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At a Glance – The School of Social Welfare

The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare offers the only comprehensive program in social work in Kansas: the professional degrees of

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work,
  • Master of Social Work, and
  • Bachelor of Social Work.

KU's School of Social Welfare is an excellent place to pursue your interests in professional social work education. It is the oldest school of social welfare in the state and the only one to offer degree preparation from undergraduate through doctoral degrees in social work. For over 60 years, the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare has provided leadership and innovation in professional social work education.

Our social work programs at the B.S.W., M.S.W., and Ph.D. levels are consistently rated as excellent by experts and alumni, and, especially, by those who employ our graduates. Whether they enter the arena of professional social work practice (B.S.W. and M.S.W.) or take on the challenging roles of social work researcher/educator (Ph.D.), our graduates report that they are well equipped to succeed.

Our distinguished faculty are leading experts in many areas of practice, including: mental health, child welfare and child mental health, aging, spirituality in social work practice, criminal justice, poverty and other areas; and they bring this expertise to the classroom.

Given our relatively small class sizes and accessible faculty, students are expected to become engaged in their own learning, and encouraged to become involved in the life of the School through vibrant student groups and student representation on many School committees.


Social work education began at KU in 1937. The Master of Social Work program, established in Lawrence and at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City in 1946, has been continuously accredited since 1948. The Bachelor of Social Work degree has been awarded since 1971. In 1974, the B.S.W. program became one of the first in the nation to receive accredited status. The Council on Social Work Education, the accrediting body for social work education, most recently reaccredited the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs in 2010. The doctoral program admitted its first students in 1981.

Each year, US News & World Report ranks our Master of Social Work program among the nation's top 20. The School of Social Welfare is recognized internationally as an innovator in social work theory development and in research that makes positive contributions to our communities.

The school is housed on the University of Kansas Lawrence campus in Twente Hall, named for nationally renowned social work educator Esther Twente, who chaired the social work department from 1946 to 1957. The school also offers the complete M.S.W. program and B.S.W. program at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City, the Western Kansas Advanced Standing M.S.W. program on the Fort Hays State University campus and Garden City Community College campus.

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