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General Information


The bachelor of social work degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.


The School of Social Work provides professional education and leadership in social work practice, research, and service to promote social and economic justice, enhance social welfare, and build strong community-University partnerships.

The mission of the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program is to prepare students as beginning level generalist professional social work practitioners who are committed to the provision of services that further the well-being of people and who promote social and economic justice. Building on a broad liberal arts framework, the BSW curriculum is designed to develop generalist practitioners who have an understanding of social work knowledge and values and are able to select different methods and resources to meet identified client needs, while recognizing and engaging the strengths of the client in the process. The curriculum offers students the opportunity to learn to promote, restore, maintain, and enhance the social functioning of multiple levels of systems in the environment, including individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities; to recognize worker and client limitations; and to know when to refer clients to other resources.

The BSW student is given the opportunity to learn to work collaboratively in a variety of settings using an ecosystems/developmental perspective; to recognize the relationships between client needs and public issues; to work toward the development of social policies, resources, and programs that meet basic human needs and empower at-risk groups; and to be sensitive to the diversities among individuals, including ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, and ability. The program is intended to prepare reflective, self-evaluating practitioners who have a strong identification with the social work profession and work to alleviate poverty, oppression, and discrimination.

Graduates of the program are expected to be able to enhance the problem-solving, coping, and developmental capacities of individuals, especially those from at-risk populations. They also are expected to contribute to the effective and humane operation of the systems within the environment that provide individuals with resources, services, and opportunities; to link individuals in need with the appropriate systems; and to contribute to the development and improvement of social policies that have an impact on people and their social environments, especially by empowering at-risk groups and by promoting social and economic justice.

The BSW program is integrated with and builds upon a liberal arts base that includes knowledge in language arts, the humanities, and the social, behavioral, and natural sciences. The curriculum includes content in social work values, diversity and at-risk populations, social and economic justice, human behavior and the social environment, research, social welfare policy and services, and social work intervention.

Program Objectives

Students graduating from the BSW program are expected to demonstrate the following characteristics:

  1. A professional identity that incorporates the values and ethics of the social work profession and the professional development of self.
  2. The ability to work with diverse populations with an understanding of, and respect for, the positive value of diversity, including ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, and religion, and to use communication skills differentially with diverse groups.
  3. An understanding of the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination.
  4. The ability to apply strategies and skills that advance social and economic justice and to address the oppression of at-risk populations.
  5. An understanding of the biological, psychological, social, and cultural contexts of changing client systems, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and the broader society, and their effects on development and behavior.
  6. Beginning level competencies in research and evaluation, including the ability to evaluate research studies and apply their findings to practice, and, under supervision, evaluate their own practice interventions and those of other relevant systems.
  7. An understanding of how social policy develops and differentially affects various client systems, workers, and agencies.
  8. An understanding of the role the social work profession has played in promoting social change, historically and currently.
  9. The attainment of knowledge and skills that demonstrate the ability to practice effectively with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, in a manner that empowers client systems and uses their strengths in order to maximize their health and well-being.
  10. An ability to apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional social work roles and practice.
  11. An awareness of their responsibility to continue their professional growth and development, including the use of supervision appropriate to generalist practice.


The School of Social Work was established as a graduate program in 1949 and began classes in the fall of 1950 with twenty-four students enrolled in the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program. Undergraduate courses in social work were first offered in 1958. These were incorporated into a full Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program in the fall of 1974.

The first BSW degree was awarded in December, 1977. Since that time, the program has been strengthened by curriculum modifications reflecting changes in the profession and in society that have implications for beginning social work practice. 

The School of Social Work also offers programs leading to the Master of Science in Social Work and the Doctor of Philosophy. These are described in the Graduate Catalog .


The School of Social Work Building (1925 San Jacinto Boulevard) provides space for social work classes, including classrooms equipped for distance learning and an instructional technology classroom; offices for the faculty and staff; an advising center and student services area; and a student lounge. The building also houses the school’s Learning Resource Center (LRC), which has an extensive collection of social work related books, journals, and other publications partially funded by the Josleen Lockhart Memorial Book Fund. The LRC includes a large computer laboratory for student use and provides space, equipment, and technical assistance for studying, meetings of small groups of students, viewing audiovisual materials, videotaping, and completing other skills-based learning assignments. The School of Social Work Building also houses the Center for Social Work Research, the DiNitto Center for Career Services, Con Mi Madre, and the Center for Students in Recovery.

Financial Assistance Available through the School

Although many University scholarships are awarded through the Office of Student Financial Services, a limited number are awarded by the School of Social Work to undergraduate social work students. Awards are made for reasons ranging from academic promise to financial need. All social work majors who meet the eligibility requirements for the scholarships listed below are encouraged to apply. Additional information is available from the Academic Affairs Office.

The Francis Crockett Memorial Scholarship was established in memory of Francis Crockett. The scholarships provide support for undergraduate students in the School of Social Work who are planning a career in the mental health field.  Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated financial need, academic merit, and demonstrated involvement in their communities.

The Vincent J. DiNitto Endowed Scholarship was endowed in 2011 by Diana M. DiNitto, Ph.D., in memory of her father, Vincent J. DiNitto. Funds are distributed from the endowment and shall be used to award scholarship to social work students with financial need, with additional consideration given to academic achievement and professional potential. Dr. DiNitto is the Cullen Trust Centennial Professor in Alcohol Studies and Education and a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the School of Social Work.

The Bonny Gardner Social Justice Award was established in 2006 through the generosity of Bonny Gardner, Ph.D. The award is given to a student who has shown an exemplary commitment to social justice through dissemination of knowledge, activism/advocacy, or leadership through class projects, field activities, and/or work within the community. Dr. Gardner received her doctorate and undergraduate degree from UT Austin.

The George K. Herbert Endowed Scholarship was created in 1989 through gifts from colleagues, faculty members, and alumni, the Wolens Foundation, the Social Work Advisory Council, and other friends in recognition of Dr. Herbert’s dedication to high standards of professional service and contributions to social work education. Dr. Herbert served on the faculty and as dean of the School of Social Work. Students are nominated for the award on the basis of academic excellence and potential contribution to professional social work. The endowment provides scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students in the School of Social Work, selected at the discretion of the dean, based on merit or need, on the recommendation of the School of Social Work Scholarship Committee.

The Ami Lunsford Memorial Scholarship in Victim Services was initiated by the Social Work Student Council in memory of Ami Lunsford, a May 1996 graduate of the School of Social Work. The scholarship was endowed in 1997 through gifts from family and friends. It is awarded on the basis of academic achievement and professional potential to social work students with a special interest in victim services.

The Victor and Myra Ravel Scholarship in Children’s Rights was endowed in 1989 by Mr. and Mrs. Victor Ravel of Austin and the University Regents’ Endowed Student Fellowship and Scholarship Program. The endowment is administered through the Austin Community Foundation; the income is used for scholarships to social work students interested in children’s rights or child advocacy. Students are nominated on the basis of academic excellence and potential contribution to professional social work in the area of child advocacy.

The Sylvia Shapiro Scholarship was established in 1985 by Sidney S. Smith of Austin, in memory of his cousin, Sylvia Shapiro. Students are nominated on the basis of academic excellence, need, and potential contribution to professional social work with emphasis on work with the frail elderly.

The King S. Stephens II Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established in 1995 through the generosity of faculty members, family members, and friends in loving memory of this respected faculty member, whose fierce intellect and commitment to social justice challenged our ideas and inspired our sense of responsibility. Students are nominated on the basis of academic excellence and commitment to social justice.

The August N. “Gus” Swain Endowed Scholarship was established in 1993 in honor of Gus Swain, the first African American student to receive an MSSW degree from the School of Social Work. Students are selected on the basis of academic excellence, financial need, and potential contribution to the social work profession.

The Melanie Walter-Mahoney Endowed Scholarship in Social Work Established by the Charles and Betti Saunders Foundation was endowed in 2003 by the Charles and Betti Saunders Foundation to provide scholarship support for social work students. Mr. and Mrs. Saunders are both graduates of UT Austin. Their daughter, Melanie Walter-Mahoney, received her MSSW from the School of Social Work and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UT Austin.

The Louis A. Zurcher Memorial Scholarship was established by gifts in memory of Dr. Louis A. Zurcher, collected since his death in 1987. The scholarship is awarded to provide support to social work students.

Other Scholarships

Additional scholarships funded by contributions to the School of Social Work are awarded to undergraduate social work majors each year. Students are nominated on the basis of academic excellence, financial need, and potential contribution to professional social work.

Student Services

Academic Advising

The Office of Academic Affairs in the School of Social Work seeks to assist the student in exploring social work as a career choice, in planning an academic program suited to the student’s interests and talents, in seeking help with academic or personal problems, and in post-graduation planning, whether for employment or for further study. The Office of Academic Affairs also provides administrative support and student services, including maintenance of academic records, provision of official degree audits, and graduation certification for social work majors. Faculty and staff members are also available to assist students with questions about scholarship programs, degree requirements, rules and regulations, and other available campus services. Students who declare an interest in completing the social work program are required to meet with a social work adviser at least once each semester for academic advising. To arrange an appointment with an adviser, students should contact the Office of Academic Affairs.

During the student’s first and second academic years, the student and the adviser discuss the student’s career choice, the selection of a major, degree requirements, and requirements for admission to the major and to upper-division courses in social work; during the third year, the work required for the major and the student’s preparation for entry into the field practicum; and during the fourth year, the field practicum and the student’s post-graduation plans.

Career Choice Information

Students interested in social work as a career are encouraged to discuss this interest at any time with a social work adviser. Advisers are available in the school’s Office of Academic Affairs to help students explore social work practice and settings and the development of interest in social work through academic and volunteer experiences. Students may also seek the assistance of the DiNitto Center for Career Services .

Members of the social work faculty are also available to assist the student in choosing a career, as are the staff and resources of the University’s Sanger Learning Center, the Volunteer and Service Learning Center, and the Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling in the School of Undergraduate Studies. Since the social work program requires admission to the major and completion of 125 semester hours, students are encouraged to discuss their interest in social work as a career early in their studies.

Career Services

Career development services are provided to students preparing to enter the professional job market. Students should inquire in the DiNitto Center for Career Services, School of Social Work Building 2.214. The office maintains a listserv of employment opportunities and provides information about social work careers, graduate programs, online resources, and other opportunities for professional development, volunteer placement, and social work licensure. Workshops and other programs are offered on the fields of social work practice, résumé preparation, and job search and interview skills.

Professional social workers may seek employment in a number of areas. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services has established quality control standards that mandate the hiring of holders of BSW degrees in designated positions. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services hires social workers for its child protective services programs, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission hires BSW graduates for its client support services programs. Large nursing home facilities are also required to have a social work staff. Substance use disorder treatment programs, psychiatric hospitals, health care programs, school social work and dropout prevention programs, criminal justice programs, and programs for the elderly also employ social workers. More than a third of the program’s graduates go on to graduate schools throughout the country.

As a complement to the assistance available from the school, the University's Sanger Learning Center in Jester Center and the Center for Strategic Advising and Career Counseling in the School of Undergraduate Studies provide comprehensive career services to all students. The centers offer professional assistance to students in choosing or changing their majors or careers, seeking an internship, and planning for the job search or for graduate study.

The University makes no promise to secure employment for each graduate.

Social Work Council

The Social Work Council is an organization open to all students pursuing a social work degree or interested in the social work profession. The purposes of the council are to help students acquire a better understanding of the profession of social work, to provide a mechanism for student input on issues related to the social work curriculum and the school, and to organize and support social work related programs and projects that will benefit students, the school, the University, and the community.

Council activities are often conducted in collaboration with the Office of Academic Affairs. They include orientations to the BSW and MSSW programs, a career night, forums with guest speakers from community agencies and the University, community service projects, special interest groups that meet to discuss social work related topics, and social gatherings. Members of the Council represent student concerns as voting members of the school’s curriculum committees, the Senate of College Councils, and the Student Government.

Professional Liability Insurance

Students must purchase professional liability insurance while they are enrolled in the field practicum. The cost is about fifteen dollars a semester. Payment is coordinated by the Field Office of the School of Social Work. A criminal background check may be required as well.