A helping profession and versatile degree for people who want to leave an impact on the world and make people's lives better.

A social work degree opens doors to jobs in mental health agencies, crisis centers, schools, child and family services, hospitals, governmental agencies, neighborhood and community centers, substance use disorder programs, correctional facilities, and so many more.

Why Iowa?

Iowa’s School of Social Work is an innovator in social work education, research, public service, and advocacy. 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.

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.

  • Students pursuing the BA can then complete the MSW (also at the UI) on a faster timeline.
  • Access to wide range of practicum opportunities at local non-profits, organizations, and institutions—many are led by our alumni.
  • Our graduates are highly valued for their skills they bring to the workforce.
  • We are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Our vibrant Social Work Student Association (SWSA) provides opportunities for community building among undergraduates.
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 Social Work as your major for advising assignments and course selection. Visit School of Social Work Undergraduate Admissions Process for details about enrolling in the "professional core" social work courses.

You can register for the “professional core” social work courses when you’ve successfully completed the following three prerequisite courses with a C or above:

  • Social Justice and Social Welfare in the U.S. or approved Intro to Social Work course 3 s.h.
  • Elementary Psychology or transfer equivalent 3 s.h.
  • Introduction to Sociology or transfer equivalent 3 s.h.

and meet these requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA minimum overall
  • Completion of 45 s.h. or more


Social Work (Iowa City only)
Social Work
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
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:

  • Community advocacy and service organizations
  • Emergency housing and crisis centers
  • Mental health field as case managers, direct care providers, substance use disorder counselors, crisis counselors (such as in domestic violence or sexual assault intervention programs and advocacy) and family reunification
  • Child and family welfare agencies
  • Elderly services
  • Disability and group services
  • Corrections

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

With a BA in social work and a minimum GPA of 3.0, students are eligible to apply to the MSW program with Advanced Standing. At Iowa, the MSW can then be completed in as quickly as 1 year (summer-fall-spring).

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 Social Work Student Association (SWSA) organizes service-oriented and social events for social work students and SSW staff and faculty.

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 multiple scholarships to social work students currently enrolled in "professional core" courses based on academics, community service, and research.

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


The "professional core" social work curriculum includes:

  • 32 s.h. of social work theory and practice at the individual, family, and community level, and including a practicum where students provide social work interventions under the supervision of a qualified social worker
  • 12 s.h. of electives (a minimum of 6 s.h. of social work electives; the remaining 6 s.h. can be in social work or in one other approved discipline related to social work)

In addition to course work for the major, all students must complete:

  • Intro to American Politics or the transfer equivalent
  • 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 

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