Indiana University has a long history of preparing graduates for entry into social work practice. Courses in this area began to be offered in 1911 through the Department of Economics and Sociology. Between 1911 and 1944, various administrative and curricular changes were put into effect, and degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels were offered. In 1944, the Indiana University Division of Social Service was established by action of the Trustees of Indiana University. The organizational status was changed in 1966 when the Graduate School of Social Service was created. In 1973, the name was changed to School of Social Service in recognition of the extent and professional nature of the school’s graduate and undergraduate offerings. It became the School of Social Work in 1977 in order to reflect more clearly its identification with the profession.

The school provides opportunities for study leading to the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The Department of Labor Studies  offers the following degree options: Bachelor of Science in Labor Studies, Associate of Science in Labor Studies, Certificate in Labor Studies and Minor in Labor Studies. The Labor Studies program prepares students to assume leadership roles in the work-place and in communities. The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program prepares students for generalist social work practice. The Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares graduate students for advanced social work practice in an area of specialization, and the PhD program in social work prepares social workers for leadership roles in research, education, and policy development. Although the degree programs vary in their emphases and levels of complexity, the school’s curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels are a continuum in education for social service. For example:
  • Opportunities provided for a range of experiences in substantive areas of interest to students and of importance to society.
  • The curriculum focuses on problem-solving and strength-enhancing experiences that involve the classroom, the learning resources laboratory, and field experience.
  • Excellent library and technology resources make social work students effective users of social science information.
  • An exploration of educational procedures and arrangements optimizes effective training, including institutional self-study of the entire curriculum as well as the exploration of specific educational tools.

While the school’s main administration location is in Indianapolis, courses or programs are also offered on IU campuses in Bloomington, Gary (Northwest), Richmond (East), Fort Wayne (IPFW), and South Bend. Reference to some of these offerings will be made in the text that follows.

Graduates of the school move into a broad variety of social service settings, including those concerned with aging, family and child welfare, corrections, mental and physical health, and adjustment in schools, agency management and administration. In anticipation of such professional activities, the school provides field instruction placements throughout the state where students engage in services to individuals, groups, families, communities, and organizations or function in leadership roles. The Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work program are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The MSW Program has been continuoulsy accredited since 1923. The school is a member of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work, the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, and the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education, among others.

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