors. Their research will allow for development of a thesis, which is considered a requirement prior to graduation.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

University of Northern Iowa
Department of Social Work
1227 W. 27th St.
Cedar Falls, IA 50614
Phone: (319) 273-2311
Email: debra.laneville@uni.edu
Website: http://www.uni.edu/csbs/socialwork/

Wartburg College

Social Work Department

The Social Work Department at Wartburg college is primarily concerned with helping students learn the fundamentals of this fast-growing occupation through both classroom instruction and practical experience. The department offers both a major and minor in the field, and offers students the chance to pursue internships with agencies throughout surrounding Waverly in order to have a healthy amount of work experience as they begin pursuing permanent positions after graduation.

B.A. in Social Work

The undergraduate major in social work at Waverly College is designed to teach students the basics of collaborating on client care and understanding. For this reason, the school’s social work major takes a uniquely project-centered approach to instruction throughout most of the major-specific coursework required of today’s students. Through classroom collaboration, students will be taught how to problem-solve and discover the most sensible solutions for their clients in both collaborative and independent ways.

The program is closely aligned with several social services agencies in Waverly and other Iowa communities, which give students both paid and unpaid opportunities to put their classroom knowledge to work. These opportunities allow students to have valuable experience listed on a professional resume by the time they graduate from the school bachelor of arts program.

Accreditations: Council on Social Work Education, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Wartburg College
Social Work Department
100 Wartburg Blvd.
Waverly, IA 50677
Phone: (319) 352-8472
Email: Lynn.Peters@wartburg.edu
Website: http://www.wartburg.edu/social-work/

Excellent Social Work Degrees to Choose from at All Levels in Iowa

Thanks to a thriving academic community comprised of both public and private universities, aspiring social workers in Iowa have a great number of both undergraduate and graduate-level programs to choose from. Though they’re united by their ultimate goals, each program differs slightly in its approach to social work education and the profession itself. Students should review each of the available social work degrees in Iowa and choose the one that most aligns with their professional goals and personal needs.

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