Welcome to the Web site of the Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW). Now in our second century, we continue to set the pace for the social work profession by offering rigorous training to graduate students and supporting a first-class faculty renowned for their leading scholarship and global focus. We urge you to browse through the site and get the flavor of what makes our School such a unique and stimulating environment. If you are new to CUSSW, we suggest you start by perusing the answers to the following 10 questions we commonly get asked:
The Columbia University School of Social Work has been pioneering social work practices and educating social workers for over a century. The School joins rigorous, evidence-based academic theory with real-world practice. Our multidisciplinary faculty are known for their intellectual creativity and leadership in research, education and field work. They conduct research and service programs locally, nationally and globally, and provide their expertise to leaders in academia, government, NGOs and the private sector.
The CUSSW mission focuses on:
- the development of leaders in social work practice and research;
- the advancement of the social work profession, professional values, knowledge, and skills; and
- the enhancement of well-being and the promotion of human rights and social justice at the local, national, and global level through the creation of responsive social programs and policies.
For the complete mission statement, go to our mission page.
CUSSW offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Social Work and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work.
CUSSW’s eminence is rooted in the strength, leadership and experience of its more than 40 full-time faculty members who are themselves representatives of the global community, including Sheila Akabas; Nabila El-Bassel, Willma and Albert Musher Professor of Social Work; Irwin Garfinkel, Mitchell I. Ginsberg Professor of Contemporary Urban Problems; Neeraj Kaushal; Ronald B. Mincy, Maurice V. Russell Professor of Social Policy and Social Work Practice; Ada Mui; Katherine Shear, Marion Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry in Social Work; Steven Schinke, D'Elbert and Selma Keenan Professor of Social Work; Fred Ssewamala; Jane Waldfogel, Compton Foundation Centennial Professor of Social Work for the Prevention of Children's and Youth Problems; and other eminent and emerging leaders. Faculty members are regularly tapped by policymakers, foundation executives, and service organizations for their expertise on a range of social issues and best practices.
The School’s curriculum is distinguished by
- 4 method areas: Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice; Advanced Generalist Practice & Programming; Policy Practice; Social Enterprise Administration.
- 7 fields of practice: Aging; Contemporary Social Issues; Family, Youth & Children’s Services; Health, Mental Health & Disabilities; International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees; School-based & School-linked Services; World of Work.
- 4 minors: Business Administration; International Social Welfare; Law; Public Policy & Administration.
- 9 dual degrees with other professional schools at Columbia: Business, Divinity, International Affairs, Jewish Studies, Law, Public Health, Public Policy & Administration, Special Education, Urban Planning.
The student body consists of individuals who have evidenced professional promise and have strong academic credentials. There are about 800 students in residence during any given term, ranging in age from their early 20s to early 60s (the average age is mid-20s). About 85 percent of our student body is female; about 12–15 percent come from 30 nations besides the U.S. and speak 25 languages. Approximately a quarter of the student community is made up of students of color (e.g., African American, Asian American, Hispanic, biracial). Most students belong to at least one of over twenty caucuses and/or groups representing a range of social issues.
The School is housed in an 11-story building on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 121st Street in New York City—a short walk to the northeast of Columbia’s Morningside campus. The building has technologically advanced classrooms, seminar and conference rooms, a 50-seat computer lab, a role-play room, and a 7,000-square-foot library that houses one of the world's premiere collections in social work and social services.
Several CUSSW faculty members are engaged in research that focuses on benefiting local communities and neighborhoods in New York City. Examples include Leo Cabassa's studies of mental health care interventions for the city's Hispanic populations, Nabila El-Bassel’s couple-based HIV/AIDS intervention risk reduction program in Harlem, and Ronald Mincy’s research on transforming the academic trajectory and educational resources for the city's young black males.
Graduates work in diverse fields in the nonprofit, government and corporate sectors. Many of them provide individual and family therapy/counseling. Employers actively recruit CUSSW graduates because of their solid academic preparation, analytical and professional practice strengths, and their leadership.
CUSSW has more than 16,000 alumni in the United States and all over the world. Many of them are respected leaders in the social work field and maintain strong relationships with the School. Our extensive alumni network ensures that students have an inside track to information, mentors, internships, and career opportunities.