About Social Work


Social work is a discipline and a profession committed to the enhancement of human well-being, the alleviation of poverty and oppression, and the promotion of social justice.

The discipline of social work provides opportunities for enacting liberal arts values such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication, as well as Whittier College's historical commitment to "practical idealism."

The social work profession is practiced in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Family services
  • Child welfare
  • Prevention programs
  • Criminal justice systems
  • Behavioral health 
  • Medical centers
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Community organization
  • Social policy planning
  • Political advocacy
  • Military social work
  • School social work

With awareness of the major social and technological changes taking place in today's society, Whittier's social work program prepares students for entry-level positions in generalist social work practice, where they can effectively respond to the variety of human welfare needs prevalent in contemporary society. Selected courses offered within the program may also be of interest to students pursuing a degree in psychology, child development, sociology, pre-medicine, pre-physical therapy, business administration, and education.

Whittier's undergraduate program in social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and provides a professional foundation curriculum that contains the common body of knowledge, values, and skills of the profession. The program specifies a common base of liberal arts courses to be taken prior to enrollment in core foundation courses. Foundation courses are sequenced over three years – many of which have a community partnership as part of the course; the program culminates in the senior year with an intensive, professionally-supervised field practicum, and an integrative seminar that seeks to assess the outcomes of the social work training.