Photo of Javier Cruz '19, a social work major

Javier Cruz '19

Social work major Javier Cruz ’19 is jumpstarting his career as a community activist and advocate for Puerto Rican rights as an intern with local nonprofit Nueva Esperanza.

Changing Lives Through Social Work

Social work majors at Elms College dedicate themselves to helping others. It’s that simple.

For more than 60 years, Elms has equipped students to become social work leaders. With the oldest accredited undergraduate program of its kind in Western Massachusetts, we know what skills and competencies you need to become a force of change in your community.

Social work at Elms is an interdisciplinary field. Majors study everything from behavioral science and psychology to mental health and public policy. By analyzing human behavior through different lenses, you will gain a deeper understanding of the factors that influence life in modern society. Your classes will help you develop a versatile array of skills that empower you to counsel individuals, families, and communities.

Micro- and Macro-Level Social Work

Social work majors typically choose to focus on micro- or macro-level social work.

Micro-level social work encompasses working with individuals and families. By helping people achieve their goals and overcome challenges, you improve the well-being of society, one person — or family — at a time.

Macro-level social work includes designing and implementing community-focused programs at the local, state, or national levels. If you are interested in research and advocacy, this type of social work enables you to enact change on a larger scale.

Social workers make a difference in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Medicine and public health (working in hospitals and public health agencies)
  • Substance abuse prevention (working in rehabilitation centers, nonprofits, and more)
  • Mental health (working in mental health centers, private practices, and schools)
  • Child welfare (working in nonprofits, hospitals, and shelters)
  • Education (working at schools of all levels, or within school districts)

Internships, Professionalization, and Licensure

As a social work major you will complete 400 hours of service at an internship. Having the time you need to immerse yourself in the field and complete a capstone project will not only help you perfect your skills, but also set you apart on the job market.

In addition to full-time internships, you will also have the opportunity to conduct independent research and present your findings at professional conferences. Our students also get involved in community service programs locally and nationally, which gives you other chances to expand your professional network to new areas.

After completing your degree, you will be eligible to take the Massachusetts exam to become a licensed social worker. The majority of our graduates secure jobs in social work upon — or before — graduation. Many of our graduates choose to continue their education and complete a master’s degree.

Students who know they want to pursue a master of social work (MSW) degree are encouraged to apply to our graduate program offered in conjunction with St. Louis University, one of the top-ranked social work programs in the country.

Approximately 90% of Elms students who apply to MSW programs have been granted advanced standing, which allows them to earn their degree in just one calendar year instead of two academic years.

Quick Info

  • Accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. View our assessment of student learning outcomes for 2017.
  • Oldest accredited undergraduate program in Western Massachusetts
  • Includes a 400-hour internship at one of over 60 sites
  • Local, national, and international social work experiences
  • Graduates are eligible to sit for the Massachusetts Licensed Social Worker (LSW) exam
  • Graduates are eligible for advanced standing in MSW programs

Sarah Kaczenski '18

Photo of social work and sociology major Sarah Kaczenski“You can see a lot of suffering in the world, and being blessed enough to have a college education — I think that social work is a great way to use my education and lessen that suffering.”

Channeling her creativity as a musician, Sarah Kaczenski ’18 discovered original ways to empathize with and support vulnerable populations. Read Sarah’s story.