Social work attracts idealists: people with an acute awareness of human suffering and injustice, and people with a strong commitment to reduce that suffering and injustice. Some issues that engage us endure over time, others change. Early social workers fought to outlaw child labor and to provide universal social security. Their successors struggle to prevent child abuse and community violence, to aid homeless or mentally ill individuals, to reduce poverty and social inequities, or improve the quality of life of older adults.
The central commitment to helping those in need and working to bring about effective social change—locally, nationally, and globally—remains constant. To people who have this kind of commitment, graduate training in social work offers two things: First is the opportunity to explore, in the disciplined and intellectually rich environment of the University, the dimensions of social need and response. Second is the opportunity to acquire, through class and fieldwork experiences, the skills for effective action.
SSA's Master of Arts program, a two-year program, has been continuously accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and its predecessor organizations since 1919. We prepare master's students for advanced professional practice. And for over 100 years, SSA has provided advanced training for those interested in pursuing academic careers in social work and social welfare in the doctoral degree program.
SSA’s diverse array of course offerings features quality instruction and substantive exploration of clinical practice, community development and organizing, program management and policy issues. Classes are intended to challenge and engage students in the dynamic interplay of theory, research, and practice. Students gain an understanding that whatever the focus of their practice, from the clinical micro-level to the policy macro-level, their activities are guided by an appreciation of service in society and informed by a rigorous evidence and conceptual base. The concept of alleviating need has also been broadened to include prevention as well as treatment.