University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work

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University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
Established 1918
Type Public
Dean Larry E. Davis
Academic staff 30
Undergraduates 700
Postgraduates 500
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Oakland (Main)

The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, one of the 17 schools within the University of Pittsburgh located in Pittsburgh, PA, is the fifth-oldest school of social work in the United States.[1] The School of Social Work offers an undergraduate degree in Social Work, a masters in Social Work, and a doctorate program in Social Work. The graduate programs of the School of Social work are ranked 11th in the nation according to US News and World Report's Best Graduate Schools 2012.[2] The School of Social Work's doctoral program, started in 1948, is the second oldest social work doctoral program in the United States. The School also administers the Child Welfare Education and Research Programs at the Oakland Campus, and the Child Welfare Resource Center for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.[3]


The School of Social work has its origins in the School of Arts and Sciences' Department of Sociology that was established in 1926.[4] Courses in Social Work were first offered at the university in 1929 when the Family Welfare Society of Pittsburgh requested classes for its workers.[5] The following year, 17 other social agencies joined in sponsoring the courses which were overseen by Dr. M. C. Elmer, head of the university's Department of Sociology's and director of the department's Division of Social Work.[5] The formation of a school received a jumpstart in 1931 when a grant from the Buhl Foundation helped subsidize the establishment of new courses to study and supply the need for social training in the community and offer undergraduate and graduate courses needed for prerequisites for any form of social work training.[6] The Division of Social Work received professional ranking and a further grant from the Buhl Foundation in 1934.[5] In September 1938, the School of Applied Social Sciences was established as a separate graduate professional school within the university, taking over the Division of Social Work from the Department of Sociology. Wilbur L. Newstetter, who would become the president of the American Association of Schools of Social Work, was installed as the school's first dean.[7] In 1940, another Buhl Foundation grant, this one of $194,740, made it possible for the school, which had already become one of the four largest of its type in the United States, to strengthen its program and build the Buhl Library of Social Work, which is now housed as a collection of the first floor of Hillman Library.[8] In 1948, the school established a doctoral program Social Work, which is the second oldest social work doctoral program in the United States.[9] Today, the School of Social Work offers undergraduate degree, masters, and doctorate programs in Social Work, and is led by Dean Larry E. Davis.[10]

Academic Programs[edit]

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW)[edit]

The BASW Program includes a liberal arts base and prepares students for entry-level generalist social work and for graduate education. The program aims to provide students with the skills needed to engage in culturally competent practice with diverse populations; promotes critical analysis of environmental factors affecting individuals, families, and communities; and promote advocacy for those who confront institutional barriers in order to prepare students for service and leadership.

Master of Social Work Program (MSW)[edit]

The MSW program is designed to provide a professional education. The program’s foundation curriculum provides the knowledge, skill development, and values that embody the generalist social work perspective. Concentrations include Direct Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (Direct Practice) and Community Organization and Social Administration (COSA). Specialization and certificate opportunities include: Health Care; Children, Youth, and Families; Gerontology; Home and School Visitor/School Social Worker; Human Services Management; Mental Health; Community Organization; and Social Administration.

Doctoral Program[edit]

The social work doctoral program awarded its first degrees in 1949 and has prepared students for careers in academic research, teaching, or social policy planning and administration.

Joint Degree Programs[edit]

The School offers the dollowing joint/dual degrees: Master of Social Work/Master of Divinity; Master of Social Work/Master of Public Administration; Master of Social Work/Master of Public and International Affairs; Master of Social Work/Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Work; Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health; Master of Social Work/Juris Doctorate; and PhD/Master of Public Health (MPH).

Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP)[edit]

The Center on Race and Social Problems was designed to address societal problems through research, intervention, and education. It is the first center of its kind to be housed in a school of social work and it is unique in both its multidisciplinary approach and its multiracial focus.[11] The mission of CRSP is to conduct solution-oriented social science research on race, ethnicity, and color and their influence on the quality of life for Americans in the 21st century. CRSP has identified seven major areas of race-related social problems: economic disparities; educational disparities; interracial group relations; mental health practices and outcomes; youth, families, and the elderly; criminal justice; and health.


The School of Social Work is headquartered in the Cathedral of Learning

Several alumni of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, including the following, have gone on to obtain leadership positions within the field.[12]

* former


  1. ^ Frazier, Reid R. (2009-01-20). "School of Social Work Reimagines its PhD Program". Pitt Chronicle (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh). Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "University of Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program". Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  4. ^ "Department of Sociology: About". University of Pittsburgh. 2009-05-15. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  5. ^ a b c "Expansion: Pitt's new school will be enlarged". The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA). 1939-08-18. p. 21. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  6. ^ Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 279. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  7. ^ Alberts, Robert C. (1986). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787–1987. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  8. ^ "Buhl grant of $194,740 is given Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). 1940-06-24. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  9. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K.; Hart, Peter (2008-08-28). "What's New? Things". University Times volume=41 (1) (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh). Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  10. ^ "School of Social Work: Message from the Dean". University of Pittsburgh. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  11. ^ "Center on Race & Social Problems: About the Center". University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2012-08-14. 
  12. ^ Sampling of Successful Alumni from Pitt’s School of Social Work, Pitt Chronicle, 2009-01-20, accessdate-2009-01-23

External links[edit]