Why Social Work?
What is social work and why should I study it?
Social work is an academic discipline and a practice-based profession concerned with meeting the basic needs of individuals, families, groups, communities, organizations, and society as a whole to enhance their individual and collective well-being. It is a profession in which trained professionals are devoted to helping vulnerable people and communities work through challenges they face in everyday life.
Social Work not only provides a platform to make tangible differences in people's lives but also offers a deep understanding of human behavior, social systems, and policies. This field enables individuals to work towards social justice and equity, making a direct impact on communities.
UAF's social work degree program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s Board of Accreditation.
What can you do with a degree in social work?
As a social worker you can work in a variety of fields and with large or small populations. You can work in administration, research, or policy. You can work with elders. You can work in child welfare or family social work; school social work; community or advocacy social work. You can work in the criminal justice or corrections system or as a disability social worker; medical social work, hospice or palliative care; mental health; military or veterans; substance abuse; public health. You can work as an environmental social worker; occupational social worker, or political social worker;
There are various levels of social work practice as well. Micro-level, working with individuals; mezzo-level, working with small groups, or macro social work, working with communities or at the state or local level.
Some careers social work majors go on to pursue are...
Juvenile Court Liaison
... and more!
The versatility of a Social Work degree is reflected in the plethora of career avenues it opens up. From clinical practice to policy advocacy, social work graduates find opportunities in government agencies, non-profits, educational institutions, and private practices. Moreover, the demand for social workers is projected to grow, especially in areas like mental health and substance abuse.
Alaska has the highest concentration of jobs for child, family and school social workers of any state in the nation. It is also one of the top states for jobs for mental health and substance abuse social workers.
Social Work at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
The bachelor’s in social work curriculum includes a liberal arts base, with foundation requirements in the behavioral sciences, and sequences in social policy and services, practice methods and in field education. A major emphasis is preparing students for beginning social work practice with rural and Alaska Native populations. All majors in social work are also required to complete a 400-hour senior practicum experience.
The UAF Social Work program gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in their field of study through many unique opportunities. Students often choose to participate in our clubs, through the Critical Social Worker podcast, or by taking part in the AK-CAST Victims Service internships. The department also offers practicum support regardless of where students are located.
The focus on rural social work practice and Indigenous communities distinguishes UAF’s program from others. This unique focus, coupled with a student-centered, trauma-informed approach, provides a rich, culturally relevant learning environment.
Our faculty lead with specialized backgrounds and many years of experience that provide a supportive, healing centered, diverse experience in the classroom.