Undergraduate Social Work Program Earns Top 10 Ranking from USA Today
Syracuse University’s School of Social Work in the Falk College was ranked eighth out of 332 programs studied, according to recently released results published in USA Today. The rankings are based on data from College Factual’s outcome-based higher education rankings for 2015.
Social work students meet with a program director at The Center, a human service agency, during the April 2014 Mirken Roots of American Social Work trip to New York City.[/caption]
Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Syracuse University’s undergraduate program in social work prepares students to meet the needs of diverse populations in areas including child welfare, substance abuse counseling, health care, public policy, industry and business, school social work, gerontology and mental health services.
“We are particularly pleased because our ranking is based on outcome-based data that takes into account how our students are doing related to retention and graduation, as well as employment and earnings after graduation,” notes Carrie Smith, director of the School of Social Work.
“These rankings speak to effective work over many years of our students, graduates, faculty and staff, and to the strength of our undergraduate and graduate programs in social work,” adds Diane Lyden Murphy, dean of the Falk College.
College Factual uses U.S. Department of Education and Payscale.com data to evaluate critical outcome variables, including retention and graduation rates, student loan default rates and overall average post-graduate earnings, as well as academic quality signals like student to faculty ratio. Syracuse University was additionally ranked 12th in terms of graduates’ pay, with starting salaries around $37,000 and $55,000 at mid-career.
An undergraduate social work degree is the usual requirement of employers for an entry-level social service position. Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in social work are eligible to apply for the 36-credit Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) Advanced Standing Program at Syracuse University (or other similar programs), which allows students to complete an M.S.W. in one year versus two. The School of Social Work’s degree programs have been in existence since 1958.
Job prospects for social workers are outstanding, as careers in social work are expected to increase by 25 percent through 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, faster than average for all occupations. Anticipated growth areas in social work are gerontology, mental health, health care, veteran services, criminal justice, child welfare, and case management programs serving children, individuals and families. While advanced positions in the field generally require a master’s degree in social work with state licensure or certification, entry-level positions are readily available in both urban and rural settings for graduates with bachelor’s degrees in social work.