Social Work is a versatile degree delivering critical skills for leaders who want to make social justice work in their communities and the world. 

Social Work is a versatile degree delivering critical skills for leaders who want to make social justice work in their communities and the world. 

Social workers are employed in many settings, from public welfare agencies to health organizations to schools and research institutions to community programs. They are involved in counseling, managing human services, analyzing social welfare policy, community organization and development, teaching, client advocacy, social and political research, and other pursuits.

Why Iowa?

Iowa’s School of Social Work has a tradition of innovation in social work education, research, public service, and activism. Its undergraduate program will prepare you for social work practice with individuals, families, small groups, organizations, and communities. You will gain a solid foundation for graduate education in social work and for lifelong learning.

The social work major also will prepare you for active engagement with issues of social justice, oppression, and social welfare at the local, state, regional, national, and global levels. 

About 90 undergraduates major in social work. You'll study with students from diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives. You'll also have access to a high level of faculty expertise due to the school's location at a major research university.

Social Work students are offered several service-learning options in which social work knowledge, skills, and values are applied as students encounter people who live in dramatically different environments, come from very different cultures, and, in some cases, speak another language. 

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

As an entering first-year student, you'll declare a Social Work interest as your major for advising assignments and course selection. Visit School of Social Work Undergraduate Admissions Process for details about admission to the Social Work BA Program. 


Social Work (Iowa City only)
Social Work
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
  Selective Admission
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

The social work major will prepare you for employment in social service areas such as:

  • public welfare
  • child welfare
  • mental health
  • elderly services
  • group services
  • corrections

Many graduates continue with advanced study in social work or related physical and mental health professions.

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 study abroad  programs and multiple undergraduate research opportunities

The Student Social Work Association provides the school with committee representatives and organizes service-oriented and social events.

Qualified students have the opportunity to join the Phi Alpha National Honor Society (Delta Nu Chapter). Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The School of Social Work offers several scholarships to its students based on academics, community service, research, and diversity. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.


The social work curriculum includes: 

  • Social work theory and practice at the individual, family, and community level
  • Diversity and social justice
  • Two elective social work courses
  • Two electives in an approved area such as aging studies, anthropology, economics, education, psychology, or sociology. Or, students may elect to take six additional elective credits in social work for a total of 12 credits of elective social work courses. 
  • A field experience where students provide social work interventions under the supervision of a qualified social worker
  • Field experience Seminar

In addition to course work for the major, all students must complete the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences GE CLAS Core

Students may complement this major by earning one of the university's many certificates. The following are administered by the School of Social Work:

  • Certificate in Critical Cultural Competence
  • Certificate in Resilience and Trauma-Informed Perspectives 

See Social Work in the UI General Catalog to learn about required course work for the major or minor and graduating with honors.