Social Work Overview
I am so thankful that I chose Chatham for my BSW. My professors made all the difference—they were encouraging yet challenged me and clearly care about their students. They believed in me even before I began to believe in myself. The support I received at Chatham propelled me towards success quicker than I could have imagined.
— DANI WILSON ‘12, MSW, executive director, Our Clubhouse
Explore the Social Work Degree:
- You’ll obtain academic and career guidance every step of the way from advisors who are faculty with real world experience as practicing social workers.
- You can choose to enhance your studies with a minor in criminology, psychology, social service administration, or other minors that are of interest to you. You may also want to consider one of our social work certificates in Forensic Social Work or Environmental Social Work.
- Students are immersed in a caring, supportive learning environment that integrates global understanding, sustainability, gender and identity, and civic engagement into all majors.
- All students complete a capstone seminar that channels the knowledge they’ve accumulated into a discipline-specific project under close faculty guidance.
SWK351: Interviewing and Assessment with Individuals
This course introduces generalist social work practice, including its philosophy, domains, and values. The role of the practitioner and an overview of the helping process provide the foundation for the study and practice of basic interviewing skills.
SKW201W: Human Behavior in the Social Environment
This course examines the development of individuals, couples, and families from birth to adolescence within the framework of social work research and theory. Also explored are systems that influence gender, race, ethnicity, social, and economic influences within the context of families, groups, organizations, institutions, and communities.
SWK322W: Social Welfare: Women and Policy
This course is designed to examine current issues and policies that impact the lives of women and to explore methods of creating or modifying policies. This course will utilize a comparative policy framework to explore the strengths and weaknesses of current interventions regarding their promotion of social and economic justice.
If one word could best sum up Chatham's faculty, it would be engaged. Professors bring experiences to relate the course lessons to real-world situations.
During senior year, your field placement will give you a closely supervised, hands-on experience that connects classroom learning with real-world, on-the-ground social work. You will complete 500 hours of field placement work by the time you graduate.
Chatham University's social work program offers two unique funding opportunities for students, the Maggie Hobbs Social Work Award and the Deborah Rubin Scholarship Fund of the Class of 1962 Scholarship Challenge.Explore Funding Opportunities : Checkerboard 2 - Funding Opportunities
Join the Club
Students can join Chatham’s social work club, SWIRL (Social Work is Real Life) as a complement to their education. The club provides opportunities to participate in activities at Chatham and in the Pittsburgh community and to attend local and regional social work conferences.
Accreditation & Learning Outcomes
As members of a program fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), students can receive advanced standing in graduate social work programs across the country. View the CSWE frequently asked questions by clicking here.View Accreditation & Learning Outcomes : Checkerboard 4 - Accreditation & Learning Outcomes
Chatham's BSW is ranked #15 on TheBestSchools.org's list of "The 40 Best Bachelor's in Social Work Degree Programs."
Partners in Education
The CCAC + Chatham partnership makes it easy for Community College of Allegheny County students to earn a BSW from Chatham.Partnership with CCAC : Checkerboard 6 - Partners in Education
Certificate in Forensic Social Work
The certificate in Forensic Social Work equips students with social work knowledge and skills within the contexts of the American criminal justice, mental health and child welfare systems. The program fosters graduates committed to social justice who can become change makers with their organizations, communities, and in society at large. It requires 18 credits to complete, including an internship and capstone.
Certificate in Environmental Social Work
The certificate in Environmental Social Work offered by Chatham University is a multi-disciplinary certificate designed to equip students with social work principles within the context of environmental justice, food access, and sustainability. The certificate is intended for students who are interested in exploring environmental justice in social work. It does not prepare a student for professional social work practice. Instead, it can be used to understand environmental justice and the value of sustainability to social work. The program is open to undergraduate students and requires 18 credits to complete.
Faculty in the News
Faculty in the Bachelor of Social Work program are frequently consulted by local and national media.Faculty in the News : Checkerboard 9 - Faculty in the News
Social Work Student Handbook
This PDF book contains important information about requirements and policies of the program. If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please contact a member of the social work faculty or staff.Download the Handbook (pdf) : Checkerboard 10 - Social Work Student Handbook
Students have had field placements at organizations including the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, Community Living and Support Services, Community Human Services, Planned Parenthood, Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, Allegheny County Children Youth and Families, Central Outreach Wellness Center, Our Clubhouse, ACLU, East End Cooperative Ministry, and Gwen’s Girls.
Social Work Program Director Melissa Bell interviewed for Social Work Advocates Magazine
Dr. Melissa Bell was interviewed regarding a book she cowrote called Reproductive Decision Making: Acting to Help Clients, published by NASW Press. The book provides social services professionals with tools and strategies, real-world research, policy practice and case examples to facilitate discussions of reproductive decision making with clients.
The Maggie Hobbs Social Work Award
Shaelah Pepperman, seen here with Social Work Program Director Dr. Melissa Bell, accepted the Maggie Hobbs Award for the 2022-2023 academic year. The Maggie Hobbs Social Work Award is an annual monetary award given to a full-time senior majoring in social work based on academic accomplishments; demonstration of social work skills, values, and ethics; and contributions to the social work program, the discipline of social work, and the Chatham community. Madeline Morse, not in attendance, also received the award for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Condemning the Dobbs Decision
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) issued statements condemning the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Decision is the first time in history that the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right and abandons nearly 50 years of precedent.