Social Work Programs

What is Social Work?

Social Workers use advocacy, education, intervention, research, policy, and organizational changes to enhance individual well-being and meet the basic needs of individuals and their communities. The profession of social work will provide you with the ability to utilize your skills and knowledge in a variety of settings including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, community organizations, the criminal justice system, and private practices. Currently, there are over 700,000 social workers in the U.S. and according to the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is projected to grow 11% over the next decade, this is much faster than the average for all occupations.

The Detroit Social Work Advantage

The Wayne State University School of Social Work - Detroit's Social Work School - prepares students to work in urban environments. Detroit and southeast Michigan have a distinct history and set of challenges and opportunities that offer lessons and insights for social work practice in agencies and organizations in diverse urban environments. The urban context provides rich and compelling experiences that aid in developing professional competence and prepare students to uphold the core values of the social work profession. 

In the classroom and in field, we encourage the development of self-awareness, respect, and unconditional positive regard for clients to enable effective helping relationships based on mutual trust. We prepare students to be theoretically grounded and to appreciate and understand the need to adapt classroom instruction to community contexts. We make connections between social work practice and broader struggles to advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice. We help students understand the need for cultural and intellectual humility and to value and appreciate the strengths and expertise of the clients they serve. Through support services and assertive advising, we strive to prepare a diverse student body for social work practice that promotes social justice, with a particular focus on urban communities. 

Learn more about the Wayne State advantage.

Social Work Program Options

Bachelor of Social Work

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree program prepares undergraduate students for ethical, competent, entry-level, generalist professional social work practice with diverse, poor, vulnerable and oppressed individuals, families, groups and communities. 

Master of Social Work

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program prepares world-class practitioners committed to achieving social and economic justice, assisting vulnerable or oppressed individuals, and to improving the lives of individuals, families, groups and communities. 

Doctoral Program

The Social Work Doctoral Program (PhD) prepares successful scholars, educators and leaders to engage in research on contemporary urban issues for the advancement of social work practice and social welfare policy. 


Multidisciplinary programs designed to provide graduate students, individual practitioners and professionals with an integrated learning experience to enhance their career opportunities and options. 

Social Work in Schools

Temporary approval by the State Department of Education is required for employment as a school social worker. The School of Social Work can recommend temporary approval to the State Department of Education on behalf of MSW graduates with the submission of the SSW-310 paperwork.