For those seeking information about social work degree programs in Michigan, learning more about the state and the colleges that offer those degrees is beneficial.
Although Michigan has a strong industry and trade history, it is best known as the center of the automotive industry in the United States, with the headquarters of the three largest American car makers located in Detroit. Declines in US automobile production have led to severe economic problems in Detroit, leading to a need for social services that were not as critical in the past. For this reason, many colleges throughout the state now offer social work degrees as part of their curriculum.
Below is the second half of our list of accredited social work degree programs in Michigan. To see the first half of the list, click here.
Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University began as Northern State Normal School in 1899 with a faculty of six located on a 22-acre campus. The original focus of the school, like many Normal Schools of the era, was to educate teachers. Through the 1950s and 1960s, the school grew tremendously, and in 1963, the state of Michigan granted Northern university status, along with all other public institutions.
The campus of Northern Michigan is made up of more than 50 facilities and is just minutes from Lake Superior. It has been named as one of the most unwired campuses due to the significant amount of wireless access available. There are ten residential areas on campus, along with high-end computer labs, art galleries, on-campus radio stations and a public television station. One of the biggest benefits to the campus, according to students, is that everything necessary is in easy walking distance.
Bachelor of Social Work
The Bachelor of Social Work program at Northern Michigan is to prepare students to enter the social work field and work with a diverse population. The program has a generalist focus, which allows students to work in a variety of settings upon graduation. Students learn to identify themselves as professionals, develop and apply ethics necessary in the industry, advance human rights, promote social and economic justice, as well as apply knowledge in human behavior in the social environment.
The program includes classroom training as well as field placement during the student’s senior year. In order to be admitted to the Social Work program, students must have completed or be in the process of completing what the university calls a “Human Behavior Cluster Minor,” with a 2.5 grade point average or higher. The cluster minor includes classes such as social and economic justice, diversity, biology, sociology, psychology and research methods.
Oakland University is located on 1,443 acres of hills and meadows in Rochester. In 1957, founders Alfred and Matilda Dodge Watson contributed their historic estate and $2 million to Michigan State University to create a satellite campus that was called Michigan State University – Oakland. On April 1, 1963, Mrs. Watson held a graduation party at Meadow Brook Hall, presenting each of 146 members of the first graduating class with a diamond ring. In 1970, Oakland became an independent university, and today enrolls more than 20,000 students, 100,000 alumni and more than 260 degree and certificate programs.
Social Work, B.S.W.
At Oakland, a bachelor of social work is designed to prepare students for a career helping others while challenging them to become advocates for social change. Graduates work with all facets of the public, from counselors to case managers to offering assistance to the disabled. Students take a range of classes and are also required to fulfill seminar and internship requirements. Alumni with a degree in social work from Oakland currently work in organizations that handle child welfare, developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse, as well as many other positions throughout the social work industry.
Saginaw Valley State University
Saginaw Valley State University was originally founded in 1963 as Saginaw Valley College and is located in Kochville Township, yet the university shares an address in University Center with Delta College, despite the fact that Delta is over three miles away. It is the newest of Michigan’s public colleges and universities. Saginaw Valley was founded as a private institution in an effort to bring a four-year college to the Saginaw Valley region. Today, the university has over 10,000 students, and 71 percent of incoming freshmen choose to live on campus.
Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)
The Bachelor of Social Work at Saginaw Valley is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students are prepared for positions as generalist social workers and are able to recognize social work values and develop strong commitments to the ethics of the profession. The program teaches students to influence social policies that relate to reducing poverty, eliminating oppression, stopping social injustice and be an advocate for human rights. These qualities are developed through courses in social work practice, social welfare policy, and human behavior. In addition, students are taught research methods and must perform an internship in order to graduate.
Siena Heights University
Siena Heights University was originally founded as St. Joseph’s College for Women in 1919. In 1939, the college was renamed Siena Heights College in honor of St. Catherine of Siena, an Italian Dominican whose dedication to truth and social responsibility epitomized the mission of the college, which was to help students become ethical, competent and purposeful. The school became coeducational in 1969, and pioneered studies for adult students when it was one of the first to implement evening and weekend classes. The school gained university status in 1998 and today is home to 600 students in two residence halls, as well as one apartment-style village.
Bachelor of Social Work
For those who enjoy helping others, a Bachelor of Social Work at Siena Heights may be the perfect choice. The program has earned national recognition with a faculty that is dedicated to the success of students. Curriculum includes courses in:
• Social Science Research
• Social Justice
• Social Welfare Services and Policies
• Human and Cultural Diversity
• Social Environment
Students also perform field practice in order to get a hands-on education in the field of social work. All field practice is supervised and students are placed in a variety of organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Catholic Charities, mental health agencies, school districts and many others in the area.
Director of Undergraduate Admissions
Siena Heights University Main Campus
1247 E. Siena Heights Drive
Adrian, MI 49221
Springfield, MA 01109-3797
Email: [email protected]
Spring Arbor University
When Spring Arbor University began over 140 years ago, it was an elementary and secondary school. Today it is a top-tier Christian liberal arts college with more than 4,000 students. The school was founded by the Free Methodist Church, which advocated freedom for slaves and free pews for all worshipers. Edward Payson Hart, an evangelist with the church, was instrumental in starting the Spring Arbor Seminary, which was built on old school property that was once owned by Michigan Central College. In 1960, after being accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the name of the school was changed to Spring Arbor College, becoming Spring Arbor University In 2001.
The Bachelor of Social Work at Spring Arbor trains students to provide social services in communities using values of service, social and economic justice, a person’s worth and the importance of human relationships. The program offers a traditional on-campus bachelor of social work that allows graduates to work in substance abuse, mental health or juvenile justice centers, among other organizations that deal with social issues. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, which requires that the university engage in gatekeeping to ensure that graduates are mature, knowledgeable and have the values necessary to work in the social work field. Therefore, students must take two modules, passing the first with at least a 2.5 or better and a 2.0 or better for the second prior to being accepted into the program.
Master of Social Work
At Spring Arbor, the Master of Social Work prepares students to advance in their social work career. The program teaches students how to navigate the complex interactions and conflicts common in the industry. It is a 60-hour program that can be completed in two years, although the college does offer a 30-credit Advanced Standing Program to qualified students. The Master of Social Work degree is offered at the Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Petoskey and Toledo campuses. Students learn through traditional classroom training during the first year, and a concentration-tailored curriculum the second year, with a focus on clinical orientation. To qualify for the Advanced Standing program, students must have completed their bachelor’s degree in social work within five years of enrollment in the program.
University of Detroit Mercy
The University of Detroit Mercy is the state’s largest and oldest Catholic university, with a history that dates back 125 years. Founded by the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, and the Religious Sisters of Mercy, both of which were known for the excellence in education they provided. The original college opened on the corner of Jefferson Avenue, expanded into the University of Detroit and, in 1927, moved to Livernois and Six Mile Road. In 1940, the Religious Sisters of Mercy began operating Mercy College of Detroit at Southfield and Center Drive, preparing young women for careers in teaching and nursing. Eventually, the school became coeducational, and, in 1990, the University of Detroit and Mercy College merged into one institution.
Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.)
In order to be admitted to the Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Detroit Mercy, students must provide a written application confirming that prerequisite courses have been completed with a grade of 2.0 or higher. Students must maintain a grade of “C” or better in all classes during the program, and must maintain a GPA of 2.0. Students develop ability in human relations and professionalism related to the social work profession. During a student’s senior year, they must perform a field internship for a minimum of 400 hours, or 16 hours per week for two semesters. All applications to the program are reviewed by the Social Work Admissions and Continuation Committee. In order to remain in the program, students must adhere to professional values consistent with the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics.
Graduate Degree Social Work
Westfield began offering a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2010 and has a single concentration in Clinical Practice with a primary focus, preparing graduates to work as clinical case managers, advanced positions in child protective services or other child and family related positions. Classes are available in an online format or in a hybrid version with some online and some in-class lectures. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in any major, but must have some social science and biology credits included. The program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
University of Michigan
One of the first public universities in the country, the University of Michigan was founded in 1817 on 1,920 acres of land ceded by Native American tribes. The Chippewa, Ottawa and Patawatomi tribes offered the land so that a college could be created in Detroit. In 1837, the school moved to Ann Arbor when the city was still very young, but offered a courthouse, jail, bank, four churches and two mills. Ann Arbor was named to honor the wives of the town founders and the natural arbor created by the huge oak trees near the town. The original campus consisted of four faculty homes and one classroom building that also acted as a dormitory. One of the homes remains and is used as the President’s house.
At the University of Michigan, the master of social work offers many specializations based on the most recent research and learning innovations, with a strong focus on interdisciplinary factors. The program is based on the fact that social work is an ever-evolving profession, and that delivery methods must adjust as changes occur. Students focus on theories and interventions designed for all facets of a community, wether the student will deal with individuals, groups, or organizations. Students complete six hours in their concentration and nine credit hours of coursework in their practice area. All students must complete Evaluation in Social Work. Practice method concentrations include:
• Community Organization
• Management of Human Services
• Social Policy and Evaluation
Practice method areas include:
• Aging in Families and Society
• Children and Youth in Society
• Community and Social Systems
• Mental Health
University of Michigan-Flint
Sarah C. Miles, an Ann Arbor resident, wrote to her family in the East that a “branch of the Michigan University at Ann Arbor is to be established in Flint at some future day.” What Ms. Miles did not know was that it would be nearly 120 years later before the University of Michigan opened the campus in Flint with 167 students entering the school on September 23, 1956. In 1970, what was then called Flint College became University of Michigan-Flint. Later in that decade, the school began relocating to downtown Flint, building a riverfront campus that today serves 8,600 students. In 2010, the University of Michigan-Flint earned the Carnegie Classification for Civic Engagement, and in 2012 they were the first recipient of the “Engaged Campus of the Year Award,” which was presented by Michigan Campus Compact.
Social Work Honors Program (BSW)
The BSW program at University of Michigan-Flint prepares students for a professional generalist degree, preparing students for state licensure and advanced standing for those who seek a graduate level degree. The program is four-years and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Students must meet course objectives and any student who violates the Code of Ethics could be dismissed from the program. The 124 credits included 60 credits of coursework that include both social work and related classes. The college strongly recommends that electives at the 300-level be in substance abuse and criminal justice in the junior year, and that 400-level course be taken in the senior year.
Social Work Department
303 East Kearsley Street
454 David M. French Hall
Flint, MI 48502-1950
Wayne State University
Wayne State University began with the founding of Detroit Medical College in 1868, and that original college is still part of the university, now called the School of Medicine. In 1881, the Detroit Normal Training School began, with a focus on educating teachers, eventually becoming the College of Education. In 1896, the Old Main Hall was built, where students attended Central High School. College classes were added in 1913, evolving the school into Detroit Junior College where two year degrees were offered. In 1917, the name was changed to the College of the City of Detroit and offered four-year degrees. That became the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 1933, the colleges were combined under one president, Frank Cody, and renamed Wayne University in honor of General Anthony Wayne and for the county in which it resides.
Bachelor of Social Work
The Gourman Report ranked the Bachelor of Social Work Program at Wayne State University as the best in the country in 1995, and the program has remained number one since that ranking. The program continues to remain at the top of the scale due to the strong curriculum and in-field instruction students must undergo to receive their degree. Unlike some universities, Wayne requires field education to occur concurrently with classwork. The only exception is for the first semester of the junior year for full and part-time students. The program offers flexible classes with day, evening and Saturday classes, and all faculty is doctorate level. There are opportunities available for students to be active in the community, develop leadership, and participate in school government.
Master of Social Work
During the first year of a student’s master of social work program, called the “Core Year,” a foundation of basic social work knowledge and skills are the focus for the curriculum. The Core Year focuses on the fundamentals of social work, and theory is translated into practice during field education in that year. The second year of the program is called the “Advanced Year.” Students select a concentration at the end of the Core Year, and the advanced curriculum focuses on that selected concentration. Students are encouraged to attend an informational meeting that reviews the requirements for the master of social work program at Wayne.
The School of Social Work
4756 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
Western Michigan University
Considered one of the top 100 universities in the United States, Western Michigan University was founded in 1903, and is located in Kalamazoo. There are three campuses at the university – Aviation, Main and Parkview. The campus is more than 1,200 acres, has 151 buildings and contains some of the finest facilities in the country. The main campus can house more than 5,500 students, has a large recreation center and modern student apartment complex. Enrollment is around 25,000.
Western Michigan University has been preparing leaders in social work for more than 30 years, and their undergraduate program provides a generalist social work degree encompassing a wide range of skills. Students critically examine discriminatory and oppressive social constructs, as well as the assumptions and attitudes related to those who are suffering. Students are expected to be an advocate for social and economic justice. Two semesters of the program are spent in field education with a human service agency, providing students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom setting.
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5211
Social work degree programs in Michigan can help fill a growing need in a state where unemployment has grown due to the reduction in automotive production in the state; many of these programs are ranked highly in national standards in the area of social work at colleges that offer benefits for all students.