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Field of Study: Social Work


Social work programs prepare people to counsel groups and individuals.



In social work programs, students learn counseling methods and how to manage casework. They also learn when to make referrals to other services.

Social work programs include topics such as:

  • Counseling
  • Public policy
  • Substance abuse
  • End-of-life care
  • Mental illness
  • Social research methods

Social work programs prepare students to work in:

  • Government agencies
  • Substance abuse centers
  • Prisons
  • Juvenile correction homes
  • Schools
  • Mental health clinics

In social work programs, students may be able to specialize in:

  • Youth services
  • Medical social work

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in social work. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Most social work programs are offered at the graduate level. Many universities offer graduate degrees in social work. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.