SSA @ a Glance

The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) prepares students to become leaders in the field of social work. SSA offers graduate work leading to both the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees.


The SSA master's programs have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and its predecessor organizations since 1919. The rigor and quality of an SSA education have earned us a spot among the top graduate schools of social work in the world. 


The Master's Program is a two-year program that prepares students to enter advanced professional practice. The curriculum includes the core curriculum, which offers all students a solid introduction to the fundamentals of direct practice with individuals, families, organizations, and communities and to the fundamentals of administration and policy during their first two quarters; an elective concentration in either clinical practice or social administration; and field placements to supplement both the core and the concentrations.

The Doctoral Program offers specialized study at a more advanced level. Each student's program is unique and features course work (including courses in related disciplines taught by other units of the University), independent study, and research leading to the dissertation.

SSA is one of the top graduate schools of social work in the United States.

Financial Aid

Each year, SSA provides more than $4 million to students in scholarships. Approximately 95% of our master's students receive scholarship aid based on merit and need. 100% of our doctoral students receive full funding. 

Students (2018-2019)

Total Enrollement 

Master's students: 414
Doctoral students: 55


Asian 8.3%
Black/African American 10.9%
Hispanic/Latino 13%
Unspecified: 2.6%
Multi-racial 2.6%
Pacific Islander 0.2%
White/Caucasian: 54%

International Students 

Master's students: 6.7%
Doctoral students: 18.5%


83% female, 17% male

Class Size

In the Master's program, classes may be as large as 30 students and as small as 6-10 students. Classes in the Master's Core Curriculum are capped at 30 students. 

Faculty (2018-2019)

SSA has 33 distinguished faculty (excluding lecturers) who were trained in fields such as political science, history, economics, psychology, and sociology, as well as social work and social welfare. Our faculty are the most racially diverse faculty cohort of the University of Chicago campus.

Demographics: 64% White, 18% African American, 9% Asian, 9% Latino; Gender: 23 female, 10 male

  • Professors: 11

  • Associate Professors: 13

  • Assistant Professors: 9

  • Senior Lecturers: 2



Historic Achievements

  • Proposed the philosophy that social work demands a firm intellectual base in the social sciences.

  • Pioneered an orientation toward public agencies as well as private charities.

  • Offered psychiatric course work as early as 1912.

  • Began publishing Social Service Review, the first scholarly journal in the field of social work, in 1927.

  • Laid the foundation for the child-related provisions of the nation's Social Security system through research on the status of mothers and children in the 1930s.

  • Developed the generic casework curriculum that became a model for social work education.

  • Professor Charlotte Towle published Common Human Needs, the classic manual for public assistance workers that linked psychiatric theories to social work practice (1945).

  • Developed the first social policy sequence in the country (1968).

  • Applied behavior modification to casework.

  • Under the supervision of Helen Harris Perlman, SSA developed the task-centered approach to practice.