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Social Work

Social Work


EMU is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education which serves as the national accrediting and standard-setting agency for both graduate and undergraduate social work programs. The EMU social work program also draws on the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics to inform its goals, objectives, and ethical principles. What makes EMU’s Social Work program particularly distinctive though is the program’s emphasis on social justice and cross-cultural learning in domestic and international venues.

Social work positions require a broad liberal arts education, multilingual capability, and computer and other technical skills. Therefore the curriculum is both generalist and practical in nature and provides the students opportunities to apply skills learned from projects, readings and electives in a selection of field practicum settings.

Careers and Outcomes

The EMU social work program prepares students for baccalaureate-level social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities within the context of the various human service agencies and voluntary services.

Careers for social workers include medical social work, substance and alcohol addiction recovery, adoption and foster care agencies, juvenile justice and corrections, domestic violence prevention, public sector social services, disaster relief, mental health agencies, counseling services, adult education, refugee programs, residential geriatric facilities, day programs for the elderly or children, emergency family shelters, migrant education, half-way homes, judicial/court programs, youth/child support, mental retardation support programs, rape crisis and other hotline services, mediation, health and wellness agencies and after-school care.

What Alumni Say


“You can’t save the world, but as long as we can affect somebody’s life for the better, then we have to feel good about it.”

– Carlita Sheldon ’06, a family services specialist at Child Protective Services in Harrisonburg

Together with Sara Kiser ’01 and Erin Fadeley ’01, the women have now worked at CPS for an average of 11 years, a long time in a field that is known for its high turnover rates nationally.

In order to be transparent with prospective students and current students about the quality of social work education that is offered at EMU, the social work program publicizes the assessment data that is used to evaluate the curriculum and student outcomes.

Application to the Social Work Program

Students apply for admission into the social work program during the fall semester of their sophomore year. Transfer students make application during the first semester of enrollment at EMU.

The social work program does not grant academic course credit for life experience or previous work experience. Entrance in and continuance in the social work program is contingent upon academic performance (a minimum of “C” grades in all social work/sociology courses required in the major) as well as personal qualities essential for working with people such as a value orientation consistent with the profession, sensitivity to needs of people, self-awareness and a sense of personal and global responsibility.

Additional Resources

See the course catalog (PDF) for course descriptions and curriculum info. The social work student handbook and the social work program’s field education manual provide additional resources for social work students, field education supervisors, and prospective students.

The educational policies and accreditation standards that the Council on Social Work Education published in 2008 are used to evaluate accredited social work programs, including the EMU social work program.

In addition to the NASW Code of Ethics above, the EMU social work program also adheres to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights as guiding ethical principles and rights for all people, regardless of age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, political ideology, race, religion, sex, and/or sexual orientation.


Program Admission
Program Admission
Field Placement
Field Placement
Community partners
Community Partners