Our First Century
SSA was one of the first schools of social work in the United States, opening our doors in 1908 as the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy. In 1920, SSA became part of the University of Chicago, one of the world's top universities and a bastion of progressive, interdisciplinary scholarship. Together, we formed an academic community with the intellectual rigor and mission-driven idealism to directly improve the lives of the disenfranchised in the City of Chicago and across the nation.
SSA is one of the top graduate schools of social work in the world. Our remarkably diverse students possess energy and empathy, and we give them the firm theoretical foundation, the clinical and policy perspective, and the hands-on experience to make a meaningful impact in the lives of vulnerable people. SSA and the University support interdisciplinary research centers that shed light on the complex connections between race, human rights, politics, and access to care, with a special emphasis on preventive policies and practices.
SSA's impact on Chicago and the nation is measurable. We are a model for how urban institutions build and participate in communities. Students, faculty, and administrators form a mutually supportive community of dedicated professionals and scholars that is, in turn, deeply engaged in the broader University of Chicago community, the city, and the world. Annually, SSA students provide more than a quarter-million hours of service at more than 600 agencies throughout the greater Chicago region. SSA graduates advance to leadership positions in clinical practice, public and private social welfare agencies, community development organizations, policy research institutes, charitable foundations, and academia. The alumni network in Chicago, nationally, and internationally, is deep, broad, and active in advancing SSA and the field.