School of Social Welfare


 Katharine Briar-Lawson, Ph.D.
  University of California, Berkeley

Associate Dean
 Anne E. Fortune, Ph.D.
  University of Chicago

Director, Undergraduate Program 
 Starr Wood, Ph. D
  Smith College

Assistant Director, Undergraduate Program
 Barbara Rio, M.S.W. 
  Hunter College

Director, Community & Public Service Program
 Loretta Pyles, Ph.D.
  University of Kansas

Distinguished Service Professor
 Shirley J. Jones, D.S.W. (Collins Fellow)
  Columbia University

 Distinguished Teaching Professor
 Jan Hagen, Ph.D.
  University of Minnesota

 Katharine Briar-Lawson, Ph.D.
  University of California, Berkley
 Anne E. Fortune, Ph.D.
  University of Chicago
 Hal Lawson, Ph.D.
  University of Michigan
 Phillip McCallion, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Carolyn Smith, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Theodore J. Stein, D.S.W.
  University of California, Berkeley
 Ronald W. Toseland, Ph.D.
  University of Wisconsin

Associate Professors
 Nancy Claiborne, Ph.D.
  University of Houston
 Eric Hardiman, Ph.D.
  University of California, Berkeley
 Lani Jones, Ph.D.
  Boston College
 Barry M. Loneck, Ph.D.
  Case Western Reserve University
 Robert Miller, Ph.D.
  Columbia University
 Blanca Ramos, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 William D. Roth, Ph.D.
  University of California, Berkeley
 Lynn Warner, Ph.D.
  University of Michigan

Assistant Professors
 Sandra Austin, Ed.D.
  University of Massachusetts, Amherst
 Heather Horton, Ph.D.
  University of Chicago
 Heather Larkin, Ph.D.
  The Catholic University of America
 Laura Hopson, Ph.D.
  University of Texas at Austin
 Toni Naccarato, Ph.D.
  University California, Berkeley
 Loretta Pyles, Ph.D.
  University of Kansas

 Mary L. McCarthy, M.S.W.
  University at Albany

Program Administrators
 Dawn Knight-Thomas, M.S.W.
  University at Albany
 Laura Moffitt, M.S.W.
  University at Buffalo
 David Pettie, M.S.W.
  Adelphi University
 Crystal Rogers, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Bonita Sanchez, M.S.W.
  University at Albany

The objective of the undergraduate social work major (B.S.) is to prepare students for beginning social work. The program serves the liberal education needs for students interested in the social sciences and human services professions. Part-time study is possible. The B.S. in social work qualifies graduates for advanced standing in some M.S.W. programs.

The Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree prepares students for advanced social work practice. These positions generally require advanced theoretical, practice, research, management and/or policy analysis skills.

The School of Social Welfare offers programs leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in social welfare, a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. The School of Social Welfare also sponsors the Institute of Gerontology, Social Work Education Consortium, the Center for Human Services Research, the Community and Public Service Program, the Institute for Social Services Research and Development, and the Technology Education Consultation for Human Services (TECH Center).

Both the B.S. and M.S.W. degree programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for all  U.S. schools of social work.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Social Welfare

General Program B.S.: A combined major and minor sequence consisting of a minimum of 62 credits as follows:
Of the 62 credits: (a) 15–16 credits represent the elementary base; (b) 15 credits represent the advanced base; (c) the remaining 32 credits constitute the core requirements for a major in social welfare.

In addition, it is recommended that prospective social welfare majors elect R SSW 290 (Community and Public Service) in their sophomore year.

Human Biology (one course from): A BIO 102, 120, 209, A ANT 119, 211, 312, 319, 414, 450

Introduction to Psychology: A PSY 101
Introduction to Sociology: A SOC 115
American Politics: R POS 101
American Social Welfare System: R SSW 210

Elementary Statistics (one course from): A MAT 108, A PSY 210, A SOC 221, B ITM 220, or R CRJ 281
Social Problems: A SOC 180
Social Psychology: A PSY 270 or A SOC 260
Abnormal Psychology: A PSY 338

Students select a course of personal interest that specifically addresses issues facing a gender, ethnic, racial, or religious group that is different from the student’s own background. (Examples include: A AAS 219, 331, 333, 370, 400, 432, 435; A ANT 240; A EAS 180; A ECO 130; A ENG 240; A FRE 208, 281; A GOG 125, 240; A HIS 300Z; A JST 150, 155, 221, 254, 260, 270, 344Z, 351Z; A LCS 201, 269; A PHI 214; A REL 100; A SOC 262, 375; U UI 230; A WSS 101, 202, 210, 262, 308). Students are also encouraged to review the Undergraduate Bulletin and discuss with their adviser other courses of personal interest that may satisfy this required elective.

R SSW 301, 305, 306, 322, 400, 405Z, 406, 408, 409, 410. A grade of C (S) or higher in all core courses is required (see Termination Policies below).

Admission Requirements
Students interested in the social welfare major must complete an application process. Admission to the program is competitive. Applications are accepted in the Spring semester of the student’s sophomore year for entrance into the Fall semester of the junior year. Transfer students who will have completed 56 credits should apply during the spring of the year for which they are seeking Fall admission.

It is strongly recommended that those wishing to enter the major complete as much of the required elementary base and advanced base as possible prior to entrance into the program in the junior year. Admissions decisions are based on the following criteria:

  • Adequacy of the liberal arts base
  • Application essay
  • Progress toward completion of elementary and advanced base requirements or their equivalents
  • Grade point average
  • Personal/professional references
  • Social welfare/human service experience

The relative merit of any one criterion is considered in light of all others when admissions decisions are made. The overall quality of the application will provide the basis for admissions.

Termination Policies
Social welfare majors cannot repeat a core social welfare course more than once and cannot repeat more than a total of two courses within the major. The core courses are R SSW 301, 305, 306, 322, 400, 405Z, 406, 408, 409 and 410.

A student who receives a grade of C- or lower in a core course will be given a warning by the Director of the Undergraduate Program, School of Social Welfare that a second such grade in that course will result in termination from the program.

If a student receives a grade of C- or lower in two different core courses, the student will receive a warning from the Director of the Undergraduate Program, School of Social Welfare that any additional grade lower than a C in a core course will result in termination from the major.

The student meeting termination criteria will receive a termination letter from the Director of the Undergraduate Program and the Dean of the School of Social Welfare. 

The letter will specify the policy that is the reason for the termination from the program. It will also outline the student’s option to use the School grievance process (spelled out in the Undergraduate Student Handbook) to appeal their grade in a course. If they are successful in receiving a grade change to a C or better, they will be reinstated to the major.

Students also may petition for reinstatement in the major after a period of one semester; their petition will go to a Committee on Readmissions which makes a recommendation to the Dean who makes the final decision whether to reinstate the student.

Field Instruction
Field instruction – a structured internship in a social services agency - is an integral part of the total educational process. It offers a student the opportunity to develop, apply, and integrate the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes for work in social welfare settings. During the senior year, each student is provided field instruction by a qualified instructor in an agency designated by the School. Placements are selected by the School for the students on the basis of their educational needs and, wherever possible, their area of interest. The field placements represent a variety of settings under public and private auspices and are located throughout the Capital District. Students are responsible for the expenses involved in placement.

Typical Program of Core Courses for
Junior and Senior Social Welfare Majors









R SSW 301

R SSW 306

R SSW 305

R SSW 322

(6 credits)

(6 credits)











R SSW 400

R SSW 406

R SSW 405Z

R SSW 409

R SSW 408

R SSW 410

(10 credits)

(10 credits)


The following undergraduate courses offered by the school are considered liberal arts and sciences courses for the purpose of requirements for the B.A. and B.S. degrees: R SSW 200, 210, 220, 301, 322, 408, 409, 450, 499.

All courses listed in this section are understood to be preceded by the school’s letter R.